Born in Harlem to Dominican parents, award-winning journalist, cultural activist, podcaster and documentary filmmaker Raquel Cepeda is the author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. Equal parts memoir about Cepeda’s coming of age in New York City and Santo Domingo, and detective story chronicling her year-long journey to discover the truth about her ancestry, the book also looks at what it means to be Latina today. Cepeda’s next book, East of Broadway, is the story of one community in New York, the author’s native Inwood, as seen through the lives of several of its inhabitants, as a way of shedding light on the impact of gentrification.
Cepeda directed and produced the VH1/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) award-nominated film Bling: A Planet Rock, a feature length documentary about American hip-hop culture’s obsession with diamonds, and how the infatuation with “blinging” became intertwined in Sierra Leone’s decade long conflict. Her most recent film, Some Girls, a documentary focusing on a group of troubled teenage girls from a Bronx-based suicide prevention program who are transformed by an exploration of their roots, is currently in post-production.
Cepeda is the co-founder and co-host of Our National Conversation About Conversations About Race, also known as ABOUT RACE, on The Slate Group’s Panoply Network. Over the last two decades, Cepeda’s writings have been widely anthologized and her byline has been featured in media outlets including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, CNN.com and many others. Cepeda lives in her native New York City with her husband, 19 year-old daughter and 4 year-old son. Visit her at djalirancher.com.
Michaela angela Davis is an Image Activist, writer, Creative Director and Cultural Commentator. Michaela is the Editorial Brand Manager for BET Networks and was the editorial lead on the Promax Award winning rebrand of Centric TV and appears regularly on CNN and Anderson Cooper 360. She was the only Executive Fashion, Beauty and Culture Editor at Essence, the first Fashion Director at Vibe and the last Editor in Chief at Honey magazines.
C. Nicole Mason, PhD heads up CR2PI at the New York Women's Foundation and is the author of Born Bright: A Young Girl's Journey from Nothing to Something in America (St. Martin's Press). Her commentary and writing have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, POLITICO, The Nation, The Progressive, Spotlight on Poverty, USA Today, Essence Magazine, The Washington Post and on CNN, MSNBC, NPR and NBC, among other outlets. She is also a kick ass Feminist mom to twins Charli and Parker.
Linda Sarsour is an award winning advocate, media commentator, racial justice and civil rights Activist. She is the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and the co-founder of MPower Change, the first Muslim online organizing platform. Linda is also a proud member of the Justice League NYC, Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary and mother of three.
Rebecca Traister is the author of The New York Times bestseller All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, a writer at large for New York Magazine and a contributing editor at Elle. A National Magazine Award finalist, she has written about women in politics, media and entertainment from a feminist perspective for The New Republic and Salon and has also contributed to The Nation, The New York Observer, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue, Glamour and Marie Claire. Traister's first book, Big Girls Don't Cry, about women and the 2008 election, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2010 and the winner of the Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize. She lives in New York with her family.