Keynotes & Special Guests

Learn more about the keynote speakers and special guests for the 2017 Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference in Detroit. Please stay tuned as we continue to confirm more stellar presenters!

Julian Boal
David Cobb
Gloria House
Will Copeland
Reg Flowers
Jamon Jordan
Malik Yakini
Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty
Shea Howell
Nate Mullen

Julian Boal

Julian BoalJulian Boal was a founding member of different collectives in France. He is now part of the Escola de Teatro Popular in Brazil. He has realized workshops and projects in more than 20 countries, and he helped in the realization of Theatre of the Oppressed festivals in India with Jana Sanskriti, in Europe with Pa’tothom, and in South America with CTO-Rio. Julian is the author of Images of a Popular Theatre (Imagens de um Teatro Popular, Hucitec, 2000), co-editor of Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions (Routledge, 2015), and recently completed a PhD in Brazil.

David Cobb

David CobbDavid Cobb is a Democratizing Elections Fellow with the Liberty Tree Foundation and a Principal with the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy. He served as campaign manager for Jill Stein and Ajuma Baraka in the 2016 election and managed the recount efforts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He is a lawyer and political activist and co-founder of Move to Amend. David has sued corporate polluters, lobbied elected officials, run for political office himself, and has been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. He truly believes we must use ALL the tools in the toolbox to effect the systemic social change we so desperately need.

David was born in San Leon, Texas and worked as a laborer before going to college. He graduated from the University of Houston Law School in 1993 and maintained a successful private law practice in Houston for several years before devoting himself to full time activism to achieve real democracy in the United States.

In 2002 David ran for Attorney General of Texas, pledging to use the office to revoke the charters of corporations that repeatedly violate health, safety and environmental laws. He did not win the office, but the Green Party of Texas grew dramatically during his campaign from four local chapters to twenty-six. In 2004, he ran for President of the United States on the Green Party ticket and successfully campaigned for the Ohio recount.

Gloria House

Gloria House
Gloria House, Ph.D. is Professor Emerita in Humanities and African American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Associate Professor Emerita in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department of Wayne State University.  She is the former Director of the African American Studies Program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Dr. House has been an activist in human rights struggles in the U.S. and abroad since the 1960’s, when she was an organizer in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  She is the recipient of many awards for her work as a social justice advocate, including the Edward Said Scholar/Activist Award of the Michigan Peace Team, the Harriet Tubman Award of the Michigan Chapter of NOW, and the Civil Rights Activist Lifetime Achievement Award of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.

She is currently engaged in organizing the freedom school movement in Detroit.  From 1992 to 1996, Dr. House was a Visiting Professor in the English Department, and Director of the Partnership with Township High Schools at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.  She has published three poetry collections, Blood River (Broadside Press, 1983), Rainrituals (Broadside Press, 1989), Shrines (Third World Press, 2004), and a book of commentary on the political uses of environment in the United States, Tower and Dungeon:  A Study of Place and Power in American Culture.  She was also lead editor of the anthology, A Different Image: The Legacy of Broadside Press, selected as a Notable Book of Michigan for 2005 by the Library of Michigan.  Her recent publications include an essay,  “The Detroit ’67 Rebellion:  The Long Aftermath,” 2017 Catalogue of the Detroit Public Library; a chapter in Hands on the Freedom Plow:  Personal Accounts of Women in SNCC, and a book, Home Sweet Sanctuary:  Idlewild Families Celebrate a Century, a cultural study of the African American resort community in Northern Michigan.

Will Copeland

Will Copeland
William Copeland is an organizer and cultural worker from Detroit. He works on EMEAC’s Leadership Team as its Climate Justice Director.  He served as one of the local coordinators for the 2010 US Social Forum, organizing over 300 Detroit-area volunteers to host 20,000+ activists and community change agents to 5 days of workshops, panels, concerts, and work projects. He also worked as lead organizer of the 2011 Detroit 2 Dakar Delegation to the World Social Forum held in Dakar, Senegal. He has significant affiliations with the healing justice movements in Detroit and nationwide and is also currently working on creating the D. Blair Theater Space in the Cass Corridor Commons. Copeland serves on the board of the US Solidarity Economy Network  to host the 2016 North America Solidarity Economy Forum in Detroit. Will See dropped his first solo hip-hop CD “The Basics” which includes EJ anthems such as “Water Power” “Take tha House Back” and “Respiration” available online. His second project is a spiritual mixtape called SOL SWGGR.

Reg Flowers

Reg Flowers
Reg Flowers is a community activist and organizer specializing in popular theater techniques that build capacities for civic engagement and social change.  He is also an award-winning a theater professional and teaching artist linking art, education and activism for much of his professional career. He is the founder of Falconworks Artist Group a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) based in Brooklyn.

Reg’s most recent project is Alt Space, a culture project in just and sustainable living located on Detroit’s lower east side.  The project brings together neighbors, grassroots organizations and allies in the social justice community, providing an incubator space to develop sustainable independent community-controlled resources. The project promotes re-imagining how these resources can be shared to achieve fair access to power and the ways power is produced and reproduced.

Reg Flowers is a graduate of University of the Arts where he received his BFA and also holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama. Reg trained in the practice of popular theater with Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory in New York City and has collaborated frequently with Julian Boal. Reg has also trained with representatives of the Navajo Nation in the practice of Peacemaking. He currently splits his time between Detroit and Brooklyn.

Jamon Jordan

Jamon Jordan
Jamon Jordan is an educator, writer & historian. He has been a teacher of African & African American history for over 15 years and a researcher of Black history for decades.
 
After teaching in public schools for 10 years, he now runs Black Scroll Network History & Tours, where he leads lecture tours and gives presentations dealing with African & African American history, especially African American history in the Detroit area.
 
Also known as Baba Jamon, he leads tours of sites of Detroit’s Underground Railroad, as well as important sites connected to the historic neighborhoods of Black Bottom & Paradise Valley, and Black historic sites throughout the city, including the Cultural Center sites of two of his institutional partners, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and Detroit’s Black Historic Music Sites.
 
Jamon Jordan has given hundreds of tours for public and private schools, including Detroit Public Schools, Walled Lake Public Schools, the Roeper School, the Farmington Hills Homeschool Collective, the Educational Achievement Authority and numerous charter schools, as well as for students and classes at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and New York University.
 
He has also given hundreds of lectures and presentations for schools, churches, and other institutions, including the Historical Society of Michigan, the Underground Railroad National Conference, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s national convention, Fellowship Chapel, Oak Grove AME, St. David’s Episcopal, and New Liberty Temple Baptist Church.
 
Along with being the founder & CEO of Black Scroll Network History & Tours, he is also the co-founder of the Black Scroll Study Group, an educational research organization that takes a study tour to a different site each year that is important to African & African American History. Jordan also serves as the President of the Detroit branch of the  Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH Detroit), which is the Detroit chapter of the organization responsible for Black History Month.
 
Along with providing history tours and presentations, Jamon Jordan writes for two publications of the Historical Society of Michigan, “Chronicle,” and “Michigan History for Kids,” where he has written about Detroit’s role in the Underground Railroad, as well as the history of Motown Records, and Detroit’s history of riots and rebellions.
 
Jamon Jordan is committed to African & African American History and teaching it to as many people who will listen.

Malik Yakini

Malik Yakini
Malik Kenyatta Yakini is a founder and the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN).  DBCFSN operates a seven-acre urban farm and is spearheading the opening of a co-op grocery store in Detroit’s North End.  Yakini views the “good food revolution” as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Blacks communities in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa.

Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty

Honeycomb Petty
Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty is a mother, social justice organizer, youth advocate, poet, author and visionary educator. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and is intricately involved in water rights, digital justice and visionary organizing work. She is the past recipient of the Spirit of Detroit Award, the Woman of Substance Award, the Women Creating Caring Communities Award, the Detroit Awesome Award, the Black Law Student Association’s Justice Honoree Award, and was recognized as one of Who’s Who in Black Detroit in 2013 and 2015. Tawana is a board member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, a Data Justice Community Researcher for the Detroit Community Technology Project, a Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL) Fellow, a member of Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, and the The Detroit Digital Justice Coalition.

In addition to Tawana’s social justice work and community organizing, she performs, teaches and speaks across the globe. She has been a featured guest on the Tavis Smiley Show, NPR/WDET, AM 1440, FM 107.5, TV50 Street Beat, Occupy Radio, Move to Amend, PBS, The Barbara Dean Franklin Show, MetroTimes, on former Detroit Councilwoman JoAnn Watson’s television program Wake Up Detroit, on the Motown Writers Network, on former Rolling Stone Editor Dave Marsh’s national radio program Living in the Land of Hopes and Dreams and several other radio and television programs.

Tawana also teaches her workshop Poetry As Visionary Resistance across the globe. Her work and writings have also been featured in various publications and she has been a featured speaker and performer in many cities across the United States as well as outside of the country. As an organizer, Tawana has organized a vast array of social justice initiatives bringing together thousands to advocate for social justice and create alternatives and solutions.

In 2014, she spoke with comrades on water rights issues at the United Nations in New York on International Peace Day and in 2015, and was a featured speaker at the School of Americas Watch Vigil (SOA Watch Vigil) in Georgia.

Also known as Honeycomb on stage, she is the author of Introducing Honeycomb and Coming Out My Box.

Shea Howell

Shea Howell
Shea Howell is a Detroit activist, writer and lecturer.  She works with youth, artists and community-groups, emphasizing place based, visionary organizing.  She explores issues of social difference and peace. For nearly two decades she wrote a weekly column for the Michigan Citizen and her work is widely published. She is a co-founder of Detroit Summer and of the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership. She is currently working with Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, emphasizing the need for a Water Affordability Plan and independent freedom schools. She is also a member of the National Council of Elders. She is a professor of political communication at Oakland University.

Nate Mullen

Shea Howell
Nathaniel Mullen is the director of Detroit Future Schools (DFS), a sponsored project of Allied Media Projects. He joined the AMP team in 2011, as part of the founding team of DFS. Nate’s work thrives at the intersection of art, education and people. For eight years, Nate has worked in classrooms, leading student media investigations which have included everything from stop motion videos about Newton’s Laws to infographics on the complexities of global economics. He has a B.F.A. from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of Detroit Public Schools. Lastly, Nate is a lover of bad jokes, cheesy graphics and Krista Tippett.