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2021 Speakers

Gina Balamucki

Professor at the University of Texas School of Law

Gina Balamucki is a student at the University of North Carolina School of Law, and an anti-racist and anti-fascist activist. During law school, she co-founded a protester support fund, assisted in the criminal defense of dozens of anti-racist activists, and engaged in a variety of campaigns against confederate monuments, the police, and white supremacist groups. She is particularly interested in the ability of arts-related direct action to create social change.

Bill Beardall

Professor at the University of Texas School of Law

Bill Beardall directs the ground-breaking Transnational Worker Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. He has practiced as a public interest employment lawyer for low-income working men and women since 1978. Mr. Beardall also serves as Executive Director of the Equal Justice Center, a non-profit employment justice and civil rights organization with offices in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

General Counsel at Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Matt Blumin is the General Counsel for CIW. A graduate of Stanford Law, Matt had clerkships at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals before beginning work in labor law. He has since worked for Friends of Farmworkers, AFSCME, and now with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Matthew Stark Blumin

Jill Campbell

Director of Immigration and Citizenship at Baker Ripley

Jill Campbell is the managing immigration attorney and the current director of Immigration and Citizenship at BakerRipley, a community center and home base for New Americans that has been deeply entrenched in the Houston community since 1907. In addition to her legal work, Jill also develops materials and provides ongoing support for the Immigration & Citizenship Program’s Naturalization services and helps host the BakerRipley’s Immigration Forums and Naturalization Workshops.

Kelly Haragan

Professor at the University of Texas School of Law

Kelly Haragan is a clinical professor and director of the Environmental Clinic, specializing in Clean Air Act permitting and enforcement. Prior to joining the Clinic, Kelly worked as legal counsel for national nonprofits including: the Environmental Integrity Project in Washington DC, Environmental Defense Fund in Austin, and Public Citizen’s Austin office

Rebekah Hinojosa

Sierra Club Organizer

Bekah Hinojosa is an artist and organizer from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas currently serving as the Sierra Club’s Gulf Coast Campaign Representative. She works with communities along the Texas coastline to stop crude oil export terminals, associated pipelines, and three LNG fracked gas export terminals that would harm people of color and indigenous populations.

Selena Cruz

 Board Member at Laredo Immigrant Alliance

Selene Cruz was born in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León, México. She immigrated to the US when she was 4 years old, and is now a DACA recipient and is earning her Masters of Public Administration at Texas A&M International University.  Since 2017, she's organized with the Laredo Immigrant Alliance, a group led by immigrants and allies that fight for immigrants right by engaging, educating, and organizing the community. The alliance currently provides resources and support for DACA recipients and detained immigrants in the bordertown’s detention centers.

Jaribu Hill

Founder of the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights

Jaribu Hill is the Founder of the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights and the Southern Human Rights Organizers’ Conference (SHROC), a human rights attorney, and a veteran community organizer. Hill is a former Director of CCR South and during her tenure, won a permanent judgment against the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Columbia, South Carolina.

Chaumtoli Huq

Associate Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law 

Chaumtoli Huq is an Associate Professor of Law at CUNY School of Law and the founder/Editor of an innovative law and media non-profit focused on law and social justice called Law@theMargins. 

In 2014, she was appointed as the General Counsel for Litigation for the New York City Office of the Public Advocate, becoming then the highest-ranking Bangladeshi-American in New York City government. Along with holding leadership roles at Legal Services of NYC and MFY Legal Services, she also served as Director of the first South Asian Workers’ Rights Project at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, as a Skadden Fellow, and as the first staff attorney to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a multi-ethnic, immigrant and worker led labor organization.

Alyssa Gordon

Law Students for Black Lives

Alyssa co-founded and serves as the Co-Executive Director of Law Students for Black Lives, an Austin-based organization that works to eradicate racial disparities in America’s legal system, amplify Black voices, and empower all communities in the fight to eliminate institutional and systemic racism in American society. Law Students for Black Lives is composed of over 150 activists and consists of six collaborative teams specializing in policy reform, outreach, marketing, direct action, human rights, and wellness.

Barbara Hines 

Professor at the University of Texas School of Law

Barbara Hines is a former clinical professor and founder of the University of Texas Law School Immigration Clinic. She directed and co-directed the immigration clinic of the University of Texas School of Law from 1999 to 2014.

She has litigated many issues relating to the constitutional and statutory rights of immigrants in federal and immigration courts, including the lawsuit leading to the closure of the Hutto immigrant family detention center in 2009. She was involved in the drafting and passage of in-state tuition legislation for undocumented students in Texas, the first of such laws in the country. Professor Hines continues to work on national immigration issues and advocacy.

Abby Johnston 

Deputy Editor of The 19th

Abby Johnston is the deputy editor of the 19th, an independent, nonprofit newsroom reporting on issues at the intersection of gender, politics, and policy. Before joining The 19th, Abby edited and managed digital strategy for the Texas Observer, Frontline and Texas Monthly. She is a National Magazine Award-winning writer and editor and a graduate of the University of Texas and the University of Missouri.

Lisa Jordan

Environmental Clinic Professor at Tulane University School of Law

Professor Lisa Jordan is the Director of the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic.

Currently, the Clinic is engaged in state court litigation challenging air permits issued to Formosa Plastics to construct a plastics production complex that would emit thousands of tons per year of air pollution in the largely African American and rapidly industrializing Fifth District of St. James Parish.

Talila Lewis 

Co-Founder of HEARD and Social Justice Engineer

Named one of Pacific Standard Magazine’s Top 30 Thinkers Under 30 and a 2015 White House Champion of Change, Talila A. Lewis is a social justice engineer who uses lawyering, organizing, popular education, and multi-modal information visualization to disrupt cycles of violence and systemic inequity.

Lewis co-founded & serves as the volunteer director of HEARD, a volunteer-dependent nonprofit organization that works to end incarceration of and violence against deaf/disabled people.

Dr. Amanda Masino 

Professor of Environmental Studies at Huston-Tillotson University

Dr. Masino is a proud member of HT’s Environmental Studies faculty. She advances environmental education by blending environmental science and community action. She is Co-Director of the Dumpster Project, an education initiative that is transforming a used trash dumpster into a sustainable home as a K-16 environmental education platform and public engagement tool. 

Julie Mao

Co-Founder and Deputy Director at Just Futures Law

Julie Mao has nearly a decade of experience in the immigrant rights, police accountability, and labor rights movement. She was a senior attorney at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and attorney at the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice. She has represented immigrants in civil rights litigation against law enforcement abuse and labor exploitation, and worked with hundreds of directly impacted community members to stop their deportations.

Claudia Muñoz

Co-Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership

Claudia Muñoz is the Co-Executive Director of Grassroots Leadership, an organization dedicated to ending mass incarceration, deportation, criminalization, and prison profiteering.  From 2017 to 2020, she was the Immigration Program Director at Grassroots Leadership. She has worked as an organizer for various labor and immigrant rights organizations throughout the country.

Bakeyah Nelson

Air Alliance Houston

Operating as the Executive Director since 2017, Bakeyah works closely with the Board of Directors and staff to ensure that AAH’s mission is fulfilled through strategic planning, programs, and management. Previously, she led a consulting firm focused on advancing health equity and worked in Harris County Public Health’s Office of Policy and Planning where she was responsible for leading community health initiatives to reduce environmental inequities.

Raj Patel

Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs


Raj Patel is an award-winning author, film-maker and academic. He is a Research Professor in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin and a Senior Research Associate at the Unit for the Humanities at the university currently known as Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa.

Annette Price

Statewide Coordinator for Grassroots Leadership’s Texas Advocates for Justice

Annette Price is the Statewide Coordinator for Grassroots Leadership’s Texas Advocates for Justice. Born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, Price moved to Texas in 2007. She was released from the Illinois Department of Corrections in 2005 after serving 20 years, and in 2008, she was granted an early release from parole. She has been involved with reentry programs in Travis County since 2016, and she participated in writing a housing guide for apartment managers in 2018. She holds a double masters in Professional Counseling and Substance Abuse Counseling from Grand Canyon University.

Maya Ragsdale 

Movement Lawyer and Organizer

Ragsdale is a former Miami-Dade public defender, driven by a passion for the people she used to represent: poor, mostly Black defendants who have historically been railroaded by the U.S. penal system. Working with the Dream Defenders, she helped start the Free the Block campaign, which seeks to end pretrial detention and the use of cash bail.

Jorge Renaud

Director of Policy and Advocacy, SW Region at LatinoJustice PRLDEF


As a Policy Analyst at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Jorge authored dozens of bills in 2013 and 2015 that addressed Texas prison conditions and parole supervision. As a Senior Policy Analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative, he authored numerous studies examining ways to alleviate this country’s obsession with incarceration and disproportionate sentences. 

Maddie Seales

Criminal Defense Attorney and Former Student Organizer at Miami School of Law

At Miami Law, Maddie co-founded the Alternative Legal Theories Reading Group and served as a Senator in the Student Bar Association, Vice-President of the National Lawyers Guild, and Community Service Co-Chair of the Black Law Students Association. She organized with the Environmental Justice Clinic and the Society of Bar & Gavel to bring Law 4 Black Lives to campus to speak about prison/police abolition.

Elizabeth Sepper 

Professor at the University of Texas School of Law

Elizabeth Sepper is a professor at the University of Texas School of Law and a nationally recognized scholar of religious liberties, health law, and equality. Her recent work focuses on legal theoretical and policy debates related to the anti-discrimination obligations of public accommodations under federal, state, and local laws.

Azadeh Shahshahani 

Legal & Advocacy Director at Project South


Azadeh has worked for a number of years in the U.S. South to protect and defend immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities. She previously served as president of the National Lawyers Guild and as National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU of Georgia. Azadeh serves on the Advisory Council of the American Association of Jurists and on the Board of Directors of Defending Rights and Dissent.

Flint Taylor

People’s Law Office


G. Flint Taylor, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School, is a founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, government misconduct, and death penalty cases for 45 years. Among the landmark cases that Mr. Taylor has litigated are the Fred Hampton Black Panther case; the Greensboro, North Carolina case against the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis; the Ford Heights Four case in which four innocent men received a record $36 million settlement for their wrongful conviction and imprisonment; and a series of cases arising from a pattern and practice of police torture and cover-up by former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, former State’s Attorney Richard Devine, and numerous other police and government officials, five of which have been settled against the City of Chicago and Cook County for a total of approximately $26 million.

Caren E. Short 

Senior Staff Attorney at Southern Poverty Law Center

Caren works across the Deep South—mostly Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana—alongside community partners to mobilize voters, restore voting rights to people with felony convictions, pursue electoral policy reforms, and challenge discriminatory voting practices. Caren has worked as Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., as staff attorney in the Voter Protection Program of Advancement Project (Washington, DC), and clerked for the Honorable Robert J. Cordy on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Boston.

Oliver Telusma

Juris Doctorate Candidate at the Florida A&M University College of Law

Oliver Telusma is a spoken word poet, public speaker and Juris Doctorate Candidate at the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida in 2018, where he worked as a research coordinator for the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program for two years. His writing and work focus on critiquing legal and political systems of power that target marginalized communities, life as a member of the Black diaspora, Black male vulnerability, allyship from other marginalized identities, the American and global South.

Y. Frank Southall 

 Lead Organizer at the Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative

Y. Frank Southall is the Lead Organizer and Community Engagement Coordinator at the Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (JPNSI) in New Orleans, LA. At JPNSI, Southall manages the organization’s organizing and community engagement strategies. His primary organizing focuses are around evictions, renters’ rights and other matters related to housing justice.

In his free time, he serves as the elected representative for the 94th District on the Louisiana Democratic State Central Coordinating committee, is a co-founder of an emerging tool lending library in New Orleans and is on the board of directors for the New Orleans Food Cooperative. Southall studied Journalism and African-American Studies at the University of Cincinnati.

Riley Wilson

Law Student at Creighton University School of Law

Riley is currently a second year law student at Creighton University School of Law. Over the previous summer, he interned as a law clerk at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Nebraska and began volunteering as a legal observer during protests and demonstrations in Omaha.

Lucy Wood

Professor at the University of Texas School of Law

Professor Wood teaches in the fields of disability law and nonprofit law. She is the founder and director of the INCLUDE Disability Law Project at Texas Law, which allows students interested in disability law to build practical lawyering skills through the provision of direct legal services to persons with disability and their families. Prior to joining the faculty in 2010, Wood worked for a decade in direct legal services in the field of disability rights.

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