• activisim

Activism & Humanitarianism Speakers

 

The Lavin Agency represents an inspiring body of activists: a group of artists and educators, authors and humanitarians, all working tirelessly for human rights and equity at home or abroad. They speak on how change can be affected at all levels, from grassroots rallies to major lobbying initiatives. 

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Activism & Humanitarianism
Speakers
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Yeonmi Park

North Korean Defector and Human Rights Activist | Author of In Order to Live

Born in North Korea, human rights activist and TED Speaker Yeonmi Park grew up in a society devoted to the worship of Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il. But at the age of 13, she and her family made a daring escape to China in search of a life free of tyranny. In her viral talks, viewed online nearly 350 million times, Park urges her listeners to recognize the oppression that exists in North Korea, and all over the world.  
Angela Davis

Legendary Human Rights Activist

Angela Davis is internationally known for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. Her work as an educator—both at the university level and in the larger public sphere—has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender equality. 
Bill McKibben

Author of New York Times Bestselling Falter and The End of Nature | Leading Environmental Speaker and Founder of 350.org

Of all the challenges the planet faces, none is as large as its fast-heating climate—and no one has worked longer or harder than Bill McKibben both to document and fight that ever-growing crisis. The author of the first book about global warming—1989’s The End of Nature—McKibben went on to found 350.org, which has become the biggest grassroots climate campaign in the world. 
 
Eman Mohammed

TED Senior Fellow and Photojournalist

Photographer Eman Mohammed knows what it feels—and looks—like to be deemed the other. Through photography, and in hopeful, vibrant talks, Mohammed strives to bring battling sides together to “reveal the human face that [her subjects] tried so hard to avoid,” dissolving the perception of a clear-cut enemy.  
David Fleischer

Director of Leadership Lab | Community Activist

Prejudice is on the rise. Isn’t it? If so, then speaker David Fleischer is doing the impossible: reducing prejudice by knocking on strangers’ doors and offering them the opportunity to form new opinions. The effect is tangible—real, data-verified change. And he’ll teach you how to make it happen, too.  
Megan Phelps-Roper

Former Member of the Westboro Baptist Church | Author of This Above All (Forthcoming)

Megan Phelps-Roper grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church: a group infamous for its intolerance. But dialogue on Twitter showed her another life was possible—and in 2012, she escaped her home, family, and faith. Now, with a popular TED Talk, a major New Yorker profile, and an upcoming memoir and film adaptation, she is a unique example of how empathy can overcome hate.
 
Jelani Cobb

New Yorker Staff Writer, Speaker on Race in America

Journalist, educator, and diversity speaker Jelani Cobb writes about the enormous complexity of race in America. Cobb has been praised for combining “the strengths of an on-the-scene reporter, a public intellectual, a teacher, a vivid writer, a subtle moralist, and an accomplished professional historian”—qualities he brings to his gripping talks.
Susan Fowler

Time Magazine Person of the Year 2017 | #MeToo and STEM speaker

Susan Fowler is a central figure in the #MeToo movement. Named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year as one of the silence breakers, Fowler is the former Uber engineer whose viral blog post ignited an ongoing, worldwide conversation. The Financial Times named her Person of the Year as well, writing that her actions hold “the potential to improve the way women are treated at work permanently.”
 
 
Kimberley Motley

First Foreign Litigator in Afghanistan, 2014 TED Speaker

Kimberley Motley is the only foreign litigator working in Afghanistan. Armed with an unwavering determination and a passion for justice, she navigates the country’s punitive and capricious legal system with unprecedented success. In keynotes, she talks about the global human rights economy, and how and why we should all pay attention to—and take full advantage of—the rule of law.  
Matthew Vines

Author of God and the Gay Christian

Matthew Vines is a gay Christian—and that’s no contradiction. He has also become a leading new voice on the Bible and homosexuality. His groundbreaking speech countering anti-gay interpretations of Scripture has been viewed on YouTube over 700,000 times. The New York Times calls him “an unlikely advocate (and lightning rod) for those straddling one of the most volatile fault lines in America’s culture war: homosexual Christians.”
 
Reza Aslan

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Zealot and God: A Human History | Executive Producer of The Secret Life of Muslims

Reza Aslan addresses topics of Islam, the Middle East, and Muslim Americans with authority, wit, and infectious optimism. He is the author of the bestseller God: A Human History, and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Negin Farsad

Social Justice Comedian, Director of The Muslims Are Coming!

Negin Farsad is at the forefront of social justice comedy—a field that she insists totally exists (or should). A TED Senior Fellow, author of How to Make White People Laugh, and as one of few Iranian-American Muslim female comedian/filmmakers, Farsad uses humor—full-scale ridiculousity—to bridge the racial, religious, social, and immigrant gap. 
Margot Lee Shetterly

Author of Hidden Figures: the #1 New York Times bestseller, and inspiration for the #1 movie.

Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures—a #1 NYT bestseller and inspiration for a #1 movie in America—is the true story of the black women mathematicians at NASA who helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. In talks, Shetterly celebrates these unsung heroes, teasing out issues of race, gender, science, and innovation against the backdrop of WWII and the Civil Rights Era.
 
Emily Bazelon

Author of New York Times Bestselling Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration

Emily Bazelon sheds vital light on the enormous and oft-misused power of the American judicial system in shaping our society. Her crucial research—as explored in both her talks and forthcoming book, Charged—provide a bracing investigation of a criminal justice system with unchecked power, and the remarkable efforts being made to address and reform the national crisis that mass incarceration represents. 
 
Bill Strickland

An Extraordinary Business and Community Leader

Bill Strickland created an empire by stoking genius in those who believed they had nothing. As founder of Manchester Bidwell, Strickland fuels hope, generates jobs, and empowers the poor and underprivileged to become experts in their field of choice. His tactical talks show you how to defy convention so that you too can create a culture of understanding, social restoration, and profit with a conscience.
 
Jessica Green

CEO of Phylagen, Inc. | TED Senior Fellow

How can we create sustainable cities and healthier buildings—including classrooms, hospitals, offices, and homes—by studying microbes? TED Senior Fellow Jessica Green explains how in visually rich talks that chart the frontier of bio-inspired design.  
Gabby Rivera

Author of the New Marvel Comic Series America and Juliet Takes a Breath

Gabby Rivera is an outgoing, outspoken creator invested in fostering better dialogue, inspiring radical creativity, and improving our most vulnerable communities. The author of Juliet Takes a Breath, she’s also the writer of the new Marvel series America—featuring the first queer, Latinx teen-girl superhero, ever—that’s catching headlines from The New York Times, CNN, Vogue, and beyond.
 
Jessica Jackley

Co-Founder of Kiva, the microlending site, and Author of Clay Water Brick

You can do good and do well at the same time. Just ask Jessica Jackley, founder of KIVA, the world’s most successful microlending site. Praised by the likes of Oprah and Bill Clinton, Jackley champions diverse skill sets, finding meaning in your work, and dreaming big. On stage, Jackley delivers an upbeat and enduring message: you can synthesize your disparate skills, as she did, to create a meaningful life and career. 
 
Vijay Gupta

Founder of Street Symphony, TED Senior Fellow, and Mental Health Advocate

Vijay Gupta is a violinist and educator whose efforts to merge music with mental health are changing the world, note by note. Gupta is the founder of Street Symphony—a musical advocacy program that empowers citizen-musicians by engaging with communities experiencing extreme poverty, incarceration, and homelessness. The results have been extraordinary. 
 
LaToya Ruby Frazier

Photographer speaking on family, communities, and environmental racism

One of the nation’s most acclaimed photographers, LaToya Ruby Frazier’s work depicts the unsettling reality of today’s America: post-industrial cities riven by poverty, racism, healthcare inequality, and environmental toxicity. Frazier not only captures our cultural blind spots—she teaches us how art is a powerful tool for social transformation.
 
Jer Thorp

Data Artist | Innovator-in-Residence at the Library of Congress | Former NYT Data Artist in Residence

When Twitter, Microsoft, and Facebook need an expert to analyze their data, who do they turn to? Jer Thorp—the most respected Data Artist in America. By creating multi-dimensional, visually stunning projects, often using hundreds of square feet of imagery and billions of pieces of data, Thorp makes data visible—and changes the way we think and act. 
 
Jeff Chang

Social Historian, Author of We Gon’ Be Alright and Can't Stop Won't Stop

“Culture moves before politics,” says Jeff Chang, who writes on art, multiculturalism, and racial progress in post-civil rights America with the sweeping authority of the best social historians. In We Gon’ Be Alright—his acclaimed essay collection, adapted into a digital series—he explores the meaning of diversity in an era of racial and economic resegregation: telling a lively and tumultuous narrative of modern American life.
 
Vanessa Grigoriadis

Author of Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power and Consent on Campus

In this #MeToo moment, how do we engage in practical dialogue and move forward? For three years, the award-winning investigative journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis embedded herself in colleges across America, conducting hundreds of interviews. Now, she maps out strategies to create safer, happier, more edifying college experiences—not just for students, but also for those who guide their lives in those crucial four years.
 
Candy Chang

Urban Space Artist Behind the "Before I Die" Walls

World-renowned artist and urban designer Candy Chang engages communities to share everything from their greatest hopes to their deepest anxieties in public. The Atlantic calls her artwork Before I Die “one of the most creative community projects ever.” In her captivating and intimate talks, she demystifies the creative process, inspires personal reflection, and provokes new ideas for community and well-being. 
 
Rev. Jeffrey Brown

Pastor and President of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace)

Rev. Jeffrey Brown was one of the key architects behind the “Boston Miracle,” which saw the violent crime rate among youth plummet by 79% over a decade. Today, he works with faith groups, cities, government, and police to stop gang violence as the president of RECAP and co-founder of My City at Peace. He speaks on “collaborative leadership,” community building, and what it takes to institute real change in organizations of all stripes.
 
Ashton Applewhite

Anti-Ageism Activist | Author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

Ashton Applewhite is a leading voice in an emerging movement dedicated to dismantling ageism and making age a criterion for diversity. The author of This Chair Rocks, she reveals the untapped possibilities of late life—in our communities, at work, and in ourselves. 
Dr. Richard Heinzl

Founder of Doctors Without Borders, Canada

Richard Heinzl is the founder of Doctors Without Borders Canada: the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization that has inspired a movement among medical professionals to help the world’s most vulnerable populations. Modest and deeply passionate, he shares stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the midst of war and other challenges—and how technology is changing the face of medicine around the globe.
Naomi Klein

Author of The Battle for Paradise, No Is Not Enough, This Changes Everything, The Shock Doctrine, & No Logo

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, columnist, and the #1 international bestselling author of seminal books The Shock Doctrine and No Logo. In her book This Changes Everything, and in powerful new talks, she exposes the myths of the climate debate. Her forthcoming book, On Fire (September 2019), takes on the global climate justice movement and makes an urgent case for a Green New Deal. 
Shaun King

Columnist at The Intercept | Writer-In-Residence at Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project

Today, in greater numbers, people are talking about real empowerment and liberation for historically disadvantaged groups. Journalist, humanitarian, and activist Shaun King, a columnist for The Intercept and the Writer-In-Residence at Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project, is amongst the most compelling voices: a humane and passionate advocate for justice and families, and an extremely visible fundraiser for victims of brutality and discrimination.
 
Waneek Horn-Miller

Olympian, Activist, and Speaker on Indigenous Health and Reconciliation

Waneek Horn-Miller has overcome discrimination and trauma to emerge as one of North America’s most inspiring activists and Olympians. From her iconic TIME cover to her former role in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, she empowers our communities to overcome adversity, and helps us turn reconciliation—justice, healing, and dialogue—into a cornerstone of our national institutions.
 
 
Minnijean Brown-Trickey

Civil Rights Legend Who Helped Desegregate Public Schools

In 1957, Minnijean Brown-Trickey changed history by striding through the front doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. As a member of the Little Rock Nine, she helped desegregate public schools—a milestone in civil rights history—and alter the course of education in America. Her talks are a sweeping exploration of social change and a reminder that the fight is far from over. 
Molly Crabapple

Painter, Writer, and Author of Drawing Blood

Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer whose work has been described as “God’s own circus posters,” by Rolling Stone. Unabashedly political, she worked with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to ...