NOVA proudly announces our Keynote Speakers



Founder of #MeToo Movement

Tarana Burke shares the heartbreaking story behind the genesis of the viral ‘me too’ movement, and gives strength and healing to those who have experienced sexual trauma or harassment. The simple yet courageous #metoo hashtag campaign has emerged as a rallying cry for people everywhere who have survived sexual assault and sexual harassment – and Tarana’s powerful, poignant story as creator of what is now an international movement that supports survivors will move, uplift, and inspire you. #metoo is not just an overnight hashtag sensation; Tarana has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to social justice and to laying the groundwork for a movement that was initially created to help young women of color who survived sexual abuse and assault.

The movement now inspires solidarity, amplifies the voices thousands of victims of sexual abuse, and puts the focus back on survivors. A sexual assault survivor herself, Tarana is now working under the banner of the ‘me too’ movement to assist other survivors and those who work to end sexual violence. She is also senior director of programs at Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity. On stage, she provides words of empowerment that lift up marginalized voices, enables survivors across all races, genders, or classes to know that they are not alone, and creates a place for comfort and healing to those who have experienced trauma.

National Expert on Neurobiology of Trauma/Vicarious Trauma

Dr. Chris Wilson is a licensed psychologist and nationally recognized speaker and trainer from Portland, Oregon.

For the past sixteen years he’s worked with victims and perpetrators of crime.  He currently conducts psychological evaluations as a contractor for the Oregon Department of Human Services, and trains nationwide on a variety of issues including sexual assault, domestic violence and the neurobiology of trauma.  His audiences have included: judges, attorneys, civilian, campus, tribal, and military law enforcement officer; college and university Title IX administrators and investigators, victim advocates, and mental health professionals.  He’s provided training, plenary, keynote, and breakout sessions for conferences and organizations across the country including the US Department of Justice, the US Department of Interior, the US Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force, the US Office for Victims of Crime, and the National Crime Victim Law Institute.  Dr. Wilson is also a trainer for three nationally prominent programs: US Army’s Special Victims Unit Investigation Course, providing training for military investigators; Legal Momentum, providing training for the judiciary; and, You Have Options Program, providing training for law enforcement.  Dr. Wilson is known for making science accessible with humor and practical examples that make sure participants learn to apply the science to practice.  In his spare time he roots for his childhood hometown The Boston Red Sox and current hometown Portland Timbers.

Plenary Panel:  Recognizing and Advocating for Transgender Survivors of Crime (#ValueTransLives)



Beverly Tillery is the Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), an organization that works to address and end all forms of violence through organizing and education and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy. She is an experienced thought leader, advocate and national organizer with nearly three decades of experience working in social justice movements.

Most recently, she was a Deputy Director of Education and Public Affairs at Lambda Legal, an organization dedicated to achieving full recognition of the rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. There, she led national educational and advocacy campaigns and community-based research projects aimed at changing policies as well as hearts and minds. Prior to Lambda Legal, she worked as an organizer, popular educator, strategist and staff leader at organizations such as Amnesty International, Service Employees International Union and ACORN.


Victoria Cruz is a pioneer and transgender activist, as seen in the Netflix Documentary, The Life and Death of Martha P. Johnson. She continues to have a prominent voice in the movement, working closely with the Anti Violence Project and their #ValueTansLivesinitiative. 



As the Lead Organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence project (AVP), LaLa is the face and leads AVP’s public community organizing work, doing advocacy, outreach and networking on behalf of LGBTQ New Yorkers who have experienced violence. LaLa also plays a key role in AVP’s Rapid Incident Response team, which responds whenever incidents of hate violence, sexual violence or intimate partner violence impacting LGBTQ and HIV-affected New Yorkers become public and national responses to hate violence. LaLa is a gifted public speaker and speechwriter who speaks out on issues related to anti-LGBTQ violence, and especially the disproportionate violence that Trans and gender non- conforming people of color face.

In addition LaLa spoke at the White House for the first Women’s history month briefing to include transwoman and the last Trans women of color briefing under the Obama administration, testified at the first historic Congressional Forum on violence against transgender people. LaLa continues her part to culture shift as a co-chair of the Policy and working group committee for Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), Program committee chair for a series of city wide based Trans forums across the city with City Council and the LGBT Caucus and other community partners. LaLa also made 2015 Trans 100 list for LaLa’s work with making the lives of Tran Woman of Color better.

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