A slate of prominent speakers for the April 6–7 ChangeMakers conference is now set, including Laura Dawn, former national creative director for MoveOn.org, and filmmaker David Lynch, founder of the David Lynch Foundation, who will speak via Skype.
Other speakers will include Father Gabriel Mejia, who is renowned for rescuing children in Colombia and who was recently awarded the World’s Children’s Prize, as well as three changemakers from Chicago’s inner city who are working with the David Lynch Foundation.
The free conference, entitled “ChangeMakers: Disruptors Transforming the World for Good,” will explore what it takes to become a changemaker and will feature those who serve as exemplary role models of how
any individual can harness his or her unique talents to radically improve the lives of friends, family, countrymen, or the global family.
The event, the first event in a new ChangeMaking series, is being hosted by the David Lynch Foundation, in collaboration with MUM and the Abramson Center for Peace.
Guest speakers will include:
• Father Gabriel Mejia, from Colombia, who has rescued and transformed the lives of more than 100,000 abandoned children and young adults through the 52 centers run by his Hogares Claret Foundation. He was recently awarded the World’s Children’s Prize, a juried award that is often called the “Children’s Nobel Prize.
• Filmmaker David Lynch, whose David Lynch Foundation has used the Transcendental Meditation technique to transform the lives of more than 500,000 at-risk children, veterans with PTSD, women and children who are survivors of violence and abuse, prisoners, and Native Americans. He will lead a session via Skype that will explore his changemaking process.
• Laura Dawn, who was one of the founding members of political action group MoveOn.org. She is a cofounder of the cultural strategy firm Art Not War. Her forte is viral content creation and high-level collaborations between renowned artists and grassroots activists to spur action for social change.
• Nakisha Hobbs, the principal and cofounder of Village Leadership Academy, which incorporates the David Lynch Foundation’s Quiet Time program as its foundation. The academy aims to transform urban youth into the next generation of changemakers.
• Barry “Ra” Frye, who grew up on Chicago’s South Side and had to overcome his own experience with PTSD before returning to his neighborhood to transform the challenges of gang violence by regenerating its leaders with the Passages program. Both he and Ms. Hobbs assist with the collaboration between the David Lynch Foundation and the Crime Lab at the University of Chicago.
• Dusty Baxley, a U.S. Army veteran Army Ranger who specialized in combat parachute assault. After returning to civilian life, he saw many of his fellow veterans suffering from depression and responded to the need by dedicating his life to helping heal veterans suffering from PTSD.
• Daron Murphy, cofounder with Laura Dawn of the cultural strategy firm Art Not War. He worked for two years as principal of the creative and production team responsible for all television, radio, and online video content for MoveOn.org. He has also had a career as a musician and was a guitarist for Moby. He is married to Laura Dawn, who was lead singer for Moby.
The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Dalby Hall. The opening session will be Friday, April 6, 7:45–9:30 p.m., and the event will continue in Dalby on Saturday morning, 9:45 a.m.–12:15 pm.