Barbara Kopple

Barbara Kopple is a two-time Academy Award winning and seven-time Emmy nominated filmmaker. A director and producer of documentaries, narrative films, and commercial spots, she most recently completed the documentary Gumbo Coalition, which follows visionary Civil Rights Leaders, Marc Morial and Janet Murguia. It takes the audience on an intimate journey into their lives, homes, and the family histories that motivate their mission to achieve a more just and equitable country at a dramatic crossroads in American history. It was the center-piece and premiered at the DOC NYC Film Festival, and internationally at IDFA. She has also directed and produced upwards of forty films throughout her career, including Desert One, about the daring US Special Ops mission during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, featuring intimate interviews with President Carter, New Homeland, documenting a group of refugee children from Syria and Iraq who experience a summer camp in the Canadian wilderness, A Murder In Mansfield, This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, Miss Sharon Jones!, Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation, Running from Crazy, Woodstock: Now and Then, Wild Man Blues, Shut Up and Sing as well as her two Academy award winning films, Harlan County USA and American Dream, to name a few. In 1991, Harlan County USA was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress and designated an American Film Classic. Harlan County USA was restored and preserved by the Women’s Preservation Fund and the Academy Film Archive, and featured as part of the Sundance Collection at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. Barbara has worked with many industry heavy hitters and has put out films with HBO, PBS, VH1, A&E, STARZ, and OWN among others, as well as most of her features running theatrically. For her work, Barbara has received some awards, among them are the Los Angeles Film Critics Award, the National Society of Film Critics Award, the New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award, and most recently the Critics Choice LifeTime Achievement D.A. Pennebaker Award. In 2010, Barbara received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from American University. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, New York Women in Film and Television’s Honorary Board, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Woodstock Film Festival Advisory Board, AFI Advisory Board and actively participates in organizations that address social issues and support independent filmmaking. In 2023 Barbara also received the Emmys lifetime achievement award.

Karen Nussbaum

Karen Nussbaum has been an organizer for more than 50 years. She was the founding director of 9to5, the national organization of working women; District 925, SEIU; and Working America, the community organizing arm of the AFL-CIO. Nussbaum served as the director of the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, the highest seat in the federal government devoted to women. She is the co-author of two books and writes about women, labor, politics and culture. Nussbaum is on the board of Working America.

Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang has written extensively on culture, politics, the arts, and music. His first book, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, was named one of the best nonfiction books of the last quarter century by Slate. A revised Young Adult edition of the book—co-written with legendary hip-hop journalist Dave “Davey D” Cook—was published in 2021. His other books include Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post Civil Rights America, and We Gon' Be Alright: Notes On Race and Resegregation. His next project is a cultural biography of Bruce Lee called Water Mirror Echo: Bruce Lee and the Making of Asian America (HarperCollins). Considered a national expert in narrative strategy and cultural equity, he serves as a Senior Advisor at Race Forward and runs the Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy

Vikas Saini, MD

Vikas Saini, MD is president of the Lown Institute. He is a clinical cardiologist trained by Dr. Bernard Lown at Harvard, where he has taught and done research. Dr. Saini leads the Institute’s signature project, the Lown Institute Hospitals Index, the first ranking to measure hospital social responsibility. In his role at the Lown Institute since 2012, Dr. Saini led the development of the Right Care series of papers published by The Lancet in 2017; convened six national conferences attracting more than 200 attendees annually and featuring world-renowned leaders in health care; and guided other Lown Institute projects such as the “Shkreli Awards.” He is also a founder and Co-Chair of the Right Care Alliance, a grassroots network of clinicians, patient activists, and community leaders organizing to put patients, not profits, at the heart of health care. Dr. Saini is a board-certified doctor of Cardiovascular Disease, Internal Medicine, and Nuclear Cardiology, and has served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. 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. Mr. Stevenson has argued and won multiple cases at the United States Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling protecting condemned prisoners who suffer from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. Mr. Stevenson and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row and won relief for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced. Mr. Stevenson is the author of the acclaimed best-seller, Just Mercy, on which the 2019 feature film of the same name is based. He is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law. In 2014, Mr Stevenson was the recipient of the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism.

Jim Skillman (1946 - 2022)

ALBA was saddened to learn of the passing of our honorary board member Jim Skillman and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and all who loved him. Jim Skillman was a social justice activist/organizer from Atlanta, Georgia. He served as a coordinator with the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, the Atlanta Jobs with Justice Organizing Committee, and as a member of the Atlanta chapter of Veterans for Peace and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

John Sayles

John Sayles is the writer and director of acclaimed independent films including Return of the Secaucus 7, Matewan, Lianna, Baby It’s You, The Brother From Another Planet, Eight Men Out, City of Hope, Passion Fish, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star, Men with Guns, Limbo, Sunshine State, Casa de los Babys, Silver City and Honeydripper. Sayles has also written novels and short stories. Among his awards: John D. MacArthur Award, Eugene V. Debs Award, John Steinbeck Award, John Cassavettes Award, Ian McLellan Hunter Award. He has been nominated twice for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Antonio Muñoz Molina

Antonio Muñoz Molina is a Spanish writer and, since 1995, a full member of the Royal Spanish Academy. He studied art history at the University of Granada and journalism in Madrid. He began writing in the 1980s and his first published book, El Robinsón urbano, a collection of his journalistic work, was published in 1984. His columns have regularly appeared in El País and Die Welt.

Howard Lurie

Howard Lurie is the Associate Director for Educational Productions at WGBH Boston. For more than 20 years he has led professional development efforts for K-16 teachers featuring the use of digital media, technology and inquiry based learning. He holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Teachers College, Columbia University.

Robin D.G. Kelley

Robin D.G. Kelley is the Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA. His books include the prize-winning Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (Free Press, 2009); Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times (Harvard Press, 2012); Yo' Mama's DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America (Beacon Press, 1997); Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class (Free Press, 1994); and Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination (Beacon Press, 2002). He also edited (with Franklin Rosemont) Black, Brown, and Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the African Diaspora (University of Texas Press, 2009), recipient of an American Book Award, and (with Stephen Tuck) The Other Special Relationship: Race, Rights and Riots in Britain and the United States (New York: Palgrave, 2015). Kelley's essays have appeared in several anthologies and publications, including The Nation, Monthly Review, The Voice Literary Supplement, New York Times (Arts and Leisure), Counterpunch, Black Music Research Journal, Callaloo, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noir, Social Text, Boston Review, American Historical Review, Journal of American History, and Souls, to name a few.