Elinor Tatum, Publisher Editor in Chief, New York Amsterdam News

Elinor R. Tatum is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the New York Amsterdam News, America’s most influential continuously published Black newspaper, serving the nation’s largest Black and brown community. When appointed as Editor in Chief in 1997, Ms. Tatum became one of the youngest publishers in the history of the Black press. She began at the newspaper as a journalist, covering local and national issues affecting Harlem and the Black community. Under her watch, the Amsterdam News has evolved from typewriters to total computerization and today to powerful social media and digital platforms including and its acclaimed weekday newsletter “Editorially Black” to better serve a wider African American community in New York, the nation and internationally.

Damaso Reyes, Investigative Editor, New York Amsterdam News

Damaso (he/him) has been a journalist and contributor to the New York Amsterdam News since 1996. He has been published by: The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Magazine, Der Spiegel, KSFR radio, the Miami Herald, and The Irish Times. Previous assignments and projects have taken him to countries including Rwanda, Iraq, Indonesia, Tanzania and throughout the United States and Europe. His images are also featured in the monograph “Black: A Celebration of a Culture” and the book “Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers go to War.”


U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer serves as the senior United States senator from New York, a seat he has held since 1999, and as Senate Majority Leader since 2021. The dean of New York’s congressional delegation, Schumer is in his fifth Senate term and has been the leader of the Democratic caucus since 2017; he served as minority leader from 2017 to 2021.


David C. Banks, Chancellor, New York Public Schools

David C. Banks is Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, the largest school system in the nation. Appointed on January 1, 2022, he is the former President and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation, and the founding principal of The Eagle Academy for Young Men, the first school in a network of innovative all-boys public schools in New York City and Newark, N.J. David is a lifelong New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, and proud graduate of New York City public schools, attending P.S. 161 in Brooklyn and Hillcrest High School in Queens. After a year working as a school safety officer, he began his first teaching job at P.S. 167 in his childhood neighborhood on Eastern Parkway. From there, he went on to become a founding principal at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice, and later at the Eagle Academy for Young Men.

Larry Lee, Publisher, Sacramento Observer

With an understanding of how to combine editorial excellence with new media style, Lawrence (Larry) C. Lee is leading The OBSERVER Media Group into the 21st century as a powerful multimedia voice for the African American consumer. Lee — who has a lifelong career in ethnic media and marketing — inherited an admirable sense of quality, community, commendable work ethic, and dedication to excellence from his late parents, Dr. William H. Lee and Kathryn C. Lee, founders of the award-winning OBSERVER Newspapers. The OBSERVER has been regarded as “the most honored Black newspaper in America,” having received more than 700 awards for journalism excellence and community service. The OBSERVER celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2022.

Jackie Rowe Adams, Founder, Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E.

Jackie has worked tirelessly with youth and seniors as a music specialist with Parks and
Recreation since 1986, and, in 1996, started the non-profit organization Talented
Seniors and Youth On the Move, Inc., which provides performance opportunities for
youth and seniors and college scholarships. After losing two sons to gun violence,
Jackie co-founded Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E., an organization instituted to end this
dreaded scourge in our community. She has received numerous awards and citations
for her social activism, among which are the Charles H. Moore, Jr. Service Award and
the St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center Award. Her efforts have inspired love and
respect from all who have had the opportunity to meet her.

Dr. Charles Branas, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health

Dr. Charles Branas of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health has conducted research that extends from urban and rural areas in the US to communities across the globe, incorporating place-based interventions and human geography. He has led win-win science that generates new knowledge while simultaneously creating positive, real-world changes and providing health-enhancing resources for local communities. His pioneering work on geographic access to medical care has changed the healthcare landscape, leading to the designation of new hospitals and a series of national scientific replications in the US and other countries for many conditions: trauma, cancer, stroke, etc.

Erica Ford, Founder, LIFE Camp, Inc.

Erica Ford is the founder of LIFE Camp, Inc. and is a world renown human rights activist and anti-violence leader. For more than 30 years, she has impacted the lives of thousands of disenfranchised Black and Brown people in vulnerable communities, schools, housing projects and prisons. Erica’s mantra, “Peace is a LIFEstyle,” is evident in her tireless, innovative approach to creating healthy communities in New York City. Her approach to violence intervention and prevention work in South East Queens, NY — which resulted in nearly four years without a homicide — is widely respected locally and nationally by grassroot organizations, researchers, public safety and public health professionals and government officials.

Jim Brady, Knight Foundation

Jim Brady, who joined Knight Foundation in 2021, is a digital media innovator whose experience ranges from leading major brands such as and Digital First Media to starting a company that built local news sites in three cities.
Brady is CEO of Spirited Media, which developed local news sites Billy Penn in Philadelphia, The Incline in Pittsburgh and Denverite in Denver, which differentiated themselves with a mobile-first approach and a business focus on events and membership — rather than advertising — as core revenue lines, In 2019, Spirited Media sold Denverite to Colorado Public Radio, The Incline to digital startup and Billy Penn to WHYY, Philadelphia’s iconic public radio station.

Danielle Sered, Common Justice

Danielle Sered envisioned, launched, and directs Common Justice. She leads the project’s efforts locally and nationally to develop and advance practical and groundbreaking solutions to violence that advance racial equity, meet the needs of those harmed, and do not rely on incarceration. Before planning the launch of Common Justice, Danielle served as the deputy director of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Adolescent Reentry Initiative, a program for young men returning from incarceration on Rikers Island. Prior to joining Vera, she worked at the Center for Court Innovation’s Harlem Community Justice Center, where she led its programs for court-involved and recently incarcerated youth.

Denise Barnes, Publisher, TheWashington Informer

Denise Rolark Barnes is the publisher and second-generation owner of The Washington Informer, succeeding her father, the late Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, who founded the newspaper in 1964. The Washington Informer is a multi-media organization serving the African American community in the Washington metropolitan area. Denise is also president of Washington Informer Charities, a non-profit organization that promotes 21st-century literacy and journalism through writing competitions, internships, scholarships and other events promoting African American history, culture, and literature.

Kimberly Davis, Co-Founder and Vice President, Protect Our Stolen Treasures

Kimberly Davis is a native Detroiter. Who is the co-founder and vice president of Protect Our Stolen Treasures. Kimberly became an activist against police brutality when her only child Kimoni Davis was killed by the Ohio State Police. Davis has spent the last 7 years bringing awareness of police brutality. She confounded Protect Our Stolen Treasures in Detroit Michigan and we have expanded in Portland, South Carolina, Louisiana, Ohio and North Carolina. Her non-profit organization is unique because are chapters are made from families of victims of police brutality and street violence. Protect Out Stolen Treasures are fighting to change laws to hold accountability on their unjustified deaths.

Cuco Rodriguez, Chief Equity and Program Officer, Hope and Heal Fund

Refujio “Cuco” Rodriguez is the Program Officer at Hope and Heal Fund. Prior to joining the fund, Cuco served as a Program Officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and was a member of the foundation’s Racial Equity and Community Engagement team. He was responsible for developing and coordinating strategic grantmaking activities aimed at addressing racial equity, community engagement, and nurturing opportunities for positive systemic change for historically marginalized communities and vulnerable children. Cuco also supported the development of a Racial Equity Leadership Curriculum for the W.K. Kellogg Fellowship Program; leading research and developing curriculum models; and developing strategic external partnerships with other foundations, businesses, governmental agencies, and other key partners.

Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer, The Trace

Mensah M. Dean is a Philadelphia-based staff writer for The Trace. Previously, Mensah was a staff writer on the Justice & Injustice team at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he focused on gun violence, corruption and wrongdoing in the public and private sectors for five years.  In 2022, he was part of a team of Inquirer reporters who were Pulitzer Prize finalists for explanatory reporting for their yearlong chronicling of the impact of gun violence on Philadelphia. Mensah also covered criminal courts, public schools and city government for the Philadelphia Daily News, the Inquirer‘s sister publication. In 2019, he was named print journalist of the year by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. A native of Washington, D.C., he graduated from Bowie State University in Maryland and began his career at The Washington Times.

Jennifer Mascia, Senior News Writer and Founding Staffer, The Trace

Jennifer Mascia is a senior news writer and founding staffer at The Trace, a nonprofit news outlet focused on gun violence that launched in 2015. She previously reported on gun violence for The New York Times. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and CUNY Hunter College. In 2010, she authored a memoir about her father’s criminal past, Never Tell Our Business to Strangers.

Jessica Beard, MD, MPH, Trauma Surgeon and Public Health Researcher, Temple University

Jessica Beard, MD, MPH is a trauma surgeon and public health researcher at Temple University in Philadelphia. She is also a Stoneleigh Foundation Fellow and Director of Research for the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting. As a trauma surgeon, she regularly cares for people impacted by firearm violence and is passionate about firearm violence prevention. Her research focuses on understanding the impact of current media narratives on community firearm violence and exploring alternative media approaches that minimize harm and support effective public health responses.

Justin Agrelo, Engagement Reporter, The Trace

Justin Agrelo is a Chicago-based engagement reporter for The Trace. He previously worked at City Bureau, a nonprofit civic media organization in Chicago, where he covered housing and development. He was also an editorial fellow for Mother Jones magazine, writing for and fact-checking the online and print editions. In 2019, he earned his Master’s of Science in journalism with a special focus on social justice and investigative reporting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.