Sherrilyn Ifill, Lawrence Lessig, Bill T. Jones, Alicia Hall Moran, & Matt Acheson

Sherrilyn Ifill, Lawrence Lessig, Bill T. Jones, Alicia Hall Moran, & Matt Acheson


Sherrilyn Ifill is the seventh President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Ms. Ifill is a long-time member of the LDF family. After graduating law school, Ifill served first as a fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union and then for five years as an assistant counsel in LDF’s New York office, where she litigated voting rights cases.  Among her successful litigation was the landmark Voting Rights Act case Houston Lawyers’ Association vs. Attorney General of Texas, in which the Supreme Court held that judicial elections are covered by the provisions of section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

In 1993, Ms. Ifill joined the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Law, where, in addition to teaching Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law and variety of seminars, she continued to litigate and consult on a broad and diverse range of civil rights cases while grooming the next generation of civil rights lawyers. In addition to teaching in the classroom, Ms. Ifill launched several innovative legal offerings while at Maryland Law School, including an environmental justice course in which students represented rural communities in Maryland, and one of the first legal clinics in the nation focused on removing legal barriers to formerly incarcerated persons seeking to responsibly re-enter society.  From her base in Baltimore, Ifill emerged as a highly regarded national civil rights strategist and public intellectual whose writings, speeches and media appearances enrich public debate about a range of political and civil rights issues.

A critically acclaimed author, her book “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century,” reflects her lifelong engagement in and analysis of issues of race and American public life.  Ifill’s scholarly writing has focused on the importance of diversity on the bench, and she is currently writing a book about race and Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Ifill is the immediate past Chair of the Board of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Institute, one of the largest philanthropic supporters of civil rights and social justice organizations in the country.

Ms. Ifill is a graduate of Vassar College, and received her J.D. from New York University School of Law.


Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School. Prior to returning to Harvard, he taught at Stanford Law School, where he founded the Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago.

Lessig is a founding board member of Creative Commons. He serves on the Scientific Board of AXA Research Fund. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association, he has received numerous awards, including a Webby, the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, Scientific American 50 Award, and Fastcase 50 Award.

Cited by The New Yorker as “the most important thinker on intellectual property in the Internet era,” Lessig has focused much of his career on law and technology, especially as it affects copyright. His current work addresses “institutional corruption”—relationships which, while legal, weaken public trust in an institution—especially as that affects democracy.

His books include: Republic, Lost v2 (2015), Republic, Lost (2012), Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (2009), Code v2 (2006), The Future of Ideas (2001), and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (2000).

Lessig holds a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge University, and a JD from Yale.


Matt Acheson has had the pleasure of working as the Resident Puppetry Director for ‘Warhorse,’ at Lincoln Center Theater and was the Associate Puppetry Director for the ‘Warhorse’ North American tour. He designed and directed puppets for Radio City’s Spring Spectacular and also designed, built, and directed the puppets for Sarah Ruhl’s ‘The Oldest Boy,’ that opened in 2014 at Lincoln Center Theater. Favorite collaborations include, ‘A Howling Flower,’ choreographed by Nami Yamamoto, Rinna Groff’s ‘Compulsion,’ directed by Oscar Eustis, founding a company, AchesonWalsh Studios, with Fergus J Walsh, and directing the annual ‘St.Ann’s Warehouse Puppet Lab’ with Krissy Smith.


Alicia Hall Moran, mezzo-soprano, is a multi-dimensional vocal artist performing and composing between the genres of Opera, Art, Theater, and Jazz.  Ms. Moran made her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning revival The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, starring as Bess on the celebrated 20-city American tour.  “Moran finds the truth of the character in her magnificent voice,” Los Angeles Times.

A unique creative musician performing across the fine arts and in her own contemporary compositions, Ms. Moran’s career has been nurtured by, and tapped by other firebrand artists including Carrie Mae Weems, Adam Pendleton, Joan Jonas, Whitfield Lovell, Ragnar Kjartansson, Simone Leigh, Liz Magic Laser, Charles Gaines, curator Okwui Enwezor, and worldwide with choreographer Bill T. Jones, musicians like Bill Frisell, Charles Lloyd, and the band Harriet Tubman, plus countless institutions at the forefront of American art and performance.

Ms. Moran’s solo artist residencies include Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MASSMoCA, and National Sawdust center for original music.  She’s been commissioned by ArtPublic/Miami Art Basel, Museum of Modern Art, The Kitchen, Histories Remixed/Art Institute Chicago, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Poetry Society of America, and currently, Prototype Festival (HERE Performing Arts and opera’s Beth Morrison Projects) for “Breaking Ice,” Ma. Moran’s on-ice treatment of the opera “Carmen” as emotional spectacle.

She is steadily rewriting a template for the classical-pop hybrid singer, with quiet yet critically-acclaimed works such as HEAVY BLUE, the motown project, The Five Fans, The Battle of the Carmens, and Black Wall Street, a personal historical take on the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 which premiered at River To River Festival after developing at National Sawdust and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture/Women In Jazz, all institutions dedicated to keeping creativity and risk-taking alive at the critical level Ms. Moran inhabits.

As frequent collaborator to artist and pianist husband Jason Moran, she has co-created work for the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Biennial, the Walker Art Center, and Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.  They were recently named Ford Foundation “Art Of Change” fellows.

Ms. Moran’s transcendent vocal performances travel from the jazz club (Village Vanguard, The Stone, Jazz@Lincoln Center, Highline Ballroom, San Francisco Jazz, Kennedy Center, etc.; to solo turns with symphony orchestras—including National Symphony Orchestra Pops, Chicago Philharmonic, Austin Symphony, Roanoke Symphony, and Dayton Philharmonic; to the opera stage and translations of opera into film and theater. Her second album, Here Today, is already garnering critical praise, including The New York Times. The album release will be celebrated on January 4, 2018.

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