OUR 2021 AUTHORS & PARTICIPANTS
SATURDAY, JULY 17TH
Let’s Discuss Social Reform & Voting Rights | 1:00PM – 2:00PM
Voting Rights Activist
“You may think the right to vote is a small matter, and if you do, I would bet you have never had it taken away from you.” Thus begins the story of Desmond Meade and his inspiring journey to restore voting rights to roughly 1.4 million returning citizens in Florida—resulting in a stunning victory in 2018 that enfranchised the most people at once in any single initiative since women’s suffrage.
Let My People Vote is the deeply moving, personal story of Meade’s life, his political activism, and the movement he spearheaded to restore voting rights to returning citizens who had served their terms. Meade survived a tough childhood only to find himself with a felony conviction. Finding the strength to pull his life together, he graduated summa cum laude from college, graduated from law school, and married. But because of his conviction, he was not even allowed to sit for the bar exam in Florida. And when his wife ran for state office, he was filled with pride—but not permitted to vote for her.
Meade takes us on a journey from his time in homeless shelters, to the exhilarating, joyful night in November of 2018, when Amendment 4 passed with 65 percent of the vote. Meade’s story, and his commitment to a fully enfranchised nation, will prove to readers that one person really can make a difference.
THURSDAY, JULY 15TH
"Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America." | 6:30PM -7:30PM
Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian working on a multidisciplinary project based on the Green Book. She is the author of the bestselling book, Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America (Abrams Books). Taylor is also the curator and content specialist for the exhibition, The Negro Motorist Green Book which is being toured by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) from 2020 to 2024.
Taylor was a fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University under the direction of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and her projects have been funded by numerous organizations including, The Library of Congress, National Geographic, The American Council of Learned Societies, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The National Park Service, The National Trust, and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Taylor’s work has been featured in over 80 media outlets including The Atlantic, CBS Sunday Morning, The Guardian UK, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Newsweek, PBS Newshour, and The Wall St. Journal. Taylor lives in Harlem, New York.
FRIDAY, JULY 16TH
EAT . DRINK . READ
Taste the Islands | 6:00PM -7:00PM
Chef Irie Hugh Sinclair, a.k.a. Chef Irie, the Global Culinary Architect, is the Executive Chef of Chef Irie Spice Inc. - Personal Chef and Catering Services, providing services to the tri-county area of South East Florida. Chef Irie hails from the Caribbean Island of Jamaica, where he grew up on a sugar estate, Caymanas Estate. Before settling in Florida, Hugh first migrated with his family to New York. He completed his college career at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida earning a BS from the renowned School of Architecture.
YTB . TWTR . LNKDN @chefirie
SATURDAY, JULY 17TH
Black Book Stores: A Losing Battle or New Beginning? | 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Féquière Vilsaint: Publisher, Author, Lexicographer, Molecular Biologist. Mr. Vilsaint was born in Haiti and began his early education there. After high school he migrated to Montreal, Canada, where he studied biology at Concordia University (BSc) then went on to graduate school in Quebec City (Université Laval) and in Medford, Massachusetts (Tuft University), obtaining advanced degrees in Biochemistry and Biotechnology respectively. Mr. Vilsaint’s early career as a researcher focused on renewable energy science at McGill University and aqua-culture infrastructure evaluation (fish, shrimp, algae) in Haiti and the Caribbean. He later moved to Florida to work at the University of South Florida (USF) in the Medical School’s Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department. At USF, he did research on the metabolism of cholesterol in the liver, using rat liver as a model. This ground breaking research at the Kennedy-Keller Laboratory would later lead to the development of successful chemicals to control cholesterol in humans.
In 1991 Mr. Vilsaint, started Edua Vision, Inc., (EVI), www.educavision.com, a publishing company that develops and publishes bilingual educational material in Haitian Creole, English and French. Mr. Vilsaint speaks English, French, Haitian Creole, Spanish and reads German and Portuguese. He started the company while still a researcher at the University of South Florida (USF) and eventually left USF to expand EVI.
SATURDAY, JULY 17TH
Let My People Vote! | 12:00PM – 1:00PM
Stichiz is reputable for her stage presence and powerful, prodigious personality, as well as being a widely known voice on the radio airwaves. Being born in Canada, primarily growing up in America, and being raised by Haitian parents has instilled a strong sense of community in Stichiz. As a community leader she currently serves as an On-Air host, known as "The Mid Day Bae" and official female voice of Miami’s Urban radio station-WMIB’s 103.5 The Beat FM weekdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Previously heard on the longest running contemporary hit music station across the U.S., WHYI Y100 - Miami, Stichiz can now also be heard on other iHeart Radio stations throughout the United States; Detroit, Nashville, Atlanta, Texas, and Jacksonville to name a few. Stichiz' undeniable passion for music is apparent when she interacts with people. Stichiz has a distinctive voice that cannot be mistaken with another’s.
Stichiz shares her passion and her love for Christ and people through community involvement. She empowers the young and old to be inspired and spread love in the best ways possible. Stichiz is the former President of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP Youth and College Division. Stichiz is a current Youth Board Member for the Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration Committee where she re-established the ‘MLK Teen Summit’, and created the annual “Change Yourself Before You Change Me” Youth Trailblazers Award; an award that recognizes various students within our