Madeleine LeCesne, National Student Poet, Southwest Region
Minh Nguyen, Co-Founder and Executive Director, VAYLA
Chris Rose, Journalist and Author, 1 Dead in Attic
Oliver Thomas, Former City Council Member; Host, WBOK Radio
Tracie Washington, President and CEO, The Louisiana Justice Center
With Gwen Ifill, Co-Anchor and Managing Editor, PBS NewsHour
Lolis Eric Elie
Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans born, Los Angeles based writer and filmmaker. Most recently, he joined the writing staff of the AMC television show, Hell on Wheels. Before that, he wrote for the HBO series Treme. Working with the award-winning director Dawn Logsdon, he co- produced and wrote the PBS documentary, Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans. His essay, “America’s Greatest Hits,” is included in Best African American Essays: 2009.
Gwen Ifill is moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and co-anchor and managing editor for "The PBS NEWSHOUR w/ Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff."
Madeleine LeCesne, age 18, is a senior at Lusher Charter School in New Orleans, Louisiana. Madeleine began writing poetry when she was six years old. After her parents gave her an antique bed, each night she used the back of its headboard to scribble poetry into the wood. She lost this work in 2005, when the headboard and her home were washed away by Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans like her own identity is a blend of various cultures and bloodlines, so her work deals with unscrambling her identity and sparked an interest in genealogy as well as the city’s history. Among the writers she looks to for guidance are Anne Carson, Kimiko Hahn, and Anna Moschovakis.
Minh Nguyen is the Founder and Executive Director of VAYLA New Orleans, Board Member of Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadian, Second Vice Chair of the Asian Pacific American Society of New Orleans, and 2013 Inaugural Fellow of the Norman C. Francis Leadership Institute.
Chris Rose is a journalist and author of 1 Dead in Attic.
Oliver Thomas is the host of WBOK's The Good Morning Show.
Tracie serves as Co-Director of Louisiana Justice Institute (LJI), a nonprofit human rights organization and law firm devoted to fostering social justice campaigns across Louisiana, concentrating in the Gulf Coast region (www.LouisianaJusticeInstitute.org). LJIworks within communities, amongst residents, the public sector, business, and civil society, serving as a catalyst for change through empowerment and consensus.