Speaker – Saturday, July 17 | 11am
Born & raised on Buffalo’s East Side, India overcame a tough start to her career, becoming a full-time working mother at just fourteen. After earning her GED, she became a nurse & a representative in 1199 SEIU, witnessing first hand the disparities throughout the Buffalo community and inspiring her to fight for systemic change. India recently won the primary election for Buffalo Mayor on the Democratic line, defeating an incumbent of 16 years.
Speaker – Saturday, July 17 | 3pm
Ansari is the Advocacy Director & New York City Director of the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), the leading statewide organization fighting for educational justice in New York State. She has dedicated almost 20 years of her life to the fight for educational justice and ending the oppression of Black and Brown communities.
Speaker – Sunday, July 18 | 11am
Lewis’ talks urgently address the world we are living in right now, gathering in various threads – art history, technical innovation, race, photography, the story of America, and her own deeply personal narrative – to elucidate the power of art to ignite transformative social change.
An associate professor at Harvard University in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Department of African and African American Studies, Lewis’ research focuses on the intersection of African American and Black Atlantic visual representation, racial justice, and representational democracy in the United States.
Resistance Revival Chorus
Performers / Singers – Saturday, July 17 | 10am
The Resistance Revival Chorus (RRC) is a collective of more than 60 women and non-binary singers who join together to breathe joy and song into the resistance, and to uplift and center women’s voices.
Chorus members are touring musicians, film and television actors, Broadway performers, solo recording artists, gospel singers, political activists, educators, filmmakers, artists, and more, representing a multitude of identities, professions, creative backgrounds, and activist causes. The RRC centers women in music, and addresses how historically marginalized women have been in the music industry.
Artist / Lyricist – Saturday, July 17 | 11am
Upcoming hip-hop lyricist, producer and visual artist Truth Speaker never ceases to amaze as he continues to build a musical career destined for success. Truth Speaker’s use of sharp lyricism inspired by his favorite artists like Tupac Shakur, Nas, Nipsey Hussle and Lil Wayne has culminated in a diverse repertoire of self-produced tracks ranging from traditional hip-hop, to trap, to drill.
With roots in Syracuse, NY and New Orleans, LA, Truth Speaker often uses his young life experiences and the current plight of his community as a means to express himself. His message explores issues of poverty, social inequality or just music to vibe and turn up to, all while staying true to himself and leaving the listener with a positive message.
His professional career in music began at the age of 14 performing at venues such as the New York State Fair where he made history opening up for Nas on the first ever Hip Hop Day, The Jacob Javits Center NYC and the United Nations.
Creative and charismatic, Truth Speaker the artist remains humble, hungry and driven to leave his mark on today’s music industry. Despite his youth, his mission to constantly push the boundaries of modern artistry combined with his unique voice and remarkable talent makes him a force to be reckoned with.
Singer – Sunday, July 18 | 1:30pm
Ponder is an empowering American soul singer. In 2018, after five years as a public defender, she made the gutsy decision to quit and pursue her No.1 passion – music. Now she’s going full-force with music and has the undeniable star-power to do so.
Sparkle Anthony is an active member of Citizen Action of New York, advocating for better community-school relations, diversity in staffing, and more equity and inclusion in the Utica School District. She is also a regular volunteer at Hope House and she is on the advisory board of the Uptown Theatre, and serves on the Board of Directors of ‘For the Good, Inc.’ and Rebuilding the Village, Inc. Sparkle’s keen interest in the multi-racial, multi-ethnic, immigrant and refugee populations in Utica has led her to be a regular volunteer at the Midtown Utica Community Center (MUCC).
Sparkle is running for Member-at-Large on the Utica Common Council.
Hilda M. Jordan
Hilda M. Jordan is a first-generation Afro-Latina immigrant who was raised by a single mother in Utica, NY and joined the fight for racial justice and social equity in education as a high school student at Thomas R. Proctor High School. Motivated by the barriers of inaccurate stereotypes and questions of racial categories, Hilda went on to pursue a degree in Philosophy and African American from Harvard University.
While at Harvard, Hilda developed pedagogy for professors and graduate students to address the inequity and implicit classroom dynamics that marginalized students face, organized around a local student incident of police brutality through a newly founded organization, Black Students Organize for Change, and wrote a thesis on the mistaken concepts of race. After graduating in 2019, Hilda moved to Panama to study culture and race relations as a Michael C. Rockefeller and Fitzie fellow. In 2020, Hilda moved to Washington D.C., to work for Gupta Wessler PLLC and organized against police brutality following the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. During that time, Hilda also launched the Junior Frontiers Alumni Impact Collective, (JFAIC), a community civic organization building a support network for aspiring and young professionals of color in and from the Greater Upstate New York region. Hilda currently serves as the president of the JFAIC and works as COO for ACCESS Global Groups, a Black women led diversity and equity consulting firm that focuses on education justice and workplace inclusion.
What’s Cooking? Saturday, July 17 | 5pm
“If I died today, what legacy will I leave for my daughters?” That is the question that would change how Al-amin Muhammad, formerly Joel Buissereth, lived his life. This is a story of how a man set down the wrong path at a young age went from being a convicted felon and a gang member, to being one of the most celebrated local heroes in Syracuse, NY.
Al-amin built an organization called We Rise Above the Streets to fight the problem of homelessness within Syracuse. Today, We Rise Above the Streets is expanding its outreach to the community of Syracuse, ultimately striving towards the goal of a standalone building to expand the benefits offered by the organization.
Nondenominational Service – Sunday, July 18 | 9am
Leslie was was born and raised in Buffalo, New York where she became interested in activism work while working as a Youth Program Manager for William Gaiter, a known activist and civil rights leader. Leslie went on to advocate for fair pay and education for day care workers in Buffalo, NY. Her passion for justice was re-sparked after attending the Justice Works Conference in 2019. She fought hard for the Less Is More Bill to be passed, as well as other criminal justice bills. Leslie currently is a State Board Member of Citizen Action New York, Council President for Citizen Action Western New York, and Chair for the Demand Justice Committee in Western New York.