The 2019 keynote speaker(s) are:
Tyrone Nelson (January 20)
Tyrone Nelson was first elected to the Henrico County Board of Supervisors in 2011 to represent the Varina Magisterial District. He serves on the Richmond Region Tourism Board of Directors, Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, and Richmond Performing Arts Alliance as well as other local, state, and national boards and committees.
Mr. Nelson graduated from Virginia Union University – Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology with a Master of Divinity degree. He received his Bachelor of Science for Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and an Associate Degree in Business from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. Mr. Nelson is also the pastor at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia.
Christy Coleman (January 23)
Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum, grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Hampton University. She currently serves as CEO of the American Civil War Museum, located in Richmond and Appomattox, Virginia. In her role as CEO, she has been instrumental in furthering discussion around the Civil War, its legacies, and its relevance to our lives today not only in the Richmond region but around the nation. She began her career at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
During her time with CWF she had increasing levels of responsibility finally serving as Director of Historic Programs being responsible for all programming and tours in the Historic Area. In 1999 she left to become President and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, MI. In 2008, Ms. Coleman was named President and CEO of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar (ACWC). In 2013 she helped orchestrate the merger of ACWC with the Museum of the Confederacy to create the American Civil War Museum.
Christy has served on a number of local commissions and national boards, and strives to make museum experiences meaningful to diverse communities. A tireless advocate for the power of museums, narrative disruption and inclusivity, she has been an innovator and leader in the history museum field.
She has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and has appeared on NBC news, Al Jazeera English Channel, NPR’s All Things Considered, Uncivil Podcast, and “Matter of Fact” with Soledad O’Brien. Christy was named on Time’s 2018 list of “31 People Changing the South”.
Jason Kamras (January 24)
Jason Kamras currently serves as the Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools (RPS). Mr. Kamras views public education as means of promoting equity and justice for all children in the United States. In his various roles, he has advocated for policies to eliminate the “opportunity gap” that disadvantages many low-income children and children of color, and he has led efforts to dismantle institutionalized racism in public schools.
Before coming to RPS, Mr. Kamras served in numerous senior leadership roles at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). In these roles, he led the design and implementation of a number of key initiatives focused on ensuring excellent instruction in every classroom across the district.
Mr. Kamras began his career in education in 1996 as a mathematics teacher at John Philip Sousa Middle School in Washington DC. In 2005, he was named the United States National Teacher of the Year.
Mr. Kamras earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and his master's in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His wife Miwa also works in the field of public education, and he has two sons, both of whom attend RPS.
Congressman A. Donald McEachin (Jan. 25)
Congressman A. Donald McEachin was elected to represent the 4th Congressional District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives on November 8, 2016. Mr. McEachin is the son of an Army veteran and a public-school teacher who proudly grew up in the area that he now represents in Congress. Prior to his service in Congress, Mr. McEachin served as a legislator in both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly for most of the last two decades. Throughout that time, he has fought to protect our most vulnerable citizens — and to defend the rights of all Virginians. Mr. McEachin is a dedicated public servant who leads efforts that will promote equality, curb gun violence, protect our environment, as well as advocate for military personnel and their family members.
Congressman McEachin has been selected by his colleagues in Congress to serve as Regional Whip, co-chair of the Environmental Message Team, Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as Vice-Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). During his first term in Congress, Rep. McEachin co-founded the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force – which he still co-chairs today.
Congressman McEachin proudly represents his constituents, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He serves on the Environment and Climate Change subcommittee, the Communications and Technology subcommittee, as well as the Energy subcommittee.