2004 Conference Listen Up!: Women's Voices for Radical Change
2004 Conference
Speaker Biographies > > >

Read about our recent International Women's Week conferences:

2003 Conference: The Politics of Conflict and Consciousness Women in War and Peace

March 5-8, 2002— The Business of Bodies: Women & The Global Sex Market

March 4-9, 2001 Natives, Aliens, and Immigrants: The Politics of Borders
March 5-10, 2000 The Political Economy of Violence



2004 Conference: LISTEN UP! women's voices for radical change

Speaker Biographies

Tifah Al-Attas


Valery Alzaga

Biography coming soon.

Joanne Belknap

Dr. Belknap is a professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Belknap has numerous publications, most of which involve violence against women and female offenders. She has served on a number of government committees and is discussing women and crime.

Carolyn Bninski


Carolyn Bninski is on the staff of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice
Center, where she coordinates the International Collective and the
Activism from the Heart Project. The Activism from the Heart Project
includes several regular groups, including: Compassionate Listening; the
work of Eckhart Tolle (the author of "The Power of Now"); discussions of
spirituality and activism; and videos and discussions of simple living
and sustainability on the earth. She has worked for a living as an
activist for most of the past thirty years. She can be reached at

Christie Donner


Christie founded the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition in 1999, after eight years of working in criminal defense and prisoner civil rights litigation. Her chief areas of interest are drug policy reform, women in prison, racial justice, and the impact of incarceration on women and children. Christie directs CCJRC's legislative campaigns and has drafted several successful pieces of legislation. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science and economics from the University of Colorado.

Michaele Ferguson

Biography coming soon.

Antonia Gaona

Antonia Gaona is a senior pursuing a double major in Political Science and International Affairs with a minor in Economics. Gaona served two terms as the Executive of the Arts and Science College and a Senator to the University of Colorado Student Union. She also served on the Cultural Events Board and sat as Speaker of the Council of Colleges and Schools at the University. Gaona is currently the Director of the Equal Opportunity Alliance and a student liaison to the Independence Institute's Campus Accountably Project.

Vel Garner

Biography coming soon.

Lakota Harden


Priscilla Inkpen

Priscilla Inkpen is Associate Dean of Students/Diversity Affairs Student Advocate at Naropa University. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, who has done parish, peace, and campus ministries. Through them all, she has been an educator and activist on issues of justice and peace. She has been peace-oriented trips to the (then) Soviet Union and Israel-Palestine and was a plaintiff in the lawsuit which overturned Colorado's anti-gay Amendment 2.

Habiba Ashki Kabir

Habiba Ashki Kabir has been immersed in Sufism for over 25 years, studying especially with Sheikh Nur al Jerrahi and Sheikha Fariha al Jerrahi of the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order. She has traveled to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey to further her inspiration. She guides the Boulder Circle of the Order. She is also very involved in Heart Centered Activism, speaking at rallies, working with interfaith groups and teaching workshops on healing the heart.

Jean Kilbourne


Dr. Kilbourne has been what The Boston Globe described as "a superstar lecturer" for many years. She has twice received the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. Students, faculty and staff from over 1000 colleges and universities vote for the recipient of this award. She has lectured at over one-third of all the colleges and universities in the United States and all of the major universities in Canada, as well as scores of private and public schools. She is also sought after as a keynote speaker at a wide range of conferences, including those focusing on addictions and public health, violence, women, and the media. Her audiences range in size from several hundred to several thousand, and include college students, people at a town hall forum in Nebraska, members of a church in New Hampshire, prisoners and officials of the Georgia Department of Corrections, addictions experts at an international conference in Rio de Janeiro, and doctors at Psychiatric Grand Rounds at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is known for her wit and warmth and her ability to present provocative topics in a way that unites rather than divides, that encourages dialogue, and that moves and empowers people to take action in their own and in society's interest. A member of the Italian Parliament said, "Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently." Students at Harvard Business School responded to her lecture with a standing ovation and a letter stating, "The importance of your research has not been lost on the Harvard Business School students as was evidenced by the remarkable turnout . . .The entire presentation will stand out as a highlight of our education here." Even advertisers sometimes respond positively, as in an AdWeek editorial: "After listening to Jean Kilbourne, I would never doubt her intellectual honesty. While she bills herself as a critic of advertising, she is more akin to a prophet calling out in the wilderness for fundamental change in the way we communicate publicly with one another."

Alice Madden


First elected in 2000, Alice Madden represents House District 10, which
consists of central Boulder, Gunbarrel and Niwot. She is the House Caucus
Chair and has served on the following committees: Appropriations; Agriculture & Natural Resources; Judiciary; Information & Technology; Joint Computer Technology; and House Ethics. She has passed legislation
concerning Electronics Recycling; Mediation of Intergovernmental Land Use Disputes; Economic Development in Local Improvement Districts; Debt Collection for Higher Education; Conservation Easements; and, publishing the names of tax delinquents.

Among other issues, she worked diligently on health care issues, including trying to lower the cost of prescription drugs. She brought wide-scale attention to Colorado's transportation dilemma by sponsoring a creative approach to funding multi-modal transportation to provide efficient travel choices.

Rep. Madden's efforts have been recognized by numerous organizations
including the Sierra Club's Rocky Mountain Chapter, which gave her its 2001 Freshman Legislator of the Year Award; by the Women's Transportation Seminar, from whom she received the 2001 Woman of the Year Award; by the Colorado Passenger Rail Association which presented her its 2002 Rusty Spike Award; by the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council which named her a 2003 Legislator of the Year; and Boulder County's Project Self-Sufficiency awarded her its 2003 Local Hero Award. She also was awarded a prestigious Flemming Fellowship from the Center for Policy Alternatives based in Washington, DC.

A graduate of University of Colorado School of Law, Rep. Madden practiced employment law at Fairfield & Woods, one of Denver's finest law firms. Prior to running for office, she taught legal writing and was the Director of Alumni Relations for CU Law School. A longtime community activist, Rep. Madden has focused on professional development for women and environmental issues. She is married to Pete Madden and they have two very very active boys.

Pamela Means



Oneida J. Meranto

Oneida J. Meranto is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the
creator and director of the Native American Studies Program. Meranto received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was recently stated by the Auraria College Republicans as poster- child for David Horowitz’Academic Bill of Rights. She says, "I am such an ideological oppressor. I wear this award with honor." Meranto is well published but most proud of the following publications having to do with American Indians and women:

"The Changing American Indians in a Changing America: Video-cases of American Indian Peoples." New Jersey: Prentice Hall, September 2001, Video and Instructor’s manual with Dr. Mary Ann Watson;

“From Buckskin to Calico and Back Again: A Historical Interpretation of American Indian Feminism,” Journal of New Political Science, Volume 23, Number 3, 2001.;

"Litigation as Rebellion," Social Movements and American Political Institutions, ed. Anne Costain and Andrew McFarland. Rowman and Littlefield: Lanham, Maryland, August

"Towards An Indigenous Political Thought", Readings in Politics: Issues and Polemics. ed. Robert Hazan. Iowa: Kendall Hunt Publishing. Feb. 1997.

Meranto was named Fulbright Scholar in Egypt (2004) and Fulbright Scholar in Colombia (1996). Meranto received the Outstanding Faculty Women’s Award, Institute for Women’s Studies and Services in 1996.

Katheryn Rios

Biography coming soon.

Natsu Saito

Natsu Taylor Saito is an associate professor in CU's Ethnic Studies Department, and is a professor (on leave) at Georgia State University's College of Law. Her scholarship and teaching have focused on international human rights, immigration law, and the role of U.S. law in maintaining racial hierarchy.

Lindsey Scherer

Lindsey Scherer is a 20-year-old transfer student from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. She’s an Economics and Political Science double major. Lindsey is also the Founder of the award winning TheRightView.org and Chairwoman and Founder of The Right View at CU Boulder, a new student organization. Aside from politics, her passions include her two kitties, TaeKwonDo (in which she has a Black Belt), and law (being a High School Mock Trial state championship team member).

Rickie Solinger

Rickie Solinger is a historian and curator. She is the author of Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v. Wade, Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the U.S., and other books and articles about reproductive politics and welfare politics. Solinger curates art exhibitions associated with the themes of her books; the shows travel to college and university galleries around the country, aiming to interrupt the curriculum.


Soltahr (a.k.a.Gail Sanford) holds an MA degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from the Naropa Institute. She is currently in private therapeutic practice and facilitates training as a faculty in Multicultural Issues at Naropa University. She is currently the Interim Special Assistant to the President for Diversity Affairs at Naropa as well. She has published a journal article in the Journal of Counseling and Development-entitled "Compassionate Curiosity". Soltahr is a certified Reiki Master and received a Healing Woman name in the Hopi healing tradition from her teacher Moonhawk with whom she studied for 5 years. For the last 19 years, she has been a Priestess in the Pagan Goddess Centered Tradition-connecting with both her African and Native American ancestral roots. She is one of the featured healers in a book released in 2001 by Carol Kronwitter entitled: Women of Grace--Women Healers and Healing Practices from D&S Publications. She has been an activist in various forms since 1963 when she went to her first vigil at the age of 8 after the bombings in Birmingham.

Margarita Alcantara-Tan


Lucely Vargas

Biography coming soon.

City Council President Elbra Wedgeworth


On July 21, 2003, Councilwoman Wedgeworth was elected Denver City Council President to serve from July 2003 to July 2004. Four days after her election to lead a Council with ten new members out of thirteen, Councilwoman Wedgeworth also made public her appointments to the newly formed Council Committees. This sweeping reorganization of the City Council's committees are better aligned with the policy and goals of both the new Council and Mayor Hickenlooper's Administration. Councilwoman Wedgeworth was also elected to serve as City Council President Pro Tempore from July 2001 - July 2002. Councilwoman Wedgeworth previously chaired - City Council's Safety Committee and served on the following committees: Land Use, Finance, and Special Projects/DIA, Transition Task Force, Human Services, Health and Environment. Her accomplishments have been widely recognized: In September 2001, the Denver Business Journal selected her as one of the eight outstanding Women in Business, honored in the field of Government and 5280 Magazine identified her as one of the "22 people to watch." She is the only person male or female of recent memory that has worked for all three branches of city government: City Council, Auditor's Office, and Mayor's Office.


Much of our biography information came from www.speakoutnow.org



Last Updated: Wednesday March 3, 2004