What's Going On?
The Michigan Roundtable has launched a series of radical conversations hosted by Yusef Shakur with guest speakers from across the country.
Yusef Bunchy Shakur is hosting a raw and intimate bi-weekly dialogue series with organizers, leaders, and thinkers from across the country centered on current events and issues. We will be covering a range of topics that intersect race, gender, and class from socio-economic, political, and social justice lenses. In each segment, we will also delve into our guest’s individual transformation and how they are answering the call for social justice. We will have opportunities throughout each segment for Q&A and audience engagement.
Check out our upcoming dates and speaker bios below!
June 16, 2021 at 630p
Ferguson & Hip Hop
Register at https://bit.ly/2R5yCVM
June 30, 2021 at 630p
Black Music & Black Liberation
Baba Malik Yakini
Register at https://bit.ly/3eoVrN4
Khalid Alexander, professor and founder of Pillars of the Community, Southeast San Diego
Victoria Burton-Harris, Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor
Dr. Reuben Miller, professor and author of Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration
Nakia Wallace, co-founder of Detroit Will Breathe
Khalid Alexander is the founder and President of Pillars of the Community in San Diego, CA. Pillars of the Community is a collective movement, based on faith, positivity, and a need to build a better world.
Khalid is an African American who comes from a long line of Americans who, despite the odds, have always worked for social justice and a better world. Alexander has an M.A. in comparative literature at San Diego State University and became a Fulbright scholar in Damascus, Syria. He is an English professor, chairs the annual Social Justice and Education Conference at San Diego City College, and worked with well-known rappers affiliated with local gangs to create a CD meant to push positivity and give a voice to the disposed and forgotten as part of the Reclaiming the Community in Southeast San Diego. He also founded the "Reclaiming Our Stories" collective in 2015, which published a book of narrative essays written by people from impacted communities. Alexander is a proud resident of Southeast San Diego where he lives with his family and raises his children.
Victoria Burton-Harris serves as the Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Washtenaw County. Victoria is a native of Flint and a graduate of Flint Southwestern Academy. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and African American Studies from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 2012. Passionate about the relationship between law, social justice, and equality, she began preparing for a career focused on criminal law and social justice.
In 2014, Victoria opened a private firm in the heart of downtown Detroit specializing in family law and criminal defense at the state and federal trial court level. When she started her law firm, Victoria had the vision of being a "people's lawyer," and using her law degree to be a vehicle for change. Victoria's passion for justice and equality has led to her involvement with several grassroots organizations as a legal adviser. She has served on the Legal Services Advisory Committee for HAVEN of Oakland County, the New Lawyers Advisory Board for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education and currently sits on the Coalition for Police Transparency & Accountability, National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Board of Directors for the National Lawyers Guild Michigan chapter, and the Board of Directors for Covenant House Michigan.
Victoria lives with her husband Robert, their three-year-old son, and their dog, Sasha.
Dr. Reuben Miller is a sociologist, criminologist and a social worker who teaches at the University of Chicago in the School of Social Service Administration where he studies and writes about race, democracy, and the social life of the city.
Dr. Miller’s research examines life at the intersections of race, poverty, crime control, and social welfare policy. He has conducted fieldwork in Chicago, Detroit, and New York, examining how law, policy, and emergent practices of state and third-party supervision changed the contours of citizenship, activism, community, and family life for poor Black Americans and the urban poor more broadly. To capture the effects of crime control on social life in global cities with different public policies, Miller has conducted fieldwork in Glasgow, London, Malmo, and Belgrade.
Prior to joining SSA, Dr. Miller was an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan where he served as a Faculty Associate in the Population Studies Center and a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Afro American and African Studies. He was a 2016 Member in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, and a visiting fellow at Dartmouth University in 2018. This year, Dr. Miller was selected as an Eric and Wendy Schmidt National Fellow at the New America Foundation.
Dr. Miller’s work is published in journals of criminology, human rights, law, psychology, sociology, social work, and public health. He co-edited The Routledge Handbook on Poverty in the United States (2015), an edited volume addressing the impact of neoliberal economic policy on poor people throughout the U.S. His most recent book is Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration. Halfway Home is based on 16 years of research and practice with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, their families, and the people they turn to for help.
Nakia Wallace is a co-organizer and co-founder of Detroit Will Breathe, a movement formed on the streets of Detroit in the midst of an international movement against police brutality towards Black lives. Nakia-Renne Wallace is a Detroit native, who has experienced the struggle of many Black and Brown families living at or below the poverty are dealing with related to the failures of systems that are supposed to help, police mistrust, housing instability, and access to quality education. Nakia has been involved in the struggle for civil rights and liberation since she was 12 years old and marched and spoke out against the closure of Detroit’s Cleveland Intermediate School. Nakia has a dual degree in English and African American Studies from Wayne State University.
Detroit Will Breathe has sustained an ongoing people’s march that started with the murder of George Floyd by police in Minnesota. Through their organizing, Detroit Will Breathe has built a network spanning the region to call out racist tactics of police, including the use of violence against peaceful protestors, the use of facial recognition software, and the militarizing of police, as well as the ending of evictions and the need for running water for all Detroiters. Detroit Will Breathe is more than a march, it is a movement for abolishment of police and liberation of Black and oppressed people from racist and oppressive practices. Detroit Will Breathe has developed a list demands identified through their network that can move us in the direction of liberation once met. You can check out that list at: https://detroitwillbreathe.info/.
Kareem Jackson, better known by his stage name Tef Poe (short for Teflon Poetix), is an American rapper, musician, and activist from St. Louis, Missouri. Through his uncompromising poetic rhymes and lyrical delivery, emcee Tef Poe, is proving to the music industry that he is heir to the throne.
Tef harbors the quintessence of a natural artist and entertainer. He proposed his growth garnering a reputation for being one of St. Louis’ elite battle rappers affording him numerous hip hop awards such as Lyricist of the Year from the Evening Whirl.
Tef is one of the co-founders of the Hands Up United movement. Tef has consistently advocated grass-roots involvement in improving the lives of African Americans and in racial justice within and outside the United States. In his art and activism, he insists on the value of local people taking charge of conversations about their own communities rather than relying on national organizations.
Malik Kenyatta Yakini is co-founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN). DBCFSN operates a seven-acre urban farm and is spearheading the opening of the Detroit People’s Food Co-op, a cooperatively grocery story in Detroit’s North End. Yakini views the work of DBCFSN (good food revolution) as part of the larger movement for building power, self-determination, and justice. He is adamantly opposed to the system of white supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Black communities in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa. He is also a co-founder of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance.
Malik is also a guitarist, bass player, and producer. He writes and performs original reggae, funk, hip-hop, rock and soul music. He has played with Detroit's top reggae bands including Akoben, Onxyz, Samaritans, Nomads and Detroit Reggae All Stars. He currently leads the band Mollywop! which was formed in 2014. Mollywop! released their album “Stand Up!” in July 2019.