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Meet this year's speakers.

Photo of Keynote Speaker: Ben Jealous, former Director of the NAACP; currently with Sierra Club


Ben Jealous

Former Director of the NAACP; currently with Sierra Club

Ben Jealous, a civil rights leader, has spent his professional life at the nexus of social change, media, and emerging technologies.


He has held significant leadership roles, including being a former Democratic Nominee for Governor of Maryland, former National President and CEO of the NAACP, and former Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). For over half a decade, he has been investing in social impact startups.


While at the NAACP, Jealous led a series of wholesale changes in how the organization used social media and related technologies to enhance its organizing.

He is a visiting scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication.


His initiatives have had a profound impact, starting with the successful online viral voter registration drives in the 2008 Presidential Election. The NAACP’s online activist numbers skyrocketed when Jealous began using their platforms to mobilize support for individuals fighting injustices in the criminal justice system. The last campaign he led for the NAACP recruited over 600,000 new activists on email and approximately 400,000 via text in less than two weeks. These efforts have also been acknowledged by a major polling firm for shifting public opinion and paving the way for significant civil rights state legislative victories.

Photo of Keynote Speaker: Stephanie Land, Activist and Author


Stephanie Land

Activist and Author

Stephanie Land is an American author and activist whose writing focuses on social and economic justice and parenting under the poverty line. Her debut book, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, was a New York Times bestseller and was adapted into a limited series on Netflix. The book details Land’s personal experience with poverty, relying on government assistance programs to support herself and her daughter. It received critical acclaim and was included on Barack Obama’s “Summer Reading List” of 2019.


The Netflix series adaptation reached 67 million households in its first four weeks and became the streaming service’s fourth most-watched show in 2021. The National Domestic Violence Hotline was mentioned after each episode of Maid and received more calls in the month of its premiere than any other month in its entire 25-year history.


Land’s second book, Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education, debuted in November 2023 as Good Morning America’s Book of the Month. It follows Land’s senior year in college and her daughter’s first year of kindergarten. Land’s other work has been featured in numerous outlets, and she is a frequent speaker at colleges and national advocacy 

Photo of Keynote Speaker: David Bradley, Executive Director, National Community Action Fund


David Bradley

Executive Director, National Community Action Fund

David Bradley is a regular contributor to Housing Washington offering valuable insights into the Washington DC world. For more than 30 years, David, co-founder and CEO of NCAF, has been one of Washington’s leading advocates on behalf of low-income programs. In 1981, David helped found the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF). As a private non-profit organization funded solely by non-governmental contributions, NCAF represents funding and policy interests of the nation’s 1000 community action agencies before Congress and the Executive Branch. David currently acts as NCAF's Chief Executive Officer. In this role at NCAF, David was the primary architect of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). Besides the CSBG, David’s legislative activities include the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Head Start and job training programs. In an age in which partisan gridlock is too often the norm, David has shown an uncanny ability to make poverty issues a concern to both parties. After facing elimination in the 1995 House Republican’s Contract with America, David was able to work with key House Republican leaders to ensure CSBG funding procured the largest percentage received of any domestic program in FY 1997. In his role at NCAF, David has also helped power CAPLAW, a legal resource center for the Community Action Agencies (CAA) network and CAPPAC, a Political Action Committee.

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