Josh Healey is an award-winning writer, producer, and creative activist. He is the lead writer and executive producer of The North Pole, an acclaimed political comedy web series about gentrification, global warming, and gluten-free donuts. A regular performer on NPR’s Snap Judgment, Healey’s work has been featured in the New York Times, HBO, and his 13-year-old nephew Brian Silverstein’s Youtube page – where it has at least 27 ‘likes.’ He has performed and presented at UC-Berkeley, Harvard, NYU, and over 100 colleges, high schools, and conferences across the country. Healey previously served as the program director for Youth Speaks, leading spoken word and hip-hop education programs across the Bay Area and the U.S. He was later the Culture Shift Director for Movement Generation, producing comedic videos for climate justice and racial equity. Back when he was relatively young, Healey received the Mario Savio Young Activist Award. More recently he was named one of the Grist 50 leading artists and activists in the country. Born and raised in DC, Healey now eats his daily bagel in Oakland, CA.
Yvan Iturriaga is an Oakland-based director and writer who spent his childhood border crossing through Latin America, living in the extended Chilean exile community. Constantly moving in the undefined space between exile and return, Yvan grew up surrounded by people with silenced, clandestine stories. His desire to make those stories known and remembered inspired him to become a filmmaker. His documentary work includes producing the PBS specials The Storm That Swept Mexico and Latino Americans. He co-directed A Photographer’s Journey for the PBS American Masters series. Yvan also wrote and directed the narrative shorts Sui Generis and Beep, which played in over thirty film festivals worldwide. Most recently, Yvan directed Seasons One and Two of the original web series The North Pole. His feature screenplay American Babylon won a 2018 SFFILM Rainin Screenwriting Grant and 2019 SFFILM FilmHouse residency.
Reyna Amaya is a comedian, actor, writer, and voiceover artist from Oakland, CA. Her unique comedic approach and energetic wit have lent themselves to projects on Comedy Central, Fox, CBS, TruTv, and more. She has rocked stages from the San Francisco Punchline to the Nokia Theater in LA for BET Weekend with Cedric the Entertainer. Reyna has performed and appeared on Bounce TV network’s Brkdwn, Magic Johnson’s AspireTV’s WE GOT NEXT, and Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital series Professor White. Costar and cowriter of the hit web series The North Pole, Reyna splits her time between Oakland and London.
Zahra Noorbaksh is a feminist, Muslim, Iranian-American comedian and cohost of the award-winning podcast, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. The podcast was listed as a “must listen” by Oprah Magazine and was invited to the Obama Whitehouse to record an episode. Zahra is currently a Senior Fellow on comedy for social change with the Pop Culture Collaborative. Her one-person show, “All Atheists are Muslim” was originally directed by W. Kamau Bell, and her most recent comedy show, “On Behalf of All Muslims,” drew a record-breaking audience to San Francisco’s Brava Theater for Women in the Arts.
Calvin Williams is the Innovation Fellow on Cultural Strategies at Movement Strategy Center. In this role, he conspires with fellow afrofuturists to produce immersive spaces for new stories and storytellers of liberation to emerge. He previously served as Program Coordinator for the Oakland Boys and Men of Color (BMoC) initiative at the Urban Strategies Council and was an inaugural BMoC Fellow with The California Endowment. Calvin currently cosplays as a podcast host for #TheBigWe, impact producer for The North Pole show, and creative curator-in-residence at Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland, CA.
Rosario Dawson is an actress, filmmaker, and political activist. She has starred in such films as Kids, He Got Game, Sin City, Rent, 25th Hour, and is currently starring in Briarpatch on USA Network. She has helped fundraise for the Lower East Side Girls Club (located where she grew up) and launched Voto Latino to get Latino youth active in the political process. Dawson also served as the honorary host of the fourth annual “Our Voices: Celebrating Diversity in Media” event at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Boots Riley is an American rapper, producer, screenwriter, film director, and activist. His feature-film directorial debut Sorry to Bother You, which he also wrote, was released in July 2018. He is the lead vocalist of The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club. In 1991, Boots founded the political hip hop group The Coup with fellow UPS worker E-roc, soon joined by their DJ Pam the Funkstress. Their albums include Kill My Landlord, Genocide & Juice, Steal This Album, Party Music, Pick a Bigger Weapon, and Sorry To Bother You. Born in Detroit, Boots makes his home in Oakland, CA.
Favianna Rodriguez is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist, and social justice activist based in Oakland, CA. Her art and praxis address migration, economic inequality, gender justice, sexual freedom and ecology. In addition to her expansive studio practices, she is the Executive Director of the Center for Cultural Power, a national arts organization that empowers artists to dream big, disrupt the status quo, and envision a truly just world rooted in shared humanity. A recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, Favianna also organizes with artists in the entertainment industry through 5050by2020.com, an initiative launched by Jill Soloway to build intersectional artist power.
Adam Mansbach is a novelist, screenwriter, cultural critic, and humorist. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the Fuck to Sleep, which has been translated into forty languages. Screenwriter of the Netflix Original film BARRY about a young Barack Obama, his novel Rage is Back was named a Best Book of the Year by National Public Radio and the San Francisco Chronicle. Recipient of a Webby Award for his 2012 campaign video “Wake The Fuck Up” starring Samuel L. Jackson, Mansbach is currently working with Craig Robinson to develop a TV show for Disney called Jake the Fake Keeps it Real. He lives in Berkeley, CA.