Keynote Speakers

James Shearer
Co-Founder of Spare Change News

Our Saturday keynote speaker has been one of Boston's most vocal advocates for the homeless. He talked to Spare Change News about his work:

“Even after all these years, there are still people who think this place [Spare Change News] is a scam. Some scam,” he says, laughing in disbelief as his hand sweeps across the modest office space, home to a few tables with computers resting on top, a handful of chairs and filing cabinets, and back issues of the newspaper stacked nearly to the ceiling.

But be careful not to judge a book – or a community newspaper – by its cover. What the paper’s office lacks in size and amenities, it has more than made up for in cultural impact and importance. It is the house that James Shearer helped build. Now, after 22 years, he is ready to start building a new organization from the ground up – this time on Massachusetts’ North Shore.


Daunasia Yancey
Organizer of Black Lives Matter Boston

Our Sunday keynote speaker is another lifelong organizer. Boston Magazine recently wrote about her intersectional organizing:

Daunasia,” said BLM member Chantel Aaron, “if you lead, people will follow you.”

“I’m committed to not leading,” Yancey joked. But her patience soon ran out. We Are the Ones may have planned to turn the rally into a march (they declined to comment for this story), but they wouldn’t get the chance: Yancey and her BLM crew sliced through the crowd to the far side of the rally—the side closest to the tree. Yancey brought the megaphone to her mouth.

WHAT DO WE WANT? JUSTICE! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!

WHAT DO WE WANT? JUSTICE! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!

She started up the sidewalk.

And the crowd—the crowd turned. The crowd followed her.
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