Features Speakers & Artists
Alexis Saenz is a mixed raced womxn originally from the Cheyenne, Ute, Arapaho and Sioux Territories, known as so called Denver, Colorado and resides in Tongva, Chumash and Tataviam Territories, known as so called Los Angeles, CA. Saenz is Latinx, Indigenous and White, although she is not sure of her direct tribal nations, she has been adopted to the Indigenous communities in the Navajo and Oglala Lakota Sioux nations. Alexis is Project Manager for March On Foundation. She also organizes with the International Indigenous Youth Council LA Chapter as the chapter representative and volunteers for the EmBrase Foundation. Saenz, graduated from California Institute of the Arts with her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography. When she’s not fighting for the Climate Justice movement, you can catch her teaching dance and pilates and pursuing a career in the entertainment industry as a dancer, filmmaker and actress. Alexis is very passionate about helping her community and people around the globe and hopes to continue this work to make the world a better place for us all.
Anjelah Johnson-Reyes was born and raised in San Jose, California and is of Mexican and Native American descent. She is one of five children and has a large extended family to which she remains close. In the beginning of her career, Johnson- Reyes was a professional cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders. As an Oakland Raiderette, she was named Rookie of the Year and even performed in Super Bowl XXXVII. After that year she decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of acting.
She became an internet sensation with her viral video, “Nail Salon” which led to many stand up, television and film opportunities. That same year she joined the cast of, “MADtv” as a series regular, which spawned another internet sensation, “Bon Qui Qui.” This original character, a disgruntled fast food employee with no filter, has been enjoyed, viewed and replicated by over 65 million people worldwide. After recording and releasing 3 songs and 2 music videos as Bon Qui Qui, Anjelah signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records to release a full album titled, “Gold Plated Dreams”, which She’s toured twice selling out both times. Bon Qui Qui teamed up with Benefit Cosmetics for her third music video “This Is How We Do It”. After the success of her debut album, Bon Qui Qui released a Christmas EP titled “Merry Hoodmas”. All the songs are available on iTunes and the videos are currently on YouTube.
Anjelah has appeared in multiple ads & commercials including campaigns for Sprint, Visa, Snickers, Verizon, All-State, K-Swiss, Dryers Ice Cream and was the spokesperson for a Texas based restaurant chain, Taco Cabana. Anjelah has also guest starred on shows such as The Shield, Ugly Betty, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and others all while touring with her stand up comedy.
In June 2009 Anjelah recorded her first one-hour special for Comedy Central and Warner Bros. Records titled, That’s How We Do It. Her second one-hour special, The Homecoming Show, aired on NUVOtv in July of 2013 and is currently available on Netflix. In 2014 Anjelah recorded her third hour special, Not Fancy which is a Netflix original, and is currently available for streaming. In 2017 she filmed her fourth hour special Mahalo & Goodnight in Honolulu, Hawaii. It premiered on the Epix channel and is now available for steaming on Hulu.
Johnson has starred in such films as OUR FAMILY WEDDING, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL, ENOUGH SAID, THE RESURRECTION OF GAVIN STONE and the film MOM’S NIGHT OUT which not only features Anjelah but also her husband, musician Manwell Reyes of the musical duo Panda$.
Anjelah resides in Los Angeles with her husband and continues to act and tour the country with her sold out comedy shows.
21-year-old Barbadian pop singer Ayoni released her debut project Iridescent October 18th 2019. The project positions her as one of the most exciting artists to enter the pop arena today with the likes of Lorde and Adele. A vehicle for self- discovery and healing, Iridescent delves into her journey through adolescence, divine femininity, and the ever-changing nature of personal peace.
June 30th Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth) was released and quickly labeled by Ones To Watch as ”one of the most powerful songs that has come across our desk in 2020”. The record received massive Spotify support and was included in +10 New Music Friday, POLLEN, Fresh Finds, Sad Indie, All New Indie, Fresh Folk, Oyster and Noir to name but a few.
Born in Barbados and later finding home in Singapore, Indonesia and the US, her music is lined with her experiences as a young Black woman and an immigrant navigating the world and finding her identity through it all. Playing the piano, guitar and producing, Ayoni pushes the sonic boundaries by infusing her moody and ethereal pop sound Aretha Franklin, Patrice Rushen and Frank Ocean. Her music also implores electricity and brightness as she confidently and uniquely uses genre-fluidity to speak to a world audience.
Jasilyn is the co-founder of the International Indigenous Youth Council, The One Mind Movement, and 7th Defenders, a grass roots group that serves disadvantaged youth and young adults on the Cheyenne River Reservation. Jasilyn Charger was one of the few youth who ignited the Standing Rock Pipeline Resistance Movement. She is a Land Defender and community organizer youth advocate for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
My name is Jeeva Senthilnathan, and I am currently one of the head youth organizers for the Colorado Climate Strikes. I am a high school graduate of the Class of 2020, and will be headed off to Colorado School of Mines in the Fall to study Computer Science with a Research Focus. My passion lies in politics to fix our current corrupted government. This year I ran as a high school senior for Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic National Convention, winning Colorado’s 4th Congressional District with 49 votes. I was a past Colorado High School Democrat State Officer and have helped to organize rallies for the BLM movement and set up progressive paid internships for high school students.
Kaylah Brathwaite is the 19-year-old Director of Operations and Logistics at Zero Hour. She currently lives in North Carolina but was raised in St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands. She is an avid organizer that reaches out to youth activists and those who are not yet involved in the movement in order to build a movement and a climate revolution.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, she works with Sunrise’s Charlotte Hub to build a movement that is reflective of Charlotte and the needs of specific communities through trainings and other tools that strengthen our communities. Nationally, with Zero Hour, she helped organize the Youth Summit Conference in Miami, Florida in July 2019 as a team member. The conference taught over 400 people the causes of the climate crisis, how to combat them, and how to uplift the voices of frontline youth, among other lessons that are instrumental to the success of the movement.
Brathwaite has also written about the immediate effects of climate change and how frontline youth are not only fighting for their futures, but for their lives right now. In the Teen Vogue published op-ed, “My Home Is Already Being Destroyed by Climate Change”, she tackles her experience as a frontline youth and the systems that made the climate crisis possible.
She aims dismantle the very systems that uphold the climate crisis and ensure that future generations can enjoy clean air, clean water, and collective liberation.
Larry Thompson, Sr. currently Vice President of Colorado Young Democratic Party, Chairman of the City of Littleton 2020 Advisory Board, African American Initiative of Colorado Democratic Party, Former House District 38 candidate. I moved from Montrose, Mississippi to Denver Metro Area, in order be a leaders and apart of the larger conversation when it comes to young people’s interest and what narrative that’s largely supported to push America to be the true land that accepts all.
I started getting more involved in the political process as I continue to recognize the lack of diversity and equity African Americans acquire to do the limited population. That nature alone gave me the drive to make sure that we can build a properly functioning organization that could facilitate equity amongst African Americans within the Colorado Communities.
As I began the journey of equity building on a broader basis, I targeted people of importance to pass on my message to them, that I intend to reconstruct the foundations of the African American political influence and also create an olive branch of opportunity to develop a national plan that would place Colorado as the Epicenter for black political influence. I also made sure to create a network that was focused on not only progression but the change necessary to recruit. I began searching for an opportunity for structural support. I obtained that structural support through the Democratic Party. It allows me the opportunity to connect with many organizations that were for change. This allows me to create a platform of unity and be institutionally positioned to facilitate a unified front for the African American interest across the great state of Colorado.
Larry Thompson Sr.
Leala Pourier is 19 years old and a freshman in college. Born and raised in Colorado, she is Oglala Lakota and Cheyenne River and her family is from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.As a youth organizer, Leala helped plan and presented at the Zero Hour Rally in Denver, speaking about the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women surrounding oil drill sites. While still in high school she helped plan a Day of Dialogue on environmental degradation at her school and led the workshop with the largest attendance rate of the event.
Nataanii Means (Oglala Lakota, Omaha, Dine’) is a talented hip hop artist. Raised on both the Navajo Nation in Arizona, and the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota, he tells a unique perspective on life as an “Indigenous” person in 21st century America. He has performed at countless venues, universities, high schools, middle schools and youth programs both nationally and internationally in Canada and Europe. Recently finishing his 4th European tour. He Starred in MTV’s Rebel Music: Native America series, Viceland: Standing Rock pt ll. He has also appeared in Billboard Magazine, and The Fader Magazine online publications.
Nataanii has been featured on major platforms such as Power 105 FM The Breakfast club, and hot 97 Ebro in the morning in NYC.
He recently released a second project titled “Balance” in August of 2018 on all platforms, and it has garnered the attention from mainstream outlets from all over the world.
Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. is the President & Founder of Hip Hop Caucus, a minister, community activist, U.S. Air Force veteran, and one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life.
Rev Yearwood entered the world of Hip Hop Politics as the Political and Grassroots Director for the Hip Hop Summit Action Network in 2003 and 2004, and as a key architect of P. Diddy’s “Vote Or Die!” campaign in a run up to the 2004 Presidential Election.
To carry the energy of the efforts beyond election day, he founded Hip Hop Caucus in September of 2004. The goal of Hip Hop Caucus is to build a powerful and sustainable organization for the culture’s role in the civic process and empowerment of communities impacted first and worst by injustice. As a non-profit, non-partisan, multi-issue organization, Hip Hop Caucus focuses on addressing core issues impacting underserved and vulnerable communities, with programs and campaigns that support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders. Through a collaborative network, Hip Hop Caucus holds elected officials accountable, shapes policy, and builds more diverse and powerful movements to ignite positive change.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rev Yearwood established the award winning Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign where he led a coalition of national and grassroots organizations to advocate for the rights of Katrina survivors. The coalition successfully stopped early rounds of illegal evictions of Katrina survivors from temporary housing, held police and government entities accountable for injustices committed during the emergency response efforts, supported the United Nations “right to return” policies for internally displaced persons, promoted comprehensive federal recovery legislation, and campaigned against increased violence resulting from lack of schools and jobs in the years after Katrina.
In 2008, Rev Yearwood led Hip Hop Caucus’ launch of Respect My Vote!, a campaign and coalition that works with Hip Hop artists to engage young people in the electoral process. Since its inception, numerous celebrity partners have joined the campaign during election cycles to reach their fan bases, including T.I., 2 Chainz, Amber Rose, Future, Keyshia Cole, Vic Mensa, Charlamagne tha God, Keke Palmer, Omar Epps, and more. The campaign has registered and mobilized tens of thousands of young voters to the polls and in 2008 set a world record of registering the most voters in one day (32,000 people across 16 U.S. cities). Respect My Vote! is the longest running hip hop oriented voter engagement program, having been active in United States elections for over 10 years.
As a national leader and pacemaker within the Green Movement, Rev Yearwood has been successfully bridging the gap between communities of color and environmental issue advocacy. With a diverse set of celebrity allies, he has raised awareness and action in communities that are often overlooked by traditional environmental campaigns and elected officials. His innovative stance has garnered the Hip Hop Caucus support from several environmental leaders including the Sunrise Movement, League of Conservation Voters, Earthjustice, and Zero Hour.
He is a leader in campaigns calling for divestment from fossil fuels causing climate change, increasing diversity in the climate movement, ensuring everyone has clean water and air, and international efforts to address climate change. He has also fought on the frontlines for vulnerable communities, including at the international climate negotiations in Paris and efforts to fight new oil pipeline developments in Maryland and at Standing Rock. He has received numerous awards for his work, including being dubbed as a New Green Hero by Rolling Stone and recognized by the Obama White House as a Champion of Change.
In 2018, he helped launch Think 100%, Hip Hop Caucus’ award-winning climate communications and activism platform. Comprised of podcast, film, music, and activism opportunities, the platform challenges environmental injustices and shares just solutions to the climate crisis, including a transition to 100% renewable energy for all. More at Think100Climate.com.
Reverend Lennox Yearwood
Simone is a community organizer from Denver, Colorado. She is the Treasurer & Director of Finance for the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC), a social justice non-profit that serves Indigenous and POC youth in their journeys as young leaders. She’s also the Project Manager for the climate strikes; organized by the Climate Strike Coalition, which is shuttling society into a new era of climate action across the world.
Simone’s mission is to build a lifetime of work that recognizes the rights of nature, while serving the most disenfranchised communities. Her ultimate goal is to redistribute resources as a means to create a world where balance of equity is foundational to society.
An intergalactic supergroup has landed in Denver and they go by the name of The Grand Alliance. The creative collaboration is made up of R&B songstress Kayla Marque, multifaceted artist Sur Ellz, and DJ/Producer Crl Crrll. Bringing Future Funk, HipHop, R&B & Soul infused music, The Grand Alliance will make you dance, make you think and make you feel.
The Grand Alliance
Thomas Lopez Jr. was born and raised in the heart of Denver, Colorado. Thomas is Otomi, Diné, Apache and Lakota. They are a Grandchild of Chief Leonard Crowdog Sr. and the Child of Water Woman Sharon Dominguez & Sundance Chief Thomas Lopez Sr. Thomas spent months working with the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) on the ground at Standing Rock to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Thomas continues to work with the IIYC and Future Coalition to inspire and train young Indigenous and Two Spirit leaders to create authentic, sustainable change.
UMI, born Tierra Umi Wilson, is a 21-year-old songwriter, vocalist and producer raised in Seattle and now based in Los Angeles. A former University of Southern California music student, UMI dropped out to focus on her unique R&B sound, acclaimed by Complex, Coup de Main, E!, Nylon, Ones to Watch and more. Her debut EP Interlude was released in 2018, featuring “Midnight Blues.”
In June, UMI shared her latest project, the Introspection EP, alongside an EP-length short film produced with Issa Rae’s production company Raedio. The EP features previously-released tracks “Pretty Girl hi!”—of which E! wrote “The rising R&B star absolutely soars on this sun-soaked latest single, “Open Up,” “Introspection”— which Ones to Watch praised for UMI’s ability to situate “issues like race, identity, and love into velvety smooth tracks,” as well as three new tracks. The project follows two standalone singles from earlier this year—“Mother,” UMI’s celebration of Mother Nature that was unveiled on Earth Day and “Picture Perfect.
In 2019, her visual EP Love Language was released via Loud Robot, the music label from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. UMI wrote and produced the EP—featuring tracks “Love Affair,” “Sukidakara,” “Runnin” feat. Yeek and “Breathe”—in Los Angeles and worked with a team including writer Taofik Kolade (“Atlanta,” “Barry”) and director Will Kindrick (Brian Wilson, Ice Cube, Mates of State) to write, cast, animate and direct the EP’s four episodic components. On Love Language, UMI explores race, intersectionality and how love is given and received through the lens of her experience as a mixed-race woman in the music industry. She toured the EP last fall with Conan Gray.”
Van Jones is the CEO of REFORM Alliance, CNN political commentator, and hosted Redemption Project and The Van Jones Show. Jones has been a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than 25 years. He has founded and led many thriving social enterprises, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and the Dream Corps – a social justice accelerator that houses #YesWeCode, #GreenForAll, and #cut50, the organization that recently led the charge on passing the FIRST STEP Act (a bipartisan Federal bill that the New York Times calls the most substantial breakthrough in criminal justice in a generation).
Jones has authored three New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008), Rebuild the Dream (2012), and Beyond the Messy Truth (2017). In 2009, Jones worked as the Green Jobs Advisor to the Obama White House, where he oversaw an $80 billion dollar investment in training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.
Some of Jones’ honors include being named in Fast Company’s 2008 “”12 Most Creative Minds On Earth,”” Rolling Stone’s 2012 “12 Leaders Who Get Things Done,” Variety’s 2018 “”New York Power List”” and TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”” in 2009.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is an advocate, leader, activist and hiphop artist. Recently named TIMES Next 100, Xiuhtezcatl has felt called to change the narrative on what it means to be an activist since an early age. Still a teenager, X has spoken multiple times a the UN, addressing the General Assembly and spoken on panels with the likes of Bernie Sanders, Van Jones, Shailene Woodley, Bill Mckibbens and Pharrell Williams.
Zeena Abdulkarim is a first-generation Sudanese-American woman raised in the Appalachian mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. Zeena has coordinated in social and climate justice spaces working towards dismantling systems that contribute to the climate crisis through education and international grassroots organizing. She specializes in conducting climate and social justice research, as well as content creation. Zeena is passionate about humanitarian crises such as racial, social, and environmental movements, as well as breaking down of systems of oppression structured against exploited communities, spreading awareness of these matters, and taking action through community organizing and activism. Using pronouns she/her/hers, Zeena is 18-years-old and attends Georgia State University with a major in Political Science.