Kick-Off Keynote Featuring #BlackLivesMatter Founders and #womenslives Report

This keynote will have two segments: an important project, searing rally cry and cultural touchstone; and some inspiring women leaders including philanthropist Melinda Gates, #BlackLivesMatter Co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, Essence Magazine Editor-in-Chief Vanessa De Luca, Public Radio International (PRI) CEO Alisa Miller, and BlogHer Co-founder and SheKnows Media Chief Community Officer, Lisa Stone.

  • Alisa and Lisa will deliver a concise report on the impact of our joint initiative, #womenslives. A social publishing incubator, #womenslives was developed to amplify PRI-produced global news coverage about women and girls via the social commentary and reach of the SheKnows community. As part of this segment Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will join live by video to discuss the critical role of storytelling and its contribution to achieving meaningful change for women and girls worldwide.
  • The Keynote will then feature an extended conversation between Vanessa, Opal, and Patrisse. #BlackLivesMatter was co-founded by Patrisse and Opal with Alicia Garza, in response to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the death of African-American teenager Trayvon Martin. 

Since then, it has become the rallying cry of the modern civil rights movement and a cultural touchstone. Vanessa  is the ideal moderator of the conversation, as she was at the helm of Essence Magazine for the February 2015 issue, which for the first time in its history featured instead of an image, a black background with the words, “Black Lives Matter”.