Board of Directors
James Early is the director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Prior to his work with the Smithsonian, Mr. Early was a public program officer at the National Endowment for Humanities in Washington, D.C. He was host of Ten Minutes Left, a weekly radio segment of cultural, educational, and political interviews and commentary at Howard University’s radio station. He is a former board member of TransAfrica, and a current board member of the U.S.-Cuba Cultural Exchange as well as the Institute for Policy Studies.
Danny Glover combines his acting career with a dedication to the common good. He is well-known for his film and television works, including the Lethal Weapon series, Beloved, To Sleep with Anger, and Freedom Song. He serves as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, works on behalf of AIDS victims in the U.S. and Africa, and helps a wide range of organizations advance the causes of civil rights and economic justice.
Frank Hammer has been a social justice activist for nearly 50 years. He spent the last 40 years in the labor movement as an autoworker and a member, elected officer, staff representative, and now retiree of the United Auto Workers. Frank was the former president of the Greenacres Woodward Civic Association in Detroit, and he currently represents the association as a member of the Michigan State Fairgrounds Advisory Committee. He is a lecturer in the Labor Studies Programs at Wayne State and Indiana Universities. He’s a board member of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, an activist with South East Michigan Jobs with Justice, the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW-UAW), and the Autoworker Caravan.
Paul Jay is the CEO and senior editor of The Real News Network. He has overseen the production of over 7,000 news stories and is the host of TRNN news analysis programming. Previously, he was executive producer of CBC Newsworld’s independent flagship debate show CounterSpin for its 10 years on air. He is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with over 20 films under his belt, including Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows; Return to Kandahar; and Never-Endum-Referendum. He was the founding chair of Hot Docs!, the Canadian International Documentary Film Festival and now the largest such festival in North America.
Baruti N. Kopano, Ph.D. is chair of the Department of Multiplatform Production and associate professor in the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University. He teaches courses in mass media law, African American rhetoric and communication, radio station operations, management, programming, and finance. Before joining the Morgan faculty in 2005, he was an associate professor of mass communications and co-director of the Black Studies Program at Delaware State University.
Robert Lang is the founder and president of Toronto-based Kensington Communications, a television production company with an established international reputation for ground-breaking documentary specials, innovative factual series, and interactive digital media productions. He is a documentary filmmaker, a founding member of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), and the founder of the Crosscurrents Documentary Fund at Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival.
Treasurer-Secretary Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer, journalist, and activist. After working in the New York and Paris offices of a major Wall Street law firm, Dimitri became a class action lawyer in Canada. His practice focused on shareholder rights, environmental wrongs, and human rights. In 2012, Canadian Lawyer Magazine named him one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine named him one of the 50 most influential persons in Canadian business. Dimitri ran as a Green Party candidate in Canada’s 2015 federal election and has served as the Justice Critic in the Green Party of Canada’s shadow cabinet.
Robert Lee is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a master’s degree in Japanese literature. After graduating from the University of Texas Law School, he worked as a lawyer with Baker & McKenzie. In 1984, he founded his own firm with offices in Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. His clients are mainly Japanese and Chinese companies doing business in the region.
Susan Nestadt is the founder of ULUNTU, a centre for early childhood education and services for young, vulnerable parents in Baltimore. She serves on the Board of Safe and Sound Campaign, the Baltimore Outreach Center for Homeless Women and Children, and the Baltimore Streetcar Campaign. Previously, she worked for Catholic Charities Sex Abuse Unit for over 20 years. Susan has a BA from University of Witwatersrand in early childhood education, an MSc from Goucher College in dance therapy, an M.Sc. from Johns Hopkins University in special education, and an MSW from University of Maryland in social work.
A. Dwight Pettit has been practicing law since 1970, when he began his career as a trial attorney for the Small Business Administration under President Richard Nixon. During his time with the SBA, he litigated the landmark case Pettit v. United States, which established precedent for back pay awards in discrimination cases. Pettit left the SBA in 1973 to form his own law firm with three other attorneys and then later established his own practice. He has handled many high-profile criminal and civil cases such as Scott v. Sutton Place (1977), which determined Maryland landlords responsible for criminal activity occurring on their property. Pettit won his first million-dollar judgment against the Washington, D.C. Transit Authority in a 1983 accident case. Pettit now lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.
Kendrick Sampson is an actor and activist using his social media presence to introduce a mass audience to social justice movements. Most important to him is “Doing the work that nobody sees,”—grassroots organizing and engaging communities in open debate about how to end systemic oppression. He stands for economic and social justice with communities on the ground, from the campgrounds of Standing Rock to the organizing spaces of Black Lives Matter.
T. M. Scruggs is an ethnomusicologist whose geographical specialty is Latin America and the Caribbean. He taught at the University of Iowa from 1994 to 2009, as well as universities in Nicaragua and Venezuela. He now lives in Berkeley, California.
Makani Themba is chief strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies, based in Detroit, Michigan. A social justice innovator and pioneer in the field of change communications and narrative strategy, she has spent more than 20 years supporting organizations, coalitions, and philanthropic institutions with her work. Previously, Makani served as the founder and executive director of The Praxis Project, a nonprofit that helps communities use media and policy advocacy to advance health justice. Makani is author of Making Policy, Making Change and coauthor of Talking the Walk: Communications Guide for Racial Justice along with Hunter Cutting. Her latest book is Fair Game: A Strategy Guide for Racial Justice Communications in the Obama Era.