#Feminism: Gender & the 2020 Election Panelist Bios
Zerlina Maxwell is an American political analyst, commentator, speaker, and writer for a variety of national media outlets. She is currently the Director of Progressive Programming at SiriusXM– where she hosts a weekly radio show, “Signal Boost”– and a Political Analyst for MSNBC. She was formerly the Director of Progressive Media for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She worked in the campaign’s press shop pitching coverage to progressive media outlets and curating daily messaging for online influencers. She also acted as a campaign spokesperson for the Presidential Debates. She also worked as a field organizer for the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign. Her writing is focused on national politics, candidates, and specific policy and culture issues including race, feminism, domestic violence, sexual assault, victim blaming, and gender inequality.
Zerlina has consulted with the United States department of State to promote the use of social media by students in the West Bank and is a frequent speaker at colleges, universities, and organizations about rape culture and feminism. She was profiled in The New York Times as a top political twitter voice to follow during the 2012 election season. She was also selected by TIME as having one of the best Twitter feeds in 2014. Ms. Maxwell has appeared frequently on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC as a democratic commentator and has written for publications such as The Washington Post, JET Magazine, The American Prospect, Black Enterprise, CNN.com, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, and Ebony.com.
In 2015, Zerlina was one of five journalists invited to travel on Air Force One with President Obama on his trip to Selma for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. Also, in 2016, Zerlina joined pop superstar Lady Gaga on stage at the 88th annual Academy Awards as part of a special performance of her nominated smash, Til’ It Happens to You from the film The Hunting Ground. In January 2018, Zerlina was named as a member of the Biden Foundation’s Advisory Council for Ending Violence Against Women. She has a law degree from Rutgers Law School – Newark and a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University.
Katherine Grainger is a Partner at Civitas Public Affairs Group. With over 20 years of policy, legal, and advocacy experience Katherine is a leading thought leader on gender, race and sexuality. A lawyer by training Katherine has a unique ability to combine big-picture vision with real-world solutions to generate tangible results. Katherine spent several years working in New York state government, which she describes as a master class in learning how to build, harness and generate power. She now uses that knowledge to come up with solutions to disrupt systems and generate transformational change. As assistant counsel in civil rights to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Katherine was responsible for crafting and implementing several major legislative initiatives, including the Marriage Equality Act. Katherine is also a co-founder of Supermajority and an Adjunct Professor at Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University
Carmen Rios has spent the last decade at the digital frontlines of the feminist movement—as a writer, editor, broadcaster and organizer. Carmen is a co-founder of the Webby-nominated intersectional and cross-platform publication Argot magazine and currently the host and producer of Bitch Media’s biweekly culture podcast Popaganda and a contributor for DAME and the Women’s Media Center. Previously, she was the Managing Digital Editor at Ms. Magazine; Community Director, Social Media Co-Director and Feminism Editor at Autostraddle; and co-host and co-producer of THE BOSSY SHOW, a political talk show by and for young women launched after the 2016 election, and TRIGGER HAPPY, a weekly webseries for Binge Networks that explored trending feminists news stories; and she cut her teeth crafting digital organizing strategies for groups like Feminist Majority Foundation, Hollaback! and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Carmen’s writing has been published by outlets like CityLab, BuzzFeed, ElixHER, Everyday Feminism, Feministing, Girlboss, Mic, MEL and Signs, and her work has been covered by the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, CBS and CNN. You can find her @carmenriosss or at carmenfuckingrios.com.
Catherine Knight Steele is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Maryland, College Park. She served as the founding director of the Andrew W. Mellon funded African American Digital Humanities Initiative. Her research focuses on race, gender, and class in mass and social media with a specific focus on Black discourse online and the blogosphere. Her forthcoming book Digital Black Feminism will be published in 2021 with NYU Press.
Tamar W. Carroll is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Rochester Institute of Technology. She is the author of Mobilizing New York: AIDS, Antipoverty and Feminist Activism, co-editor of Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gender and Race in the 2016 US Presidential Election, and co-curator of the traveling exhibition and multimedia companion website, “Whose Streets? Our Streets!”: New York City, 1980-2000. Carroll has published her research in Signs, The Journal of Women’s History, and Women and Social Movements in the U.S., among other publications.
Duchess Harris is a Professor of American Studies at Macalester College. She is the Co-Editor of “Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag: Twenty-First Century Acts of Self-Definition“, Co-Editor of “Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity,” and the author of “Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Trump.” She has a Bachelor’s Degree in History form the University of Pennsylvania, a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, and a Juris Doctorate from William Witchell College of Law.
Amanda Renteria is the CEO of Code for America. She has had a unique and diverse career starting out in the financial industry, moving to education as a teacher in her small hometown community, and finally spending the majority of her career in public service. She has served as the Chief of Operations at the California Department of Justice overseeing 1,000 public servants and an $850M budget, National Political Director for Secretary Clinton managing the political and outreach strategy for the 2016 Presidential Campaign, and as a Chief of Staff in the United States Senate during one of the most productive periods in our country’s history. She was named one of the most influential staffers by Roll Call and received a number of awards as the first Latina chief of staff in the history of the U.S. Senate. In addition to her policy work, she has also run for Congressional office in 2014 and Governor in 2018 believing that empowering others is at the heart of public service. She has degrees from Stanford University and Harvard Business School and serves on several non-profit boards.