Carla Fredericks

Carla Fredericks is the director of the American Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School and of the indigenous advocacy organization First Peoples Worldwide. She’s an expert on Native American law, rights and tribal sovereignty.

As part of the broader movement for racial justice following George Floyd’s death — and after years of resistance — Washington’s NFL team is finally considering a name change following pressure from corporate sponsors like FedEx.

But Fredericks says that’s not the whole story: FedEx did not turn on a dime. Instead, native activists have been pressuring investors and business partners of the NFL team for more than a decade. And the push isn’t over — the Cleveland Indians are also considering a name change, while the Atlanta Braves are not.

Fredericks can provide context on the long campaign by Native activists to change the name of the D.C. team and how Native Americans and the fight for tribal sovereignty fit into the broader movement for racial justice.

Before joining the University of Colorado, Fredericks was a partner at Milberg LLP in New York. She maintains a pro bono practice, and provided legal counsel to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe during and after the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

She’s also published many studies and papers including Social Cost and Material Loss: The Dakota Access Pipeline, which found that backers lost at least $12 billion due to the legal battles and controversy surrounding the project.

Fredericks is an enrolled citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota.

Location: Boulder, CO

Expertise: Native American law, rights and sovereignty

Contact information:

Email: Carla.Fredericks@Colorado.EDU 

Phone: (303) 492-7079

Listen to Carla Fredericks on Colorado Public Radio:

Last updated July 9, 2020

Wilfred Chan

Currently a contributing writer at The Nation, Wilfred Chan previously worked in Hong Kong for CNN International covering the 2014 Umbrella Movement and its aftermath. He can offer insight on the future of protest, free speech and democracy in Hong Kong under the new national security law.

For more than a year, Hong Kong has been protesting. Demonstrations started as a reaction to the since-withdrawn mainland extradition bill, but following a brutal police crackdown the scope quickly expanded to include the current five demands — an investigation into police brutality, the government to stop calling the protests “riots,” amnesty for those arrested and full universal suffrage in the city’s elections.

In response, Beijing bypassed the city’s legislature and directly implemented the new national security law, which effectively makes dissent against the central government a crime. Targeting crimes related to subversion, secession, foreign interference or terrorism, the law is quite expansive in scope — Beijing will set up its own independent police agency in Hong Kong, independent from both judicial review and the city’s legal system, and all cases deemed “serious” will be tried in Chinese courts with Chinese judges. Those convicted can face up to life in prison. And the law’s reach is not just limited to Hong Kong residents — under article 38, it applies to offenses committed by anyone, anywhere in the world.

Despite being implemented for a week, there’s already been a chilling effect with local pro-democracy political parties disbanding, citizens deleting social media profiles and shops removing political posters.

Chan’s most recent piece for The NationThe Infinite Heartbreak of Loving Hong Kong — tackles the despair of watching the city change for the worse. An upcoming article will tackle the impact of the United States on Hong Kong politics, as seen with the 2019 Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and the Trump administration’s late June removal of some of the city’s special privileges.

Chan is a member of Lausan, a transnational collective that shares decolonial left-wing perspectives from Hong Kong writers and activists. His work has also been published in Dissent Magazine, The Guardian, Splinter News and ArtAsiaPacific.

Location: New York City

Expertise: Hong Kong protests and the national security law / pro-democracy movement

Contact information:

Email (preferred): wilfredwchan@gmail.com 

Twitter: @wilfredchan

Listen to Wilfred Chan on KPFA:

Last updated July 6, 2020

Bernard Powers

Dr. Bernard Powers is the founding director of the College of Charleston’s Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston and a professor emeritus of history at the university. He’s an expert on African American history and culture and the role of slavery in American history.

Charleston — the city where the civil war started and where 40% of all enslaved Africans brought to the United States entered the country — has long been a center of African American history and culture. And like many American cities, it also has public Confederate monuments and statues of historical figures who supported slavery and advocated white supremacy.

As of last week, the city has one less monument. The statue of vice president and slavery advocate John C. Calhoun in Marion Square — located just a block from Mother Emanuel AME, the site of the 2015 terrorist attack by white supremacist Dylan Roof — was removed on June 24 after a unanimous city council vote.

In a recent op-ed, Powers advocates for a new monument honoring Civil War-era African Americans — such as Charleston native Robert Smalls — as a replacement for the White Point Gardens Confederate memorial.

Over his 40-year academic career, Powers has published numerous books and articles including 1994’s Black Charlestonians:  A Social History 1822-1885, which examines the socioeconomic history of the city’s vibrant free Black population and the changes caused by emancipation after the Civil War. Most recently, he co-authored the 2016 book We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel.

Powers has also appeared in several documentaries, including the PBS series African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross and 2019’s Emanuel: the Untold Story of the Victims and Survivors of the Charleston Church Shooting. His current research focuses on African Methodism in South Carolina.

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Expertise: African American history and culture, the role of slavery in American history

Contact information:

Email (preferred): powersb@cofc.edu

Phone: 843-813-4871

Listen to Bernard Powers on South Carolina Public Radio:

Last updated June 29, 2020

Stephen Lockhart

Dr. Stephen Lockhart is the chief medical officer at Sutter Health, where he oversees the quality and safety of the organization’s patient care, as well as research and education. Sutter Health is a nonprofit health care network in California.

Lockhart has more than 30 years of experience in the field, including as a hospital administrator, board-certified anesthesiologist and university professor. He led the development of Sutter’s Health Equity Index, which uses health system data, combined with other information, like demographics, to quantify and predict health outcomes for specific racial or ethnic groups. When the index was launched in 2016, it was used to quantify disparities in patient care for conditions such as asthma and diabetes. 

Previously, Lockhart was the chief administrative officer at the St. Luke’s campus of Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center, located in San Francisco. There, he was involved in the entitlement process for the center’s new hospitals, improving operations and engaging in community outreach.

The National Medical Fellowships awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019 for his service in health care and humanitarian work. Lockhart is also the chairman of the nonprofit Parks California, which supports the state’s parks. 

As a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a Master of Philosophy degree in economics from Oxford University, and Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in biostatistics degrees from Cornell University.

Location: Oakland, Calif.

Expertise: Health equity, anesthesiology, biostatistics, herd immunity, hospital pandemic preparedness, patient care and safety 

Contact information:

Angie Sheets

Phone: 916-494-9547

Email: sheetsa@sutterhealth.org

Listen to Stephen Lockhart on Insight with Beth Ruyak on CapRadio:

Last updated: May 25, 2020

Emma Robbins

Emma Robbins is the director of the Navajo Water Project, which provides infrastructure for Navajo families to access running water in New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. The project is a part of the water nonprofit DigDeep.

Native American households face barriers to accessing running water. About 30% of families on the Navajo reservation don’t have running water, according to the project. Robbins joined the project after growing up in an area with a high concentration of water poverty. She is a Diné artist, and uses her work to raise awareness about the need for clean water across all Native American nations. She is also an Aspen Institute Health Communities Fellow. 

Robbins has been interviewed by the magazine Marie Claire about how Navajo women have been on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 and AZCentral on how the nation’s water shortage may exacerbate the virus’ spread.

Emma Robbins headshot

Location: Los Angeles, Calif. 

Expertise: Activism, environmentalism, water access 

Contact info:

Email: press@digdeep.org

Last updated: May 17,2020

Dean Seneca

Dean Seneca is CEO of Seneca Scientific Solutions, a consulting agency that provides tribal nations and other clients with assistance in economic and community development. The agency’s services include strategic planning, epidemiology and health research.

Seneca has been interviewed by Indian Country Today and Democracy Now!, among other news outlets, about how COVID-19 is impacting Indian Country. 

With over 20 years of experience with infectious disease outbreaks, Seneca has worked to combat Anthrax, H1N1, Ebola, Zika and COVID-19. Seneca was previously a senior health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, where he was responsible for building the CDC’s ability to support health departments across the country.

Prior to his time at the CDC, Seneca was the tribal planning director for the Seneca Nation of Indians, which is based in western New York.

Dean Seneca_podium

Location: Cattaraugus, N.Y.

Expertise: Chronic and infectious diseases, emergency preparedness and response, environmental health, toxicology and maternal/child health, American Indian/Alaska Native health

Contact info:

Phone number: (678) 524-5177

Email: thundereagle1042@gmail.com 

Listen to Dean Seneca on Democracy Now!:

Last updated: May 17, 2020

Azzeddine Azzam

Azzeddine Azzam is a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Azzam has worked in the field for about 34 years, and his teaching and research interests include microeconomics and agricultural and natural resource economies.

The Washington Post reported about Azzam’s research on how Americans could lose weight by switching to diets common in other countries. He was also quoted by the Norfolk Daily News in 2018 on the Trump administration’s trade policies. He has written about topics such as how a greenhouse gas tax would affect the price of a burger for the industry publication Beef Magazine.

Azzam previously taught as a Fulbright scholar at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and as a teaching fellow at Harvard University. He chaired the economics department at the University of Dubai, and served as senior economic adviser at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He founded the Center for Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, as well as the Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, where he is also an editor.

Azzam1

Location: Lincoln, Neb. 

Expertise: Microeconomics, industrial organization, agriculture, livestock

Contact information: 

Phone: 402- 472-5326 (o)

Email: aazzam1@unl.edu

Listen to Azzeddine Azzam on the Policy Center for the New South:

Last updated: May 11, 2020

Aletha Maybank

Dr. Aletha Maybank is the first chief health equity officer of the American Medical Association and one of its vice presidents. Her role is to oversee efforts across the entire organization to address disparities in health care, and she leads the association’s Center for Health Equity.

A pediatrician by training, Maybank was the deputy commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she launched their Center for Health Equity. 

Before that, she was an assistant commissioner in the NYC Health Department with the Brooklyn District Public Health Office. There, she oversaw several centers that worked to connect community organizations, health care providers and patients in predominantly minority neighborhoods throughout New York. Maybank was also the founding director of the Office of Minority Health in the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, located in New York, from 2006-2009.

Alongside her work in government, Maybank has taught medical students on topics such as public health leadership and management, and community organizing in health. She was previously the president of the Empire State Medical Association, the New York affiliate of the National Medical Association. 

She also helped create the “We are Doc McStuffins” campaign, based on the popular Disney cartoon character, which aimed to inspire young African American girls to practice medicine. The group eventually formed the Artemis Medical Society.

Location: NYC and Chicago, Ill.

Expertise: health equity, minority health, community engagement 

Contact information:

Cristina Mutchler, AMA public information officer

Phone: 312-464-4710

Email: Cristina.Mutchler@ama-assn.org

Listen to Aletha Maybank on Oprah Talks COVID-19:

Source of the Week · Aletha Maybank – Oprah Talks COVID-19

What it’s like to run a business in Georgia right now

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 11.24.34 AM
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, as seen from Google Street View in 2017.

Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp decided last week to allow several businesses to reopen, such as barbershops and fitness centers. This week, restaurants, theaters and private social clubs will also be allowed to welcome customers. 

Source of the Week is spotlighting local business owners of color who will have to choose to either start up business again or stay shut, as deaths caused by COVID-19 in the state continue to increase.

Ryan Wilson (CEO) and TK Petersen (COO) are co-founders of The Gathering Spot, a membership-only club that provides workspaces and networking opportunities in Atlanta. The club has hosted events with brands such as Spotfiy, Coca-Cola, Google and Netflix. The co-founders were college roommates. After graduating, they realized there weren’t a lot of local spaces where they could connect with new people. The pair raised $3 million to launch the Atlanta-based business in 2016.

Ryan Wilson is an Atlanta native. He was named the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2017 Small Business Person of the Year. He was featured on The Root magazine’s 2018 “Root 100” and Ebony magazine’s “Power 100,” which feature influential African Americans in a variety of fields. He’s a graduate of Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center. 

TK Petersen manages the club’s operations. He graduated from Georgetown University and previously worked in the financial sector. The pair have been featured in Fast Company’s story on black tech entrepreneurs, and interviewed in USA Today and Bloomberg Businessweek on the growing number of black entrepreneurs in Atlanta.

Contact information: 

Email: rwilson@thegatheringspot.club and tpetersen@thegatheringspot.club

Phone: 678-232-7076

Listen to Ryan Wilson speak on the Atlanta Small Business Show.

Chrisopher Escobar is the owner of The Plaza Theatre, which he says is the oldest movie theater in Atlanta, and one of the only independent theaters in the area. The Plaza was shut down because of COVID-19 on March 19, the longest closure in the theater’s history. Escobar said the theater stayed open through World War I, 9/11 and the AIDS epidemic. 

Escobar is a first-generation American. He is the first minority executive director of the Atlanta Film Society and produces the annual Academy Award-qualifying Atlanta Film Festival. He has been named a “40 under 40” and “CFO of the Year” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, among other recognitions. He graduated from Georgia State University with an M.A. in Moving Image Studies with a concentration in production. 

Listen to Chris Escobar on Hybrid Atlanta. 

Contact information: 

Email: chris@atlantafilmfestival.com

Phone: 678-698-9048 (c)

Mother and daughter pair Ellen and Lana Ector founded Gymnetics Fitness, a private fitness studio in Atlanta. They offer personalized nutritional advice, weight loss programs and workout regimes. During the shutdown, they have been offering live daily workouts on Instagram and streaming fitness videos on their website portal. 

Contact information:

Email: info@gymneticsfitness.com

Phone: 678-468-7968

Listen to the Ectors on Fox 5 Atlanta

Last updated: April 27, 2020

 

Shashi Shekhar

Shashi Shekhar, a McKnight Distinguished University Professor at the University of Minnesota, is a leading scholar of spatial computing (think Google Maps, Uber and geotagging) and Geographic Information Systems. That’s the technology at the center of efforts to use smartphone apps to help trace the spread of COVID-19.

Shekhar teaches computer science, is a board member of the Computing Research Association, and is co-editor-in-chief of the international, GIS-focused journal GeoInformatica. His publications include more than 350 refereed papers, a textbook and an encyclopedia. 

He has received the 2015 Education Award from the University Consortium for GIS Science and the 2006 Technical Achievement Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society, among others. 

shashi shekhar_headshotExpertise: Computer science, spatial computing, geographic information systems

Location: Minneapolis, Minn. 

Contact information: 

Email: shekhar@umn.edu

Phone: 612-624-8307 (o)

Listen to Shashi Shekhar on the Tonya Hall Innovation Show:

Last updated: April 20, 2020