Since the turn of the millennium, the story of humanity has been one of collaboration and connection, driven by a global economy and the infusion of technology into our daily lives. Disparate disciplines have intersected, forging unexpected innovation, and bringing newfound prosperity.

At the same time, we find ourselves at a crossroads on critical issues. Broken drug policy, mass incarceration, social security, a changing climate, ballooning education costs, and disenfranchised inner cities whose frustration and hopelessness has boiled over onto the streets.

TEDxMidAtlantic 2015 will both celebrate the intersections that are building a world of abundance while challenging us to pick a direction that will shape our nation — and our world — for the rest of the century.

Watch Larry Lessig’s talk »

Lawrence Lessig

Democracy Reformer

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, former director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and founder of Rootstrikers, a network of activists leading the fight against government corruption. He has authored numerous books, including Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Our Congress—and a Plan to Stop It, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Free Culture, and Remix.

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Watch Wendell Pierce’s talk »

Wendell Pierce

Actor & Author

Wendell Pierce is recognized by film audiences for his extensive work for directors including Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Brian De Palma, Barry Levinson, Sidney Lumet and Paul Schrader. Hailed for his portrayal of Det. Bunk Moreland on five critically acclaimed seasons of ‘The Wire,’ and for his work on ‘Treme’, Wendell is a native of New Orleans, and has worked to rebuild the neighborhood in which he was raised.

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Watch Cynthia’s talk »

Cynthia Schneider

Foreign Policy Expert

Cynthia P. Schneider, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, teaches, publishes, and organizes initiatives in the field of cultural diplomacy, with a focus on relations with the Muslim world. Additionally, she co-directs the Timbuktu Renaissance, an innovative strategy and platform for countering extremism and promoting peace and development, which grew out of her work leading the Arts and Culture Dialogue Initiative within Brookings’ Center for Middle East Policy.

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Watch Sen. Warner’s talk »

Senator Mark Warner

United States Senator

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 and reelected to a second term last November. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a bipartisan leader who has worked across the aisle to find commonsense solutions to jumpstart the economic recovery, cut red tape, increase government transparency, and promote private sector innovation and jobs.

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Guest Curator

José Andrés

Spanish Culinary Master

Named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation and recognized by Time magazine on the “Time 100” list of most influential people in the world, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator. Andrés teaches at Harvard and The George Washington University. He is also the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world.

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Watch Alex Winter’s talk »

Alex Winter

Actor & Director

Alex Winter entered show business as a child actor on Broadway and came to prominence in the wildly popular BILL AND TED franchise. Winter’s latest, award-winning documentary DEEP WEB, recently had a critically acclaimed world premiere at SXSW and a broadcast premiere in the U.S. on the Epix network, to be followed by a worldwide release on all platforms in September 2015.

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Watch Leana Wen’s talk »

Dr. Leana Wen

Health Commissioner

Dr. Leana Wen is the Baltimore City Health Commissioner. An emergency physician and patient and community advocate, she leads the oldest health department in the United States, formed in 1793, with an annual budget of $130 million and over 1,000 employees. Dr. Wen has been a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, a Clinical Fellow at Harvard, and a consultant with the World Health Organization and the Brookings Institution.

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Watch Kathy Crosby’s talk »

Kathy Crosby

FDA Champion for Tobacco-Free Lives

Kathleen Crosby is currently Director of the Office of Health Communication and Education at the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Office of Health Communication and Education at CTP is responsible for public education, stakeholder education, and information programs to assure success in all aspects of FDA’s implementation of the Tobacco Control Act.

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Watch Katie Bechtold’s talk »

Katie Bechtold

Flight Controller, Pluto Mission

Katie Bechtold is a real-time spacecraft flight controller at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory. Katie was part of NASA’s New Horizons mission and helped oversee the spacecraft’s 3 billion mile journey to Pluto, which recently captured the world’s attention. New Horizons will help us better understand Pluto’s composition, geology, atmosphere, and surface temperature. The probe will also check out Pluto’s largest moon, Charon.

Watch Avi Rubin’s talk »

Avi Rubin

Computer Security Expert

Dr. Aviel (Avi) D. Rubin is Professor of Computer Science and Technical Director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He is also the Director of the JHU Health and Medical Security Lab. Prior to joining Hopkins, Rubin was a research scientist at AT&T Labs. He testified about information security before the U.S. House and Senate on multiple occasions, and he is the author of several books about computer security.

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Watch Shirley Malcom’s talk »

Shirley Malcom

Science Education Advocate

Shirley Malcom is head of Education and Human Resources Programs at AAAS. She works to improve the quality and increase access to education and careers in STEM fields as well as to enhance public science literacy. Dr. Malcom is a trustee of Caltech and a regent of Morgan State University, and a member of the SUNY Research Council. She is a leader in efforts to improve access of girls and women to education and careers in science and engineering.

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Watch Carla Dirlikov’s talk »

Carla Dirlikov

Opera Singer & Educator

Versatile mezzo-soprano Carla Dirlikov has been acclaimed by Opera Magazine for possessing a voice that “grabs the heartstrings with its dramatic force and musicality.” Ms. Dirlikov is a passionate humanitarian who for the past 10 years has served as a U.S. Department of State Cultural Arts Envoy promoting American culture overseas, giving master classes and teaching music to orphans and poverty-stricken youth.

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Watch Aaron Silverman’s talk »

Aaron Silverman

Chef and Owner, Roses Luxury

Aaron Silverman is a chef and founder of Washington, DC restaurant Rose’s Luxury, which was recently named as ‘the best new restaurant in America’ by Bon Appétit Magazine. His resume includes working for chefs David Chang, Sean Brock, Marco Canora, and George Mendes but now Silverman is shaking up and redefining the restaurant scene in the nation’s capital.

Watch Theo Kano’s talk »

Thea Kano + Gay Men’s Chorus of DC

Activist Chorus

Led by Artistic Director Thea Kano, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC is now entering its 35th season with a mission that is dynamic and socially-relevant: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington delights audiences and champions gay equality with robust artistry, fun and surprise. GMCW has more than 250 singing members, two select vocal ensembles and an annual audience of more than 10,000 people.

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Watch James Siegal’s talk »

James Siegal

President, KaBOOM!

James Siegal is President of KaBOOM!, the national non-profit that seeks to give children the childhood they deserve filled with play. Prior to KaBOOM!, James served as Chief of Staff for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that supports citizen engagement to address community challenges through AmeriCorps, the Social Innovation Fund and other programs.

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Video Coming Soon

City of the Sun

Street Musicians

City of the Sun is John Pita, Avi Snow and Zach Para. With two guitars, a box, and bells, they create a sound that is far greater than the sum of those parts. Their music has been called “a re-invention of acoustic music.” It’s instrumental, it’s worldly; sweeping from wide-screen post-rock dynamics to gypsy jazz syncopations, “they define experiential music.”

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Watch Jim Knight’s talk »

Jim Knight

Former UK Education Minister

Jim Knight is the Chief Education Adviser at TES Global Ltd, a member of the House of Lords and a visiting Professor at the London Knowledge Lab of the Institute of Education. He was a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom from 2001-2010 and served as Education Minister and Employment Minister. He’s now focused on the future of education and what the next-generation classroom will look like.

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Watch Vivian Graubard’s talk »

Vivian Graubard

United States Digital Service

Vivian Graubard is a founding member of U.S. Digital Service at the White House, where she focuses on immigration (DHS) and criminal justice (DOJ). She previously served as an Advisor to the United States Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park, within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She led OSTP’s Tech Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, which focuses on leveraging technological innovation to help combat human trafficking and enable victims to connect to help and support.

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Watch Blair Glencorse’s talk »

Blair Glencorse

Corruption Fighter

Blair Glencorse founded and runs the Accountability Lab, an organization that is redefining how we ensure the accountability of decision-makers around the world. After spending years working with international organizations and civil society groups- and talking to everyone from Pakistani tribal elders to Zimbabwean students- Blair founded the Lab to catalyze a new generation of change-makers that can push for integrity.

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Watch Behnaz’s talk »

Behnaz Babazadeh

Artist & Designer

Behnaz Babazadeh is Afghan-American artist and designer whose work spanning photography, sculpture and film, challenges the western preconceptions of women in burqas with a series of works made from materials found in the candy aisle. With her background in branding, interaction and user experience design, Behnaz creates experiential exhibits that evoke new ways of looking at a traditional garment.

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Watch Katie Meyler’s talk »

Katie Meyler

TIME Person of the Year

Katie Meyler is the founder and CEO of More Than Me, an organization that started by working to get vulnerable girls off the streets and into school in Monrovia, Liberia and is now working to improve education across the country. Named a 2015 TIME Person of the Year for her fight on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak, Katie refuses to settle for the status quo. After Ebola, Katie realized young girls in Liberia will never have the security and opportunity they need and deserve until widespread, systematic change occurs across Liberia’s education system.

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Watch Shawn’s talk »

Shawn Domagal-Goldman

NASA Astrobiologist

NASA astrobiologist and space scientist Shawn Domagal-Goldman is part of a team looking for life beyond Earth. NASA is flying missions to search for habitable environments beyond Earth and is planning missions to look for life in any habitable places it finds. Shawn also works on the Curiosity mission, which is a rover driving around Mars looking for past habitable environments.

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Watch Lisa Fitzpatrick’s talk »

Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick

Public Health Activist

Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, MPA is a CDC-trained medical epidemiologist and board-certified infectious diseases physician with both domestic and global experience in public health. Although her career has traversed clinical medicine, prevention research and program implementation in tuberculosis, HIV and STDs, she is most passionate about improving the nation’s health literacy and demystifying health information.

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Watch Adarsh Desai’s talk »

Adarsh Desai

World Bank Innovations Labs

Adarsh is passionate about leveraging technology, data, and innovations for accelerating development impact. Adarsh currently leads the World Bank Innovation Labs, overseeing a variety of programs ranging from Big data Analytics, Social Enterprise Innovations for service delivery to poor, Open Aid Partnership, Open Innovation, and Human-centered Design.

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Watch Adriana Beltrán’s talk »

Adriana Beltrán

Human Rights Advocate

For fifteen years, Adriana Beltrán has championed a comprehensive approach to tackling insecurity, violence and the growing influence of organized crime in Central America. As head of the Citizen Security Program for the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a U.S.-based advocacy and research organization, she promotes policies that identify and address the root causes of violence and improve the effectiveness and accountability of police and judicial systems.

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Watch James Bernstein’s talk »

Dr. James Bernstein

Medical Entreprenuer

Dr. Bernstein is the co-founder and CEO of Eniware, LLC, an innovative, for-profit healthcare company committed to reducing the global incidence of surgical and healthcare-associated infection by increasing the prevalence of medical instrument sterilization, particularly in resource-challenged healthcare settings. He will demonstrate a new portable, power-independent sterlizer designed for use in the field.

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Watch Kavita Shukla’s talk »

Kavita Shukla

Social Entrepreneur

Kavita is the Founder & CEO of Fenugreen, a social enterprise taking on the massive global challenge of food waste with a simple innovation, FreshPaper. Her incredible story of simple beginnings, belief, and empowerment has inspired millions worldwide. Kavita was also recently featured as one of the “7 Entrepreneurs Changing the World” by Fast Company and on the Forbes “30 under 30” list.

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Watch Bill LeoGrande’s talk »

Bill LeoGrande

Latin America Expert

William M. LeoGrande is a professor of Government and former Dean of the American University School of Public Affairs. He is an expert on Latin America. Most recently, he is coauthor of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana. Previously, he served on the staffs of the Democratic Policy Committee of the United States Senate.

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Watch Sheldon Scott’s talk »

Sheldon Scott

Artist & Storyteller

Sheldon Scott, a native of Pawley’s Island, SC, began his career in Social Work as a Unit Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Horry County, SC. Upon moving to the Washington DC area, he joined a private practice, specializing in Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Sex-Offender treatment at Northern Virginia Counseling Group. After years as a practicing Psychotherapist, he began a creative life as a Storyteller in 2005.

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Watch Jay’s talk »

Jay Newton-Small

Journalist & Author

Jay Newton-Small is Washington correspondent for TIME. She writes about everything from Washington politics to foreign policy and national trends. She has covered stories on five continents for TIME from conflicts in the Middle East to the earthquake in Haiti to the Scottish independence movement and the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. She has written half a dozen TIME cover stories and contributed to dozens of others.

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Watch ElsaMarie’s talk »

ElsaMarie D’Silva

Women’s Rights Advocate

ElsaMarie D’Silva is the cofounder and Managing Director of Red Dot Foundation (Safecity) which is a platform that documents sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces. She aims to make public spaces safer and equally accessible to all especially women and children. She is a fellow at Aspen New Voices and Vital Voices.

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Watch Palak Shah’s talk »

Palak Shah

Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Palak Shah is the social innovations director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Palak leads NDWA’s experimental and market-based approaches to improve working conditions, services and employment opportunities for domestic workers. Palak was previously a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Administration, serving as a member of the governor’s budget team and then as the Commonwealth’s Deputy Director of Performance Management.

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Watch Elise Roy’s talk »

Elise Roy

Disability Rights Advocate

Elise Roy is a lawyer, artist, artisan, and human rights advocate who works in the vanguard of the social design movement, which holds that designers have the capacity and responsibility to address and resolve human problems on micro and macro scales and thereby contribute to social well-being. Deaf from the age of ten, Elise has been a design thinker from early on, constantly adapting her environment and its tools to serve her extraordinary abilities.

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Watch Chris Mondini’s talk »

Christopher Mondini

Vice President, ICANN

Chris Mondini is a Vice President of Business Engagement for ICANN, where he works to build relationships with companies beyond the domain name sector, by educating global businesses on the role of ICANN as well as increasing cross-cultural dialogue about topics of internet governance. Mondini is a former management consultant, United States diplomat, and corporate investigator.

Watch Lemond Brown’s talk »

Lemond ‘Imag’ Brown

Musician & Educator

Lemond IMAG Brown continues to make Authentic Hip Hop Soul music that the whole family can enjoy. Born in Washington, D.C., IMAG is eclectic by nature, mainly the reason he is an Educator, producer, songwriter, and Engineer. Engaging in music has been a passion of IMAG for over 15 years, and has been a gift he has shared with people in many different places from South Africa to Australia. In 2012 he founded the Swaliga Foundation that continues to use creative outlets to steer at-risk youth toward future success.

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Watch Mónica Palacio’s talk »

Mónica Palacio

DC Office of Human Rights

Mónica Palacio has served as the Director of the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR), the District’s civil rights enforcement agency, since March 2014. Mónica brings twenty years of experience in civil rights, strengthening communities in crisis and capacity building for social justice organizations. She brings extensive experience advocating in partnership with under-represented and disenfranchised communities through issue-based coalitions, government and community partnerships, and social justice organizations at the local and national level.

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Watch Makayla’s talk »

Makayla Gilliam-Price

Youth Activist

Makayla Gilliam-Price is a 17 year old Baltimore activist. She founded the youth justice organization City Bloc. She also organizes with Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a Baltimore-based non-profit. She is the 2015 recipient of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations Certificate of Accomplishments and the Wired Up Community Hero Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Youth Leadership. Makayla is a senior at Baltimore City College High School in Baltimore, Maryland.

Watch Nina Martin’s talk »

Nina Martin

Public Health Educator

Nina Martin is founder of Public Health United, an organization dedicated to improving science & public health communication to the public via podcasts, articles and outreach. Through her podcast, she has discussed the difficulties of translating complex science into accessible concepts for the public with leaders in science and public health research.

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Watch Daniella Carter’s talk »

Daniella Carter

Transgender Advocate

Daniella Carter is an advocate for LGBT youth who motivates youth to achieve their goals and develop tools to overcome their adversities. Miss Carter was recognized on the 2015 Trans 100 list. Daniella recently initiated a project to bring visibility to trans youth issues and has collaborated with Miss Universe and others to share their experiences in overcoming homelessness. She has worked with her mentor Laverne cox and was featured in the Emmy award winning MTV & Logo TV documentary “Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word”.

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Watch Jonas Singer’s talk »

Jonas Singer

Community Builder

Jonas Singer is a native of Chevy Chase, MD who is committed to advancing culture and economic opportunities throughout the Washington, D.C. region. As a Founder of Union Kitchen, Jonas works to build a food system that is profitable, just, and sustainable. Since Jonas and co-founder Cullen Gilchrist launched Union Kitchen in 2012, the business has worked with more than 150+ businesses.

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Watch Barbara Amaya’s talk »

Barbara Amaya

Anti-Trafficking Advocate

Barbara is an anti-trafficking advocate, speaker, trainer, author and survivor leader in the movement to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking. She is Senior Technical Adviser, Policy, Programs and After Care Services at SeraphimGlobal, and has been actively raising awareness of the sexual exploitation of children and domestic sex trafficking since 2012.

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Watch Dr. SAS’s talk »

Dr. Samuel A Sheku Kargbo

Ebola Fighter

Dr. Samuel Kargbo is the director of Health Systems, Policy, Planning and Information in the in Ministry of Health & Sanitation of Sierra Leone. His present responsibility is to oversee the planning and monitoring the implementation of the post Ebola recovery strategy and building of a resilient health system. Dr. Kargbo has championed free health care in Sierra Leone, introduced policies and strategies to improve maternal and child health services and by extension, the citizenry of the country.

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Watch Jessica Ladd’s talk »

Jessica Ladd

Sexual Health Innovator

Jess Ladd is the Founder and CEO of Sexual Health Innovations (SHI), a non-profit dedicated to creating technology that advances sexual health and wellbeing in the United States. At SHI, she spearheaded the creation of the STD partner notification website So They Can Know, the STD test result delivery system Private Results, and the college sexual assault reporting system Callisto.

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Watch Mina Patel’s talk »

Mina Patel

Education Technologist

Mina is the founder and Executive Director of Video Conferencing for Global Learning (VCfGL). Mina jointly chairs the UK VC Partnerships Group, where she has worked alongside national advisers from across the UK, to put together broadband guidelines for the Department for Education to support VC technology in schools. Mina works as a consultant for the schools in the London Borough of Redbridge and Havering.

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Guest Curator

Sonja Sohn

Actor & Activist

Sonja Sohn is an actress, community activist and writer. She starred as Kima Greggs on the HBO drama The Wire, and as Samantha Baker on the ABC series Body of Proof. Sonja recently appeared on the acclaimed CW show The Originals. After the conclusion of The Wire, Sonja Sohn founded her non-profit, ReWired for Change, which empowers at risk youth, families and communities living in under-served areas through media and social advocacy and the facilitation of community building resources.

Watch Carl Safina’s talk »

Carl Safina

Wildlife & Oceans Advocate

Born in Brooklyn, Carl Safina’s grew up in an apartment filled with singing canaries—his father’s hobby. Frequent trips to New York’s zoos, aquarium, American Museum of Natural History, and on his uncles’ boat sparked an early passion for animals that might have seemed unusual for a city kid. He earned a PhD studying seabirds and spent close to a decade helping overhaul fishing policies to restore ocean wildlife.

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Watch Kristjan Kuurme’s talk »

Kristjan Kuurme


Kristjan Kuurme is a career diplomat currently serving as the consul and political affairs diplomat at the Embassy of Estonia in Washington, DC. In addition to representing the country dubbed “e-Estonia” for its digital prowess in all matters e-residency, he is responsible for relations with the US Congress and covering various US domestic and foreign policy matters.

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Musical Guest



Ulrika’s gifted voice and songwriting blurs the lines between pop, indie, and electro. Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, Ulrika crafted her powerful voice throughout many years of choir school and classical training. With a unique and spirited personality, her global appeal and sound has been compared to artists such as Sia, Ellie Goulding, and Gwen Stefani.

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Watch Melvin Russell’s talk »

Lt. Colonel Melvin Russell

Police Chief

Lt. Colonel Melvin T. Russell is Chief of the Community Partnership Division, Baltimore Police Department. Russell graduated from the BPD academy in 1981 as the first and only African American class valedictorian. Russell worked both as a uniform patrol and then an undercover officer for 20 years before re-emerging as an Eastern District Lieutenant in 2007. In this position, Russell turned the worst-performing midnight patrol shift in the city into the best-performing in 3 months and was promoted to Major of the Eastern District 11 months later.

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Watch Dayvon Love’s talk »

Dayvon Love


Dayvon Love is Director of Research and Public Policy for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a Baltimore- based non-profit. Dayvon is a resident of Northwest Baltimore City and graduate of Towson University majoring in African and African American Studies. Dayvon has deep experience with grassroots activism in the Baltimore community. He has given numerous speeches and led workshops around Baltimore to give insight into the plight of the
masses of Baltimore citizens.