M. Adams - Organizer and Co-Executive Director, Take Back the Land and Freedom Inc
M. Adams is an Organizer with the Take Back the Land Movement, as a part of National Leadership Core, as well as a grassroots organizer with the local action group of Take Back the Land Madison. Adams has extensive experience in building the leadership and organizing capacities of most impacted communities, specifically in Black, Southeast Asian, low-income, and Queer communities. Adams brings an intersectional and multi-issue approach to campaign development, political theorization, and positive action organizing.
Radhika Balakrishnan, PhD - Center for Women's Global Leadership, Professor, Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Radhika Balakrishnan, Faculty Director, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, and Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University, has a Ph.D. in Economics from Rutgers University. Previously, she was Professor of Economics and International Studies at Marymount Manhattan College. She has worked at the Ford Foundation as a program officer in the Asia Regional Program. She is currently on the Board of the Center for Constitutional Rights and was the Chair of the Board of the US Human Rights Network from 2008 to 2012. She is the co-editor with Diane Elson of Economic Policy and Human Rights: Holding Governments to Account (Zed Books, 2011). She is the author of Why MES with Human Rights: Integrating Macro Economic Strategies with Human Rights (Marymount Manhattan College, 2005). She edited The Hidden Assembly Line: Gender Dynamics of Subcontracted Work in a Global Economy(Kumarian Press, 2001), co-edited Good Sex: Feminist Perspectives from the World’s Religions, with Patricia Jung and Mary Hunt (Rutgers University Press, 2000), and also authored numerous articles that have appeared in books and journals. Professor Balakrishnan’s work focuses on gender and development, gender and the global economy, human rights and economic and social rights. Her research and advocacy work has sought to change the lends through which macroeconomic policy is interpreted and critiqued by applying international human rights norms to assess macroeconomic policy.
Amanda Chavez Barnes is the Membership Organizer at the US Human Rights Network. She leads the education and engagement of current and future members toward our goal to support and grow a human rights movement. For over a decade, Amanda has been organizing for immigrants' rights, racial justice, and the human right to education. In 2005, Amanda founded the Mexican American Student Alliance to push back against the dehumanization of Mexican-descended people in the US state of Georgia. She went on to organize students to demonstrate in response to anti-immigrant legislation and speak out against human rights abuses in their communities, such as detention and deportation, police harassment and racial profiling, and restricted access to public higher education. Amanda spent six years as a teacher and teacher educator in Oklahoma, where she continued to work in solidarity with marginalized communities while honing her skills in curriculum design and facilitation.
Ejim Dike - Executive Director, US Human Rights Network
Ejim Dike is Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network. Ms. Dike has worked on social policy issues for over fifteen years and in the domestic human rights arena for the past ten years. Her human rights work focuses on addressing poverty and discrimination using a human rights framework. Previously, she was Director of the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center. Under her leadership, the Human Rights Project launched an annual report card on the human rights record of New York City Council members; coordinated a shadow report on racial discrimination with 30 local groups for submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD); organized a New York visit by the UN Special Expert on Racism; and developed a toolkit on and coordinated participation for social justice activists in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. She has been cited in articles appearing inHarper’s Magazine (by Naomi Klein), The Daily News, Gotham Gazette, and City Limits. Ejim has contributed to articles published by the Center for American Progress and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute. She has co-chaired the CERD Taskforce, a joint project of the US Human Rights Network and the Human Rights at Home Campaign. Ms. Dike worked for several years on programs aimed at increasing access to employment in low-income neighborhoods. She received her undergraduate degree from Berea College and a Masters of Urban Planning from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.
Natalie Collier, Regional Youth Coordinator, Children's Defense Fund
Natalie A. Collier is the best-known limerick writer to emerge from Starkville, Mississippi, in the last 40 years. Just believe it. After graduating from Millsaps College, a small liberal arts college in Jackson, Mississippi, Collier stayed in the state’s capitol to work on a master’s in marriage and family therapy at a conservative seminary. The un-conservative left the program a semester before she graduated and took a big risk: the life of a writer. Collier's affinity for the written word was nurtured by her time at the state’s only alternative newspaper. She earned a long-form narrative writing fellowship at Northwestern University and lived the life of a city girl for three years afterwards, working as the associate editor of a weekly publication. Collier caused a bit of controversy in the city with editorials like, "I Would Rejoice but My Vagina Won't Let Me," written the week Barack Obama received the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. The south beckoned her back and Collier after one more year working as an editor and stylist, she felt impotent to help the people whose stories she sometimes felt exploitive of, so she changed careers. She now works as the regional youth coordinator for the Children's Defense Fund - Southern Regional Office. She is the director for the Unita Blackwell Young Women's Leadership Institute and is currently working to expand the program and her work to help empower, encourage and uplift those most often ignored.
Carlos Garcia - Puente Human Rights Movement
Adofo Minka, Founding Member, Cooperation Jackson
Adofo Minka is a founding member of Cooperation Jackson, an emerging network of worker-owned cooperative enterprises that focus on organizing working class people around building a solidarity economy in Jackson, MS. As a part of his work with Cooperation Jackson he is a lead organizer with an emerging human rights project that the organization has undertaken with a host of other local organizations, the Jackson Human Rights Institute (JHRI). The focus of the JHRI is developing a Human Rights Charter for the city of Jackson and getting the city to establish a Human Rights Commission through a people centered human rights process that will include mass education, policy development and advocacy. This process will help to ensure that the city protects, respects, and fulfills the basic human rights and dignity of all of its residents. Adofo is also a activist member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in Jackson, MS. Adofo is a native of St. Louis, MO where he graduated high school and later graduated from Saint Louis University's School of Law. Before enrolling in law school, Adofo graduated from Alabama State University in Montgomery, AL. As a student leader in the Black Law Students Association at Saint Louis University, he was integral in helping to organize panel discussions and lectures around reparations for people of African descent, mass incarceration, religion and inmate rehabilitation. While in law school, Adofo worked as an intern in the Missouri State Public Defenders office, The Law Office of Stan Willis, and The Peoples' Law Office in Chicago, IL. Upon graduating from law school, Adofo moved to Jackson, MS where he clerked in the law office of Atty. Chokwe Lumumba and worked on Lumumba's successful campaign for mayor of Jackson, MS. In 2014, Adofo was admitted to the Mississippi Bar and opened his own law practice that focuses on providing representation for defendants in criminal cases and protecting the human and civil rights of Mississippians. Adofo is a husband, father, and organizer who enjoys reading, running, and enjoying time with his family.
Max Ramaeu – Pan African Community Action
Max Rameau is a Haitian born pan-African theorist, campaign strategist, organizer and author.
After moving to Miami, Florida in 1991, Max began organizing around a broad range of human rights issues impacting low-income Black communities, including Immigrant rights (particularly Haitian immigrants), economic justice, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, particularly for ex-felons and police abuse, among others.
As a result of the devastating impacts of gentrification taking root during the housing “boom” in the summer of 2006, Max helped found the organization which eventually became known as Take Back the Land, to address land issues in the Black community. In October 2006, Take Back the Land seized control of a vacant lot in the Liberty City section of Miami and built the Umoja Village, a full urban shantytown, addressing the issues of land, self-determination and homelessness in the Black community.
Jess St. Louis is the Digital Communications Strategist at the US Human Rights Network. She has spent six years involved in grassroots community based organizing in the US South, primarily around LGBTQ liberation, anti-criminalization efforts, and other campaigns that have centered racial, economic, and gender justice.
Prior to joining the Network, she worked with and remains connected to the Racial Justice Action Center and Solutions Not Punishment Coalition, where she has spent two years developing and implementing online communications strategies and tactics to amplify their powerful organizing work towards a vision of an Atlanta that does not criminalize oppressed communities through centering the leadership of trans and cis women of color, gender non-conforming people, and allies.
Additionally, she has organized as a member within All of Us NC, Southerners on New Ground NC, Building Locally to Organize for Community Safety, interned with Lambda Legal, and volunteered with Causa Justa::Just Cause.
Jess ultimately dreams of cities, states, and a world where everybody’s dignity and personhood is respected and lives free from interpersonal, systemic, and state violence; and of human rights and social justice movements that are big, powerful, and expansive enough to bring that world into being.