Speakers and Presenters

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Keynote Speakers

Sahra Vang Nguyen

Sahra Vang is on a continuous journey to discover new understandings and (re)definitions of the human potential.  Sahra released her first collection of poems in 2010 through her chapbook, “Better Than Ya Dolla!“, which explores the complexities of capitalism, culture in American society, struggles within Asian American biculturalism and personal life challenges.  She has been performing poetry since she was sixteen years old and has shared the stage with prominent artists such as Denizen Kane, Kelly Tsai, Giles Li, Bao Phi and Magnetic North throughout the country in cities such as the Bay Area, Portland, Minneapolis, New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington D.C., Pomona, Los Angeles and Boston.  She is presently based in Los Angeles, CA hard at work on new creations.  In the studio, she is working on a series of new paintings. In March 2010, UCLA Cultural Affairs Commission purchased its first and only permanent art collection to include over 10 prints of Sahra’s original artwork.  Since then, her work continues to have annual solo showcases as the only resident art collection. When she is not grinding away in the studio, in the lab or in the zone, Sahra is also the current full time Director of the Writing Success Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.  She’s got that revolutionary-fighter-survivor-life-on-the-line-for-what-you-believe spirit in her blood.  In another lifetime, she believes that she was once a shepherd. For more information on Sahra Vang please click HERE. (Source: http://www.riotinthesky.com/blog/?page_id=2)

Jessica Yee

Jessica Yee is a self-described “multiracial Indigenous hip-hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter!” A proud Two Spirit youth, she is the founder and Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, the first and only organization of its kind in North America by and for Indigenous youth working within the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health throughout the continent. She has spent more than half her life mobilizing individuals, families, and communities alike to reclaim their ancestral rights to self-determine decisions over their own bodies and spaces.  She sits on a number of national and international boards and collectives including SisterSong Women of Color for Reproductive Justice, Women on Web/Women on Waves, and Maggie’s: Sex Workers Organizing.  Jessica is a strong believer in the power of the youth voice and agency, and you can see her writing on sites like Racialicious, or watch her monologues about activism and justice on TV Ontario. She is the editor of “Sex Ed and Youth: Colonization, Communities of Colour, and Sexuality” and look for her upcoming book in Winter 2011 “Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism: Feminist Education Now – Youth, Activism, and Intersectionality”. For more information on Jessica Yee please click HERE. (source: http://www.nativeyouthsexualhealth.com/aboutourfounder.html)


Dr. Laura Brashears

Dr. Laura Brashears is currently a visiting assistant professor in the Sociology Department at Cornell University. Her areas of study and interest include social psychology, race and ethnicity, sociology of education, and inequality studies and her works focus on race and disparities in academic achievement.

Dr. Carole Boyce Davies

Dr. Carole Boyce Davies is a professor of Africana Studies, English, and comparative literature at Cornell University. She is an internationally distinguished scholar of Black Women’s Writing, African Literature, Caribbean Tradition/ Oral and Written Literature, Cross-Cultural Feminist Theory, Black Female Identity in Brazil, Comparative Black Literature, and the African Diaspora.

Kakwireiosta Hall

Kakwireiosta Hall is currently the Residence Hall Director at Akwe:kon and the Advisor of the Native American Students at Cornell student group. She self identifies as Cherokee and Mohawk and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology/Anthropology and Native American Studies from Colgate University.


Dr. Sofia Villenas

Dr. Sofia Villenas, professor in the Anthropology Department and Director of the Latino Studies Program at Cornell University, is a former adult educator and Spanish bilingual teacher. Her research focuses on ethnography, multicultural education, issues of school inequality, cultural studies and women of color feminist thought in Education.

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