BIOS

“Since our leadership refuses to lead, leaders from our communities are stepping forward.”

Registrations Open on October 20   Please contact us here with any questions

Congressman Alan Grayson

 

 

 

 

 Nina Turner,

President, Our Revolution

Turner was named President of Our Revolution, the political group launched by Sen. Bernie Sanders to elect progressive candidates to office across the United States, in June, 2017. Universal Health Care was a major plank in the Sanders campaign platform.
Turner received a Master of Arts degree from Cleveland State University, and began her career as a legislative aide in the State Senate. She was elected to the … more
Cleveland City Council in 2005, and served in the council until her election to the State Senate in 2008. She served as a member of the Ohio State Senate from 2008 to 2014, and was elected to be the chamber’s Minority Whip in the 129th General Assembly.

A supporter of the progressive movement, Turner has been characterized as a rising star in the Democratic Party.

 

Toni Van Pelt,

President, National Organization for Women

Toni Van Pelt, a longtime feminist and humanist activist, was elected president of NOW in July 2017. She is also president of the NOW Foundation and chair of the NOW Political Action Committee, and serves as the principal spokeswoman for all three entities. Van Pelt oversees NOW’s multi-issue agenda, which includes: achieving constitutional equality …more

for women, advancing reproductive rights and justice, promoting racial justice, stopping violence against women, winning civil and human rights for the LGBTQIA+ community, and ensuring economic justice.

Spurred to action by attacks on reproductive rights in her home state of Florida, Van Pelt has served in leadership positions at all levels of NOW since 1989. She is a past president of Florida NOW (1996-2003), and
past director of NOW’s southeast region–in addition to serving two terms on the national board (2010-2014). Van Pelt began her journey with the organization as the treasurer of the Upper Pinellas NOW chapter, and remains fiercely devoted to grassroots activists working at the local level.

Van Pelt is a longtime advocate for secular humanism, and the separation of church and state. Prior to joining the National Action Center full-time, she lobbied for policies driven by the empirical scientific evidence as opposed to faith. She is co-founder, president, and public policy director for the Institute for Science and Human Values. A former vice president and public policy director of the Center for Inquiry, Van Pelt organized and directed one of the first public policy offices of the secular humanist movement in Washington, D.C.

Van Pelt is a former member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and her past career as the owner of a travel agency specializing in international travel has given her the opportunity to expand her worldview through global travel. She is committed to building an inclusive, intersectional, and intergenerational feminist movement.

 

Mike Fox, 

Deputy Director, Progressive Democrats of America

Mike Fox is Deputy Director of Progressive Democrats Of America, and is active in the Democratic Party in Florida. He’s the Campaign Chair for Pinellas County, is the President of the St. Petersburg Democratic Club, and is former President of the Pinellas County …more

Chapter of the Veterans Caucus, a board member with the Pinellas County Stonewall Democrats, and former Campaign Chair with the State Progressive Caucus. He’s managed numerous successful local campaigns, and is a proud FDR/Bobby Kennedy Democrat.

 

Howard Bloom, Key Presenter: The Importance of putting Soul In the Machine.

As the founder of the Howard Bloom Organization, Howard created and oversaw the public relations campaigns that helped clients achieve many of their goals by sharing their stories …more

with the important journalists and media outlets who, at the time, were instrumental in launching careers.  How did he do it? His love of science and art enabled him to have the understanding of what and why people gravitated to certain artforms. Combining his love of science and applying it to his clients, he helped to be an integral part of the teams that enabled the successes of Prince, “Purple Rain,” Billy Joel, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, John Mellencamp, Rock Against Censorship and Amnesty International.

But what can this do for our organization?  Howard will clearly demonstrate and articulate key strategies that can enable the success of progressive and forward-thinking initiatives such as Single Payer, Universal Health Care, and overcome the hype and disinformation machines that are distorting and destroying our abilities to function effectively.  

Arlene Engelhardt,

Former Director of Pacifica Radio and current Co-Producer and Co-Host of “From a Woman’s Point of View” on Tampa Radio: Making the Media Serve the People

Bio coming soon

Dr. Dale Taylor

Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Allied Health Professions at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and founding Director of the Music Therapy Program, past Editor of the International Journal of Arts Medicine, Secretary-Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the International Arts Medicine Association, member of the International Relations Committee and former member of the Assembly of Delegates of the American Music Therapy Association and the National Association for Music Therapy, past Chair of the NAMT Certification-Registration and International Activities Committees and National Coordinator of Student Affairs, and past member of the Wisconsin Public Health Leadership Institute. He has also served as President and Vice-President of the Great Lakes Region of NAMT, chaired the founding meetings of the Wisconsin Chapter for Music Therapy, served on the boards of Music Education for the Handicapped and the International Association of Music for the Handicapped, and is a member of the Music Therapy Neurology Network.

“The Other” Chuck Woolery

Chuck’s professional grassroots organizing and advocacy successes on global health issues led to his elected position on the respected Action Board of the American Public Health Association (membership of 120,000 US Health Professionals).  Later he was then elected by his peers to Chair the United Nation’s Association Council of Organizations (over 110 US based NGOs representing a collective membership of over 25 million Americans).  His focus …more

has been connecting local and global issues to US national security interests and using non-partisan fundamental principles to advance public thinking and US policy on vital systems and structures essential to forming a more perfect union.

Chuck credits much of his successes to his mother’s love and his background in Biology and wrestling.  He qualified for the Olympic Trials only to find out he was seriously not qualified – but was honored to make it that far coming from a childhood of obesity and sloth.  “We are all”, he says “always wrestling with issues and concerns our entire lives.  Or we should be — given the persistent changes in our bodies and the world.”   “Loving persistence” and “ruthless compassion” are two qualities his mentors offered him.   Perhaps to his detriment he usually offers what people need to hear instead of what they want to hear.   Chuck is an avid quote collector… one of his many favorites —  “Science is my passion, politics my duty.”  Thomas Jefferson

Robert Abston, 

Director, Florida Health Care Summit
Founder and CEO, Florida Media Labs

Robert Abston is a computer programmer who has worked in Fortune 500 companies for over 35 years. He has contributed to major projects at AT&T, Sun Microsystems, A.C. Nielsen, Borland Intl, GE, Harris Corp, Boeing Computer Systems, …more

Computer Sciences Canada, Siemens-Westinghouse, CN Railway, and others. He is also a Democratic Precinct Committee Man in Lake County, Florida.
 
Abston has also been involved in civic affairs throughout his life, starting with his experience at Brevard Community College where he started the College Young Democrats Club. Abston worked as a volunteer for the presidential campaign of George McGovern in Brevard County in 1972 and has worked as a volunteer on many campaigns since. He is also a past president of the West Palm Beach Jaycees and later, District Director for the Florida Jaycees in District 9.

 Jack Healey, Human Rights Action Center, former Executive Director, Amnesty International, USA

The Human Rights Action Center was founded by Jack Healey, the world-renowned human rights activist and pioneer. An effective and innovative leader in the human rights movement for 50 years, Jack helped move the topic of human rights from closed-door diplomatic negotiations to widespread awareness, public debate, and direct citizen action. Colleagues credit him with making human rights a major focus of governments, advocacy organization, and individuals around the world.

Called ‘Mr. Human Rights‘ by U.S. News and World Report, Jack brought human rights to the global stage by his creative use of media and enlistment of world-class musical talent as advocates and spokespersons as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA for 12 years.

Throughout Jack Healey’s many years working as a human rights activist, he has been recognized for his achievements through various awards. These include the Bill Graham Award in 1991, the 1989 Elvis Presley Award for the International Rock Tour of the Year, the 1996 House of Blues Martin Luther King Jr.: Spirit of the Dream Award, the 1985- 1986 MTV Video Music Award – Special Recognition, Humanitarian of the Year and the Pollstar 1988 Readers Poll Award. (These awards can also be seen on the media page) Jack has also been the recipient of seven honorary degrees from Universities across the United States.

Michael Nagler, Metta Center for Non-Violence

Bio coming soon