Austin Channing Brown Keynote Address | UW-Madison Diversity Forum 2020




Austin Channing Brown is a media producer, author, and speaker providing inspired leadership on racial justice in America. She is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness and the Executive Producer of The Next Question: A Web Series Imagining How Expansive Racial Justice Can Be. Her workshops are incisive, fun, disarming, and transformative. By using an intentional mix of humor, pop-culture, story-telling, and audience engagement, she awakens people to the current realities of systemic racism and the everyday actions which make it possible. Whether she is being interviewed, lecturing, preaching or leading a workshop, Austin is sure to evoke thought, feeling and action as she celebrates Blackness and the possibility of justice in our organizations, teams and communities.

Her first book, released in May 2018, shot to the top 20 of Amazon’s bestsellers list, leading in its categories for months. I’m Still Here has received acclaim from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and such leading voices as Glennon Doyle, Lecrae and Christina Cleveland. It has also been featured in On Being, The Chicago Tribune, Popsugar, BitchMedia, WNYC, The Religion News Service, with Shondaland declaring it “[a] deeply personal celebration of blackness that simultaneously sheds new light on racial injustice and inequality while offering hope for a better future.”

As a media producer, Austin creates content that centers the experiences of Black women, dismantling the foundations of white supremacy, while interweaving a way forward for all who will listen. Her nationally-celebrated first season of The Next Question included a slate of incredible contributors including Macarthur Genius Nikole Hannah Jones, NYT bestselling authors Brené Brown and Jasmine Guillory, social justice leaders Rachel Cargle, Andre Henry, and more. Alongside her co-creators, Chi Chi Okwu and Jenny Booth Potter, the hosts examine complex topics affecting social justice while simultaneously celebrating the stories, personalities, and humanity of their guests.

Austin has a Bachelor of Arts in business management from North Park University as well as a Masters of Arts in social justice from Marygrove College in Detroit. Austin’s professional career began in the non-profit sector including homelessness/housing, youth engagement, fund development, and church operations.

The 2020 UW–Madison Diversity Forum, “The Pandemic Effect: Exposing Racism & Inequities,” was held as a free, virtual conference open to the public on Oct. 27 & 28. For the past 20 years the Diversity Forum has been the university’s premier all-campus and community platform to discuss, share and learn about contemporary issues of diversity and inclusion. Hosted by the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement (DDEEA), the Diversity Forum has been held each fall for the past 20 years on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus.

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