In February, our clients often ask about speakers who would be a good fit for their events celebrating Black History Month.
We’ve put together a list of social justice and anti-racism leaders who share their personal stories and insight into the Black experience. They leave audiences feeling inspired, motivated, and ready to take action.
As the son of Martin Luther King, Jr., taking a stand against injustice and advocating for human rights is in Martin Luther King III’s blood. A global humanitarian who has travelled worldwide to make a difference in the lives of all people, King has unique insights into the civil rights battles still being waged today. Reflecting back on the examples and work of his father, King shares Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, calling attention to what is left to be done, and the steps needed to make equality for all not just a dream, but a reality.
Masai Ujiri is an active voice in the social justice movement and has always been a strong advocate for equality. His very public experience with racism during the 2019 NBA Championships sparked national and international headlines, and lead to the Humanity movement — a platform to continue the conversation on social justice and what it means to be a human being. Ujiri now speaks passionately about the fight for equality, and how we can work together to build a future without discrimination.
Equity in the Workplace
Many corporate leaders would like to be an ally of the Black community, their employees, and clients, but don’t know where to start. Lekan Olawoye helps audiences lean into this important conversation, providing historical context and insights into the Black experience and giving practical tools on how to become an intentional ally. Audiences will learn how to hire and retain more Black professionals, and to build their organization so that it is seen as an ally.
Highlighting the emotional tax borne by those who are different, Dr. Hadiya Roderique provides strategies for organizations and their leaders to become allies to those who face challenges in the workplace. She examines how diverse talent is stymied at various phases within an organization — from hiring to retention, promotion, and leadership roles. Supported by literature and real-life experiences, Roderique provides concrete strategies to address hiring biases, promotion, and evaluation biases, and the gender gap in leadership.
Motivation and Inspiration
Ten years ago, Orlando Bowen thought he was about to die. Pinned to the ground and enduring a savage beating, the then-CFL linebacker had been jumped by two plainclothes police officers, an injustice which was the first of many laid against him at the hands of the police force.
“In that moment, knowing my life was about to end, I’m thinking, ‘I didn’t give everything I had to make a difference. There’s more I could’ve done,’” Orlando said.
Later completely exonerated of any wrong-doing, Orlando — incredibly — publicly forgave his perpetrators, and has since dedicated his life to inspiring others to pursue excellence in all they do.
In his powerful keynotes, Orlando shares how to use the unexpected challenges that life can bring as fuel for new beginnings. When the game is on the line, it’s not about acknowledging the fact that we will all face challenges, it’s about taking the energy from those challenges and channeling them in a way that positively affects one’s environment.
In 2013, Kellylee Evans experienced a life-altering event. With multiple albums to her name, this Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter was struck by lightning while washing dishes in her home. For several months, she worked to regain her health, stamina, and balance, however, in 2015, she suffered a devastating concussion that left her, once again, unable to tour.
In her energy-charged keynotes, Kellylee speaks about her journey to recovery, sharing her inspirational message of self-care and how to find your own superpowers. She weaves stories and songs together to instill her message that speaks to the heart of anyone who has ever had their life interrupted by a setback they have worked to overcome.
Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa is a vocal advocate for improving disparities in Black health and confronting institutional discrimination. In 2018, she published her seminal article In My White Coat, I am More Black than Ever for FLARE magazine’s Black History Month campaign, opening up about her experience as the only Black medical student in her cohort at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine. She was also the first black women to be named sole valedictorian of the faculty.
An accomplished physician, spoken word poet, and advocate for racialized and marginalized populations, Chika was named one of Time magazine’s “2021 Next Generational Leaders”. She speaks to addressing inequities and advancing efforts in wellness and mental health, diversity and inclusion, and women empowerment.
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