Jude-Laure Denis is a Haitian-American woman of Catholic and Jewish heritage, with a passion for justice for all people. Leaving behind a successful career in corporate event management for Merrill Lynch to become a community organizer on the 2008 Obama campaign, she has been working diligently to create spaces for both individual and community transformation ever since. A graduate of Oberlin College and Drew University’s MFA program in Poetry and Poetry Translation, Ms. Denis was born in Port-au-Prince, and raised in Philadelphia, by her maternal grandmother, herself a closet poet. Ms. Denis is the Executive Director of POWER (Pennsylvanians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild) Northeast, a faith-based but not faith exclusive, nonprofit organization committed to interrupting oppressive and inequitable systems that have historically, negatively impacted African-American, Latinx and poor white communities in the Lehigh Valley. Her work focuses on both short-term and long-term solutions, aimed at disrupting the status quo through effective grassroots organizing rooted in personal and collective transformation.
Marlana Eck is the founder of the, now retired, political community space, Lehigh Valley Vanguard, and co-founder of the omnifeminist quarterly lit mag, Rag Queen Periodical. She is the current editor-in-chief of TERSE. Journal, a place for the metaphysical, digital, and sociopolitical. Additionally, she has work in The Chronicle of Higher Education, San Diego Free Press, Bitch Flicks, Raging Chicken Press, The Déclassé Intellectual, and Hybrid Pedagogy.
In 2016 she was the keynote speaker at the LVAIC Women and Gender Studies Conference where she discussed labor in academia. Her formal education includes degrees from Centenary College of New Jersey (B.A.), Lehigh University (M.Ed.), and Kutztown University (M.A.), and she is currently a doctoral student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a focus on the intersections of labor, disability, and queerness in literature.
Ted Morgan retired in January 2017 after serving as professor of political science at Lehigh for 40 years. He also served as Interim Director of Africana Studies. In addition to teaching and writing on social movements of the 1960s, media and propaganda, political organizing, and American politics, Ted has been a long-time activist and political commentator on issues of social justice, war and peace, and the environment.
Anna Russell is a local director, actor, writer and filmmaker. She graduated from Haverford College with a Theater major and Film minor from Swarthmore College as well as a concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies. While in school, she spent time in Germany studying postcolonial theatre and the techniques of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and working with the Interkulterelles Theater Zentrum Berlin. Her experiences during this time impressed her greatly, and she came to Touchstone Theatre in fall 2014 with a determination to bring art and social politics together. She went on to became Allentown Public Theater’s Artistic Director in 2015, where she has produced a range of projects with political implications, including the original piece Then Athena about the experiences of women in the military, and the South African piece The Island by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona. Anna is proud to have collaborated with other artists in the Lehigh Valley to form Voices of Conscience: Toward Racial Understanding in 2015, an art series designed to facilitate community discussions about relevant topics.
Native of Southeast San Diego, Tyrone Russell is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and award-winning higher education professional. Tyrone graduated from Colgate University with a BA in Sociology and holds an MS in Counseling from Shippensburg University. Professionally, Tyrone has over 15 years experience working in higher education, and 10 years of working to improve equity and inclusion within medium sized organizations. He currently conducts team building, cultural competence, and strategic outreach workshops for non-profit leadership and corporate staffs. Serving as Coordinator of Racial and Ethnic Justice with the Community Action Agency of the Lehigh Valley, Tyrone previously worked as the Director of Multicultural Affairs and served on the executive board of the Council of Equity and Community- A campus wide committee appointed by the president to address issues concerning diversity and inclusion at Lehigh University. He is the founder and CEO of Lehigh Valley Faces Marketing and Development Firm and continues the fight to strengthen relationships between community clients and businesses. He is also a proud member of the board of directors for the Allentown Chamber, Redevelopment Authority of Allentown, and the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley.
Saide Saddiq, 24, of Allentown, Founder of Arrow Up is a social entrepreneur, marketer, philosopher, and public speaker, Saddiq advocates for making growth opportunities for millennial youth available equally in urban areas and in small towns. Saide describes his mission as To “Inspire, Educate, & Equip those underserved” also known as the IE2 philosophy for social improvement.