Barbara Ransby

Barbara Ransby is an historian, writer and longtime activist. She is a Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she directs the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative. She previously served as Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and Interim Vice Provost for Planning and Programs (2011 -2012) at UIC.  Prof. Ransby is author of the highly acclaimed biography, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision. The book received eight national awards and recognitions. 


Michael Sorkin

Michael Sorkin is Principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio, a global design practice working at all scales with a special interest in the city and green architecture; President and founder of Terreform, a non-profit institute dedicated to research into the forms and practices of just and sustainable urbanism; and Co-President of the Forum and Institute for Urban Design. He is Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at CCNY, author or editor of numerous books on architecture and urbanism, and architecture critic for The Nation. In 2013, he won the National Design Award as “Design Mind.”



Naomi Davis

Naomi Davis is an urban theorist, attorney, activist, and founder/CEO of BIG: Blacks in Green™ – a national sustainability network and community development corporation. She created the Sustainable-Square-Mile Workbook™ to implement BIG's courses – The 8 Principles of Green-Village-Building™ and Grannynomics™ – and consults nationally on best practices for the walkable-village in a city of villages – where every household can walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-learn, walk-to-play. BIG’s emerging Urban Homestead Estate™ developments in West Woodlawn aim to usher in an “Age of the Neighbor Investor & Developer,” advance the conservation lifestyle (the beautiful life) for moderate income families, and buffer city gentrification.  She’s a LEED GA, Green For All Fellow, and serves on the Great Lakes Advisory Board, Illinois Natural Resources Advisory Board, Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, Local First Chicago, Obama Library South Side CBA Coalition, Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce, Woodlawn Summit Organization, Our Revolution/Chicago, and the Woodlawn, Washington Park, South Shore Economic Development Organization.

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Charles A. Birnbaum

Birnbaum is the president, CEO, and founder of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF). Prior to creating TCLF, Birnbaum spent fifteen years as the coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative (HLI) and a decade in private practice in New York City, with a focus on landscape preservation and urban design. Birnbaum is currently a Visiting Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning + Preservation and a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post.


Jacqueline Stewart

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Jacqueline Stewart’s research and teaching explore African American film cultures from the origins of the medium to the present, as well as the archiving and preservation of moving images, and “orphan” media histories, including nontheatrical, amateur, and activist film and video. She directs the South Side Home Movie Project and is co-curator of the L.A. Rebellion Preservation Project at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. She also serves as an appointee to the National Film Preservation Board. She is currently researching the racial politics of moving image preservation and is also completing a study of the life and work of African American actor/writer/director Spencer Williams. 

Jawanza Brian Malone

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Jawanza Malone is the executive director for the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) on Chicago's southside. KOCO is one of the oldest membership-based grassroots community organizations in Chicago dedicated to serving low-income and working families. Prior to serving as executive director, Jawanza has held different posts within KOCO – volunteer, board member, program coordinator, and community organizer. As an organizer, Jawanza helped to successfully negotiate a community benefits agreement as part of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games Jawanza received a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Master of the Arts degree in Community Counseling from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University.