Speakers


  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

    Pediatrician, Hurley Children’s Hospital & Michigan State University


    Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, is assistant professor of pediatrics at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and director of the pediatric residency program at Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint, Michigan. Dr. Hanna-Attisha received her bachelor’s and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Michigan and her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She completed her residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, where she was chief of pediatric residency. Dr. Hanna-Attisha was recently heralded internationally for her study that exposed elevated lead blood levels in Flint children. Dr. Hanna-Attisha now directs the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an innovative and model public health program to research, monitor and mitigate the impact of lead in Flint’s drinking water. In addition to advocating for children’s health, Dr. Hanna-Attisha was recognized as Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016.


    Charlene A. Carruthers

    National Director of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100)


    Charlene A. Carruthers is a Black, queer feminist community organizer and writer with over 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work. She currently serves as the national director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), an activist member-led organization of Black 18-35 year olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. Her passion for developing young leaders to build capacity within marginalized communities has led her to work on immigrant rights, economic justice and civil rights campaigns nationwide. She has led grassroots and digital strategy campaigns for national organizations including the Center for Community Change, the Women’s Media Center, ColorOfChange.org and National People’s Action, as well as being a member of a historic delegation of young activists in Palestine in 2015 to build solidarity between Black and Palestinian liberation movements.

    Charlene is the winner of the “New Organizing Institute 2015 Organizer of the Year Award” and has served as a featured speaker at various institutions including Wellesley College, Northwestern University and her alma mater Illinois Wesleyan University. Charlene also received a Master of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Charlene was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago where she currently resides and continues to lead and partake in social justice movements. Her work has been covered several publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Reader, The Nation, Ebony and Essence Magazines. She has appeared on CNN, Democracy Now!, BBC and MSNBC. Charlene has also written for theRoot.com, Colorlines and the Boston Review. She was recently recognized as one of the top 10 most influential African Americans in The Root 100.

    Her inspirations include a range of Black women, including Ella Baker, Cathy Cohen, and Barbara Ransby. In her free time, Charlene loves to cook and believes the best way to learn about people is through their food.


    Stephanie Schriock

    President of EMILY’s List

    Stephanie Schriock is the president of EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics. Since Stephanie took charge in 2010, EMILY’s List has seen unprecedented growth, helped elect record numbers of women to the House and Senate, and recruited and trained hundreds of pro-choice Democratic women to run for office, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, who Stephanie personally recruited to run. Of the more than $500 million the organization has raised to support women candidates since its founding in 1985, more than half has been raised under Stephanie’s leadership — and EMILY’s List is now more than five million members strong (and counting).

    Originally hailing from the mining town of Butte, Montana, Stephanie has now been fighting to elect Democrats for more than 20 years. In 2004, she served as the national finance director for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, where she was at the center of the team that created the online fundraising model that ushered in the era of digital fundraising, laying the groundwork for President Barack Obama’s and Secretary Hillary Clinton’s future presidential campaigns.

    In 2006, Stephanie returned to her home state of Montana to serve as Senator Jon Tester’s campaign manager, and after helping Democrats take back the Senate, served as his chief of staff. In 2008, she joined Al Franken’s historic Senate campaign as his campaign manager, leading the campaign to Election Day and then solidifying her reputation as a major force in Democratic politics by successfully managing the eight-month recount and legal fight that followed. Today, in addition to serving as president of EMILY’s List, Stephanie is also the president of American Women, a research organization affiliated with EMILY’s List which seeks to increase public awareness of the issues impacting women and families, and she regularly appears on MSNBC. Called “one of the absolute stars of American politics now,” Stephanie was named by ELLE Magazine to its “10 Most Powerful Women in Washington” list, alongside Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 2015.


    Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza

    Center for American Progress


    Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza is a Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Her writing on law, politics, and policy has been published by CNN, NPR, The Nation, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, Politico, and Democracy, among others, and she is a columnist for Pacific Standard. She has also appeared on MSNBC and provides commentary for regional and national radio programs. She co-authored 40 More Years: How Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation with James Carville and contributed to Paul Begala’s Third Term: Why George W. Bush (Hearts) John McCain.

    Prior to joining American Progress, Buckwalter-Poza worked on progressive political, policy, and legal projects on five continents. During the 2008 presidential election, Buckwalter-Poza served first as Director of Special Projects at the Progressive Accountability Office—a project of the Center for American Progress and Media Matters for America—then as Deputy National Press Secretary for the Democratic National Committee.

    She has also consulted to international political campaigns as an integral member of the office of James Carville and directed national issue campaigns for Change.org. Buckwalter-Poza previously held fellowships with the Asian Human Rights Commission and Asian Legal Resource Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut.

    Buckwalter-Poza graduated from Harvard College and received her J.D. from Yale Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Margaret A. Ryan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, as well as the Honorable Juan R. Torruella on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.


    Michael Cohen

    Political Columnist, The Boston Globe


    Michael A. Cohen is a political columnist for The Boston Globe. He is also the author of “American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division.” Michael has written for dozens of news outlets, including as a columnist for the Guardian, World Politics Review and Foreign Policy and he is the US Political Correspondent for the London Observer. He previously worked as a speechwriter at the US State Department and has been a lecturer at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.


    Nancy Kaffer

    Detroit Free Press



    Nancy Kaffer is an award-winning columnist and member of the editorial board at the Detroit Free Press. Kaffer has been with the Free Press since 2012. She writes about politics, policy and the complicated relationship between the two, and is a regular guest on news shows like NBC/WDIV-TV’s Flashpoint, NPR/WDET’s Detroit Today, Michigan Radio’s Stateside and DPTV’s MiWeek. She has also contributed to Politico and The Daily Beast, writing about state and national politics, policy and culture.  Previously a staff writer for Crain’s Detroit Business, Kaffer covered small business, retail, city government and Michigan’s second-stage economy. Kaffer has written for publications including metro Detroit alt-weekly Metro Times and the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American, where she covered post-Katrina recovery.