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2019 Speakers

Hebh Jamal

At the young age of fifteen, Hebh Jamal became a widely-regarded advocate for education reform; she is known for her impact toward tackling injustice and her vision for the possibility of a transformed society. Hebh was featured in the NY Times in “Young Muslim Americans Are Feeling the Strain of Suspicion” for her perspective on the impact of Islamophobia on young Muslims. She made a huge buzz in 2017, when she organized a city-wide student walk out to protest Trump’s “Muslim Ban.” Since then, she has co-created the first ever City-Wide Youth Council on School Integration run by IntegrateNYC.  Currently, she’s the VP of her college’s Students for Justice in Palestine and the Youth Director of Muslim American Society of NY.  

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Adrian Turcato

Adrian Turcato is a Senior Associate at Transsolar Engineering in New York City. At Transsolar, Adrian is deeply involved in the engineering analysis, project management, and tools development that drives forward Transsolar’s contribution to some of the present moment’s most innovative high-performance buildings. Adrian’s expertise includes thermal and daylighting simulation, building and façade systems designs, web-app development, and data visualization. Adrian has a Master of Applied Science (MASc) in Building Sciences from Ryerson University.

Linnette Attai

As the founder of PlayWell, LLC, a global compliance consulting firm, Linnette Attai guides organizations through the complex obligations governing data privacy, marketing, safety, and content. Linnette brings more than 25 years of experience to the work, providing strategic advice on privacy and marketing regulations, developing policy frameworks and compliant monetization models, and building cultures of compliance. She also serves as virtual chief privacy officer and as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) data protection officer to a range of organizations. Linnette is a recognized expert in the youth and education sectors and speaks nationally on data privacy matters. She is the author of the books, “Student Data Privacy: Building a School Compliance Program” and “Protecting Student Data Privacy: Classroom Fundamentals” (2019).

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Lin Liang

Lin is a doula and aspiring nurse midwife. She studied philosophy at Skidmore College and now studies nursing at the College of Staten Island. As a mom of two boys and two girls, she is juggling diaper duty in between classes all the while pursuing her passion for life and supporting people.

Mohammed Ashour

Mohammed Ashour is the co-founder and CEO of Aspire Food Group, a world-leader in commercially farming food-grade insects and processing them into all-natural, high-quality superfood ingredients and consumer products. Aspire was founded in 2014 after Mohammed led his team to win the largest business prize in the world - the prestigious US$1 million Hult Prize presented by President Bill Clinton. Prior to co-founding Aspire, Mohammed led the sales and marketing division of one of the fastest growing startups in Canada’s history. A Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, Mohammed is regarded as a leading voice in social enterprise and alternative protein. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Fox Business News, the Economist, Wired, CNET, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company. Mohammed pursued an MD-MBA dual-degree at McGill University, and holds an M.Sc. degree in Neuroscience from McGill University and a B.Sc. degree in Life Sciences from the University of Toronto.

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Afrika Owes

Afrika was arrested in 2011 as part of a mass gang-indictment case in Harlem. After serving six months on Riker’s Island, her case was adjudicated as a youth offender, and she was given a second chance. While Afrika was incarcerated, she witnessed the power of community, access to resources, and great legal representation and vowed to restore justice to many other women and men of color who were in similar predicaments with vastly different outcomes because they did not have access to any of the above. Afrika went on to study at Hobart & William Smith Colleges and graduated cum laude in 2016, is a Fulbright alum, and now works at The Center for Constitutional Rights. In 2017, she travelled to Cape Town South Africa as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant where she founded the Black women’s empowerment group, Soul Sistas.

Carlos Maza

Carlos Maza graduated from Wake Forest University in 2010. Prior to joining Vox, he was research fellow at Media Matters, where he produced videos and led the organization's LGBT work. Currently, Maza is a writer, producer, and host of the series Strikethrough, which has garnered millions of views on Youtube. It focuses on the challenges facing journalism and media in the current era.

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Camryn Bruno

Camryn Bruno is a 19 year old Queens-born spoken word poet and model who is currently a sophomore at York College. Camryn is the 2018-2019 NYC Youth Poet Laureate, the Trinidad and Tobago First Citizens National Poetry Slam Champion of 2017 and the Ms. Tobago Heritage Personality Queen of 2017. Her poems explore social issues that affect youths because she is passionate about youth development.  She identifies as an especially vocal advocate in both her work and writing for the rights of women, people of color and other historically marginalized groups.

Linda Martin Alcoff

Linda Martín Alcoff is Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College and the Graduate School, C.U.N.Y. She is a past President of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division. Recent books include Rape and Resistance (Polity 2018); The Future of Whiteness (Polity 2015) and Visible Identities: Race, Gender and the Self (Oxford 2006), that won the Frantz Fanon Award for 2009.

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Alina Camejo

Alina Camejo is a sophomore at Baruch College majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Journalism. She currently volunteers as a Health Educator for Peer Health Exchange where she facilitates weekly workshops to a classroom of ninth graders. Along with her passion to advocate for comprehensive sexual health education, Alina is actively pursuing opportunities in the media and entertainment industries. She has interned in some of the top entertainment companies such as Roc Nation and First Access Entertainment while also receiving offers from Turner, NBCUniversal and more. She hopes to combine her interests within marketing, social media, visual storytelling and sexual health in order to cultivate an open environment for young women of color to express themselves.

Lavar Thomas

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Lavar’s desire to create global impact and transform communities has taken him around the world. Lavar has dedicated the last 10 years of his life to transformational leadership and self-development. He is the founder of “Empower for Greatness”, a program that helps aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs overcome fear and develop habits of success. He has also served as U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda, East Africa and through his non-profit organization Leaders of the Free World, provides leadership development and international experiences to young black men.



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