Alex AbdoLitigation Director, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University
Alex Abdo is the litigation director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. He has been especially involved in the Institute’s lawsuits challenging the government’s system of “prepublication review,” which requires millions of former employees of the intelligence agencies to submit their manuscripts to government censors prior to publication; the constitutionality of President Trump’s blocking of critics from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account; the pervasive secrecy of the Office of Legal Counsel’s formal written opinions, which establish the law for the executive branch; and the constitutionality of the NSA’s program of “upstream surveillance,” under which the agency scans the content of U.S. persons’ international communications as they transit the internet backbone inside the United States. He has also represented and advocated on behalf of independent researchers who study the influence that social media platforms are having on society.
Prior to joining the Institute, Abdo worked for eight years at the ACLU, where he litigated cases relating to NSA surveillance, encryption, anonymous speech online, government transparency, and the post-9/11 abuse of detainees in U.S. custody. In 2015, he argued the closely watched appeal that resulted in the Second Circuit invalidating the NSA’s call-records program.
Abdo is also a member of the Executive Committee and Board of the recently formed Coalition for Independent Technology Research, which advances, defends, and sustains the right to ethically study the impact of technology on society.
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author of 36 books, including SWING, BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI, co-authored with James Patterson, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, The Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book, THE UNDEFEATED, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, and his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. His newest releases are THE DOOR OF NO RETURN, book one of a new trilogy that is destined to be a game changer, and AN AMERICAN STORY.
A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. He is the writer and executive producer of THE CROSSOVER TV series on Disney+.
Shaun Assael is an award-winning author and producer who writes about sports, politics and true crime … sometimes all at once. His most recent book, The Murder of Sonny Liston, was turned into a documentary film by Showtime.
Sean Bellefeuille is a DVM candidate at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (Class of 2024) and an entrepreneur. He has an interest in medical devices and integrating new and cutting edge technologies into the veterinary field. He acts as the CEO of Med Dimensions, a med tech company he co-founded while pursuing a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Med Dimensions creates custom surgical tools using AI and supports education through the creation of clinical simulation models to support human and veterinary doctors and support staff.
For more than 30 years, Seth D. Berlin has represented news organizations and journalists, as well as advocacy groups, political organizations, and individuals, in enforcing and defending their First Amendment rights. Recognized by Chambers USA as a “prized First Amendment attorney” known for his “terrific courtroom skills,” Seth has appeared in numerous federal trial and appeals courts, and in state courts throughout the country. He is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center and the founder of the American Bar Association’s Media Advocacy Workshop, now in its twenty-sixth year. Seth also serves as a co-chair of the First Amendment Salon, is a co-author of the seminal treatise Newsgathering and the Law, and has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on cameras in the courtroom. He is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School.
Joseph Blocher is the Lanty L. Smith ’67 Distinguished Professor of Law at Duke Law School. His current scholarship addresses issues of gun rights and regulation, free speech, and the relationship between law and violence.
He has published articles on those and other topics in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review and other leading journals, as well as books on the First and Second Amendments. He serves as Co-Director of the Center for Firearms Law, has testified before House and Senate committees, and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, Vox, and other public outlets.
He returned to his hometown of Durham to join the Duke Law faculty in 2009, and received the law school's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012. Before coming to Duke, he clerked for Judges Guido Calabresi and Rosemary Barkett and practiced law at O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where he assisted the merits briefing for the District of Columbia in District of Columbia v. Heller.
Wiley Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home, When Ghosts Come Home, and other novels. The founder of the online writing community This Is Working, he’s been a fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and he teaches fiction writing and literature at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, where he serves as Alumni Author-in-Residence. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, photographer Mallory Cash, and their daughters.
Bryan Terrell Clark starred in the groundbreaking play “Thoughts of a Colored Man” on Broadway in 2021. On television he starred in Netflix’s "Inventing Ana" and Disney +’s Emmy Award winning “Sneakerella” in 2022. Bryan has also appeared in numerous television and streaming productions such as the critically acclaimed Netflix drama"When They See Us," "Queen Sugar" and "Cherish the Day“on OWN, TNT’s “Snowpiercer,” “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” on NBC. Clark’s other television credits include "Empire,” "NCIS: New Orleans" and "Blue Bloods"among others. He can be seen this year in “Saint X” on Hulu, and “Diarra from Detroit” on Bet+.
Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at Olfax
Jason Cook, M.D. is the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at Olfax, a nasal therapeutics company developing treatments for migraine and other neurologic conditions. He is a primary care and headache physician in Asheville, and founder of the Family Health Centers Headache Clinic. He is a Clinical Instructor of Family Medicine for the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and is a member of the Migraine Division Speaker Bureau for Abbvie Pharmaceuticals. He is a principal investigator on multiple product development grants funded by the NIH and DOD. He was nominated for the NIH HEAL Initiative Early Investigator award in 2023, and has received multiple teaching awards.
Dr. Cook received his B.A. in Religion from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, and his medical degree from The University of Alabama School of Medicine. He completed residency in Family Medicine at MAHEC - Asheville followed by four years in the National Health Service Corps in rural Appalachia.
CEO of PBS North Carolina
David Crabtree joined PBS North Carolina as its CEO in April 2021. PBS North Carolina serves the third largest public media market in the US with over 90K members and an operating budget of over $30M. Its portfolio includes in-person engagement, four over-the-air channels – PBS NC, the North Carolina Channel, Rootle 24/7 PBS KIDS, and the Explorer Channel – and a growing digital portfolio of online content.
Crabtree was a broadcast journalist at WRAL from 1994 to 2022. He won the prestigious Alfred I.duPont–Columbia University Award and garnered thirteen Emmy Awards, he was selected the Radio-Television News Directors Association’s reporter of the year four times, and he received the 2014 anchor of the year award from the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters. His profound belief in bringing compassion and dignity to his stories is clearly evident in his interviews with Holocaust survivors, migrant workers, and victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Crabtree holds a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Duke University’s School of Divinity.
Founding Editor of O.Henry Arts and Culture Magazine
James (Jim) Dodson is the author of sixteen books including the bestselling Final Rounds, A Golfer’s Life (with Arnold Palmer), Ben Hogan – An American Life, A Son of the Game, American Triumvirate, The Dewsweepers, The Range Bucket List, Faithful Travelers, The Road to Somewhere and Beautiful Madness.
He is also the Founding Editor of O.Henry Arts and Culture Magazine (Greensboro) and it’s sister publications PineStraw Magazine (NC Sandhills) and Salt Magazine (Wilmington, NC). He’s also the featured Writer-at-Large for Global Golf Post, the Internet’s leading golf publication. He has appeared in several golf documentaries including The Story of Golf, Back Nine at Cherry Hills (HBO), and American Triumvirate (Golf Channel) in 2013, which he also wrote the script for, adapted from his bestselling book of the same name.
Dodson began his career at his hometown newspaper, the Greensboro News-Record in 1976 before moving on to become Senior Writer for the Sunday Magazine of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1977-1983; Columnist and Contributing Editor for Golf Magazine 1985-2005; Senior Writer, Yankee Magazine, 1983-1990; and Golf Correspondent for Departures Magazine, 1990 -2004. As a freelance writer, his work has appeared in more than 50 publications worldwide.
Postdoctoral Researcher, New York University
Laura Edelson co-leads the Cybersecurity for Democracy project at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering where she is also a Postdoctoral Researcher. She will be joining Northeastern University as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the fall. Laura studies large online networks and has extensive real-world experience building big data machine learning augmented systems. Her current research involves large-scale analysis of the spread of harmful content on digital platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and the development of methods to detect inauthentic content and fraudulent actors. Previously, Edelson was a software engineer for Palantir and Factset. During her time in industry, her work focused on applied machine learning and big data.
Foreign Affairs Columnist, The New York Times
Thomas Friedman is the bestselling author of The World is Flat and New York Times foreign affairs columnist. He is renowned for his direct reporting and accessible analysis of complex issues shaping the world. According to Foreign Policy magazine, “Friedman doesn't just report on events; he helps shape them.” The winner of three Pulitzer Prizes, he has covered monumental stories from around the globe for The New York Times since 1981. With clear and compelling language, Friedman discusses the opportunities and challenges that “accelerations,” including technology and connectivity, present. He also explores solutions — on a local and global level — to ensure the future of work, skills, income, and prosperity.
He has written seven books since 1989 that have sold 10 million copies in 40 different languages. They include From Beirut to Jerusalem, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, The World is Flat and, most recently, his latest bestseller, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, in which Friedman offers a blueprint for overcoming the stresses and challenges of a world being transformed by technology, globalization, and climate change.
As CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a diplomate of the American Board of Neurosurgery and a practicing neurosurgeon, plays an integral role in the network’s reporting on health and medical news, domestically and internationally, and regularly contributes to CNN.com. Since 2001, Gupta has covered some of the most important health stories in the United States and around the world, including the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the rollout of Healthcare.gov and the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
More recently, on March 9, 2020, he penned an op-ed announcing the network would refer to the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, ahead of both the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He went on to guide viewers worldwide through the facts and fiction surrounding COVID-19.
In addition to his work at CNN, Gupta is an associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019 — one of the highest honors in the medical field. He also contributed to the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” served as an executive producer for the HBO Documentary Unit and is the author of three New York Times bestselling books.
Mónica Guzmán is a bridge builder, journalist, and author who lives for great conversations sparked by curious questions. Her new book, "I Never Thought of it That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times" was featured on the Glenn Beck Podcast and named a New York Times recommended read. She’s Senior Fellow for Public Practice at Braver Angels, the nation’s largest cross-partisan grassroots organization working to depolarize America; founder and CEO of Reclaim Curiosity, an organization working to build a more curious world; cofounder of the award-winning Seattle newsletter The Evergrey; and advisor for Starts With Us and the Generations Over Dinner project. She was a 2019 fellow at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, where she studied social and political division, and a 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, where she researched how journalists can rethink their roles to better meet the needs of a participatory public. She was named one of the 50 most influential women in Seattle, served twice as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes, and plays a barbarian named Shadrack in her besties’ Dungeons & Dragons campaign. A Mexican immigrant, Latina, and dual US/Mexico citizen, she lives in Seattle with her husband and two kids and is the proud liberal daughter of conservative parents.
Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF), an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition.
Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles.
Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota and hosts a weekly podcast, The Great Simplification with Nate Hagens.
Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA is the CEO and Co-Founder of eMed, a digital healthcare company. She is a board-certified psychiatrist from Atlanta and has diverse experience as a private practicing physician, county public health director and patient advocate.
She has deep experience and expertise in public policy on both legislative and regulatory fronts and at all levels of government. Dr. Harris was the 174th President of the American Medical Association and the first African American woman elected to that position. She is a visiting professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and serves as Chief Health and Medical Editor of Everydayhealth.com.
Dr. Harris is fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and is adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and an adjunct clinical assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Morehouse School of Medicine.
Ashley Hlebinsky is a highly regarded curator, historian and advocate known for preserving and interpreting historical firearms. Over the past 15 years, she has become a leading figure in the field, bringing history to the forefront of conversations about guns. Hlebinsky holds an MA in history and has worked in renowned firearms collections like the Smithsonian Institution and the Cody Firearms Museum (CFM). As the first female and youngest curator of the CFM, she led its multimillion-dollar renovation, transforming it into an educational space promoting safety and fostering civil dialogue on firearms.
Today, Hlebinsky serves as a consultant for museums and an expert witness. Earlier this year, she co-founded the University of Wyoming College of Law’s Firearms Research Center. Personally, Hlebinsky is dedicated to reducing stigmas around firearms ownership and mental health. In all respects, she approaches discourse without judgment, seeking common ground in a divisive cultural issue.
John E. Jones III ’77, P’11, was officially named Dickinson College’s 30th president on Feb. 28, 2022. He was named interim president of Dickinson in summer 2021. Jones previously served as chair of Dickinson’s board of trustees and retired as chief judge of the U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania. He was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in 2002.
Jones presided over a number of high-profile cases, including the landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, after which he held that it was unconstitutional to teach intelligent design within a public school science curriculum. He also resolved the matter of Whitewood v. Wolf by striking down as unconstitutional Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. Jones co-chaired Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Ridge’s transition team and served as chair of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Jones has received numerous accolades during his career. In 2006, Time Magazine named him as one of its Time 100 most influential people in the world. He was the recipient of the first John Marshall Judicial Independence Award given by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He also received the Geological Society of America’s President’s Medal and was inducted into the George Washington Spirit Society. An engaged alumnus and champion of the liberal arts, Jones was presented with an honorary doctorate in law and public policy from Dickinson College, where he also was recognized as one of the 25 most influential graduates in the college’s history.
Born and raised in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, he is a graduate of Mercersburg Academy, Dickinson College and Penn State Dickinson Law. He and his wife Beth have two children, Meghan and John ’11, and three grandchildren.
David Joy is the author of When These Mountains Burn (winner of the 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award), The Line That Held Us (winner of the 2018 Southern Book Prize), The Weight of This World, and Where All Light Tends to Go (Edgar finalist for Best First Novel). His most recent stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in Garden & Gun, TIME, and The New York Times Magazine. His latest novel, Those We Thought We Knew, will be released this August. Joy lives in Tuckasegee, North Carolina.
Paula A. Kerger is president and chief executive officer of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization representing more than 330 member stations throughout the country. She is the longest-serving president and CEO in PBS history and also serves as president of the PBS Foundation, which provides a significant source of revenue for projects that benefit the entire public television System.
Over the past 15 years, Kerger has led the transformation of PBS from a broadcaster to a multiplatform digital media organization which delivers on public television’s essential mission of education, inspiration, and service to the American public. Programs on PBS are consistently recognized with the industry’s most prestigious honors, including Peabody, Emmy, and Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University awards.
Under Kerger’s leadership, PBS has deepened its impact, from providing universal access to early learning resources through the PBS KIDS broadcast and streaming channels, to empowering more than 3 million educators each month with digital resources through PBS LearningMedia.
Prior to joining PBS, Kerger served for more than a decade at the Educational Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), the parent company of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW21 New York, where her ultimate position was executive vice president and chief operating officer. She also held roles at the Metropolitan Opera, International House, and U.S. Committee for UNICEF.
Kerger received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Baltimore, where she serves on the Merrick School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. She has received honorary doctorates from Washington University in St. Louis, Grand Valley State University, Allegheny College, Northeastern University, and she received the Chancellor’s Medallion from University of North Carolina Asheville. She currently serves as a DC Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
Kerger is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Women’s Forum. She serves as a Director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She served as a board member, and former chair of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
KEVIN MAURER is an award-winning journalist and three-time New York Times bestselling co-author of No Easy Day, No Hero and American Radical among others. Maurer has also worked as a freelance writer covering war, politics and general interest stories. His writing has been published in Rolling Stone, GQ, Men's Journal, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and numerous other publications.
Pete is a native of Arden, N.C., and current resident of Conyers, Ga., who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974 from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. A freelance golf writer, he was a contributing editor/senior writer for Golf Digest and Golf World magazines a combined 19 years. His primary responsibility with Golf Digest for 14 of those years was to collaborate on instruction and feature articles with Tiger Woods. Pete was sports editor of the Hendersonville Times-News for 13 years where he earned several North Carolina Press Association writing awards.
He is a recipient of the Harlem YMCA’s Black Achiever in Industry Award and the co-author of the late-Earl Woods’ best-selling book “Training A Tiger.’’ In addition, he co-authored Tiger Woods’ all-time best-selling golf instruction book “How I Play Golf’’ and wrote the critically acclaimed “Uneven Lies: The Heroic Story of African Americans in Golf.’’ Pete also co-wrote and co-produced the documentary “Uneven Fairways,’’ which aired on Golf Channel. Among his honors are “Publisher of the Year’’ and inductee into both the African American Golfers Hall of Fame and National Black Golf Hall of Fame, plus the Denzel Washington community service award presented by the White Plains (NY) Boys and Girls Club. He recently completed an unpublished book of poetry titled “22: Musings and Misdemeanors.’’ Pete is currently co-authoring his son Tristan “T-Skrilla’’ McDaniel’s autobiography titled “The Hook: A Young Black Man’s Journey to Hell and Back.’’
Amna Nawaz serves as co-anchor of PBS NewsHour.
Prior to joining PBS NewsHour in April 2018, Nawaz was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, anchoring breaking news coverage and leading the network’s livestream coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Before that, she served as foreign correspondent and Islamabad Bureau Chief at NBC News. She is also the founder and former managing editor of NBC’s Asian America platform, built in 2014, to elevate stories from America’s fastest-growing and most diverse population.
At the NewsHour, Nawaz has reported from the White House, across the country, and around the world on a range of topics including politics, immigration, foreign affairs, education, gun violence, criminal justice reform, the climate, culture, and sports.
She also serves as an NBC News and MSNBC contributor.
She is the first-generation American daughter of Pakistani parents, born and raised in Virginia. Nawaz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she captained the varsity field hockey team and studied abroad at the University of Zimbabwe. She later earned her master’s degree from the London School of Economics.
Melba Newsome is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience contributing investigative education, health, and environmental features to regional and national publications including Scientific American, Nature, National Geographic, The Assembly, Wired and High Country News. She is a two time Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting grantee, a 2023 Alicia Patterson fellow, MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative fellow and UC Berkeley 11th Hour Food & Farming fellow. She is currently an adjunct journalism professor in the Wake Forest University Journalism Department.
Associate Professor Christopher Oakley is a former Disney and DreamWorks animator who teaches Animation in the New Media department at the University of North Carolina Asheville.
Since the age of five, Christopher has been fascinated by Abraham Lincoln and has spent much of his life researching the 16 th president. In 2013, his discovery of a previously unknown image of Abraham Lincoln in a crowd photograph at the ceremony where he delivered his Gettysburg Address made international headlines.
During a presentation at the prestigious Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg, PA in November 2022, Christopher revealed where Lincoln was actually standing when he delivered the Gettysburg Address. The announcement of his discovery made the front page of the New York Times and C-SPAN continues to air a recording of his lecture.
In May 2023, Christopher Oakley was awarded the Ruth and Leon Feldman Prize, which recognizes significant contributions in teaching, research, and service at UNC Asheville.
Joey Owle is the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. As a political appointee of Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed, he has the immense honor of leading a team of world class professionals in achieving the perpetual goal of protecting, conserving, and enhancing the tribe’s natural resources for future generation of tribal members. He is rooted in the Cherokee community on land connected to his ancestors since time immemorial. He has over a decade of leadership development experience, advanced degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and North Carolina State University, notable personal and professional achievements, is involved in his community, and he has the privilege of serving his tribal government. This is all in part to some motivational advice he heard from a former Chief in grade school, “Go off, get educated, come back, and make a difference.”
With a background in litigation, human capital consulting, and diversity and inclusion, Kelly Sampson brings a variety of experiences to the Brady Team. In particular, she works to reform the gun industry through litigation and research that exposes and redresses the industry's irresponsible marketing and sales practices. Kelly approaches her work with an intersectional lens that addresses the connection between racial justice and gun violence. To that end, she has written a variety of pieces on the intersection of gun violence, white supremacy, racism, and extremism, including "Origin of an Insurrection: How Second Amendment Extremism Led to the January 6 Capitol Attack." In 2016, Sampson and Jon Lowy co-authored The Right Not To Be Shot: Public Safety, Private Guns, and the Constellation of Constitutional Liberties, published in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Policy. Together with Jillian Janflone, Sampson also co-hosts the podcast Red, Blue, and Brady, in which survivors, activists, academics, politicians, and more explore America's firearms epidemic and its underlying causes. Originally from Detroit, Sampson is especially interested in addressing gun violence’s disproportionate impact on the Black community. Sampson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a J.D from Columbia Law school.
Daniel is the founder of the Civilization Research Initiative focused on finding a way through the twin attractors of increasing global catastrophic risks and control dystopias, addressing the underlying drivers of each and the unanticipated effects of our aggregate choices.
Graham Sharp is a Grammy winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Asheville, NC. As a founder of the genre-bending blugrassers Steep Canyon Rangers, Graham has released 15 albums over 22 years, but 2021 marked the release of his first solo album, Truer Picture. NoDepression magazine says of The album, ‘Sharp joins Hartford, Prine, and Dylan as troubadours who wrap their lyrical genius in a musical brilliance,’ while American Songwriter magazine called it, ‘alluring and ultimately indelible.
Chris Singleton is a former professional athlete drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2017. Following the loss of his mother in a racially motivated mass shooting, Chris has now become an inspirational speaker and best-selling author who has shared his message of unity and racial reconciliation with NFL and NBA teams as well as multiple Fortune 500 companies across the country. He shares with over 100 organizations and over 30,000 students annually and resides with his spouse Mariana and his sons CJ and Caden in Charleston, SC.
Zachary Stein is a philosopher of education, co-founder of Civilizational Research Institute, co-president of the Center for Integral Wisdom, and research Scholar at the Ronin Institute. He is the author of the book, Education in a Time Between Worlds.
Charlie Sykes is a founder and editor-at-large of The Bulwark, host of The Bulwark Podcast, and an NBC/ MSNBC contributor.
He is also author of nine books, including A Nation of Victims, Dumbing Down Our Kids, Profscam, The Hollow Men, The End of Privacy, 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School, A Nation of Moochers, and Fail U. The False Promise of Higher Education. He was co-editor of the National Review College Guide.
His most recent book, How the Right Lost Its Mind, published by St. Martin’s Press, was released in October 2017. An updated paperback edition was released in October, 2018.
Sykes has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, Commentary, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time.com, USA Today, National Review, The New York Review of Books, the New York Daily News, and other national publications.
Until he stepped down in December 2016 after 23 years, Sykes was one of Wisconsin’s top-rated and most influential conservative talk show hosts. In 2017, he was co-host of the national public radio show, “Indivisible,” which originated from WNYC.
He lives in Mequon, Wisconsin with his wife and two dogs. He has three children, and five grandchildren.
William Paul Thomas is a visual artist and independent curator based in Durham, North Carolina. His work is centered on making images to record his life experiences and observations. For over 15 years he has created intimate painted portraits of everyday people, giving special attention to other Black male subjects that he chooses as a way of recognizing their significance in his life’s path. Thomas presented a talk on “The Invisible Notoriety of Strangers” at the 2022 TedX Duke Conference. In addition to oil and acrylic painting, he also experiments with video and photography to capture idiosyncratic, abstracted depictions of love, joy, and adversity. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a Master of Fine Art Degree in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Painting Foundations at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Josh Turknett, MD is a neurologist, 3-time bestselling author, award-winning musician, and founder of The Brainjo Academy.