PRHSB is proud to represent an unrivaled roster of speakers whose relentless pursuit of social justice speaks truth to power and pushes crucial conversations forward. Whether they are exposing the shortcomings of America’s prison and justice system or confronting racial, social, and economic inequality, these change-makers are available for virtual and in-person engagements, imploring audiences to take a stand against systemic injustice.
National Book Award winner Dr. Ibram X. Kendi explores the most effective ways to dismantle the pervasive effects of racism in his revolutionary new book, the instant New York Times-bestselling How to Be an Antiracist, offering a new definition of racism—one based on actions, instead of intent. Dr. Kendi’s eye-opening speeches expose the racist ideas behind modern society, politics, and culture. Arguing that being antiracist isn’t just about acknowledging injustice, but acting against it, he asks audiences to imagine what an antiracist society might look like and determine how they can play an active role in building one. Dr. Kendi’s philosophy on antiracist action has been featured in TIME, CBS This Morning, and The New York Times.
Brittany K. Barnett is an award-winning attorney and entrepreneur. Renowned for working on Alice Marie Johnson’s legal team in a case that brought Kim Kardashian West to the White House, Barnett has devoted her career to transforming the flawed American criminal justice system. Her upcoming memoir, A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom, takes readers through her beginnings as a law student, to her encounter with a criminal drug case that changed the trajectory of her career. In illuminating talks, Barnett sheds valuable light on our prison systems from the perspective of her multiple roles as a lawyer, a non-profit founder, and an entrepreneur.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of the National Book Award-winning Between the World and Me and the New York Times-bestselling We Were Eight Years in Power. His 2014 Atlantic article, “The Case for Reparations,” rekindled a long-dormant debate that led to Coates testifying in a Congressional hearing to create a commission to “study and consider reparations for the institution of slavery.” His remarks, which touched on centuries of discriminatory economic policies after the abolition of slavery, went viral. Coates’s latest book, and his first foray into fiction, The Water Dancer, is a New York Times bestseller and has been met with critical acclaim, including being a pick for Oprah’s Book Club.
A nationally-recognized advocate for prison reform, Shaka Senghor is the author of the bestselling Writing My Wrongs and the founder and president of #BeyondPrisons. Drawing on his 19 years in prison, including seven in solitary confinement, Senghor holds true to his belief that people are more than their worst mistake. As a speaker, Senghor connects with audiences ranging from at-risk youth to communities eager to protect and uplift their most vulnerable members.
Isabel Wilkerson is an acclaimed historian who illuminated a crucial period of African American history in The Warmth of Other Suns, a comprehensive account of the Great Migration. Wilkerson’s upcoming book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent, offers a deeply researched narrative and stories about how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system. Audiences nationwide have praised her ability to bring the past’s complexities to vivid life through her passionate research and her profound gift for connecting with audiences of all backgrounds. As a speaker, Wilkerson brings history to life for audiences, showing how echoes of the Great Migration continue to resonate today.
Abdi Nor Iftin was born in Somalia and forced to flee to Kenya during the violent rise of radical Islamist group Al Shabaab. After winning entrance to the United States through an annual visa lottery, his tumultuous journey to the US was documented by the BBC and This American Life. His powerful memoir, Call Me American, details his upbringing in Somalia, his love of American culture, and his ultimate migration to the United States. Iftin is now proudly a U.S. citizen. Through his inspirational talks, Iftin illuminates the realities of life as a refugee and reflects on what America still means to those longing for a better life.
June Eric-Udorie, a longtime activist and the editor of the powerful collection Can We All Be Feminists?, uses her platform to teach audiences what it means to take an intersectional perspective on justice. Showing how the fights for racial, economic, and healthcare justice both align with and shift the goals of contemporary feminism, Eric-Udorie broadens the minds of audiences while guiding them towards a fight for true equality.
Sister Helen Prejean’s activism against the death penalty was sparked when she witnessed the execution of a condemned man. Since then she’s been a tireless advocate for men and women sentenced to die while incarcerated. She also speaks about how class, race, and economics factor into the criminal justice system Prejean’s book documenting her activism, Dead Men Walking, sparked a national dialogue on capital punishment and remains popular in reading groups and college campuses nationwide. Her latest book, River of Fire, is the deeply personal and profoundly moving account of the spiritual journey that led her to begin and continue pursuing this work. Prejean is a masterful storyteller who inspires audiences both religious and secular alike to fight for justice and approach the world with compassion.
Anand Giridharadas is an editor-at-large for TIME and the author of the bestselling book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, an incisive and challenging account of the hypocrisies that exist in modern philanthropy. In powerful, eye-opening discussions, Giridharadas speaks about growing inequality and argues that we need to change the way we “change the world”; that real solutions come from the democratic process of working to reform the underlying systems of society. Giridharadas regularly appears on MSNBC as an on-air political analyst.
Eduardo Porter is a New York Times economics reporter and author. His latest book, American Poison, examines how racism has stunted America’s development of crucial institutions necessary for a healthy society. Drawing from two decades of worldwide business and financial reporting, Porter delivers persuasive and insightful speeches to academic and corporate audiences about social justice, economic inequality, and the crucial role of immigration and diversity in a healthy economy.
Sarah McBride is the National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, making her one of the nation’s most public LGBTQ activists. A former student body president of American University, she came out publicly as transgender in the student paper before going on to become the first openly trans woman to intern in the White House. McBride made history in 2016, becoming the first openly transgender person to address a major party convention when she spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. A brave and inspiring speaker, McBride’s memoir Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality has been described as”life-changing.” She continues to be a leading voice in the fight for LGBTQ equality.
Kali Fajardo-Anstine is an author and National Book Award Finalist. Her debut story collection, Sabrina & Corina, has made waves in the literary community for its honest, provocative look at life in the American West for women of Latina and Indigenous descent. In her talks, she puts intersectional Chicana narratives at the center and highlights the importance of claiming one’s identity as a form of resilience.
While on assignment for Mother Jones, journalist Shane Bauer became a corrections officer in a for-profit prison in Louisiana to truthfully report on conditions inside—for both prisoners and staff. Bauer’s explosive article and subsequent book about his experience, American Prison, was named a top ten book of the year by the New York Times and weaves Bauer’s recollections with the startling history of for-profit incarceration in the United States. As a speaker, Bauer delves into a career spent undercover, inspiring future journalists and advocating for justice.