Black, Brown and In Charge: New Movement Leaders and the Future of the Left

Black, Brown and In Charge: New Movement Leaders and the Future of the Left

Session Type(s): Featured Panel

Starts: Friday, Jul. 12 10:15 AM

Ends: Friday, Jul. 12 11:30 AM

Room: 119B

Fri 10:15am: Black, Brown and In Charge: New Movement Leaders and the Future of the Left

Black, Brown and In Charge: New Movement Leaders and the Future of the Left

Posted by Netroots Nation on Friday, July 12, 2019

Just as newly elected officials have reshaped Congress, movement leaders like Yvette Simpson (Democracy for America), Maurice Mitchell (Working Families Party), Karundi Williams (re:power) and Nina Turner (Our Revolution) are reshaping the larger progressive movement. It’s all part of a larger effort to ensure that we build a progressive coalition which lifts up all voices and recognizes the leadership of people of color. This panel will discuss the future of the Democratic Party, priorities for the progressive movement, and the 2019 and 2020 elections.


Arshad Hasan


Arshad Hasan is a long serving member of Netroots Nation’s Board of Directors and served as the immediate past Chair of the Board.

Over his career as a non-profit executive, Arshad has lead some of the progressive movement’s most high-impact political organizations such as Democracy For America and Progress Now. He now works with organizations with organizations on strategy and with coalitions coordinating around shared goals.

Arshad just launched a new firm, Convey Communications, which works with rising leaders – especially women, people of color, and queer folks – on their public communications skills.

Other sessions: Believe Me! Great Public Speakers Use Body Language to be Heard


Maurice Mitchell

Maurice Mitchell

Maurice Mitchell is a nationally-recognized social movement strategist, a visionary leader in the Movement for Black Lives, and a community organizer for racial, social, and economic justice. He is currently national director of the Working Families Party.

Maurice worked as a longtime community and political organizer in New York organizing diverse communities. After Mike Brown was murdered by police in Missouri, Maurice relocated to Ferguson to support organizations on the ground responding to the police violence. Seeing the need for an anchor organization to provide strategic support and guidance to Movement for Black Lives activists in Ferguson and beyond, Maurice co-founded and managed Blackbird. Maurice was a key organizer of the Movement for Black Lives convention in Cleveland in 2015.

Maurice joined the Working Families Party in August 2018, and led the national organization through a successful midterm election season that ended Republican control of legislative chambers in New York and Colorado, and ousted conservative corporate Democrats in states from New Mexico to Maryland to Rhode Island. This year the WFP has won a raft of municipal races across the country, from the Public Advocate’s election in New York City to school board elections in Milwaukee to city council races from Phoenix to Chicago to Morgantown, West Virginia. Maurice is building the Working Families Party to be America’s authentic, multi-racial populist party.

my website

Yvette Simpson


In January 2019, Yvette became the first woman to serve as a Chief Executive Officer at Democracy For America (DFA), as well as the first woman of color in executive leadership.

Yvette is a lawyer, MBA, and former Cincinnati City Council President Pro Tempore. She served as the Federal Electoral Manager for Democracy for America during the second half of 2018 helping to flip control of the US House with historic victories electing the most progressive and diverse coalition of candidates in America’s history.

Yvette was elected to the Cincinnati City Council in 2011 and re-elected in 2013 for a four-year term. She served as President Pro Tem from 2013-2017. In 2017 she ran for Mayor of Cincinnati and earned the full support and endorsement of DFA members across the country. She made history as the first Black woman in Cincinnati’s 200-year history to win a Mayoral primary but came up just short of victory in the general election despite winning 15 of 26 wards.

my website

Nina Turner


Nina Turner is currently a professor of history at Cuyahoga Community College and board member of the Karamu House, the United Way of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland Police Foundation and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. Nina also serves on the Ohio State Ballot Board and was recently appointed co-chair of the Ohio Department of Public Safety by Gov. Kasich.

Throughout her decades-long career– as a legislative aide, a cabinet member in Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White’s administration, a lobbyist for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, a Cleveland City Councilmember, a State Senator and a candidate for Secretary of State – Senator Turner has earned a reputation as a fearless champion for economic fairness, reproductive freedom, workers’ rights and voters’ rights. She has been recognized by various organizations throughout the country for her deep commitment to public service.

Karundi Williams

Karundi Williams

Karundi Williams (she/her) is the Executive Director of re:power, a national progressive training and capacity building organization. She is based in Washington, D.C. and leads a national team of strategists, organizers, and technologists towards re:power’s bold mission of building transformative political power with and for communities of color, at all levels in our government and power structures.

She brings two decades of experience in local government, the labor movement, and the progressive ecosystem to re:power. Her focus on creating systems for communities of color to build their political power to create social change – whether it be community organizing, connecting everyday people to policy platforms or investing in infrastructure and resources — is well aligned with re:power’s mission to build and train leaders of color.

Previously, Karundi held multiple leadership positions at SEIU (Service Employees International Union) as the Political Director for the Midwest initiative and the Director of State and Local Programs. Prior to SEIU, she was the Deputy Director for Government Affairs for the State of Ohio.

Karundi is based in Washington, D.C. with her daughter Zoya and her partner Rafiq. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, nature photography, traveling and spending time with friends and family over a good meal.

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