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Mayor Michael Tubbs

Opening Plenary Speaker

On November 8, 2016, Tubbs was elected to serve as mayor of the City of Stockton. Upon taking his office in January 2017, Michael is Stockton’s youngest mayor and the city’s first Black mayor. Michael Tubbs is also the youngest mayor in the nation representing a city with over 100,000 residents. Michael Tubbs has served as Stockton, California’s, District 6 City Councilmember since 2013. Elected at age 22, he became one of the youngest City Councilmembers in the nation. He overcame adversity to rise to this position, having been born to an incarcerated father and teenage mother in Stockton, a place once designated one of America’s most dangerous cities. As a youth, Michael excelled in school and obtained a full scholarship to Stanford University, where he graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with honors. As a Councilmember, Michael has focused on poverty reduction, community engagement and organizing, and collective impact strategies and he is working to deepen his impact as mayor. He was also a Fellow at the Stanford Institute of Design (Stanford School).

Nusrat Choudhury

Panel 1 (Moderator), 2017 SAOC Bullard Award Recipient

Nusrat Choudhury is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Racial Justice Program (RJP) of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she pursues litigation and advocacy against racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.  Her work challenges biased policing, abusive stop-and-frisk practices, and “debtors’ prisons”- the illegal arrest and jailing of people too poor to pay court fines and fees. Ms. Choudhury has successfully brought legal challenges against debtors’ prisons in Georgia, Mississippi and Washington, including as lead counsel in Thompson v. DeKalb County, Georgia and Kennedy v. The City of Biloxi, Mississippi, which resulted in significant reforms to protect the rights of poor people unable to pay court fines and fees. She is also a lead counsel in Collins v. The City of Milwaukee, which challenges racial profiling and illegal stop-and-frisk practices by the Milwaukee Police Department.  Previously, Ms. Choudhury was a staff attorney in the ACLU’s National Security Project, where she challenged post-9/11 profiling of racial and religious minorities, government watchlists, FBI misconduct and abuse, and secrecy over intelligence programs.  Ms. Choudhury was a lead attorney in Latif v. Holder (D. Or.), which resulted in the first federal court ruling that the U.S. government’s administration of the No Fly List violated due process and required reform.  Ms. Choudhury previously served as a Karpatkin Fellow in RJP and clerked for Judge Barrington D. Parker in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Denise Cote in the Southern District of New York.  Ms. Choudhury completed her J.D. at Yale Law School, her M.P.A. at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and her B.A. at Columbia University.  She is a recipient and former Trustee of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans.  Ms. Choudhury is also a recipient of the South Asian Bar Association of New York Access to Justice Award.

Angel Padilla

Panel 1

Angel Padilla is one of the original authors of the Indivisible Guide and a co-founder of the Indivisible Project. Indivisible's mission is to empower constituents to do effective congressional advocacy in order to stop the Trump Agenda. His work through Indivisible is entirely as an unpaid volunteer. Angel also works for the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) leading its federal health care policy. He previously worked as a legislative assistant for Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), advising on issues related to health care and the Affordable Care Act, among others. Mr. Padilla also has interned with the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council and the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree from Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Daniel Harawa

Panel 1

Daniel Harawa is an honors graduate of the University of Richmond and Georgetown University Law Center.  At Georgetown, Daniel served as an Executive Editor for the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics and was President of the Black Law Students Association. After law school, Daniel clerked for the Honorable Roger L. Gregory, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and then joined the D.C. office of Covington & Burling LLP as a litigation associate.  Daniel is currently a staff attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, serving in the agency’s Appellate Division, where he primarily represents indigent persons before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  In 2016, Forbes Magazine named Daniel one of the “Top 30 Under 30” for law and policy. 

Daniel Gillion

Panel 1

Daniel Q. Gillion is the Presidential Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Gillion completed his Ph.D. at the University of Rochester, where he was the distinguished Provost Fellow. He later went on to become the Ford Foundation Fellow and the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Harvard University as well as the CSDP Research Scholar at Princeton. His research interests focuses on racial and ethnic politics, political behavior, political institutions, public policy, and the American presidency. Professor Gillion is the author of The Political Power of Protest: Minority Activism and Shifts in Public Policy (Cambridge University Press), which was the winner of the 2014 Best Book Award from the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. He is also the author of the recently completed book Governing with Words: The Political Dialogue on Race, Public Policy, and Inequality in America (Cambridge University Press), which won the 2017 W.E.B. Du Bois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. Professor Gillion’s research has also been published in the academic journals Journal of Politics, Electoral Studies, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, and the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law as well as in the edited volumes of Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior.


Ambassador James Gadsden

Panel 2 (Moderator)

Ambassador James Gadsden is Senior Counselor for International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, with responsibility for both advising on the development of new programs and providing counsel and guidance for the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowships. Ambassador Gadsden, formerly Diplomat-in-Residence and Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, served as U.S. Ambassador to Iceland from 2002 until 2005. He completed his undergraduate degree in economics at Harvard University, followed by a master’s degree in East Asian Studies at Stanford University and further graduate work in economics at Princeton. (source: The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation)

Toni De Mello

Panel 2

Tanya (Toni) De Mello started as an economist, working in business in the day and in the community at night. After working as a Management Consultant for several years and co-founding two local NGOs in her free time, Toni came to WWS. She left the Woo to work in peace building, through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva and later in the UNHCR Field Office for Emergency Relief through the UN World Food Programme (WFP). She is now a human rights lawyer and she is currently working in the civil rights realm as the Director of Human Rights at Ryerson University. She deals with discrimination, harassment and sexual violence. Toni ran for office (for the Federal government in 2015) and well, she lost. But she continues to be extremely engaged in civic life and community service. 

She has also worked for over 10 year in social innovation and entrepreneurship and has worked as a consultant with MaRS, Canada's premier social innovation hub. 


Sarah Sayeed

Panel 2

Sarah Sayeed is a Senior Advisor in the Community Affairs Unit of the Mayor's Office of New York City. She previously worked at the Interfaith Center of New York, conducting the Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Retreats for Social Justice as well as Catholic-Muslim dialogue and joint social service projects and taught communication at the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College.  Sarah volunteers with Women in Islam, Inc., an organization that empowers women within a social justice, human rights and Islamic framework.  She holds a B.A. in Sociology and Near East Studies from Princeton University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

Samuel Sinyangwe

Panel 2

Samuel Sinyangwe, co-founder of Mapping Police Violence and Campaign Zero, is policy analyst and data scientist who works with communities of color to fight systemic racism. Sam has supported movement activists across the country to collect and use data as a tool for fighting police violence and to advance comprehensive policy solutions to this issue. Previously, Sam worked at PolicyLink to support a national network of 61 Promise Neighborhoods communities to build cradle-to-career systems of support for low-income families. He also worked with city leaders, youth activists and community organizations develop comprehensive agendas to achieve quality education, health, and justice for young black men. Sam grew up in Orlando, FL, and has been involved in organizing and advocacy since he was in high school. He graduated from Stanford University in 2012, where he studied how race and racism impact the U.S. political system.