Effective Social Justice for the 21st Century


Moderator: Honorable Judge Everett Mitchell

The Honorable Judge Everett Mitchell was sworn in as a circuit court judge at the Dane County Courthouse two years ago, becoming the third African-American judge in the Dane County Circuit Court. Mitchell is a well-known advocate for social justice and racial equity in Madison who graduated from Morehouse College with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and religion before earning his law degree from UW. He has received numerous awards and honors including the Presidential Scholar award in Mathematics, the American Scholar award, Mathematical Scholar, and the Urban League Young Professional of the Year Award. Mitchell is also senior pastor of Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Madison, a congregation of more than 400 members. The former assistant Dane County District Attorney, Mitchell was most recently the director of community relations for the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was responsible for $350,000 investment in South Madison “the Partnership” office space that engages University and Community Partnerships.


Brandi Grayson

Brandi Grayson is a disruptive force in Madison. Her tactics rub some the wrong way, but they do the job — and command attention. In 2014, she and other champions formed Young Gifted and Black, a local organization loosely affiliated with Black Lives Matter. She’s put racism front and center in every conversation. This group not only talks the talk, they walk the walk — even when that walk brings traffic to a standstill on one of the city’s busiest boulevards. They’ve brought civil disobedience back, and it seems like they’re here to stay.


Ajamou Butler
Founder, Heal the Hood

Ajamou Butler, affectionately known as Brother Heal the Hood, is a staple in the Milwaukee community as the founder of Heal the Hood, a community organization. Each summer, through events, mentorship and public gatherings, Heal the Hood encourages neighbors to come together and promote peace and safety in Milwaukee. Butler hosts block parties, youth events, and community dialogues. Butler is also an educator, business owner and spoken word artist using his artistry to propel his mission. Butler grew up in several underserved neighborhoods in Milwaukee and considers himself to be from every corner of the city.


Christine Neumann-Ortiz
Founder, Voces de la Frontera

Christine Neumann-Ortiz is the founding Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera and a recognized national leader in the immigrant rights movement. In 2012, Ms. Neumann-Ortiz was named by The Huffington Post in its list of “50 Young Progressive Activists Who Are Changing America.”  Ms. Neumann-Ortiz has received numerous awards including the Community Change Champion Award for Community Organizing and Leadership from The Center for Community Change and the Equal Justice Medal by Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee. Through her leadership, Voces has grown from a small, grassroots worker center to a state and national leader in the immigrant rights movement. In 2017 Voces successfully organized two statewide general strikes against 287g in Milwaukee County that resulted in blocking its implementation and the resignation of former Sheriff Clarke.  In 2016, The Nation magazine awarded Voces for “Most Valuable Strategy” in honor of the February 18th Day without Latinos & Immigrants statewide general strike, which defeated a state anti-sanctuary bill. In 2012, The Nation named Voces the “Most Valuable Grassroots Organization” in the country. In 2009, the Wisconsin State Assembly recognized Voces for its role in achieving passage of in-state tuition rights for immigrant students as part of the 2009-2011 state budget. Ms. Neumann-Ortiz earned her Master’s Degree in US / Chicano History at the University of Texas-Austin and her Bachelor of Art degree in English at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.


Dr. Karen Menendez Coller
CEO, Centro Hispano

Dr. Karen Menendez Coller was a relative unknown when Centro Hispano of Dane County’s board of directors chose her as its new executive director in 2013. The El Salvador native has made a name for herself at the county’s largest Latino agency, whose mission is to empower Latinos through quality social, cultural and educational programs. Menendez Coller’s ambitious approach to Centro’s fundraising has enabled the agency to expand and develop more programming, serve more people and become a force in the overall Madison community.