Friday Keynote featuring TN State Rep. Justin Jones

Friday Keynote featuring TN State Rep. Justin Jones

Session Type(s): Plenary, Streamed Session

Starts: Friday, Jul. 14 4:00 PM (Central)

Ends: Friday, Jul. 14 5:30 PM (Central)

Room: International Ballroom

At every turn, the GOP is taking steps to silence those they don’t agree with and squash progress on critical issues like reducing gun violence, ensuring abortion access and protecting our democracy. Right wing extremists’ continued assault on our rights and democracy helped Democrats mobilize—and win—in the midterms, but the work isn’t over.
To counter their efforts, we must continue to organize, build power and develop a bench of progressive leaders up and down the ballot. In even the reddest of states, courageous, bold leaders and community organizers are stepping up to raise their voices, inspire change and mobilize their communities. In this keynote, Tennessee State Rep. Justin Jones, in conversation with Alicia Garza, will discuss his experience standing up for democracy, disrupting the status quo and demanding action. We’ll also hear from Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, Center for Popular Democracy’s DaMareo Cooper and Analilia Mejia and Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson.


Alicia Garza


Alicia believes that Black communities deserve what all communities deserve — to be powerful in every aspect of their lives. An author, political strategist, organizer, and cheeseburger enthusiast, Alicia founded the Black Futures Lab to make Black communities powerful in politics. She is the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, serves as the Strategy & Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and is a co-founder of Supermajority, a new home for women’s activism. Alicia has become a powerful voice in the media and frequently contributes thoughtful opinion pieces and expert commentary on politics, race and more to outlets such as MSNBC and The New York Times. She has received numerous accolades and recognitions, including being on the cover of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World issue and being named to Bloomberg’s 50 and Politico’s 50 lists. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart (One World Penguin Random House), and she warns you: hashtags don’t start movements, people do.

Other sessions: Winning on Public Safety: How Progressives Can Combat GOP Narratives on Crime

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Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson


Cephus “Uncle Bobby X” Johnson, attended San Francisco State University as an undergraduate studying Ethic Studies and Black Studies. He is currently a computer systems engineer in Silicon Valley and is a U.S. military veteran.

He is a social justice activist at the forefront of ending police violence in America. After his nephew Oscar Grant was murdered by a BART officer in 2009, Cephus founded four grassroots social justice organizations—Love Not Blood Campaign, the Oscar Grant Foundation, California Families United 4 Justice, and the National Families United 4 Justice Network, a growing nationwide collective of 600 families impacted by police violence.

Cephus has received many awards for his social justice police accountability work. In 2019, he received The Black Panther Party Community Award; Oakland City Council Commendation Award; Oakland City Council Resolution for innovation Social Justice Award; and Frontline Warriors Keepers Award. He has served as an expert on the creation of the National Impacted Families Movement of Police Accountability work and has appeared on Katie Couric’s “Race in America,” MSNBC’s “Caught on Tape”, and others.

Currently the Love Not Blood Campaign, through its Families United For4 Justice Campaign, has a network membership of over 600 impacted families nationally. He considers ending police violence and supporting families who have been impacted by police his life’s work.

Other sessions: Bridging the Gap Between Impacted Families and Community Activists, An Overdue Reckoning of Structural and Systemic Racism in Policing

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Analilia Mejia

Analilia Mejia is a progressive union and community activist with Jersey roots and nationwide experience fighting for policies that lift up working families. Under her leadership, New Jersey Working Families spearheaded an unprecedented effort to enact earned sick time laws in nine New Jersey municipalities, which ThinkProgress has called “the biggest wave of paid sick day victories ever” and for which President Obama honored her as a “White House Champion of Change.” She also leads the fight for revenue solutions that would allow New Jersey to make smart investments that lift up working families, and has recently launched the New Jersey Democracy Project, a campaign to expand voter protections and participation.