Meet the passionate and dedicated team behind SpeakOut, who are on a mission to create positive change through education, storytelling, and activism.
Co-Executive Director/Speaker Agent
Jean founded SpeakOut in 1990 after years of activism in the anti-war, labor, Central American solidarity, and farmworker movements. She worked for the United Farmworkers (UFW), organizing Cesar Chavez's speaking tours. She holds a Masters in Poetics and has also worked as a Program Officer in the foundation world, focusing on water issues. She also does anti-racism work with SURJ (Showing up for Racial Justice).
Shavonnee is an experienced organizational leader and advocate for women and girls, racial justice, and education. She is an Oakland, CA native whose work centers the intersections of race, gender, socio-economic status and educational opportunity. Over the years, Shavonnee has diligently worked to build systems that increase access and retention of students of color in higher education. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Education Studies from UCLA. She also holds a Master's in Public Administration with a focus on Policy Analysis and Public Management from Cal State East Bay. Shavonnee also cares deeply about prioritizing mental health and self-care. You can often find her dancing, writing, cooking, or in the ocean.
Amalia Mesa is a creative producer and community leader who has a passion for elevating overlooked talent and stories, Amalia has a background in producing, event planning, and the social impact sector. She has worked with community organizations and in the film and TV industry, and has produced or associate produced several short films dealing with contemporary social, cultural, and political issues. Amalia's most recent project is the short film, "The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night," which premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival and has screened at over 50 film festivals worldwide.
Felicia is a long-time activist in racial justice, labor, international solidarity, and peace movements. She is also a writer, poet, and blogger. She co-edited two SpeakOut publications, Crash Course: Reflections on the Film Crash for Critical Dialogues about Race, Power and Privilege and Turning the Tide: Challenging the Right on Campus. She is currently working on several book projects including a memoir, one about living in Cuba where she worked for a decade as an award-winning journalist, an exploration of the history of the Americas through 300 years of family journeys from three islands – Cuba, Sicily, and the Channel Isle of Jersey, and a collection of poetry. Felicia does anti-racism work with SURJ Bay Area.
Muna is a Palestinian Muslim Organizer & Advocate with a strong background in policy, (J)DEI and operations. She currently serves as a Speakers Agent at Speakout, where she identifies and represents diverse and engaging speakers for a variety of events. Prior to joining Speakout, Muna led operations at SHIFT Consulting and The Institute for Middle East Understanding. Her advocacy work includes serving as an Organizer for Amnesty International USA and Campaign Director for MSA West. Muna is also a co-founder of the national Anti-CVE coalition, where she worked to combat and prevent the harmful effects of surveillance and discrimination. She holds a Masters in Public Policy & Non-Profit Administration and is dedicated to using her skills and expertise to make a lasting impact on the world.
Marisol is passionate about social justice and dedicated to contributing to a world that will be equitable for all. These values guide her career, education, and personal life. Previously, Marisol served as femtor/mentor to young girls through Girls Inc., guiding them to navigate the world around them. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Diverse Community Development Leadership, Marisol aims to understand people both individually and in community. She’s especially enthusiastic about creating community and helping communities of the global majority flourish. When she’s not at SpeakOut, Marisol may be out hiking, trying new restaurants, hanging with friends, volunteering at local events, or shopping at a local market to support small, homegrown businesses.
Dr. Nolan L. Cabrera
Nolan L. Cabrera, PhD, is a professor in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona. He studies racial dynamics on college campuses, and is an expert on race, whiteness, and ethnic studies. Nolan is the author of the multiple-award winning book, White Guys on Campus: White Immunity, and the Myth of "Post-Racial" Higher Education, was also an expert witness in the highest profile Ethnic Studies litigation in the country's history (Arce v. Douglass) and was the only academic featured in the MTV documentary, "White People."
Orpheus is the President and Founder of StrateGenius and has over 25 years of experience working in and with independent schools across the country and globally. His career has been devoted to helping independent schools work towards equity and inclusion, diversifying and training their personnel and boards, as well as cultivating and mentoring diverse educators for success and leadership. He is presently on two independent school boards and has served on six others. He has a BA from UC Berkeley and Master’s work ABD in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco.
Dr. Charlotte E. Davidson
Charlotte E. Davidson (Diné/Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara) is the director of the Native American House at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She received a B.A. in American Indian Studies from Haskell Indian Nations University and earned her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from UIUC. She has over 15 years of leadership experience and in her work, she draws from Diné decolonizing pedagogies, Diné matrilineal sensibilities, and place-based relationalities to create empowering university contexts for Native student populations. She is a published author and presents nationally on issues important to Indigenous communities in higher ed.
Jeanine is a seasoned nonprofit professional, fund development specialist, adjunct professor, public speaker, and education and arts advocate with over 25 years experience leading social impact organizations and cultivating alliances. She has served as an Artistic Director, Development Director and Chief Philan-thropy Officer as well as Program Director and Social Enterprise Entrepreneur. Jeanine holds a M.A. in Organizational and Nonprofit Management from Antioch University, Los Angeles and is a Certified Nonprofit Professional.
X is an Afro-Latinx queer techie and Army veteran, currently working as Product Manager, for Responsible AI at Google AI, developing and leading global outreach, partnership, and community development strategy to prevent unfair and unconscious bias in artificial intelligence and to ensure AI is built to benefit (not harm) society. They previously worked at Microsoft and have a BA in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley.
Dr. Andrew Jolivette
Andrew is Professor and Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies and Senior Specialist in Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of California, San Diego. An accomplished educator, writer, speaker, and social/cultural critic, he is the author or editor of eight books. His work spans many arenas-public health, cultural representation in Native America, critical mixed-race movement building, LGBT/Queer community of color identity issues, and AIDS disparities within Indigenous and people of color communities.
Krishna is an actor and digital media producer who has leveraged social media to expose his work to a global audience. Millions of views later, he has been published by many sources, including USC, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post. He recently pioneered a media school to give other actors the power to create their own studio quality media (www.krishnathekumar.com). Krishna focuses on creating comedic stories that teach lessons about self-acceptance and social awareness and is elated to continue this work as a Board Member at SpeakOut. As an actor, he is know for"Boyfriends" (2016), "Pinky and Rupesh" (2012), and currently, you can catch him on Nickelodeon's "Danger Force." He graduated from UCLA'.
Sedelta (Three Affiliated/Cherokee) is a Senior Pro-gram/Policy Analyst/Specialist (American Indian/ Alaska Native Liaison) with the National Education Association (NEA) where she manages the American Indian/Alaska Native portfolio and serves as a lead on racial justice in education. Previously, she served as Senior Adviso/Acting Deputy Director for the Office of Tribal Relations in the U.S. Department of Agri-culture; before that, she was the Associate Director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaskan Native Education. Sedelta has also served the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma as Special Projects Officer and Student Programs Coordinator in the Center for Tribal Studies at Northeastern State Uni-versity. She earned a B.A. in Public Affairs and Admin-istration and a M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education from the University of Oklahoma.
Davi is an advocate for racial justice, women's rights and children's mental health. For over 10 years, Davi has passionately worked with organizations such as Great Life Mentoring, Washington State Juvenile Rehab Mentorship Program, FosterClub, and Musi-cians in Solidarity. Almost all of her professional career has been in growth marketing, specifically with start ups and early-stage companies. She currently serves as the Director of Demand Generation for a tech company based out of the Bay Area. Davi earned her B.A. in Sociology from UCLA. She is also an acclaimed vocalist for Davi & The Fuzz, a Portland OR-based band that performs Motown, blues, and funk with a soulful, jazzy twist.
Hugh is a Senior Associate at the National Equity Project, supporting campuses, school districts, and organizations to plan and implement racial equity initiatives. He is also a partner with the Center for Diversity Leadership and the founder of Oakland's Todos Institute. Vasquez was a primary cast member in the award-winning film, "The Color of Fear," and co-authored the four-volume curriculum, Lessons from The Color of Fear. He has also co-authored several books on unlearning oppression and building multi-cultural alliances. He has also published numerous articles on strengthening cultural roots and eliminating privileged systems. Hugh earned his Masters Degree in Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.