Ameer (Lead Speaker) 

Ameer is a graduate of UC Berkeley, with a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies. Ameer also holds a Masters in African American Studies from UC Berkeley and is currently working towards earning his doctorate in African Diaspora Studies. His research explores Reality Television as a social phenomena, and how its effects on the perception of Blackness outside of a televisual space. Ameer has conducted research for Harvard University’s Du Bois Institute for African and African American research (The Hip-Hop Archive) and currently works with Harvard University’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice on a series of summer forums. Ameer also received the University of California Berkeley 2011 Graduate Council Advisory Committee for GSI Affairs, Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award.

Twitter: @leftsentthis


Yareli Quintana

Certified Holistic Health Coach

Yareli Quintana is a Certified Holistic Health Coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and trained in compassion cultivation by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. 

Yareli helps clients and communities navigate the overcomplicated world of health and wellness with practical nutrition tips and powerful holistic modalities. Her work goes beyond food to include mindfulness meditation, self-compassion, physical activity, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Yareli is also a speaker, workshop leader, and the founder of empowering programs such as Mindfulness in the Classroom and


Jay Morrison

Real Estate investor, Entrepreneur

Jay Morrison, also known as “Mr. Real Estate”, is a successful real estate developer, celebrity realtor, author, TV personality, entrepreneur and social activist. Jay is the CEO and founder of the Jay Morrison Brand which is the parent company to Tulsa Real Estate Fund, a $50MM regulation A tier 2 real estate fund, Jay Morrison Real Estate Partners, a real estate consulting firm and the Jay Morrison Academy, an online real estate investor’s school and mentorship program. 

Despite being a high school dropout, an at risk youth and three time felon, Jay made a major life transformation for the better over a decade ago that not only made him a millionaire before the age of 30 but also propelled him into the national spotlight. He now uses his life experiences and personal story of triumph to empower and impact the lives of thousands of his Academy students, troubled youth, ex-offenders and real estate professionals throughout the world.


Eliza Solowiej 

Executive Director at First Defense Legal Aid

Eliza Solowiej has been Executive Director for over four years.  She is dedicated to stopping the cradle-to-prison pipeline and replacing it with government accountability for human rights. For 20 years, she has focused her career on youth, community and organizational leadership development. She is a Public Allies staff alumna, AmeriCorps alumna and management consultant for capacity building and social responsibility in the public and private sectors. Further, Eliza is a graduate of University of Chicago and the John Marshall Law School, holds a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University, and has been a foster parent for teenage youth in the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She is a Chicago Community Trust Fellow Alumna, Civic Leadership Academy Alumna, and serves on boards for Southside Together Organizing for Power, the National Lawyers Guild, the West Side Justice Center and the Chicago Community Bond Fund.


Charles Jones

Organizer at First Defense Legal Aid

Charles Jones won two 1983 suits pro se as a teenager. Since then, he worked for 2 years as an outreach counselor with Ceasefire. Charles Jones has received extensive training and experience in conflict resolution and violence prevention. He has committed his life to working with at risk youth and ensuring that communities work on the issues that underpin the violence throughout Chicago. His efforts have led to his participation in popular education campaigns, including speaking engagements.


Guillermo Gutierrez

Program Manager at First Defense Legal Aid

Guillermo has worked in violence intervention and prevention, plus youth development and civic engagement for over 15 years. He is a Public Allies AmeriCorps alumnus and has worked internationally and nationwide with CeaseFire/Cure Violence. At BUILD, Inc., Guillermo developed a tiered leadership development ladder for youth at risk of violence and gang involvement. He also established the BUILD youth council and annual youth-led gang conference, institutionalizing youth leadership within that organization. Guillermo has volunteered with FDLA since its inception and recently completed a term on the board of directors.