CNN political contributor and host of “The Redemption Project,” “The Van Jones Show,” and the podcast, “Incarceration, Inc,” Van Jones has been leading the call for racial equity and healing for decades. As a Yale-educated attorney, he has been on the forefront of creating alternatives to mass incarceration through job training and economic empowerment programs, including the REFORM Alliance to reduce the number of people caught up in the criminal justice system. Jones also founded non-profit environmental and social justice organizations such as DreamCorps United, The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and Green for All. The author of three NY Times best-selling books: Rebuild the Dream, The Green Collar Economy, and his latest, Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together, which was made into a virtual reality documentary that won an Emmy in 2020, Jones has been honored with numerous awards, including Rolling Stone’s “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done.”
Best-selling author and political commentator Robert B. Reich is one of the country’s top economists. He served under three presidents, including as Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, for which Time magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. Reich has written extensively on the deep roots of inequality in the United States. His 18 books include The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It; Aftershock; Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few; and The Common Good. Reich is a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, Chairman of Common Cause, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, Inequality for All.
Attorney Joseph J. Levin co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center to fight hatred and bigotry by seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. As the SPLC’s Legal Director in the 1970’s, Levin worked on more than 50 major civil rights cases. He argued the landmark sex discrimination case Frontiero vs. Richardson, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law giving preferences to men in the military, and Gilmore v. City of Montgomery in which the Supreme Court prohibited the use of public recreational facilities by segregated private schools. In 1976, Levin joined the Carter administration as chief counsel for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He is an emeritus member of the SPLC Board of Directors.
The legal journal Law360 named medical attorney Fidelma Fitzpatrick a 2021 Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar for her role in negotiating a $1.6 billion settlement for thousands of women who suffered life-altering effects from Bayer’s permanent birth control device Essure®. She was co-lead counsel in a billion-dollar lawsuit against paint companies in California proving that they campaigned against lead regulations despite knowing that it was highly toxic. As a result of her work on behalf of lead poisoning victims, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court became the first to recognize the legal rights of poisoned children to sue lead paint manufacturers. She has also litigated cases involving groundwater pollution and radioactive contamination on behalf of affected communities. Fidelma Fitzpatrick represents states and municipalities suing the opioid industry for deceptive marketing that fueled the opioid addiction crisis that claims thousands of American lives every year. She serves on the Board of Regents at Canisius College and frequently speaks on environmental, health and legal matters.
Troy Duster is a former President of the American Sociological Association, UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Professor of Sociology and Director of NYU’s Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge. His book, Backdoor to Eugenics, considered a classic, examines the social and political implications of genetic technologies. He also contributed to White-Washing Race: The Myth of a Color-blind Society. Troy Duster served on the National Advisory Council for the Human Genome Project and is a contributing member of the International HapMap Project. He is the grandson of the great civil rights activist and writer, Ida B. Wells-Barnett.