These are guests from our first event. Stay tuned for Resistance Con 2.0!

Rebekah Barber
Rebekah Barber is a research associate at the Durham-based Institute for Southern Studies where she focuses on racial justice, democracy and Southern history. She holds bachelor’s degrees in English and history from N.C. Central University, where as a student activist, she organized around issues including voting rights, the Fight for $15 and Medicaid expansion. Rebekah also serves as the historian for the Youth and College Division of the North Carolina NAACP.


Frank Baumgartner
Frank Baumgartner is the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Public Policy, Public Administration, Policy Studies Journal, Political Research Quarterly, the Journal of European Public Policy, Gouvernement et Action Publique, and other journals. Much of his current agenda has to do with studies of race, with particular focus on the death penalty and on traffic stops.


Mandy Carter
Mandy Carter is a southern African-American lesbian social justice activist with a 50-year movement history of social, racial and LGBTQA justice organizing since 1967. She helped to co-found two ground breaking organizations, Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), and has received numerous national and international awards for her social justice work. Her papers have been acquired by the Duke University Libraries’ Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Irena Como
Irena Como is a Staff Attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina.  She works on litigation, community outreach and public education on various civil liberties topics including LGBT rights, immigrants’ rights and criminal justice reform. Irena graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 2008. At Legal Aid, Irena was involved with the Legislative Reform Committee, the Re-Entry Task Force, and supervised and mentored several legal interns.



Betsy Greer
Betsy Greer has been called a lot of things, among them a crafter, an unsung hero, and the godmother of craftivism. She is the author of Knitting For Good! and editor of Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism, an anthology of 33 distinct craftivist voices from around the world. Betsy defines craftivism as a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper & your quest for justice more infinite.

Jennifer Ho
Jennifer Ho is the Associate Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research and teaching interests are in Asian American, Multiethnic American, Contemporary American literature and Critical Race Theory. In particular, she is interested in the construction of contemporary American identities—the topic of her first book, Consumption and Identity in Asian American Coming-of-Age Novels (Routledge Press, 2005)—and anti-racist activism/education. Her book, Racial Ambiguity in Contemporary Asian American Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2015) examines the theme of racial ambiguity in various modes of cultural production (oral history, new media, literature, film, sports journalism) created predominantly by and about Asian Americans in the late-20th/early 21st century.

Sharon Holland
Sharon Holland is the Associate Chair of the Department of American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. She is a graduate of Princeton University (1986) and holds a PhD in English and African American Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1992). She is the author of RAISING THE DEAD: READINGS OF DEATH AND (BLACK) SUBJECTIVITY (Duke UP, 2000), which won the Lora Romero First Book Prize from the American Studies Association (ASA) in 2002.She is the author of The Erotic Life of Racism (Duke University Press, 2012), a theoretical project that explores the intersection of Critical Race, Feminist, and Queer Theory.

Vimala Rajendran
Vimala Rajendran has been a longtime activist for progressive causes including grassroots media, international peace and stopping domestic violence. Through it all, she has fed the movement. Her food has shown up everywhere, from protests across the region to weddings and private parties to the Weaver Street Market lawn and Johnny’s in Carrboro. With her restaurant, Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe, she engages intentionally in the farm to fork process and living her vision of creative resiliency. She prioritizes worker, environmental, and social justice; accessibility through affordability; and sustainability at every level.

Ames Simmons
Ames Simmons is Equality NC’s Director of Transgender Policy. Ames identifies, advises staff about, and advocates for public policy on priority issues affecting the transgender community. He serves as a resource to connect trans and gender non-conforming people in North Carolina with resources via community engagement and public education and outreach.


CJ Suitt
CJ Suitt is a poet and facilitator working to elevate youth through spoken word poetry. He believes in the power of poetry to transform young people’s lives and its ability to be an outlet for youth globally.  CJ is highly active in the community, facilitating intergenerational events with social justice themes, teaching poetry workshops, and offering education projects



Youth Against Rape Culture
Youth Against Rape Culture is an NC-based teen activist collective with the goal of defeating rape culture through education, community-building, and support. They strive to create a future where young people are empowered with the tools they need to fight the systems that silence our generation, and where survivors feel safe to speak out and supported in their communities.