The Annual Racial Justice Breakfast was established in 2001 to promote the YWCA’s mission to eliminate racism and create a safe space where participants can confront racism. Attendees experience meaningful dialogue about racism’s personal and community-wide effects and hear from keynote speakers who have had a national impact on landmark civil rights cases.
2019 Fall Speaker Taylor Branch and Panel Discussion
Over the course of his storied career, author and historian Taylor Branch has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Achievement Award, and a National Humanities Medal. His landmark narrative history of the Civil Rights Era, America in the King Years, required more than 24 years of intensive research as he sought to illuminate not only the life of the man, but also the times in which he lived.
Branch began his career in 1970 as a staff journalist for The Washington Monthly, Harper’s, and Esquire. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from over a dozen colleges and universities. Currently, he is at work on a new book about race in America.
If Dr. King Could See Us Now: Local experts will discuss current issues
2019 Spring Keynote Speaker Roy Austin
As an Honors Trial Attorney with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, Roy investigated & prosecuted hate crimes & police brutality, including the civil lawsuit preventing racial profiling by the California Highway Patrol. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010 and became Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice & Opportunity in 2014, where he co-authored a report on Big Data & Civil Rights, worked with the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, helped develop the Police Data Initiative & was a member of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force.
2019 Racial Justice Award Honorees
Chip Harrod and Iris Roley
2018 Keynote Speaker Fania Davis
Co-Founder and Director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), and national thought leader in the field of civil rights, Fania Davis is a long-time social justice activist, a restorative justice scholar and professor, and a civil rights attorney. Fania’s passion for social transformation has remained strong – from her role leading the international campaign to secure the release of her sister, Angela Davis, from prison in the 1970’s to her current focus on a truth and reconciliation process focused on the historic racial trauma that continues to haunt the United States.
2018 Racial Justice Award Honorees
Shakila Ahmad and Dr. Clarence G. Newsome
2017 Keynote Speaker Adam Foss
Co-Founder of Prosecutor Integrity and a fierce advocate for criminal justice reform and the importance of the role of the prosecutor in ending mass incarceration. He promotes better training for prosecutors to allow them to view each case through a lens of cultural competency, integrity, compassion and concern for the safety of the public, well-being of the victim and the betterment of the person charged with the crime.
2017 Racial Justice Award Honorees
Donna Jones Baker and Robert Brand Newman
2016 Keynote Speaker Bryan Stevenson
Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, Bryan Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults.
2016 Racial Justice Award Honorees
Mary Asbury and Kenneth L. Parker
2015 Keynote Speaker Kimberle’ Crenshaw
Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) and professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, Kimberle’ Crenshaw writes about civil rights, black feminist legal theory, race, racism, and the law. She is the founding coordinator of the Critical Race Theory Workshop and speaks nationally and internationally on race matters and on “intersectionality,” a concept she coined to capture the multidimensional dynamics of discrimination.
2015 Racial Justice Award Honorees
Sister Rose Ann Fleming and David Singleton
- 2014 – Keynote, Michelle Alexander; Racial Justice Awards, Alphonse A. Gerhardstein, Pauline Strayhorne
- 2013 – Keynote, Richard Thompson Ford; Racial Justice Awards, Judge S. Arthur Speigel, Judge Nathaniel R. Jones
- 2012 – Keynote, Andrew Young; Racial Justice Awards, Frances Wilson Canty, David Fankhauser and Betty Rosemond
- 2011 – Keynote, Julian Bond; Racial Justice Awards, Marian and Donald Spencer
- 2010 – Keynote, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr; Racial Justice Awards, John and Francie Pepper
- 2009 – Keynote, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum; Racial Justice Awards, Judge Jack Sherman and Bea Larson
- 2008 – Keynote, Thomas N. Todd; Racial Justice Awards, Charles M. Judd and Judge Susan Dlott
- 2007 – Keynote, Morris S. Dees, Jr; Racial Justice Awards, P. Jeane and William Goings
- 2006 – Keynote, John Payton; Racial Justice Award, Judge Robert L. Black, Jr
- 2005 – Keynote, Gay J. McDougall; Racial Justice Award, Judge William A. McClain
- 2004 – Keynote, Fred D. Gray; Racial Justice Award, Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth
- 2003 – Keynote, Melba Patillo Beals
- 2002 – Keynote, Douglas Jones
- 2001 – Panel Discussion, Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, Sharon J. Zealey, Judge Jack Sherman, Jr, Nancy A. Lawson