Black Speakers

Black Speakers

Each of the following leaders from the African American community have an impressive body of work deserving of recognition. Please consider these 21st century luminaries as speakers for future events.
Phone: 770.961.6200

Illai Kenney

Expertise: Environment, Sustainability, Youth Empowerment, Youth Voter Participation, Utilizing New Media for Social Justice

Illai Kenney is an internationally recognized environmental and social justice youth activist. Her first public speech was at the Million Youth Movement Rally when she was nine. She founded the Georgia Kids Against Pollution when she was 12. The senior at Howard University is a recipient of the prestigious Brower Award, a previous contributor to The Huffington Post, and has coordinated and contributed to numerous environmental campaigns. Illai is widely recognized for challenging Coca-Cola over water practices in India and for speaking up about poverty as the youngest speaker at the UN Summit on Sustainability in South Africa. Determined to advance environmental justice, Illai has traveled to many states in the US and visited Europe, Africa, and South America to speak on social justice issues. Illai also works with Black Youth Vote! to promote youth civic engagement and was instrumental in the historic turnout of young Blacks in the 2004 and 2008 elections. (Washington, DC/Atlanta).


Melanie L. Campbell

Expertise: Civil Rights, Civic Engagement, Women’s Empowerment, Women in Society, Black Voter Participation, Motivation

Melanie L. Campbell has over 20 years of experience as a civic leader, political strategist, and youth advocate. Melanie serves as president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing African American participation in civil society. She also serves as convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable of The National Coalition.

A nationally recognized expert in civic engagement, election reform and coalition building, successful coalition projects enacted under Melanie’s leadership include the Unity Civic Engagement & Voter Empowerment Campaign; the ReBuild Hope NOW coalition to assist survivors of Hurricane Katrina; and rejuvenation of The National Coalition’s Black Women’s Roundtable.

Campbell is certified in non-profit management by the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute Executive Program and was a resident fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University. She is a contributing writer in the 2006 Harvard University Journal on African Americans in Public Policy, “A Nation Exposed: Rebuilding African American Communities”, article on ‘Right of Return Means Access to the Ballot, Access to Neighborhoods, and Access to Economic Opportunity’. She also contributed to the publication’s 2004 edition, “Politics & Progress: A Presidential Platform for 2004.” She was featured in the July 2003 Black Enterprise Magazine article on Black Leadership: The Next Generation. (Washington, DC)


Felicia M. Davis

Expertise: Women & Green Jobs, Environment, Sustainability, Civil Rights, Civic Engagement, Women’s Empowerment, Women in Society, Motivation, Gender Issues

Felicia M. Davis is director of UNCF’s Institute for Capacity Building, a program helping HBCU’s and other minority-serving institutions incorporate principles of sustainable design and energy efficiency into building projects. Felicia is committed to working to ensure diverse participation in the transition to a green and sustainable economy. She has been an advocate for just climate policy since the UN Climate Conference in The Hague (2000). Warning that the face of climate catastrophe would be black and female, Davis volunteered in the Gulf Coast for more than six weeks following Hurricane Katrina.

As a member of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative steering committee Felicia helped to develop special projects training young adults about climate policy. She served as an advisor for the initiative’s HBCU project and serves as a mentor to several African American student environmental advocates. Since the UN Climate Conferences in Poznan, Poland Felicia has served as the GenderCC (Women for Climate Justice) North America Focal Point. She coordinated the Black Women’s Roundtable delegation to the UN Climate Conference held last December in Copenhagen, Denmark and helped to coordinate African American participation in the landmark international meeting that included more than 15,000 delegates, 100 heads of state, several US cabinet members, and President Obama.

Felicia utilized her organizing and coalition building skills to increase African American involvement in air quality and climate issues. As co-author of the critical Air of Injustice Report, she brought together the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, Black Leadership Forum, Clean Air Task Force and the Clear the Air Campaign in a historic collaboration. Felicia is an experienced participant in United Nations conferences on women, technology, and climate change. She created “eco-cyber-centers” in Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa that successfully integrated digital technology, environmental stewardship, and cultural exchange. The Howard University graduate credits work with the American Council on Education early in her career with providing a solid foundation in higher education issues and administration. (Atlanta, GA)


Cleo Manago

Expertise: Black Health & Wellness, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Racism, HIV/AIDS, Sexuality Issues, Mental Health, Self-Image/Self-Esteem, Image of Black Men

Social architect and, activist, Cleo Manago, is the CEO of AmASSI Center for Wellness, Education and Culture and founder of Black Men’s Xchange (BMX). Cleo has advocated on behalf of African American health issues for over two decades and was one of the first innovators in the AIDS movement to reveal that psychosocial concerns were a major determinant to HIV/AIDS treatment adherence and preventative behavior modification. His BMX organization was funded by the Center for Disease Control to increase HIV-related awareness. The AmASSI Center runs an innovative African American preventive health project Mobilizing Against Growing Incidences of Communicable Disease Black Leadership Initiative.

Cleo’s recently launched public awareness program, Black Life Matters, will celebrate the inaugural observance of “Black Self-Love & Restoration Day” in February of 2012. The day is a national opportunity at the end of Black History Month for people of African descent to take inventory on how they’re treating each other and themselves. This is important because the African American community continues to suffer from conditions, which are entirely preventable. To accent the significance of Black History Month, Black Self-Love & Restoration Day directs the legacy of Black history toward its impact on current circumstances, and most importantly, toward a focus for the continued evolution of Black health and well-being.

CNN recently featured a story where Black children were still choosing the White doll as better than the Black doll. Black Self-Love & Restoration Day will provide an opportunity to convey that Black kids are worthy of love, good health, and should have equal access to a quality of life as other American children.

Contact: Edrea edrea@jazzmynepr.comm/770.961.6200