Diversity

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, having amassed 38,387 points over a 20-year career with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. Since retiring from the game, the man who perfected the “skyhook” has become a speaker, author, film-maker, and educator. On January 18th, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appointed Abdul-Jabbar as a Global Cultural Ambassador.

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Mary Frances Berry

Mary Frances Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. She was appointed by President Carter and confirmed by the Senate as a Commissioner on the US Commission on Civil Rights. After President Reagan fired her for criticizing his civil rights policies, she sued him and won reinstatement in federal district court. In 1993, President Clinton designated her Chairperson of the Civil Rights Commission.

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Donna Brazile

Author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University; a syndicated columnist for Universal Uclick, Ms. Magazine, and O, The Oprah Magazine; and an on-air contributor to CNN and ABC, where she regularly appears on This Week.

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LeVar Burton

The multi-talented LeVar Burton has captured the attention of audiences and peers for over two decades. As a multiple Daytime Emmy Award and Grammy Award winning actor, director, producer, author, and celebrity speaker, Burton proves he can do it all. Burton’s first professional audition, at the age of 19, led to his being cast as Kunta Kinte in the acclaimed miniseries “ROOTS.” He is also well known for his acting on the “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

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Jose Canseco

Born in Cuba, Jose Canseco’s family fled the country when he was a baby to a better life in Miami. By the time he was 20, Canseco began to scale the heights of the American Dream as a minor-league baseball player in the Oakland A’s system. A vow to his dying mother to become the “best athlete on the planet” led to early experimentation with steroids and human growth hormone. Over time Canseco’s vast knowledge of performance enhancing drugs earned him the notorious title “Godfather of Steroids” and a storied career in pro baseball. In the end, he was held up as an example, shut out of the League just shy of a spot in the Hall of Fame.

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Carlos Conejo

Carlos Conejo has been lecturing and consulting internationally on management, supervision, organizational development, and multicultural issues in Canada, Puerto Rico and The United Kingdom, presenting to thousands of people from various organizations and companies. His clients include, Johnson & Johnson, Oakley Sunglasses-Luxotica, Pentair Pool Products, Jacuzzi Brand Products, Curtis-Wright Aerospace, The US Marines Corps, U.S. Army, U.S. Postal Service, Amgen, St. Jude's, Medtronic and more.

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Susan Johnson Cook

Suzan Johnson Cook was the first female and African-American to hold the position of US ambassador for international religious freedom. She has also served as a principal advisor to the president and the secretary of state. Additionally, she has been the faith advisor to two US Presidents, three cabinet secretaries, as well as political and celebrity leaders. She has been featured on Good Morning America, Today, The Today Show, as well as on Good Day NY, NY1 and CNN.

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Dominique Dawes

Olympic Gold Medal-Winning Gymnast Dominique Dawes is a champion in life. Bursting into the international spotlight in 1992 as part of the bronze-medal winning women’s Olympic gymnastic team, she was the first African American gymnast to ever qualify and compete in an Olympic games. A three-time Olympian, “Awesome Dawesome” catapulted into stardom, winning more national championship medals than any other athlete, and is now the most decorated gymnast on the US women’s Olympic team. Since her Olympic glory, Dawes hasn’t rested on her laurels.

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Marshawn Evans

Known to audiences as “Miss Peak Performance,” Marshawn Evans has used her story to speak words of empowerment across the nation and on such leading media outlets as ABC, VH1, CNBC, and PBS. As President and Chief Branding Officer of EDGE 3M, a media and marketing and management firm for celebrities and professional athletes, she represents some of the nation’s top personalities in entertainment and sports.

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Henry Louis Gates

African American politics. An influential cultural critic, Professor Gates has written a 1994 cover story for Time magazine, numerous articles for the New Yorker, and in September 2004, a biweekly guest column in The New York Times. In 2006, Professor Gates wrote and produced the PBS documentary also called “African American Lives,” the first documentary series to employ genealogy and genetic science to provide an understanding of African American history.

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Bruce George

Bruce George is a visionary, executive producer, writer, poet and activist. George is the Co-Founder of the critically acclaimed award winning “Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam.” He’s also the Founder/Managing Editor of “The Bandana Republic, an Anthology of Poetry & Prose by Gang Members & Their Affiliates.”

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Chris Gibbons

Dr. Gibbons’ is an Urban Health expert and informatician who works primarily in the area of Consumer Health informatics where he focuses on using Health Information and Communications Technologies to improve urban healthcare disparities. His work is forming the foundation of the emerging field of populomics which represents the fusion of the population sciences, medicine and informatics. Prior to coming to the Urban Health Institute, Dr. Gibbons was a Senior Policy Fellow at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

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Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. Over the past thirty years, her outspokenness, in her writing and in lectures, has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely-read American poets, she prides herself on being "a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English." Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality.

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Jullien Gordon

Jullien Gordon is passionate about writing and speaking. He speaks regularly on millennials, motivation, purpose, and careers. He was invited to speak at the 30 Summit and The Gathering—two very selective groups for forward thinking millennials. Finally, he holds a seat on the Junior Board for the Beginning with Children Foundation and works closely with the Stay Inspired organization.

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Dr. Farrah Gray

Raised in the impoverished South side of Chicago, Dr. Farrah Gray defied the odds and became a self-made millionaire by the age of fourteen. At the age of twenty-one, he received an Honorary Doctorate degree of Humane Letters from Allen University in recognition of his ingenious economic mind and distinguished commitment to the development of values such as leadership, integrity, and scholarship. In his rise from poverty to international prominence as an entrepreneurial icon and pre-eminent power speaker, Dr. Gray has inspired millions around the world.

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Hill Harper

Hill Harper has won legions of admirers for his soulful portrayal of "Dr. Sheldon Hawkes" on the hit drama series CSI: New York. A talented actor, Harper's passion for his craft is surpassed only by his dedication to inspire America's youth. A firm believer that identity is not defined by skin color or circumstance, the charismatic Harper encourages audiences to "take your biggest dream, and double it."

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Michael Hingson

Michael and “Roselle” have since become well-known as representatives of the strength of the human/animal bond, and have been successful in communicating the power of that bond in many media interviews and public presentations. Michael has traveled with a Guide Dog for 40 years and embodies the lifelong partnerships created by Guide Dogs for the Blind and those they serve.

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Immaculée Ilibagiza

Immaculée Ilibagiza is the author of Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, the international bestseller that has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide and has been made into a documentary. Some of the proceeds from the book have raised over $150,000 for the orphans of Rwanda.

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Susan Johnson Cook

Suzan Johnson Cook was the first female and African-American to hold the position of US ambassador for international religious freedom. She has also served as a principal advisor to the president and the secretary of state. Additionally, she has been the faith advisor to two US Presidents, three cabinet secretaries, as well as political and celebrity leaders. She has been featured on Good Morning America, Today, The Today Show, as well as on Good Day NY, NY1 and CNN.

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Earwin "Magic" Johnson

NBA legend, two-time Hall of Famer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, motivational speaker… these are but a few of the honors and distinctions Earvin “Magic” Johnson has racked up over the years. Today, the business mogul has successfully parlayed his skills on the basketball court into multimillion-dollar success in the business world, propelling his company to the status of #1 urban brand in America.

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Roxanne Jones

Founding Editor of ESPN the Magazine and Senior Vice President of ESPN, Roxanne Jones joined ESPN in 1997. She is one of the founding editors of The Magazine that now boasts more than 14.7 million readers and three ASME awards for General Excellence.

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Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones is a Tony Award® winning playwright and performer. Her multi-character solo show Bridge & Tunnel was originally produced Off-Broadway by Oscar-winner Meryl Streep, and went on to become a critically acclaimed, long running hit on Broadway. Sarah Jones was educated at Bryn Mawr College and the United Nations International School, Sarah recently returned to her UN School roots by becoming a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, traveling as a spokesperson on violence against children, and performing for audiences from Indonesia to Ethiopia, the Middle East and Japan.

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Craig Kielburger

Craig Kielburger is a social entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, and syndicated columnist. He co-founded Free The Children in 1995 when he was 12-years-old. Today, he remains a full-time volunteer for the organization, now the world’s leading youth-driven charity.

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Hoda Kotb

Co-Anchor, Fourth Hour of Today & Correspondent, Dateline NBC Hoda Kotb is the co-host of the fourth hour of NBC’s Today. She began hosting the 10 a.m. hour when it debuted in September 2007, and she currently hosts alongside Kathie Lee Gifford. Kotb has also been a Dateline NBC correspondent since April 1998 and the host of the weekly syndicated series Your Total Health since September 2004. She is the author of Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee.

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Crystal Kuykendall

Dr. Crystal Arlene Kuykendall is considered one of the most dynamic individuals of our time. A critical thinker, analyst, motivator, and mentor. Dr. Kuykendall has astounded audiences and individuals through the power of her observations and the warmth of her words. A highly sought after and savvy speaking sensation, she is an engaging educator, human relations expert, legal analyst/litigator, endearing author and loving mother.

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Sheryl Lee Ralph

Original DREAMGIRL, Sheryl Lee Ralph is an acclaimed veteran of film, television and the Broadway stage. Her award winning body of work includes creating and originating the role of Deena Jones on Broadway in the landmark musical Dreamgirls.After Dreamgirls, Ralph turned her attention to music, television and film. She scored a top-ten selling dance hit in the mid-eighties with the infectious anthem In the Evening and again in the nineties with her remake of Here Comes the Rain Again. On television, Sheryl Lee Ralph has starred in It's a Living, her own series New Attitude, the George Foreman series George and in the hit comedy Designing Women. She was also voted one of TV's Favorite Moms for her portrayal of step mom Dee on the number-one rated television series Moesha. She broke new ground In the SHOWTIME series, Barbershop, as the popular, post-operative transsexual, Claire. Recently, Ralph brought a new face to the sufferings of war in the NBC hit series ER. Her extensive film credits include Sister Act II with Whoopi Goldberg, The Flintstones with Rosie O'Donell, The Mighty Quinn with Denzel Washington, Mistress with Robert De Niro, and Eddie Murphy's Distinguished Gentleman. Sheryl Lee Ralph's performance with Danny Glover in To Sleep with Anger won her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress. As a producer, Ralph created the critically acclaimed Divas Simply Singing!, an evening of song and entertainment that has become one of the most highly anticipated AIDS benefits in Hollywood. She is also the founding creator of The Jamerican Film & Music Festival which in five years has given birth to five SHOWTIME Filmmaker Finalists. Ralph has found new success in writing and directing with her award-winning film short Secrets. With an all-star cast that includes Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard, Tina Lifford, Victoria Rowell, La Tanya Richardson, Robin Givens and Ralph herself. Secrets was a finalist in the HBO Film Short Competition, Showtime Filmmakers Series, Acapulco Black Film Festival, Hollywood Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, Urban World Film Festival and an audience favorite at Outfest Film Festival. Following on the success of Divas Simply Singing, Ralph has added a one-woman show Sometimes I Cry to her list of credits. Written, directed and performed by Ralph, this complex and thought-provoking play, illustrates the heartbreaking, yet inspiring real life stories of culturally diverse women whose lives unravel as they cope with their HIV/AIDS reality. Ralph uses her remarkable talent to poignantly bring these women to life in a way that touches the heart leaving audiences deeply moved and encouraged to know their status. Met with an extraordinary outpouring of love and acceptance after its initial performance at the National Black Women and HIV/AIDS Conference in Los Angeles in 2005, Sometimes I Cry, continues to be performed in the US and abroad. Mother of two, Sheryl Lee Ralph loves every moment of raising her children. Recently married to State Senator Vincent Hughes of Pennsylvania in what Entertainment Tonight called, "The most elegant and romantic wedding of the summer!" she acknowledges that love is the greatest gift to be given and shared.

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Michael Soon Lee

Mr. Lee has been a diversity consultant and speaker to Fortune 100 & 500 companies around the world and was the Dean of a university business school. He is the author of eight books on marketing and selling to multicultural customers, women, Generation-X & -Y, Baby Boomers and others. His latest is, "Cross-Cultural Selling for Dummies".

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Billy Mills

Billy Mills overcame these odds and won the Gold Medal in the 10,000 Meter Run. His victory is considered one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history, and some have stated that his performance at Tokyo was the greatest achievement in modern times. Since the 1964 Olympics, Billy Mills has shared how he pursued excellence in the world of sports with corporations, associations, universities, and schools. He has inspired thousands of individuals globally to reach within the depths of their capabilities and perform to the greatest of their potential to the betterment of human kind.

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Anthony Munoz

Anthony Munoz is one of Cincinnati's true sports icons. Considered by many as the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history, Munoz has a record of excellence that is unrivaled in professional football. An eleven-time NFL Pro Bowl selection, Muñoz is the only Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in Cincinnati Bengals history. Since retiring, Anthony and his family have remained in Cincinnati, where Muñoz has served as one of the community’s most accessible and involved advocates.

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Dave Pallone

Dave Pallone worked 18 years as a professional umpire; 10 of those years with the National Baseball League. As the third youngest umpire in baseball history, he demonstrated courage, professionalism and the ability to withstand adversity through many of baseball′s high profile controversial events.Dave is the author of the 1990 New York Time′s best-selling autobiography, Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball, which offers a revealing look at baseball through the eyes of a gay man.

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Star Parker

Star Parker's personal transformation from welfare dependent to conservative crusader has been chronicled by ABC's 20/20; Rush Limbaugh; Readers Digest; James Dobson; The 700 Club; Dr. George Grant; Christianity Today; James Robison; Newsmax, Charisma, and World Magazine. Currently, Star Parker is a regular commentator on CNN, TBN, CSPAN, CBN, and FOX News. Articles and quotes by Parker continuously appear in major publications around the world. She has written several books including Uncle Sam's Plantation and White Ghetto. Currently, Parker is working on her next book: How the Poor Get Rich.

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Wintley Phipps

An amazing speaker, who has addressed heads of state worldwide, has guided & touched the most famous people, with his powerful story, DEEP beautiful voice and graphic stories. Wintley Phipps was born in Trinidad, West Indies, and grew up in Montreal, Canada. In those formative years he was surrounded by music of the church. Following graduation from Kingsway College (a high school near Toronto, Ontario) he attended Oakwood College in the 1970s, where he studied music theory and began writing gospel music.

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Pepe Serna

Veteran actor and Master Teacher Pepe Serna has appeared in more than 100 feature films and 300 television shows. He has also lent his vocal talents to the Fox hit series "The PJ's." Serna played the part of Sanchez, who speaks with the aid of a voice box and is the only Hispanic cast member of the zany inner city characters created by Eddie Murphy. Recently, Serna starred in the controversial "Kingpin" on NBC. Pepe Serna is a beloved college and university circuit speaker who tours the nation as a motivational keynote speaker.

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Hines Ward

Hines Ward is perhaps the greatest wide receiver in Steelers' history and certainly the best blocking wide receiver in NFL history. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion; the MVP of Super Bowl XL; a four-time pro bowler; the all-time team leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns; the only receiver in Steelers history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards for four straight seasons; was named to the Steelers' 75th Season All-Time Team; and owns every receiving record in franchise history.

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William Justus Wilson

William Julius Wilson is Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. He is one of only 24 University Professors, the highest professional distinction for a Harvard faculty member. After receiving the Ph.D. from Washington State University in 1966, Wilson taught sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1972. In 1990 he was appointed the Lucy Flower University Professor and director of the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Urban Inequality. He joined the faculty at Harvard in July of 1996.

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Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The Children's Defense Fund’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

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