Speakers

Loretta Ross

Loretta J. Ross is an activist, public intellectual, scholar, 2022 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" award, and an Associate Professor at Smith College. 

She has a passion for innovating creative imagining about global human rights and social justice issues and started her career in activism and social change in the 1970s. In 1978, she was the third executive director for DC Rape Crisis Center, the first rape crisis center in the country. This was her entry point into the women’s movement where she learned about women’s human rights, reproductive justice, white supremacy, and women of color organizing. Through her organizing she helped launch the movement to end violence against women that has evolved into today's #MeToo movement. Throughout her 50-year career, she has worked with the National Football League Players' Association, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Black Women's Health Project, the Center for Democratic Renewal (National Anti-Klan Network), the National Center for Human Rights Education, and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.

Loretta retired as an organizer in 2012 to teach and follow her passion to educate. In 1996, she founded the first center in the U.S. to innovate creative human rights education for all students transforming social justice issues to be more collaborative and less divisive. In her work Calling In the Calling Out Culture, she transforms how people can overcome political differences to use empathy and respect to guide difficult conversations. In 2023, Loretta was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Harold Green

Harold Green is an ever-evolving artist whose vibrant storytelling and passionate, lyrical delivery captivate audiences domestically and internationally.

Using poetry as his central art form, Green is a highly sought-after speaker, bandleader, and event producer. His self-published first collection of poetry (From Englewood, with Love, 2014) earned the prestigious Carl Sandburg Literary Award. Harold’s commercial publishing debut is BLACK ROSES and BLACK OAK, a duo of illustrated volumes inspired by his viral odes to Black celebrities who are making history today (HarperDesign, 2022), followed by his children’s board book series, SUNDAY ADVENTURES, has made it’s debut with leading titles THE RAINBOW PARK and THE NUMBER STORE (Running Press Kids, 2023), and his debut picture book, LOVE BUBBLE (Running Press Kids, 2023).

Green studied English Secondary Education at Grambling State University before earning a BA in Creative Writing from DePaul University and a Master of Humanities in Creative Writing from Tiffin University.

Green specializes in making poetry an accessible art form for all. Green’s performances have been featured at festivals, rallies, and colleges across the country for almost a decade and a half. The architect and curator of “Flowers for the Living,” an artist collective that layers poetry on performances by Chicago’s top singers and musicians. He has created numerous recorded albums of poetry, videos, plays, and other productions.

Green is also the executive director of Flowers for the Living Foundation, which is a non profit that exists to spread love throughout the community through arts, academic, scholarship, and athletic events.

Green’s work has led his poetry to be featured in unexpected venues: he was a featured artist at the Chicago Mayoral Inauguration, Illinois Holocaust Museum, has appeared on Talks at Google, TEDx and at Aspen Ideas Festival, won a New York Emmy, and has done commissioned work in partnership with major brands/organizations including Nike, Foot Locker, Lululemon, Jordan, Illinois Holocaust Museum, Google, Chicago Public Schools, and the Chicago Transit Authority.

Green has featured in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The Ellen DeGeneres Show Blog, Ebony Web; on Windy City Live, CBS Chicago, and The Jennifer Hudson Show.

He is a proud son, brother, husband, father, teacher, coach, and mentor, all themes reflected in his poetry. He is a visionary, leader, motivator, and an overwhelmingly undeniable human being. 

Damon Davis

Damon Davis is an award-winning, post-disciplinary artist based in St. Louis, Missouri. His work spans a spectrum of creative mediums to tell stories exploring how identity is informed by power and mythology.

 Davis is co-director of the critically acclaimed documentary Whose Streets? chronically the 2014 Ferguson uprisings. In 2020, critic Ben Davis cited his project All Hands On Deck, which captured the hands of people who shaped and upheld the Ferguson movement, as one of the “100 Works of Art That Defined the Decade.” His work has been nominated for the Peabody Award, is featured in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Saint Louis Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, and the San Diego Contemporary Museum of Art. Davis is a Firelight Media, Sundance Labs, TED, and Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow.

Sherrie V. Nunn-Berry

Sherrie, known for soul-stirring gospel soprano vocals, began singing as a child.

She recalls standing in the choir stand with all grown-ups because there was no children’s choir at her church at that time.  One of her favorite memories is the choir ordering robes and there being no robe for her just adult robes, so her grandmother ordered Sherrie a robe and altered it to fit her because “I insisted on having a robe.”  Sherrie has been a featured vocalist throughout the United States and has ALWAYS loved church music and music ministry. She has sung background for many Gospel greats such as Byron Cage, Marvin Winans, Karen Clark Sheard, and she currently sings with the World Renowned “Whitfield Company”.  She is a Rhythm of Gospel Award Winner and recently was featured on a release called, “Dwell in the House”. 

Sherrie is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration.  She also earned a Master of Science Degree in Business Management with a concentration in Business Operations from Walsh College.  She retired after almost 33 years of service with the U.S Department of Army as a Product Support Integration Director of both Combat and Chemical equipment during her tenure.

Sherrie is married and thanks God for her wonderful husband Dennis Berry.  Sherrie believes she is “Created for Praise and Saved for Service”.