UNAC Conference 2020

Speakers

Suzanne Adely is a Global Labor and Human Rights Lawyer and Organizer. She has worked on several labor and human rights projects in the United States, India, Egypt, and Turkey, in various capacities. Former India Project Coordinator of the United Auto Workers, Global Organizing Institute and has worked as a researcher and organizer with the International Commission for Labor Rights. Adeley is on the bureau of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the a National Lawyers Guild International co-chair. She is the daughter of Arab Teamsters.

Pam Africa is the Minister of Confrontation of the MOVE Organization and coordinates the International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia-based organization at the center of the international movement seeking Mumia Abu-Jamal’s release. Pam Africa is the courageous dynamo who most Philadelphia police, prosecutors and politicians love to hate because of her determined advocacy on behalf of imprisoned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and the finally released MOVE 9 members. Pam is on “front lines” nationwide fighting for end mass incarceration and systematic police violence.

Lana Akindes is an organizer with Students for a Democratic Society at UW-Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She is also an active member of the Coalition to March on the DNC, a progressive, left-led coalition uniting a broad range of organizations to march on the Democratic National Convention this July. Lana is involved with many actions and campaigns in her area. These include an Anti-Trump rally, the Global Day of Protest: No War in Iran, and the Free Chrystul Kizer Campaign.

Bahman Azad  is an Iranian-American peace activist who has been involved in the struggle for peace and justice in the United States and around the world since 1970s.  Bahman is the Executive Secretary of the U.S. Peace Council, a representative of the World Peace Council at the United Nations, and a member of the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC). He is also serving as Co-Chair of Venezuelan Embassy Protectors Defense Committee; Coordinator of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases and the Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases; Co-Coordinator of the Hands Off Syria Coalition, and the People’s Mobilization; Chair of Iran Working Group of Veterans For Peace.

Ajamu Baraka  is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket. Ajamu is on the administrative committee of the United National Antiwar Movement.  He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report and contributing columnist for Counterpunch. His latest publications include contributions to “Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi”. A human rights defender whose experience spans four decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles.

Pippa Bartolotti  is a long time peace and justice campaigner who has been leader of the Wales Green Party and energetic climate change campaigner with Extinction Rebellion.
She has driven a convoy of humanitarian aid across Europe to Gaza, been imprisoned in Israel whilst on her way to the West Bank, and has lived for extended spells in Cuba.
Among many other commitments, she has been a guest of the Tibetan Government in Exile in North India, and an international observer documenting the rise of fascism in Ukraine.
As a human rights campaigner, feminist and Clifi writer, Pippa Bartolotti has spoken publicly on many diverse platforms. Her latest book, ‘BARBARIAN’, explores the dynamics of a post dystopian climate change world.

Judy Bello  is on the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC),  a founding member of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars and a member of the board of Syria Solidarity Movement and One Democratic State of Palestine. She administers and moderates the UNAC blog, a website for One Democratic State of Palestine (ODSP), and for Upstate Drone Action; and she writes analysis articles when she has the time. In the previous decade she has traveled with Peace Delegations to Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.  

Medea Benjamin is the co-founder and director of the dynamic peace and justice organization Code Pink. She is also a leader of the fair-trade advocacy group, Global Exchange. She is the author of a number of books articles on political issues and has organized tours to many countries that have been under attack by the US.

 

Alison Bodine  is the Chair of Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO), antiwar coalition in Vancouver, Canada and a centralvorganizer with the Vancouver grassroots climate justice coalition Climate Convergence. Climate Convergence is a leading organization in the ongoing struggle against planet destroying pipeline and resource extraction projects.

Adrian Bonifacio is the national chairperson of Anakbayan-USA (AB-USA), a grassroots organization of Filipino youth fighting for genuine liberation and democracy in the Philippines. He is also a secretariat member of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle Youth Commission, a network of anti-imperialist youth organizations in countries all over the world, from Indonesia, to Zambia, to Mexico. Since being elected chairperson of AB-USA in 2016, he has helped build the organization’s collective capacity to wage campaigns against the militarization of U.S. education budgets, to defend ancestral lands of indigenous peoples in the Philippines, and to oust the fascist Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte.

Carly Brook is from Seattle, WA and is the general secretary of the Seattle/Tacoma chapter of theInternational League of People’s Struggles. Carly works as the organizer for Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility’s nuclear weapons abolition program. Carly has learned from and organized with ILPS, One America, the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and La Resistencia.

Frank Chapman, the Co-Chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. He spent many years in prison where he organized and fought against discriminatory practices with the prison system and studied Marxist ideas. Chapman considered himself a political prisoner and was eventually released due to a national defense effort. He spent a number of years as a member of the Communist Party and today is a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Jill Clark-Gollub is from a Nicaraguan-American family and lives in the U.S. When violent protests broke out in Nicaragua in the spring of 2018, she began devoting attention and energy to the story of the Nicaraguan people, rekindling old family ties and making new connections. Since then Jill has attended two delegations to Nicaragua, including one that she led in January 2020 for Friends of Latin America, a Maryland-based group that advocates for justice, peace, and self-determination.

Omowale Clay is a spokesman of the December 12th International Secretariat based in New York. The December 12th Movement is an anti-imperialist organization in solidarity with the national liberation struggles in Africa and has focused on solidarity and ending the sanctions on Zimbabwe.

 

Bernadette Ellorin  is the national spokesperson of the US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, the main political center for the anti-imperialist mass movement in the Philippines the forefront of the struggle for national democracy with a socialist perspective. Ellorin also serves as Vice-Chairperson for North America for the International League of Peoples Struggle or ILPS, a global anti-imperialist and democratic formation of 300 members present in over 40 countries representing national and social liberation movements against imperialism and reaction.

Taryn Fivek is a southern transplant to New York City via many other places, where she is active in struggles against racism, sexism, U.S. imperialism, anti-LGBTQ oppression and austerity, as well as a proud labor activist in her union. She is an adjunct lecturer in economics and PhD student in geography at the City University of New York

 

Sara Flounders is an American political writer who has been active in ‘progressive’ and anti-war organizing since the 1960s.  Sara is Co-Director of the International Action Center (IAC), and on the Coordinating Committee of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases and the Sanctions Kill Campaign. She also frequently writes for Workers World newspaper and publishes articles on the International Action Center website.

Margaret Flowers is a social justice organizer in Baltimore Maryland.  She and Kevin Zeese maintain the Popular Resistance website and have a weekly radio show and podcast called Clearing the Fog.  She leads the national movement for Single Payer Healthcare in the US and opposition to the TPP.  She is a member of the final 4 Embassy Protectors whose recent trial resulted in a hung jury and was declared a mistrial.

Glen Ford is Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report, the weekly Black left magazine of news, commentary and analysis, which he co-founded in 2006 with Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberley. A lifelong activist, Ford has worked as a broadcast and print journalist since 1970. He is author of “The Big Lie: Analysis of U.S. Press Coverage of the Grenada Invasion”. Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

Clare Grady is a member of the Kingsbay Plowshares 7, a group of Catholic Workers who entered the US Naval Base at Kingsbay, Georgia where they painted antiwar messages on nuclear silos and monuments to nuclear weapons with their own blood. They are facing long prison sentences for their actions. Since taking part in the Griffiss Plowshares Action with six friends in 1983, and disarming a B-52 bomber, outfitted to carry first strike cruise missiles, she sees Plowshares actions as sacramental;outward signs of inward and spiritual divine grace.

Carl Grossman is an award winning journalist and a preeminent resource on the weaponization of space. He’s professor of journalism at State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, and author of the books “Weapons in Space” and “The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet”, among others. He’s also a longtime associate of FAIR.

Danny Haiphong is Contributing Editor for Black Agenda Report. His work has also appeared in independent media outlets such as The American Herald Tribune, CounterPunch, and MintPressNews. He is the co-author of the recently released book, American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News-From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror.

 

Cheri Honkala: is a nationally and internationally recognized anti-poverty and human rights advocate. She is the co- founder and National Organizer of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. For the past 25 years she has dedicated her life to creating a movement led by the poor themselves.

Margaret Kimberley is a co-founder of Black Agenda Report and has been Editor and Senior Columnist since its inception in 2006. Her first book, Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents, was recently published by Steerforth Press. She serves on the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and on the Coordinating Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP). She is a contributor to the OR Books anthology, In Defense of Julian Assange. She has also produced original work for Consortium News, Counterpunch, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Herald Tribune. Ms. Kimberley was a contributor to the 2014 book Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence. She is a regular guest on radio and internet talk shows and has appeared on Al Jazeera English, RT, WBAI, WPFW, KPFK, KPFA, Sputnik News, Presstv Iran, The Real News Network, and Govorit Moskva (Moscow Voice Radio).

Cassia Laham is a public school teacher in South Florida and long-time activist in the Florida anti-war movement. She co-founded the University of Florida chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine in 2009 and was a lead organizer with UF Students for a Democratic Society, which organized against racial violence and discrimination on campus. She co-founded the South Florida anti-war group People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR) in 2012, which has been organizing against US-led and US- funded aggression throughout the world, including Palestine, Syria, Iran, and Venezuela, as well as the annual March to Close Guantanamo Bay at the gates of US Southern Command. Cassia has served on the United National Antiwar Coalition administrative committee for five years.

Siu Hin Lee  is a long-time Chinese immigrant activist in the US, holding two Maxter degrees (MS Aerospace engineering, MPA) from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; a long-time undocumented sweatshop worker from the Downtown Los Angeles. He has nearly 50 years of activism experience around the World. He’sa long-time Pacifica reporter & war correspondent in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Angola and Mozambique for 15 years. He’s currently the community, peace and immigrant rights activist, the national coordinator of the National Immigrant Solidarity Network, Action LA and China-US Solidarity Network; for the past 20 years frequently travel between China and US for building bi-national activist solidarity coalition. In China he’s working on the medical project and the director of the e-Medial Association in Beijing. He recently organized two US activists’ delegations to China, meetings with Chinese activists and visited China’s Xinjiang region. Based on his work, he knows many people involved in the current coronavirus medical works in China and Wuhan, with first-hand information from the region.

Joe Lombardo  is a longtime peace and justice activist. He is the co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) and a former staff person for the Vietnam era National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC). He has been a lifelong trade union activist and is a member of the Troy Area Labor Council. He has written many articles on political issues and is a frequent commentator on TV and radio programs.

Jeff Mackler is a founder and Administrative Committee member of UNAC. He is the director of the Northern California-based Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Author of 25 books and pamphlets on economics, U.S. foreign policy, the impending climate catastrophe and social justice issues, Mackler is the National Secretary of Socialist Action and Socialist Action’s 2020 candidate for the U.S. presidency.

Abigail Suzanne (Abby) Martin  is an American journalist and TV presenter. She hosted Breaking the Set on the Russian network RT America from 2012 to 2015. In 2015, Martin launched the investigative documentary and interview series The Empire Files, originally hosted by Telesur.

Ray McGovern  is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). He cut his analyst teeth on Russia’s policy toward China in the 60s. In the early 70s he led CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Ray conducted the one-on-one morning briefings of the President’s Daily Brief from 1981-84. As Cold War 1 ended, Ray took early retirement. He now speaks/writes about artificially stoked, highly dangerous Cold War 2. He enjoys music and publicly confronting liars like Rumsfeld, Clinton, Mueller, and Clapper.

Camilo Mejia Iraq war veteran and resister, Camilo Mejia was born in 1975 in Managua, Nicaragua but moved to the United States at an early age. At age nineteen he joined the military and served for 3 1/2 years as an active duty infantryman. In 2003, a few months short of concluding his eight-year military term as a National Guardsman in Florida, he was stop-lossed and sent to war in the Middle East, serving two months in Jordan, and five months in active combat in Iraq, including in the al Asad detention center where detainees were routinely tortured. During two-week furlough at home, Camilo refused redeployment to his unit in Iraq, choosing instead to publicly declare himself a conscientious objector and to decry the war as an immoral, criminal war of aggression. As a result of his public stance he became an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience after being court-martialed and jailed for desertion.

Following 9 months of incarceration in Fort Sill military prison in Oklahoma. Camilo was released in February of 2005 and became a writer, speaker, and activist in the military resistance movement. In 2007 Camilo’s memoir, Road from ar Ramadi the Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia was published, and he has since used his writings and experiences to educate people about the devastating impacts of war. Camilo lives in Miami and continues to actively speak out against US imperialist wars and meddling in the affairs of other countries, including his native Nicaragua.

Moira Melzer-Cohen  Her law practice focuses on using the courts in the struggle for meaningful justice, including helping people to win parole release, advocating for health care for elderly or trans people who are incarcerated, and fighting criminal or civil charges brought against members of the press, protesters, grand jury resisters, and individuals alleged to have engaged in terrorist activity based on their political beliefs.  After doing Know Your Rights education for protesters during Occupy Wall Street, she helped to found Just Info, a free 24-hour hotline that provides the same kind of legal information, service referrals, and community organizing connections to all people in the five boroughs. She is also a founding member of Mutant Legal, a collective devoted to popular education on matters of legal import, including community legal organizing. Melzer-Cohen currently serves as Chelsea Manning’s Lawyer

Makasi Motema Makasi Motema is an organizer with Peoples Power Assemblies NYC. Makasi has organized against police brutality, the prison industrial complex, and the US war machine.

Diane Moxley  is an activist and an attorney. As a member of the Green Party of New Jersey, she is in a state leadership capacity on the Green Council. She embraces the Green Party platform of people, planet, and peace over profit. Diane was a legal services attorney in Newark, NJ for over 14 years. She has been involved with activism in New Jersey and across the country, including getting money out of politics, fighting pipelines and fossil fuels, advocating for healthcare for all, fighting for immigrants’ rights and economic justice. She has stood against racism, imperialism, the military industrial complex, mass incarceration, and more. Diane currently organizes with Extinction Rebellion (with a focus on environmental justice communities) and The Peace Congress in NJ. She is on the Board of Directors of the March on the Pentagon. She is also a member of the U.S. Peace Council, as well as member of Socialist Party.

K. J. Noh is a journalist, scholar, and peace activist focusing on the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region.  He is a member of Veterans for Peace. He writes for Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, and reports for local and international media.

Kim Ortiz  is a activist organizer who has over 10 years of experience of mobilizing the public for change. Most currently, Kim is a co-founder of NYC Shut it Down a abolitionist group bringing awareness to police violence and helping impacted communities achieve self determination. Kim is also the Women’s Division President of Copwatch NYC, a group that protects communities of color by filming the police and leading Know Your Rights trainings to youth.

Jean-Luc Pierite Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Jean-Luc Pierite (Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana) now resides in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Jean-Luc serves as President of the Board of Directors for the North American Indian Center of Boston. Jean-Luc serves on the Community Linguist seat of the Advisory Circle for The Institute on Collaborative Language Research or “CoLang” for the period 2016-20. Jean-Luc volunteers with his Tribe’s Language and Culture Revitalization Program which is a collaboration with Tulane University in New Orleans. Jean-Luc is the International Procurement and Logistics Manager for The Fab Foundation, a US non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that emerged from MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms Fab Lab Program. Jean-Luc has a B.A. in Humanities with a co-major in Mass Communication and Japanese from Dillard University in New Orleans. He also earned an A.S. in Video Game Design from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida.

Rhonda Ramiro  has been an organizer in the movement for National Democracy in the Philippines since the 1990s. Rhonda was a founder of BAYAN-USA in 2005, establishing the first overseas chapter of the Philippines-based Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (“New Patriotic Alliance” or BAYAN for short), a nationwide, multi-sectoral alliance of over a thousand grassroots peoples’ organizations in the Philippines, fighting for national and social liberation. Rhonda is currently the Chair of BAYAN-USA, a member of the International Coordinating Committee of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, and a member of the Administrative Committee of the United National Anti-War Coalition.

Juyeon Rhees came to the US from South Korea in 1989, and is a first generation Korean immigrant grassroots organizer whose work is focused on de-militarization, peace and unification in Korea. She has been a member of Nodutdol for Korean Community Development since 2000. Rhees has been a Program Coordinator of Education and Exposure Programs at Nodutdol since 2002. She came to the United States from South Korea in 1989 “as an immigrant

Nuri Ronaghy Was a member of Young Communist League (Tudeh Party), age 10 to 13.  After the CIA Coup d’etat and the Shah’s repression her family was forced to migrate to the US (No one wants to leave her/his home land/culture). Received her Bachelors degree in English Literature in Iran. She moved to the US in 1967 with two little children 6 months and 3 years old. She got her Masters in Economics from the University of Wisconsin. She was member of the Iranian Student Association in New York, She was active in the American-Soviet Friendship Society nationwide and organized a delegation to the Soviet Union of city and state officials from Wisconsin. She is a 50-year member of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Was member of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, NY Returning to Iran to attend her father’s funeral, with the help of the CIA she was put in solitary confinement in SAVAK’s infamous Evin Prison during Shah. Masters of Medical Records Administration from the Medical College of Virginia. Established organization of Free Palestine (in Hawaii) and founder of Education Not Incarceration in Oakland. She is co-founder of the US Department of Peace. Member of the Party of Communists and leads the Women’s Commission. Revived Women for Racial and Economic Equality.

Yasmeen Silva  is the partnerships Manager for Beyond the Bomb. As such, she has represented Beyond the Bomb in key coalitions, advocacy groups and allied organization. She has worked on eliminating gender biases, violence and human rights abuses both in the US and worldwide.

Alice Slater  serves on the Board of World Beyond War and is a UN NGO Representative of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. She is on the Board of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, the Global Council of Abolition 2000, and the Advisory Board of Nuclear Ban-US, supporting the mission of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons which won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in realizing the successful UN negotiations for a Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. She began her long quest for peace on earth as a suburban housewife, when she organized Eugene McCarthy’s presidential challenge to Johnson’s illegal war in Vietnam in her local community. As a member of the Lawyers Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control she travelled to Russia and China on numerous delegations engaged in ending the arms race and banning the bomb. She is a member of the NYC Bar Association and served on the People’s Climate Committee-NYC, working for 100% Green Energy by 2030 . She has written numerous articles and op-eds, with frequent appearances on local and national media.

Michael Steven Smith  is a retired New York City attorney now repurposed as the cohost of the nationally broadcast radio show “Law and Disorder“. His most recent book is “ Lawyers for the Left: In the Courts, in the Streets, and on the Air”

Rosa Maria de la Torres is an Organizer with FIRE – Fight for Im/Migrants and Refugees Everywhere. She is a community activist, for many years a program coordinator of the Chelsea Housing Group at Hudson Guild and a coordinator of annual May Day March in NYC. Rosa Maria also teaches community interpreting and translation training at The Peoples Forum

Mara Verheyden Hilliard is a co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF), a nonprofit progressive legal organization based in Washington, D.C. The Partnership is known for litigating on behalf of protesters in First Amendment cases. It has frequently sued the District of Columbia government and D.C. police department. In addition to its litigation work in the courts, the Partnership also pursues freedom of information requests to obtain public records relating to police surveillance of activist groups.

Scott Williams  is an organizer with the International Workers Solidarity Network and the International Action Center in Philadelphia. He helped organize major demonstrations at the 2016 DNC in Philadelphia and is currently organizing for major events at the RNC in Charlotte in August 2020. He is a member of the Philadelphia Joint Board – Workers United and is a lifelong antiwar organizer.

Ann Wright  is a retired US Army Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.  She is a co-coordinator of US Boats to Gaza and has travelled to North Korea, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nicaragua and Cuba on Peace Missions.  She is a member of Veterans for Peace and of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Yousef Zakaria is a Qatar University International Affairs graduate who had worked on a grant by Qatar National Research Fund to Propose Criminalizing Domestic Violence in Qatar. His background and interests are human trafficking, socioeconomic inequality and youth empowerment. He currently works at Global Kids and on the Sanctions Kill international campaign.

Kevin Zeese is an American lawyer and political activist who has worked on a wide range of issues beginning with ending the war on drugs and mass incarceration, including helping to organize the 2011 Occupy encampment in Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza and supporting Chelsea Manning. He currently serves as co-director of Popular Resistance.  He is a member of the final 4 Embassy Protectors whose recent trial resulted in a hung jury and was declared a mistrial.

Shaka Zulu is a lifelong resident of the Newark, New Jersey area. He is a former political prisoner; having served over 20 years in the enemy prison where he became well versed in political theory and revolutionary science. During his captivity he co-founded the New African Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter in addition to the Party’s mass organization, The United Panther Movement and has served as the Chairman of both entities since their founding in 2005 and 2007 respectively. He has written extensively on the subjects of political economy, sociology, capitalism, white supremacy and mass incarceration.