We are thrilled to have special guests Judy Talaugon, Claudia de la Cruz, and Media Benjamin, three leading activists in the United States today who will close the forum with their remarks and a very important collective question: what are the next steps? This forum serves to inspire the next generation of leaders and thought-makers to take the ideas brought up at this forum and put them into action.
Claudia De La Cruz
Claudia is the Co-Executive Director of The People’s Forum. She was born in the South Bronx to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic. She is a popular educator, community organizer and theologian. For over 20 years, she has been committed to movement building and has actively participated in collective grassroots spaces, particularly in the communities of Washington Heights and The South Bronx.
Judy Talaugon is Chumash and Filipina Land Protector from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. She is the daughter of farmworkers and immigrant leaders. She grew up among Mexican and Filipina communities in California and is a long-time activist in many struggles from human rights, housing, land rights, and the fight against white supremacy. She took part in the shutting down of the quincentennial celebration of the myth of discovery by Christopher Columbus and the genocidal practices against Indigenous communities in the western hemisphere. She is an Organizer for CICEP: California Indians for Cultural and Environmental Protection and led Genocide, Colonialism, and Resistance workshops on training people to deal with white supremacy in the late 1990s. She has been active throughout the state of California and in many parts of the world on projects from housing rights, land back struggles, and water and land defenders, and always uplifts BIPOC women in the movement. Her work is based on clear principles to create a culture of resistance, stand in solidarity with activists from the entire hemisphere and world, and build up women-led Indigenous land back movements next to and in solidarity with Black, AAPI, and Latinx communities.
Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the women-led peace group CODEPINK. She is also co-founder of the human rights group Global Exchange, the Peace in Ukraine Coalition, Unfreeze Afghanistan (which advocates for returning the $7 billion of Afghan funds frozen in U.S. banks), ACERE: The Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect, and the Nobel Peace Prize for Cuban Doctors Campaign. Medea has been an advocate for social justice for 50 years. Described as "one of America's most committed -- and most effective -- fighters for human rights" by New York Newsday, and "one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement" by the Los Angeles Times, she was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide.