Carlton Mackey

Carlton Mackey is the Assistant Director of Education and Director of Community Dialogue and Engagement at the High Museum of Art. In this newly created role at the High, Mackey will use complex visual culture to strengthen self-awareness, frame productive public discussion, and engender institutional empathy regarding the fundamental issues defining contemporary society.

Mackey is also a Distinguished Artist in Residence at Emory University and is the Creator/Co-Director of the Emory University Arts and Social Justice Fellowship Program. Created amid a groundswell of national attention to racial and social injustice, in the fall of 2020, the Arts and Social Justice Fellows program brings leading Atlanta artists into Emory classrooms to help students translate their learning into creative expressions of activism in the name of racial and social justice.

If you'd like to purchase any of the merch that the team wore at the opening ritual visit Carlton's website:

Juel D. Lane   

Juel D. Lane has been named Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” and held commissions with Ailey II, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Atlanta Ballet, and Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company. He is company member of Camille A. Brown & Dancers and Executive Artistic Associate with the Black Acting Methods Studio. His theatre credits include: True Colors Theatre: “Spunk;” Alliance Theatre: “I DREAM;” and PCLO: “Once” (Associate Choreographer). Juel was recently seen as a dancer in the Amazon series, “Harlem.”


RAHBI is sophisticated funk personified. This Atlanta native journeyed from his grandfather’s Pentecostal church to the main-stage where RAHBI began to slowly evolve into a genre bending R&B-Rock Star!

At the young age of 14, RAHBI’s infectious light convinced legendary record executive LA Reid to sign him as one of the lead singers of R&B group “4th Avenue.”

After “4th Avenue” disbanded, RAHBI enrolled at Georgia State University & began his training in vocal performance. The singer-songwriter further sharpened his gifts while performing in musical theater and traveling the world singing background for Motown recording artist Donnie.

RAHBI’s sensational live show and funk filled artistry garnered major invites to perform at AFROPUNK Atlanta, AFROPUNK Brooklyn, Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, and Amsterdam.

Karen Walrond

We’re delighted to announce that Karen Walrond will be our opening keynote speaker on Monday, February 27th. Karen is a leadership consultant, attorney, speaker, author and photographer. Karen’s latest book, The Lightmaker’s Manifesto: How to Work for Change without Losing Your Joy, beckons readers toward lives of integrity, advocacy, conviction and joy. Karen is a Certified Dare to Lead Facilitator, having been trained in Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability, courage, shame-resilience and worthiness. 

Further, Karen's bestselling book, The Beauty of Different, is a chronicle of imagery and portraiture combined with written essays and observations on authenticity, courage, and the concept that what makes us different makes us beautiful. 

Finally, Karen is also the creator of, an award-winning and inspirational source for living with intention, creativity and adventure. Karen's work has been featured on, USA Today, and Good Housekeeping magazines, among others. 

Prior to her current career, she was the former Chief Counsel of Landmark Graphics Corporation, one of the largest software companies in the oil and gas industry, as well as the former Chief of Staff of Halliburton Energy Services. Karen remains an active member of the State Bar of Texas. 

You can read more about Karen at her website:

Dr. Miriam Udel

Miriam Udel is associate professor of German Studies and Judith London Evans Director of the Tam Institute of Jewish Studies at Emory University, where her teaching focuses on Yiddish language, literature, and culture. She holds an AB in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and a PhD in Comparative Literature, both from Harvard University. She was ordained in 2019 as part of the first cohort of the Executive Ordination Track at Yeshivat Maharat, a program designed to bring qualified mid-career women into the Orthodox Jewish rabbinate.

Udel is the author of Never Better!: The Modern Jewish Picaresque (University of Michigan Press), winner of the 2017 National Jewish Book Award in Modern Jewish Thought and Experience. She is the editor and translator of Honey on the Page: A Treasury of Yiddish Children’s Literature (NYU Press, 2020), winner of the Judaica Reference Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries. Five works from this collection were made into the streaming radio play Somewhere Very Far Away by Seattle’s Tales of the Alchemysts Theater. Udel’s translation of Chaver Paver’s [KHAHver PAHver’s] 1935 story collection about the adventures of a lovable proletarian mutt became the basis for Theater Emory’s 2021 puppet film Labzik: Tales of a Clever Pup. Recipient of an NEH Public Scholar grant last year, Udel is completing a study of children’s literature as an archive for understanding Jewish modernity. The book is under contract with Princeton University Press for publication in 2024. 

The Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs

Senior Associate Dean for Religious & Spiritual Life and Pastor of Memorial Church at Stanford University.

In this role,

she guides, nurtures, and facilitates spiritual and religious life within the Stanford University community, generally, and particularly leads the Christian Ecumenical Worshiping community at Stanford Memorial Church. She truly believes in empowering individuals of all faiths and no faiths to encounter life’s most pressing questions to feel connected to themselves and others, whoever and wherever they are on their journey. 

Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs is an unyielding voice on race, gender, and social justice. She holds a BA in Italian Culture and Language and a BA in International Studies. After completing both her MDiv and STM at Boston University, she worked and served in Higher Education for over a decade as what she calls an "academic midwife" lending to her contention that we must birth new life every day in the academy and nurture students toward their success. “Rev. Dr. Sys” or simply Rev. Sys as her students call her, is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She has previously served as the Associate Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University and as the Associate Protestant University Chaplain at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Her Dissertation "Afrofuturism, Womanist Phenomenology, and the Black Imagination: A Liberative Revisioning of Black Humanity" examines the potentiated hope of visioning African Futures through a Womanist Phenomenological analysis. Upon completion of her Ph.D. in Woman and Gender Studies and Africana Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, she began her former post as an Honors Faculty Fellow at the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University.

Previously, she was a member of the faculty at the Brown University Africana Studies Department, The Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, where she also taught in the School of Social Transformation.

Dr. Young-Scaggs is experienced in facilitating professional learning sessions in culturally relevant teaching, Black feminist and womanist pedagogy, Culturally Engaged Activism, African folklore, and Traditional Spiritual practices.

Her work comes alive as a practitioner as a minister and theologian as the Pastor of Memorial Church as she presides at University Public Worship and Black Church, advises the Stanford Gospel Choir, and supervises seminarians Field Education and graduate research Fellows. She coordinates a host of events and activities as the Resident Fellow of Ujamaa House.

Rev. Dr. Young-Scaggs has given talks and lectures on race, gender, African folklore, Womanist Theology and Ethics, Science Fiction, and Philosophy. She continues to write and research in the Areas of Afrofuturism and Geographies of Race, and Religion in Higher Education. Intentionally interdisciplinary and intersectional, her work continues to interrogate transformational issues in the academy and the world.

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