Faith Jones-Jackson is a theatre and sociology student who works to combat the effects of racism on all people, with the hopes of altering the way we have those conversations to ultimately make them more productive. By the end of this year, she hopes to have turned current business plans surrounding these efforts into a functioning model in this city and two others.
MK Asante is a best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker, recording artist, and professor who CNN calls "a master storyteller and major creative force." Asante is the author of four books, including Buck: A Memoir, which made the Washington Post best-seller list in 2014 and 2015 and is a NAACP Image Award finalist.
Questlove is a Drummer, DJ, producer, culinary entrepreneur, designer, New York Times best-selling author, and member of The Roots
Jamiel L. Alexander is the senior fellow for the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions (AFCS). In this role, he coordinates AFCS youth engagement strategy. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Alexander was manager of Youth and Family Programs at Crispus Attucks Association for 12 years, where he was responsible for a variety of tasks including managing after school & summer programs, professional & leadership development, youth & family workshops and various community service projects.
DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, he graduated from Bowdoin College and holds an honorary doctorate from The New School. DeRay has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen.
Jeffrey Rosen is president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a George Washington University law professor, contributing editor of The Atlantic, and senior fellow at Brookings Institution. Since 2000, he has been a moderator at the Aspen Institute, conducting seminars and panels on technology and the Constitution, privacy, and free speech and democracy.
2017 PHILLY OPENING FORUM CHALLENGERS
2017 PHILLY OPENING FORUM CHALLENGERS
2017 PHILADELPHIA CHALLENGER VIDEOS
Challenge #1: Komal Ahmad is the founder and CEO of Copia, a for-profit company working to eradicate hunger and reduce food waste by using technology to redirect surplus food from businesses and events to feed those in need. Copia's fleet of professional Food Heroes deliver excess food to veterans agencies, local shelters, and nonprofits serving the hungry.
Challenge #2: Ezekiel Emanuel is vice provost for global initiatives, the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor, and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the founding chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health until August 2011.
Challenge #3: Reverend Jeffrey Brown is a nationally recognized leader and expert in gang, youth and urban violence reduction and coalition building. He is the founder of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace), a new national organization organized to assist cities build better partnerships between community, government and law enforcement agencies to reduce gang violence.
Challenge #4: Shari Davis is responsible for the strategic development and management of network building and launching new high impact participatory budgeting processes for Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP). She joined PBP staff after nearly 15 years of service and leadership in local government.
Challenge #5: J.T. Reager is an earth scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He studies the earth's water cycle with a particular focus on hydrologic extremes, sea level rise and water resources. He joined JPL in 2014. He has a PhD in earth system science from the University of California, Irvine, an M.S.