Featured experts

Updated: August 05, 2020 11:44 AM
Created: July 14, 2020 09:07 AM

Featured experts | KSTP-TV Featured experts | KSTP-TV

Here is a look at the experts contributing to the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS "Conversations about Racism and the Road to Equality" project.

Rebecca S. Bigler | courtesy of Rebecca S. Bigler Rebecca S. Bigler | courtesy of Rebecca S. Bigler

Rebecca S. Bigler

Emeritx Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas-Austin

Rebecca S. Bigler is Emeritx Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Ze attended high school in St. Cloud, Minnesota before receiving a B.A. from Oberlin College and Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in 1991.

Ze studies the causes and consequences of social stereotyping and prejudice among children, with a particular focus on gender and racial attitudes. Ze has also worked to develop and test intervention strategies aimed at reducing children's social stereotyping and intergroup bias.

Hir most recent work concerns the sexualization of girls and women and the development of political attitudes during childhood. Ze is a supporter of gender neutral language.

Rose M. Brewer | courtesy of Rose M. Brewer Rose M. Brewer | courtesy of Rose M. Brewer

Rose M. Brewer, Ph.D.

Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor

Rose M. Brewer, Ph.D., is The Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor and past chairperson of the Department of African American & African Studies, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  She holds affiliate appointments in Gender Women Sexuality Studies and Sociology.  

She received her M.A and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from Indiana University and post-doctoral studies at the University of Chicago.  

An activist and scholar, Brewer publishes extensively on Black feminism, political economy, social movements, race, class, gender and social change. She is one of the authors of the award winning book, "The Color of Wealth," a number of co-edited volumes including "The U.S. Social Forum:  Perspectives of a Movement;" "Bridges of Power: Women's Multicultural Alliances;" "Is Academic Feminism Dead?:  Theory in Practice," and most recently co-edited "Rod Bush: Lessons from a Radical Black Scholar on Liberation, Love and Justice (2019)." 

Her work includes more than 80 essays, articles, and refereed publications. 

She has held The University of North Texas Multicultural Lectureship Award, The Havens Center Visiting Scholar Award -University of Wisconsin-Madison, The Sociologist for Women in Society Feminist Lectureship in Social Change, The Wiepking Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Miami University of Ohio and was a Visiting Scholar in the Social Justice Initiative, University of Illinois-Chicago. She is a University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts Dean's Medalist, a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, a 2013 winner of the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Teaching award, and a Josie R. Johnson Social Justice Award recipient.


  • Author: "The Color of Wealth"
  • Co-edited: "The U.S. Social Forum: Perspectives of a Movement"
  • Co-edited: "Bridges of Power: Women's Multicultural Alliances"
  • Co-edited: "Is Academic Feminism Dead?: Theory in Practice"
  • Co-edited: "Rod Bush: Lessons from a Radical Black Scholar on Liberation, Love and Justice"

Lonnie Bunch III | courtesy of Lonnie Bunch III Lonnie Bunch III | courtesy of Lonnie Bunch III

Lonnie G. Bunch III

Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian. He assumed his position June 16, 2019. As secretary, he oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers.

Previously, Bunch was the director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. When he started as director in July 2005, he had one staff member, no collections, no funding and no site for a museum. Driven by optimism, determination and a commitment to build "a place that would make America better," Bunch transformed a vision into a bold reality. The museum has welcomed more than 6 million visitors since it opened in September 2016 and compiled a collection of 40,000 objects that are housed in the first "green building" on the National Mall.

Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument, the nearly 400,000-square-foot National Museum of African American History and Culture is the nation's largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history.

Before his appointment as director of the museum, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001–2005). There, he led a successful capital campaign to transform the Historical Society in celebration of its 150th anniversary, managed an institutional reorganization, initiated an unprecedented outreach initiative to diverse communities and launched a much-lauded exhibition and program on teenage life titled "Teen Chicago."

A widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the black military experience, the American presidency and all-black towns in the American West to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. His most recent book, A Fool's Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump, which chronicles the making of the museum that would become one of the most popular destinations in Washington.

Bunch has worked at the Smithsonian in the past, holding several positions at its National Museum of American History from 1989 through 2000. As the museum's associate director for curatorial affairs for six years (1994–2000), he oversaw the curatorial and collections management staff and led the team that developed a major permanent exhibition on the American presidency. He also developed "Smithsonian's America" for the American Festival Japan 1994; this exhibition, which was presented in Japan, explored the history, culture and diversity of the United States.

Bunch served as the curator of history and program manager for the California African American Museum in Los Angeles from 1983 to 1989. While there, he organized several award-winning exhibitions, including "The Black Olympians, 1904–1950" and "Black Angelenos: The Afro-American in Los Angeles, 1850–1950." He also produced several historical documentaries for public television.

Born in Belleville, New Jersey, Bunch has held numerous teaching positions at universities across the country, including American University in Washington, D.C., the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth and George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

In service to the historical and cultural community, Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History. In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals of the 20th century by the American Association of Museums.

Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2010. In 2019, he was awarded the Freedom Medal, one of the Four Freedom Awards from the Roosevelt Institute, for his contribution to American culture as a historian and storyteller; the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from the Hutchins Center at Harvard University; and the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund.

Bunch received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the American University in Washington, D.C.


Cari Gillen-O'Neel | courtesy of Cari Gillen-O'Neel Cari Gillen-O'Neel | courtesy of Cari Gillen-O'Neel

Cari Gillen-O'Neel

Assistant Professor of Psychology at Macalester College

After teaching elementary school for five years, Cari Gillen-O'Neel knew she loved teaching, but also knew that she missed psychology. She decided to pursue a Ph.D. in developmental psychology so she could continue to work with children while also contributing scholarship to a field that she is passionate about and sharing this passion through teaching. 

Upon completing her Ph.D., she was delighted to join the psychology faculty at Macalester College where scholarship and teaching go hand-in-hand. 

Her research focuses on identity development and school success, and some of her most recent publications include: 

Currently, she is working on a Spencer Foundation-funded project examining how teachers and parents talk to their students/kids about race. 

Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, cooking, and supporting the greatest sports franchise ever (Go Lynx!)


Kathlene Holmes Campbell | courtesy of Kathlene Holmes Campbell Kathlene Holmes Campbell | courtesy of Kathlene Holmes Campbell

Kathlene Holmes Campbell, Ph.D.

University of St. Thomas Dean of Education 

Kathlene Holmes Campbell, Ph.D. is the Dean of Education at the University of St. Thomas where she oversees the departments of educational leadership, special education, and teacher education as well as the charter school authorizing unit.

Campbell's multifaceted experience as a classroom teacher, community college and state college professor, state college interim dean, university instructor and supervisor, and non-profit consultant have shaped all of her strategic and scholarly pursuits. Prior to joining the University of St. Thomas, Campbell was a Program Director for the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR). At NCTR, Campbell led programming that provided technical assistance to Institutions of Higher Education and Colleges of Education transitioning to a teacher residency or other clinically oriented teacher preparation. Earlier in her career, Campbell served as a Director of Alternative Certification and Interim Dean of Education at Florida State College at Jacksonville. During her appointments as a director and dean, she revised program curricula to better prepare graduates for the teaching profession and oversaw credit (AS) and non-credit early childhood courses, two education AA degree courses, the alternative certification program, and a Bachelor of Science program in early childhood education.

As a researcher and professor, Campbell taught numerous early childhood and elementary courses and embedded clinical interdisciplinary placements into her courses by partnering with local elementary schools particularly focused on social justice and equity. Beginning in 2009, Campbell worked with the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA), helping teachers improve their practice and infuse culturally relevant teaching practices into their classrooms. As a consultant with NUA, she had the opportunity to work closely with teachers in Buffalo, New York; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Newark, New Jersey; Robbinsdale, Minnesota; and St. Paul.

Campbell has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas-Austin. She also received a B.A. in Elementary Education and M.Ed. in Early Childhood Intervention and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Campbell credits her family, university professors, and undergraduate cooperating teacher, Shyvonne Steed-Foster, as major influences on her success as an educator.

Keith Mayes | courtesy of Keith Mayes Keith Mayes | courtesy of Keith Mayes

Keith A. Mayes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor at the U of M, Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor

Keith Mayes, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota; former chair of the Department of African American & African Studies; and the Horace T. Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor. 

Mayes earned his Ph.D. in History from Princeton University. His teaching and research interests include the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements; education policy and history; black holiday traditions; racial equity and critical ethnic studies pedagogy; and the history of African Americans.  

Mayes has published one book entitled "Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African American Holiday Tradition." He is currently working on another book entitled, "The Unteachables: Civil Rights, Disability Rights and the Politics of Black Special Education."

Mayes established the Mayes Educational Group, LLC, which provides consultant, professional development, and training services in the areas of racial equity; curriculum development; and social studies.  Some of his current and former clients include the Omaha Public Schools, Minneapolis Public Schools; District 279-Osseo Public schools; District 196-Apple Valley, Eagan, Rosemount Public Schools; Independent School District 194 (Lakeville, MN); District 833-South Washington County Schools; St. Paul Public Schools; Anoka-Hennepin Schools; National Geographic; the History Channel; the Minnesota Humanities Center; and the Minnesota Department of Education.  

Mayes has lectured widely throughout the Twin Cities Metro area in K-12 schools, churches, municipal governments and corporations. 

He has appeared on various media outlets, such as KMOJ, KARE-11 News, WCCO Channel 4, KSTP-TV, Minnesota Public Radio, Radio Minnesota, KFAI, and National Public Radio.


  • Currently writing: "The Unteachables: Civil Rights, Disability Rights and the Politics of Black Special Education"
  • Author: "Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African American Holiday Tradition"

Peter Rachleff | courtesy of Peter Rachleff Peter Rachleff | courtesy of Peter Rachleff

Peter Rachleff, Ph.D.

Co-Executive Director of the East Side Freedom Library

Peter taught U.S. History at Macalester College from 1982-2012, and he was chairperson of the History Department in the late 1990s, and the Faculty Coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

Peter has also taught at Metro State University and the University of Minnesota.

He is the author of "Black Labor in Richmond, Virginia, 1865-1890," and "Hard-Pressed in the Heartland: The Hormel Strike and the Future of the Labor Movement."

He has been a member of the Executive Board of the Labor and Working Class History Association and the President of the Working Class Studies Association.

In October 2017, the Walter Reuther Library and the North American Labor History Conference gave him the Nat Weinberg Award for lifetime achievement in labor history. Peter donates his salary as co-executive director.



Yohuru Williams | courtesy of Yohuru Williams Yohuru Williams | courtesy of Yohuru Williams

Yohuru Williams, Ph.D.

Distinguished University Chair, professor, founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas

Dr. Yohuru Williams, Ph.D., is Distinguished University Chair and professor and founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Williams received his Ph.D. from Howard University in 1998.

Williams has held a variety of administrative posts both within and outside the university including serving as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fairfield University, Vice President for Public Education and Research at the Jackie Robinson Foundation in New York City, and Chief Historian for the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Williams is the author of "Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven" (Blackwell, 2006), "Rethinking the Black Freedom Movement" (Routledge, 2015), and "Teaching beyond the Textbook: Six Investigative Strategies" (Corwin Press, 2008).

He is the editor of "A Constant Struggle: African-American History from 1865 to the Present, Documents and Essays" (Kendall Hunt, 2002). 

He is the co-editor of "The Black Panthers: Portraits of an Unfinished Revolution" (Nation Books, 2016), "In Search of the Black Panther Party, New Perspectives on a Revolutionary Movement" (Duke, 2006), and "Liberated Territory: Toward a Local History of the Black Panther Party" (Duke, 2008).

He also served as general editor for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History's 2002 and 2003 Black History Month publications, "The Color Line Revisited" (Tapestry Press, 2002) and "The Souls of Black Folks: Centennial Reflections" (Africa World Press, 2003). 

Williams served as an advisor on the popular civil rights reader "Putting the Movement Back into Teaching Civil Rights."

Williams has appeared on a variety of local and national radio and television programs most notably Aljazeera America, BET, CSPAN, EBRU Today, Fox Business News, Fresh Outlook, Huff Post Live, and NPR and was featured in the Ken Burns PBS Documentary Jackie Robinson and the Stanley Nelson PBS Documentary: The Black Panthers. He is also one of the hosts of the History Channel's Web show Sound Smart. A regular political commentator on the Cliff Kelly Show on WVON, Chicago, Williams also blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and is a contributor to the Progressive Magazine.

Williams's scholarly articles have appeared in the American Bar Association's Insights on Law and Society, The Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, The Black Scholar, The Journal of Black Studies, Pennsylvania History, Delaware History, the Journal of Civil and Human Rights and the Black History Bulletin. 

Williams is also presently finishing a new book entitled "In the Shadow of the Whipping Post: Lynching, Capital Punishment, and Jim Crow Justice in Delaware 1865-1965" under contract with Cambridge University Press.

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