Vigil Speakers



 Photos clockwise: John Jones III, Donna Hunter, Black Youth N' Action, Felicia Bridges, Gayle Mclaughlin


TWS thanks the following speakers for their contributions to the movement!

Donna Hunter: Donna Hunter: Donna Hunter has been a lecturer in teaching at Stanford in the Program of Writing and Rhetoric since 2005. She earned her both her BS and PhD at UC Berkeley. For her dissertation, Dead Men Talking, Donna examined 18th century execution and crime narratives written by and about Africans in colonial and early America and analyzed the historical, legal, and literary connections between blackness, criminality and writing. This led her to working at The Beat Within, a non-profit conducting writing workshops in juvenile halls around the Bay Area and beyond, as a writing facilitator and assistant director, before returning to the academy. She now teaches writing and oral presentation seminars on the rhetoric of criminality, scholar activism/engaged research, empathy as rhetorical strategy for communication and affecting social change.  Her current research includes extending the practice of scholar activism to undergraduates and understanding in what ways empathy can be used to effect social justice, with a particular focus on student activism and activists on Stanford’s campus.


Isabel Hallock of Black Youth N' Action: Black Youth N' Action is a youth led non-profit organization dedicated to the fight for social and structural change. As a group, they have and served their communities in Oakland, and have prompted youth liberation through education and empowerment. By providing Bay Area youth youth with the tools to formulate their own individual opinions and consciousness, they respond with creative solutions and showcase their ideas through art, community organizing, and are prompted to pass on their knowledge in order to fight for freedom and liberation of the people.

Felicia Bridges:Felicia Bridges is an educator, writer and producer with a passion for school. She is the host and executive producer of the education radio and television show Talk 2 Teacher and Ear 2 The Concrete, which examines education from the inside out. She is a graduate of University of California at Berkeley and University of Manchester, England. She is currently completing her Doctorate in Education at Mills College; her focus is developing a student-teacher collaboration model to improve both student learning and teacher development.  She can be reached at

John Jones III: John Jones III was born and raised in East Oakland and a father of three. He is currently on staff with CURYJ- Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice as a Life Coach. In this capacity, John serves as a mentor to at-risk youth and adults between the ages of 18 -35. John is also an organizer and staunch advocate in the community in the areas of public safety (Measure Z), economic dignity (Measure FF, Revive Oakland), criminal justice reform (AB 109; Prop 47), education (Measure N) and also serves as a member of the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) Executive Steering Committee for Prop 47.

Gayle Mclaughlin:

Gayle McLaughlin was originally elected to the Richmond City Council in 2004.  She was elected Mayor of the City of Richmond, CA in November 2006, and was re-elected in November 2010.   Since the City’s Charter only allows two terms as Mayor, Gayle chose to run for a City Council seat so as to continue to play a role in Richmond’s remarkable transformation.  She won her current seat on the City Council in 2014 and was sworn-in as a City Councilmember on January 13, 2015.  Her recent council work includes protection for renters, helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, sponsorship of environmental and public health and safety initiatives, such as banning glyphosate and advocating for refinery emission reduction as well as regulations on the transport of Bakken crude oil, coal and petcoke. 

As Mayor of Richmond and currently as Councilmember, Gayle prioritizes the interests of Richmond residents and families, advocating for residents evicted by banks and speculators and introducing policies to hold Wall Street accountable.  Gayle is proudly standing up for her community in opposition to the big banks with foreclosure prevention programs.  She is working to help homeowners stay in their homes, avoid foreclosure and help neighborhoods stabilize and the local Richmond economy recover.

Gayle also voted to assist Kennedy High School and other Richmond schools with $3 million, and she has been in the forefront of defending the civil rights of Richmond’s immigrant population.  Her support for immigrant rights included a municipal ID for all Richmond residents, so everyone, including immigrant residents, can access services such as bank accounts.  

Background: Gayle has a background as an educator, and professional experience in nonprofit leadership organizations promoting literacy, social justice, and health. Gayle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, graduating summa cum laude. Her graduate studies include psychology and education.







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