W. Kamau Bell is a sociopolitical comedian and host of the hit Emmy Award winning CNN docu-series, United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. Before United Shades, Kamau was best known for his critically acclaimed – and criminally short-lived FX comedy series – Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. The New York Times called Kamau “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.” Kamau is proud to be the ACLU’s Ambassador of Racial Justice, although he’s also pretty upset that they didn’t give him a badge.
Kamau recently released his third comedy album, Semi-Prominent Negro, which is the audio from his Showtime comedy special of the same name. Kamau’s first book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian, was released May 2nd, 2017.. Kamau has a monthly public radio talk show, Kamau Right Now!, that airs on KALW in San Francisco. Kamau is quite excited about the two podcasts he co-hosts: Politically Re-Active with his friend and fellow comedian, Hari Kondabolu, and Denzel Washington is The Greatest Actor of All Time Periodwith his friend and fellow comedian Kevin Avery.
Kamau has been nominated for multiple NAACP Image Awards, and he was featured on Conde Nast’s ‘Daring 25’ list for 2016 The SF Weekly called Kamau “smart, stylish, and very much in the mold of politically outspoken comedians like Dave Chappelle,” though he was mostly just excited that they called him “handsome."
President pro Tempore of the California State Senate Kevin de León
As President pro Tempore of the California Senate, Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) has led the 40-member Senate body to historic accomplishments that will improve the lives of Californians, the state’s environment and economy for decades to come. In his three years leading the Senate, the progress that has been made on critical issues confronting California and the nation stands in stark contrast to the gridlock in the U.S. Congress. Senator de León is the first Latino elected to lead the State Senate in over 130 years. Senator de León is focused on building a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable economy for the Golden State. His agenda includes: making college more accessible and affordable; combating climate change; building a clean-energy economy; improving retirement security for low-income workers; supporting California’s growing diverse communities; fighting homelessness; and providing protections and opportunities to our immigrant residents. His legislation has created the most ambitious renewable energy goals in the nation, the first-of-its-kind retirement-savings program for low-income workers, and has required a quarter of all cap-and-trade revenue be spent in disadvantage communities. He has an extensive record on women’s and workers’ rights and gun-violence prevention. Senator de León served four years in the Assembly before being elected to the Senate in 2010.
LISA MENSAH, PRESIDENT AND CEO, OPPORTUNITY FINANCE NETWORK
As President and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the nation’s leading network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Lisa Afua Serwah Mensah expands sources of capital and provides greater visibility for CDFIs. Under her leadership, OFN helps CDFIs leverage public funding with private investment from mainstream financial institutions, socially responsible investors, and philanthropic partners in distressed communities across America. Mensah joined OFN in March 2017 bringing private and public sector expertise in using financial tools to improve the economic security of the working poor. In 2014 Mensah was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate for the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development. In this role, she managed a loan portfolio of $215 billion, directing annual investments of $30 billion in critical infrastructure for rural America. Mensah achieved record levels of productivity and developed new partnerships with private and philanthropic partners to generate $120 million in private grants and loan guarantees for persistently poor rural communities. Before her appointment as Under Secretary, Mensah was the founding Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security at The Aspen Institute where she led a national bipartisan effort with leaders of financial institutions, non-profit executives and experts to promote savings, homeownership, and retirement policies and products. Mensah began her career in commercial banking at Citibank before joining the Ford Foundation where she was responsible for the country's largest philanthropic grant and loan portfolio of investments in rural America. Mensah, who divides her time between OFN’s Philadelphia headquarters and Washington D.C. office, holds an M.A. from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Harvard University. Born in Oregon, she is the daughter of an immigrant from Ghana and a former Iowa farm girl. She resides in Maryland with her husband and two children.
AI-JEN POO, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS ALLIANCE
Ai-jen Poo is the Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Co-director of the Caring Across Generations Campaign. She has been organizing immigrant women workers for over two decades, forging pathways to sustainable, quality jobs for the caregiving workforce and ensuring access to affordable child care and elder care for all working families. Ai-jen is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow and is listed on Fortune.com’s 50 World’s greatest Leaders. She is the author of The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America. Follow her on Twitter at @aijenpoo.