We are honored to have a wide variety of experts joining us for Summit 2019! Read their bios below and see why you should join us on Tue, June 11 to hear these great speakers share their knowledge and insights on various topics surrounding issues of race and inclusion.

Keynote Speakers

Rudy Valdez – Morning Keynote Speaker

Rudy Valdez is a Michigan-raised, Brooklyn-based filmmaker committed to making cinematic, meaningful documentary films about social, cultural and political issues. A 2018 Critics Choice Documentary Awards Nominee for Best New Director, Rudy got his start as a camera operator on the Peabody Award-winning, Sundance series Brick City. Other credits include: Cinematographer for Academy Award-nominated Director Sebastian Junger’s film The Last Patrol (HBO); Director of Photography for Whoopi Goldberg presents Moms Mabley: I Got Something To Tell You, produced and directed by Whoopi Goldberg, premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on HBO; Cinematographer for the BET series Second Coming?: Will Black America Decide the 2012 Election?; Director of Photography for Prison Dogs, directed by Geeta Gandbhir and Perri Peltz and premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival; and several more.

Most recently, Valdez directed a true passion project, The Sentence, a documentary about mandatory minimums and sentencing reform that Valdez shot over the course of a decade, featuring the true story of his sister and her family. The Sentence won the US Documentary Audience Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by HBO.

At Summit 2019, Rudy Valdez will preview his film, The Sentence, followed by a dialogue session where he speaks about the issues the documentary presents. Valdez will also provide the morning Community Engagement Breakout Session to address in greater depth issues related to sentencing reform and prison policy.

John Pavlovitz – Afternoon Keynote Speaker

John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. In the past four years his blog Stuff That Needs To Be Said has reached a diverse worldwide audience.

A 20-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. In 2017 he released his first book, A Bigger Table. His new book, Hope and Other Superpowers, arrived in November 2018. Here’s an excerpt:

“The dream of a different world (as beautiful as it is) won’t actually alter the planet—only your hands getting dirty and your feet hitting the ground will do that. Being outraged at injustice doesn’t do much for the victims of that injustice—actively moving against it does. But that’s a hell of a lot harder than outrage alone, which is why most people gladly settle for being perpetually angry and living vicariously through spandex-clad, muscle-bound, CGI demigods who do the brave things they wish they could do.”

At Summit 2019, John Pavlovitz will also provide the morning Faith Breakout Session to address in greater depth issues related to faith and building a diverse, inclusive and equitable society for all.

Business Breakout Sessions

Bing Goei – Morning Session

Acquiring Eastern Floral in 2001, Bing Goei oversees their seven locations and is owner of the Goei Center in Grand Rapids. Beginning in 2014, he also served as the first director of the Michigan Office for New Americans until his retirement from the position last year.

Bing Goei will draw from his years of business experience and commitment to Michigan’s immigrant communities to provide important insights during the morning Business breakout session at Summit 2019.

Joe Matthews – Afternoon Session

Joe Matthews is Vice President of Purchasing and Diversity Officer at Gentex. He joined Gentex in 2010 as a Purchasing Manager. In 2013, he was promoted to Purchasing Director with additional responsibilities for supply chain management, with his most recent promotion to Vice President in 2014, Joe’s team is responsible for all direct and indirect material goods and services, logistics spend as well as customs compliance and supplier diversity. In 2018, he was appointed as Gentex’s first Diversity Officer. In this role, Joe is responsible for the development and implementation of Gentex’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives.

Community Engagement Breakout Sessions

Rudy Valdez – Morning Session

Our morning keynote speaker, Rudy Valdez, will also provide the morning’s Community Engagement breakout session. He will use this opportunity continue his discussion of sentencing reform and prison policy.

Mariano Avila – Afternoon Session

The second Community Engagement breakout will be provided by Mariano Avila, WGVU’s Inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story. His breakout session will focus on story and narrative in driving community engagement.

Education Breakout Sessions

Dr. Bill Pink – Morning Session

Dr. Bill Pink became the tenth president of Grand Rapids Community College in May 2017. He has been an educator for over 25 years, and prior to his tenure at GRCC, Dr. Pink served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oklahoma State University- Oklahoma City.  Dr. Pink has an Associate’s Degree from York College, Nebraska, a Bachelor’s from Oklahoma Christian University, a Master’s from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. He will provide the morning Education breakout session.

Dr. Brandy Lovelady Mitchell – Afternoon Session

Currently serving as the founding Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Kent Intermediate School District, Dr. Lovelady Mitchell recently completed a Doctorate of Education Leadership at Eastern Michigan University. Her doctoral studies focused on high-achieving black males at the secondary level. Dr. Lovelady Mitchell says her intention is to help educators and key stakeholders shift the narrative from pathologies to the success stories of children of color. She is a lifelong children’s advocate who is passionate about education and helping students and educational staff maximize their potential. She will bring this knowledge, passion and experience in education in providing the afternoon Education breakout session at Summit 2019.

Faith Breakout Session

John Pavlovitz – Morning Session Only

In addition to providing our afternoon keynote address, John Pavlovitz will offer the Faith Breakout Session during the morning at Summit 2019. He will speak in greater depth issues related to building a diverse, inclusive and equitable society for all, especially where it impacts our faith communities. Space for this session may be limited, so be sure to select the morning Faith breakout in your registration if you would like to attend.

Health Breakout Sessions

Tasha Blackmon & Glenda Walker – Morning Session

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tasha Blackmon is a dynamic leader who brings more than 20 years of business operations experience to ensure patients in her home community, and surrounding areas, receive the highest quality of care. Blackmon serves as Chief Executive Officer of Michigan’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) providing integrated health care services in Barry, Eaton, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Ottawa and Wayne counties. In this role, she is responsible for administrative and operational oversight of Cherry Health’s network of more than 20 locations, approximately 900 employees and more than 60 physicians and mid-level providers specializing in primary care and family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, optometry, oral health, behavioral health and substance use disorders.

Glenda Walker is the Director of Quality and Informatics at Cherry Health. Along with Tasha Blackmon, they will be providing the morning Health breakout session at the 2019 Summit on Race and Inclusion, where they will offer their combined experience to address issues of diversity and racial equity in the health sector, and offer solutions that can be directly applied to your organization.

Shannon Wilson – Afternoon Session

Currently the Director of Medicaid Outreach & Quality at Priority Health, Shannon Wilson previously served for eight years as the Executive Director of Grand Rapids African American Health Institute. She currently completing her DrPH in Public Health Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Shannon Wilson will address the important issues related to racial equity and inclusion in the health sector during the afternoon Health breakout session at Summit 2019.

Law & Policy Breakout Sessions

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández  – Morning & Afternoon Sessions

A writer and law professor at the University of Denver, César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is a scholar of migration policing and an engaged intellectual who regularly weighs in on pressing public affairs. In December 2019, he will release a book, Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants (The New Press), about the U.S. reliance on prisons to regulate human mobility. In 2015, he published his first book, Crimmigration Law (American Bar Association). He has published scholarly articles in the California Law ReviewUCLA Law ReviewBoston University LawReview, BYU Law ReviewMaryland Law Review, and Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, among others. His op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, and elsewhere. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, The Guardian, The Nation, La Opinión, and numerous other publications. César also publishes crimmigration.com, a blog about the convergence of criminal and immigration law.

His Law & Policy breakout sessions will focus on the intersection of migration and criminal law, providing timely insights into many current events taking place across the country.

Youth Advocacy Breakout Sessions

Dr. Lindsay Malloy – Morning & Afternoon Sessions

Dr. Lindsay C. Malloy received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine in 2008. She completed postdoctoral training in Applied Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge, U.K. Prior to joining the University of Ontario Institute of Technology as an Associate Professor in 2017, she was a faculty member at Florida International University in Miami, Florida (2011 to 2017). Her research addresses questions concerning children’s and adolescents’ disclosure of negative or traumatic experiences, cognitive and socio-contextual influences on children’s memory and narratives, investigative interviewing and interrogation techniques, and implications of research findings for the legal system. Her TED talk on police interrogations with juvenile suspects has been viewed over 1.25 million times.

The Youth Advocacy breakout sessions will focus on issues related to youth in the criminal justice system, particularly as it relates to race and youth of color.