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KEYNOTES - Thursday, May 30

General Session featuring Maya Soetoro-Ng "Washing our Eyes: Deep-Seeing Ourselves and this Moment

Thursday, May 30, 2024  |  8:15 AM - 9:30 AM

We will explore moving beyond dichotomies to embrace the interconnectedness of environmental justice and racial equity, as well as individual and community healing through reconnection and communication. We will consider the opportunities and impact of navigational leadership inspired by Pasifika island communities in order to move forward through today's storms.

General Session featuring a Panel on "From Pae ʻĀina o Hawai'i to Palestine: Voices of Interconnected Struggles"

Thursday, May 30, 2024  |  4:30 PM - 5:45 PM

Presenters: Linda Sarsour, Melina Abdullah, Daniel A. Segel, Uahikea Maile

Linda Sarsour

presenter Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour is one of the country’s leading voices in the fight for racial, economic, gender, and social justice. The Brooklyn-born Palestinian Muslim American community organizer and mother of three is globally-recognized for her award-winning intersectional work on key civil rights topics, including the impact of domestic policies that target Arab and Muslim American communities, mass incarceration and criminal justice, Middle East affairs, immigration policy, and voter registration.

Linda served as national co-chair of the Women’s March, helping to organize one of the largest single-day protests in U.S. history. She is the former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, co-founder of Muslims for Ferguson, and co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change, a grassroots movement of Muslim Americans working to build social, spiritual, racial, and economic justice for all people. She is also the co-founder of Until Freedom, a national racial justice organization focused on direct action and power building in communities of color.

Linda is the author of two books, We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love and Resistance with a forward by Harry Belafonte who writes, “While we may not have made it to the Promised Land, my peers and I, my brothers and sisters in liberation can rest easy that the future is in the hands of leaders like Linda Sarsour.” She’s also penned an empowering young readers’ edition of her memoir, We’re in This Together.

Linda was honored by President Barack Obama as a Champion of Change for her work empowering Arab and Muslim Americans nationally through civic engagement, direct service, and advocacy campaigns. She was recognized as one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders and featured as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Still, she remains rooted in racial justice and civil rights organizing, inspiring audiences to get off the sidelines and raise their voices in the fight for equity and justice for all.

Melina Abdullah

presenter Melinda Abdullah

Dr. Melina Abdullah is a recognized expert on race, gender, class, and social movements.  She was among the original group of organizers that convened to form Black Lives Matter and continues to serve as a Los Angeles chapter leader.  

She is also Professor and former Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.  Dr. Abdullah earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in Political Science and her B.A. from Howard University in African American Studies. 

Professor Abdullah is a womanist scholar-activist, understanding the role that she plays in the academy as intrinsically linked to broader struggles for the liberation of oppressed people. Professor Abdullah is a leader in the fight for Ethnic Studies in the K-12 and university systems and was a part of the historic victory that made Ethnic Studies a requirement in the Los Angeles Unified School District, also serving on the Taskforce for the Advancement of Ethnic Studies for the California State University system.  

Abdullah is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, with subjects ranging from coalition-building to womanist mothering.  She has contributed to popular media outlets, including The Root, Los Angeles Times, Truthdig, Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles Progressive, and BK Nation.  

She is also co-host and co-producer of the weekly radio program Beautiful Struggle which airs on KPFK, part of the Pacifica radio network, and hosts and produces the weekly internet radio show “Move the Crowd,” which airs on Radio Justice (  

From 2014-2018, Dr. Abdullah served on the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, where she initiated and chaired the county-wide hearings on community experiences with policing and was instrumental in replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. Dr. Abdullah also serves on a number of boards for, among others, the Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance (BCCLA), California Faculty Association-Los Angeles, Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA-CAN), and the National Association for Ethnic Studies.

Melina is the recipient of many awards, most recently the 2018 Community Service Award from National Council for Black Studies, 2017 Unsung Heroes Award from the Oscar Grant Foundation, 2017 Extraordinary Service Award from the African Heritage Studies Association, 2017 Justice Work Award from Beyond the Bars, 2017 Freedom Fighter Award from the NAACP, 2017 Activist Award presented by the National Association for Ethnic Studies, among numerous others. 

She has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, TV One, ABC, PBS, Revolt TV, KTLA, KCET, BET, Free Speech TV, and Al-Jazeera, and is featured in the films "Waking the Sleeping Giant," "13th," "When Justice Isn’t Just," and "Justice or Else" and in the television series "Two Sides."

Melina is originally from Oakland, California.  She is a single “soccer mama” of three children and resides in Mid-City Los Angeles.

Daniel A. Segal

presenter Dan Segal

Daniel Segal is the Jean M. Pitzer Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Professor Emeritus of History at Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges. He is a past fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and past president of the Society for Cultural Anthropology. As a scholar, he has written and published widely on histories of colonialism and the significance of non-state peoples in world  history. As an activist, he organizes for Palestinian rights and a Judaism beyond Zionism with Jewish Voice for Peace and serves on the state coordinating committee for JVP’s Indiana chapter; he is also a member of the AnthroBoycott collective, which successfully campaigned for the American Anthropological Association to adopt an institutional boycott of Israeli universities. He also organizes with TIAA-Divest! for a sustainable future without fossil fuels.

Uahikea Maile

presenter Uahikea Maile

Dr. Uahikea Maile is a Kanaka Maoli scholar, activist, and practitioner from Maunawili, Oʻahu. He is an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Politics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, St. George. He’s also the founding Director of Ziibiing Lab, and an Affiliate Faculty in the Centre for Indigenous Studies and Centre for the Study of the United States. Maile’s research interests include: history, law, and activism on Hawaiian sovereignty; Indigenous critical theory; settler colonialism; political economy; feminist and queer theories; and decolonization. His book manuscript, Nā Makana Ea: Settler Colonial Capitalism and the Gifts of Sovereignty in Hawaiʻi, examines the historical development and contemporary formation of settler colonial capitalism in Hawai‘i and gifts of sovereignty that seek to overturn it by issuing responsibilities for balancing relationships with ‘āina, the land and that who feeds.

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Photo at top featuring a Microsorum spectrum leaf (endemic to Hawai‘i and commonly known as a laua‘e fern) provided by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. Used with permission.