TAMARA K. LANIER
Tamara K. Lanier is a tireless champion for truth and justice where her advocacy has taken her to many parts of the state, country and even the world.
Ms. Lanier is a 27 year veteran of the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, retiring in 2017 as a Chief Probation Officer II in the Norwich Probation Office.
Ms. Lanier has a long and distinguished record of public service and social advocacy with past affiliations with organizations such as The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; A Commissioner for the City of Norwich Ethics Commission; The Norwich Juvenile Review Board; The City of Norwich Diversity Committee; The (Abraham) Lincoln Forum of South Eastern CT; The U.S. Attorney’s working group to monitor federal and state civil rights compliance with educational institutions; and a member of the Commissioner of Education’s Roundtable for family and Community Engagement.
Currently, Lanier is the Vice President of the New London CT NAACP and Criminal Justice Chair for the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches.
In May of 2015, She was named Woman of the Year by the Connecticut General Assembly’s Commission on Afro-American Affairs. In November of 2016, Lanier received the Connecticut Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities’ Leaders and Legends Award and the 2019 Inspirational Women’s Award.
She is an active member, engaged with The ACLU of CT; The Connecticut's Racial Profiling Prohibition Board; and The Saint John’s Christian Church of Groton, CT.
Lanier has several passions, one of which is to eradicate racial and ethnic disparities in Connecticut’s Criminal Justice System and to put an end to the ugly practice of racial profiling. Lanier has worked with state and federal law enforcement agencies in conjunction with community organizations and lawmakers; encouraging a dialogue that would foster a serious and honest debate relative to the over representation of minorities in the criminal justice system. She has been a constant voice for change.
Lanier has also traveled the country promoting the need for a national dialogue relative to slavery and its impact on society. She has been featured in The Yale Press, the historic Journal on Afro-American History in addition to other Local, National and International news stories. For her efforts, Lanier has been blessed with an opportunity to meet with such dignitaries as the Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta, and Congressman John Conyers, former Dean of the House of Representatives to discuss the potential for federal legislation mandating the protection of cultural relics of Slavery,
With the assistance of the Nationally Acclaimed Civil Rights Attorneys, Benjamin L. Crump and Michael Koskoff, Lanier has filed a landmark reparations lawsuit against Harvard University, forcing this nation to reckon with its history of slavery in the United States; asking the courts to consider - who owns the rights to the violence of the past?
JAMES DEWOLF PERRY
Mr. Perry was nominated for an Emmy Award as the principal historical consultant for Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, the PBS documentary about the legacy of slavery and the slave trade in New England. Since the film’s premiere, James has spoken across the nation and abroad about his family’s, and the nation’s, historic role in slavery.
Mr. Perry co-founded the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery and, as its executive director, designed and led many of the Center’s public programs on racial healing and equity, as well as workshops for educators and public history professionals.
Perry is co-editor of Interpreting Slavery at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015) and co-author of Interpreting Slavery with Children and Teens (Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming 2020).
Mr. Perry is a graduate of Harvard College and attended law school at Columbia University.
David Harris has been the managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice since 2006. Under his leadership, the Houston Institute has created a national platform with its Houston/Marshall Plan for Community Justice, an initiative that seeks to change the way public policy is conceived and implemented. The project is designed to amplify the voices, knowledge and expertise of people living in communities devastated by decades of underdevelopment wrought by the war on crime and war on drugs. The institute's work is based on developing partnerships with others, emphasizing the directly affected and those working with them.
The Institute has several projects under way at this time, including work with the Beloved Streets of America project designed to renew and revitalize the hundreds of streets named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This work is a kind of mini-Houston/Marshall Plan along these corridors. The Institute has also launched its Justflix project, which works to link college and high school students to create short videos using their cell phones to document social justice, social service and activism in their communities.
David has extensive experience in many facets of civil rights issues, from police practices, to redistricting and domestic violence, as well as voting rights, fair housing, community development and justice reform. He is recognized as a leading voice for civil rights in the Boston region and has spoken extensively at local, regional and national forums on civil rights and justice, regional equity, fair housing, and the complex challenges facing American society in the 21st century.
Prior to his current position he served as founding executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston. During his tenure, the Fair Housing Center became nationally recognized among fair housing organizations. The center’s work generated several original analyses of housing discrimination patterns in Greater Boston and the organization became a leading force for fair housing and regional equity.
He previously served with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. His cases at HUD, including the landmark Jane Doe v. BHA, garnered some of the largest damage awards and most extensive affirmative relief in New England. While at the Commission on Civil he conducted studies of the civil rights implications of domestic violence in Connecticut, legislative redistricting in Rhode Island and highway construction on integrated neighborhoods.
He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University and a B.A. from Georgetown University. He has served as adjunct faculty at Cambridge College and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. He currently serves as the Chair of the Massachusetts Advisory Committee to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights and as Vice Chair of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry. He served as the Chair of the Medford Human Rights Commission for over a decade.