Session Type(s): Featured Panel
Starts: Saturday, Aug. 15 2:00 PM (Eastern)
Ends: Saturday, Aug. 15 3:30 PM (Eastern)
Mũthoni Wambu Kraal is the National Political & Organizing Director at the Democratic National Committee. In this role, she directs the electoral and organizing strategy as well as investments of the party committee. She has been in progressive politics for over two decades and is well-accustomed to the warp speed of grassroots organizing. As the DNC National Political and Organizing Director, she leads a top-notch team of strategists. She is part of an intergenerational team that values diversity and the strength it’s bringing to the work. Mũthoni along with her team, is dedicated to working in every state to elect Democrats up and down the ballot and to build the power of our communities in the party.
Previously, she served as the Vice President of National Outreach and Training at EMILY’s List, where she oversaw their training programs, and created strategic partnerships with the progressive community and beyond.
It was during 2 cycles at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raising money for candidates and Congressional incumbents in tough races that she learned about the world of campaigns and the important role fundraising plays in winning campaigns. She also saw up close that some of the most underrepresented groups in Congress—women and people of color—weren’t keeping up with the growing influence of money in elections.
In addition, Wambu Kraal co-opened and ran a woman-owned fundraising firm that serviced clients at every level of political office. She served as the PAC Coordinator for the AFL-CIO, and served as the deputy political director for then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden. In 2008, she was the deputy campaign manager and political director for Senator Kay Hagan’s successful race against Senator Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina.
Wambu Kraal was born in Chicago and spent her formative childhood years in New York City. Raised by two passionate educators who met because of their community activism, she attributes her dedicated interest in politics to parental osmosis. This includes the subtle fact that she could hold protest signs before she could walk.
A graduate of Howard University where she earned a B.A. in journalism. Wambu Kraal is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and a lifetime member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders. She resides in Washington, DC with her husband John Peter and their young son Mirii. The boy is subject to the same parental osmosis as she was growing up. He’s been standing with women before he could physically stand.
Michael Alexander Blake is born and raised in The Bronx, New York and a son of Jamaican Immigrants, whose father was an 1199SEIU maintenance supervisor and mother is a retired manufacturer.
Michael is a second term Assembly Member in the New York State Assembly representing the 79th District in The Bronx, New York comprised of the Morrisania, Melrose, Concourse Village, Belmont, East Tremont and Crotona Park neighborhoods in the South Bronx.
Blake continues to successfully implement his “3,2,1” vision focused on Economic Development, Education and Equity. Michael has helped lead the efforts to create the first and still only statewide My Brother’s Keeper education program in the country, now totaling more $56 million in three years. Moreover, Blake helped lead the charge to Raise The Age of criminal responsibility so that 16 and 17 year olds are not tried as adults in criminal court, increase funding for New York City public housing, continue to fund Diversity in Medicine medical scholarships, and had his signature piece of legislation signed into law – now Small, Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises with less than 300 employees who contract with New York state get paid in 15 days instead of 30.
Blake is also a Vice Chair at Large of the Democratic National Committee helping lead efforts in engaging with millennials, communities of color, local elected candidates and training. Blake has traveled to 30 states since the DNC election in February 2017 ranging from candidate trainings to mobilizing base communities across the country.
Blake is a national Honorary Co-Chair of the New Leaders Council, which has trained more than 7,000 millennials in progressive policies and political organizing. Blake is a licensed minister in the United Methodist Church and African Methodist Episcopal church. Michael is an alum of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Michael is on the board for iVOTE, served as a 2016 Resident fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics and recently was an advisory board member on the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.
In early 2007, Michael joined then Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign as the Iowa Deputy Political Director and Constituency Outreach Director. In his 20 month campaign tenure, Blake concluded as the Michigan Deputy State Director for the general election. After the election, Blake joined the White House staff as the Associate Director of Public Engagement and Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs coordinating outreach to the African American, Minority and Women Business Enterprises and state and county elected official communities. Michael created the White House Urban Entrepreneurship Summit series: a series which sought to foster public, private and not-for-profit partnerships and provide strategic advice in seven cities across the nation.
Blake left the White House to serve as the national deputy director of Operation Vote for President Obama’s 2012 re-election and helped expand the diverse electorate that later re- elected the president, leading to historic turnout among constituencies nationwide.
Waikinya J.S. Clanton, MBA serves as the Director of African American and Women’s Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, where she leads the Party’s latest initiative to engage and organize with Black women through its Seat at the Table tour. Clanton was one of the lead operatives on the Party’s 2017 electoral victories in Virginia, New Jersey, and Alabama. She is a nationally sought-after political operative, strategist and thought leader, having spent more than a decade as a trusted advisor to local, state and federal elected officials.
She previously served as the National Executive Director for the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL Women), where she proudly reestablished the organization’s training fellowship for Black women interested in the political, corporate or nonprofit leadership via its Leadership Training and Educational Development Institute and created its signature STEM training program for young Black girls, Girls, Gigabytes, and Gadgets (3G).
She began her career in government, serving as a personal staffer to Congressman Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi, where she was his trusted aid on constituent based issues and manager of special projects. During her tenure on Capitol Hill, she also served as President of the Congressional Black Associates, co-coordinator of the Deltas on the Hill network and member of the African American Women on the Hill network. She was most recently appointed by the 26th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to serve as a member of its National Social Action Commission, where she advises on the organization’s national policy priorities and engagement strategies.
In addition to her various professional endeavors, Ms. Clanton serves as a member of the leadership council and ambassador of the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute, an alumna of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s Political Boot Camp training program as well as an alumna of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.
Founder of the Power of the PUMP, women’s empowerment network, and former Bonner’s Scholar, Clanton was recently selected as a fellow in the American Council of Young Political Leadership International Exchange program and recognized for her works as an inaugural recipient of the “Activating Our Agenda” award given by the Global Black History Honors.
Clanton’s recognitions, honors, and awards include:
United Negro College Fund with an Outstanding Young Alumni Award
National Action Network with the Action and Authority Award
Tougaloo College, “Top 40 under 40” Award
Congressional Black Associate’s Christine Ray Davis Trailblazer Award
emPOWER magazine’s emPOWER Players award
Waikinya is a profound advocate for pay equality and advancement of women and girls. She has her bachelors in Sociology and a Masters in Business Administation.
She is a proud woman of faith and is a member of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.
Jiore Craig is a Vice President and Director of the Digital Practice at Democratic consulting firm GQR. She specializes in international and US election work, differentiating between online sentiment and wider general public opinion, disinformation detection and rapid response, and translating conventional campaign strategies into social media strategy for general, regional, and local elections around the world. She has extensive experience in strategies developed in Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Since 2016, Jiore has worked with US campaigns, US elected officials, academic institutions, journalists and progressive advocacy groups on how to understand the role of disinformation and social media in an electoral context. She has been cited in The Washington Post, New York Magazine, The L.A. Times, and The New Yorker.
Reggie is an internationally recognized yoga and meditation teacher and the founder/chief serving officer of Active Peace Yoga. His yoga and meditation practice have served as a sanctuary of peace and perspective while navigating the stresses of being a black man in the world and serving in pressure filled jobs at the height of politics. He began his contemplative practices under extreme emotional distress at work and now works with all walks of life in service to helping people navigate this thing called life with more truth, grace, peace and ease.
Through Active Peace Yoga, he offers guidance, teaching and tools/techniques to help others nurture peace of mind, creativity, equanimity in spirit and physical health – helping people commit to well-being as foundational, rather than an afterthought. Reggie has taught Members of Congress, Congressional Staff, major labor unions, educational institutions, leading progressive organizations and individuals from all walks of life – simple tools for managing stress and bringing peace to mind, body and spirit.
Reggie has held many senior strategic and logistical roles across a variety of fields, ranging from global marketing, digital and community organizing, government relations, international education to Presidential campaigning (Kerry/Edwards 2004, 2008 Dem Convention, Bernie Sanders 2016). He recently served as the Congressional Liaison and senior political strategist for MoveOn, managing their relationships, impact and communications with Capitol Hill from 2017 to 2021. While at MoveOn, he played significant roles in the impeachment process as well as bridging the gap between political strategy and connecting grassroots leaders with elected officials. He has spent most of the last two decades at the forefront of social change at the grassroots level and now advises grassroots organizations on how to effectively campaign and take care of themselves in the process.
In addition to his political work and deep study of yoga and meditation, Reggie has authored a thesis entitled, “Yoga and Spiritual Activism: Serving Humanity from a Sense of Devotion and Love.” as part of his studies, which articulates much of his teaching philosophy.
Reggie’s life work sits at the intersection of bringing more peace and balance to activists; guiding the wellness community toward being more engaged, concerned citizens; and, enhancing the well-being of all walks of life. Achieving this balance is how we catalyze transformative change in our society, which we are desperately in need of at this moment.
Reggie received a B.A. in philosophy from Yale University and an MBA in international strategy from the Vlerick Business School in Belgium.
Other sessions: Morning Yoga with Reggie Hubbard, Morning Yoga with Reggie Hubbard, Morning Yoga with Reggie Hubbard, Mid-day Mindfulness Moment, Mid-day Mindfulness Moment, Mid-day Mindfulness Moment
Named to EBONY Magazine’s “Power 100” list of influential African Americans and PRWeek’s “40 Under 40” list, Alencia Johnson sits at the intersection of social justice and culture change. She is a social impact, brand engagement and communications strategist with corporate, political and non-profit experience and is a highly sought after cultural commentator and advisor.
As the Chief Impact Officer and Founder of 1063 West Broad — a social impact agency specializing in the intersection of culture, impact and purpose — Alencia connects brands, organizations and people to mission driven solutions.
Alencia has cultivated over a decade of experience fluidly marrying the cornerstones of our culture — activism, politics, corporate and entertainment — together to address the most pressing issues today.
She was the National Director of Public Engagement for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign — managing strategic rollouts of Senator Warren’s policy proposals utilizing media strategies, surrogate endorsements and in-person events.
Prior to that, she spent six years at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, where she engaged political, media, entertainment and corporate organizations and influencers to shift mainstream culture with positive, inclusive and factual perceptions of gender equity, women’s rights and reproductive freedom.
Alencia also created Planned Parenthood’s constituency communications department, responsible for national communication campaigns engaging new audiences. And she developed communication strategies for Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s endorsement and coordinated campaign work for Secretary Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Emily Keller is a digital strategist who worked on several campaigns for progressive candidates and causes as well as the Social Media Director at the DNC, before joining YouTube in 2021.
Other sessions: Guarantees for a Good Life: Income, Housing, Jobs and Family Care
Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the Department of Information Studies where she serves as the Co-Director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry. She also holds appointments in African American Studies and Gender Studies. She is a newly-appointed Research Associate to the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford.
Recently, she was a visiting faculty member to the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication. She began her academic career as an Assistant Professor in Department of Media and Cinema Studies and the Institute for Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Safiya is the author of a best-selling book on racist and sexist algorithmic bias in commercial search engines, entitled Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (NYU Press), which has been widely-reviewed in journals and periodicals including the Los Angeles Review of Books, featured in the New York Public Library 2018 Best Books for Adults (non-fiction), and recognized by Bustle magazine as one of 10 Books about Race to Read Instead of Asking a Person of Color to Explain Things to You.
Safiya is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship and the UCLA Early Career Award. Her academic research focuses on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media impacts and intersects with issues of race, gender, culture, and technology
Dr. Noble is the co-editor of two edited volumes: The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Culture and Class Online and Emotions, Technology & Design. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, and is the co-editor of the Commentary & Criticism section of the Journal of Feminist Media Studies. She is a member of several academic journal and advisory boards, including Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fresno where she was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018.
María Urbina is Indivisible’s National Political Director leading national political strategy and electoral campaigns. In this role, Urbina is charged with developing Indivisible’s national electoral engagement strategy by defining electoral objectives, priorities and targets and leading Indivisible’s grassroots national endorsement program to grow independent political power and usher progressive gains in all 435 congressional districts.
Other sessions: Remote Activism: Harnessing Progressive Power from Afar