Speakers and Trainers

You can new view the full ALC program, guide, and schedule at dxe.io/program!

Here are some of the incredible speakers and trainers who will be joining us at the Animal Liberation Conference 2023:

Alicia Santurio has been a member of Direct Action Everywhere since 2015. She started doing investigations and open rescues in 2016 and is now a lead investigator. Earlier this year, she was acquitted of misdemeanor theft for rescuing two sick chickens from a Foster Farms transport truck in a daylight open rescue during ALC 2021.

Almira Tanner is the lead organizer of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) and has close to a decade of experience in the grassroots animal rights movement. As lead organizer, Almira oversees a team of a dozen full-time organizers and hundreds of volunteers, provides strategic guidance for DxE campaigns, and trains and mentors activists.

Antonelle Racelis is an organizer for Direct Action Everywhere. She leads the Development working group with the purpose of recruiting activists into the DxE SF Bay Area chapter and helping them get opportunities to grow in their activism.
Antonelle and Michelle’s workshop, DNA for Animal Liberation: Strategy for Change, teaches DxE’s theory of change, our strategy, and why fostering a community based culture is so important. We will give you the tools and information that past social justice movements have used to create systemic change.

Andre Abassi is a rising 3L at UC Law, San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings). He has been on DxE’s legal team since October 2021, and worked on-site at the Smithfield and Foster Farms trials. He currently serves as co-president of the student chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund in SF and is working on a project to increase legal protections for invertebrates at the federal level.

Brittany Michelson is the Captive Animals Campaigner for In Defense of Animals where she leads campaigns using a variety of approaches. She is also the author/editor of the anthology Voices for Animal Liberation and the founder of Desert Oasis Turtle & Tortoise Sanctuary in Tucson, Arizona. She is a former organizer for DxE Los Angeles and a former teacher. Brittany’s workshop, Pressure Campaigns: Making Lasting Change for Animals, teaches us how to run pressure campaigns focusing on three phases of the process: starting the campaign, building the campaign, and winning the campaign, and will address the five elements: Goal, Target, Strategy, Tactics, and Vision.

Cassie King is the Communications Lead for Direct Action Everywhere. She coordinates DxE's press, websites, and email lists, and assists the social media team. She is also a member of DxE's elected core team and a defendant in the Sonoma "Right to Rescue" case. At home, she's mom to two fun, loving bunnies, Jonah and Mabel, who escaped slaughter through open rescue. Cassie’s workshop, Communications Strategy for a Winning Campaign, you’ll learn how to craft a strong message, how to communicate it internally to unite your team, and how to share it with the masses through the media. Cassie will share stories and insights from her 5 years as DxE’s Communications Lead. If you are in a similar role in your team or want to move into communications-related work in the movement, then we recommend this training for you!

Chris Eubanks is a social justice advocate, creative and public speaker raised in Atlanta, GA that has dedicated himself to doing advocacy work that advocates for collective liberation. After learning the horrors of animal exploitation, Chris became vegan, began doing community organizing and helped to co-organize Atlanta’s first ever animal rights march. Chris is the founder of APEX Advocacy, a nonprofit animal rights organization that develops grassroots activism and various campaigns to empower Black, Indigenous People of color to advocate for animal rights. 

Christina Liu is an organizer with Oil & Gas Action Network and a DxE investigator. She trains grassroots networks to center NVDA and works to expand the mobilization capacity of movements working for climate justice. She kayaks with the Rich City Rays, which organizes communities most harmed by fossil fuel operations in the Bay Area to take direct action on the water.

David Bowden is a social movement organizer whose primary interests lie in group structure and good governance. He has experience within environmental, anti-capitalist and animal freedom activism. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing poetry and finally learning Spanish.

David Michelson is a Chief Petitioner for IP3, a proposed ballot measure for the Oregon 2024 General Election seeking to criminalize the killing, confinement, and insemination of animals statewide. David’s workshop, Forcing The Vote: How to Bring Animal Liberation to the Ballot Box, will provide activists with a roadmap for crafting citizen-initiated legislation and building grassroots ballot measure campaigns that push the animal rights movement forward.

Emily Huang is a Community Organising Lead at Animal Think Tank in the UK, working on a project to identify how the animal freedom movement can best use Community Organising in order to leverage the power of people and their relationships to one another. Emily has spent most of her life in Australia, and is now keen to make connections with other animal rights groups and activists around the world. 

Erin Wing is the Deputy Director of Investigations for Animal Outlook and a former undercover investigator. Over the course of 2 years, she went on to complete 4 investigations in the dairy, chicken and aquaculture industries, including the first-ever undercover expose of salmon farming in the U.S. Erin's investigations have helped shed light on the suffering animals endure on farms in the animal agriculture system. Her work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian and The New York Times. Erin’s workshop, Searching for Sanctuary: Managing Trauma in Investigations, will teach techniques to maintain long term activism and self-care in addition to cultivating systems of support to uplift themselves and other activists in animal rights work. Erin will share about the resilience of animals in the face of the generational, systemic trauma they navigate within exploitative institutions and in their journeys in healing within sanctuaries and how activists can protect themselves as they undertake one of the most selfless and dangerous forms of activism in our movement.

Eva Hamer is a cofounder of Pax Fauna, an organization that exists to design a more effective social movement for animal freedom in the U.S., using original research as well as careful study of social movement literature and the recent history of the animal movement, in order to reverse the cultural norm of eating animals. A DxE alumna and movement music leader, Eva has been organizing in the animal freedom movement since 2015. She is a dedicated student of Nonviolent Communication committed to bringing NVC’s repertoire of creative problem-solving tools to the work of building a better culture in the animal movement. Working for years as a music therapist in hospice taught Eva how to apply metrics to aspects of life that are difficult to measure- and how to judge when metrics aren’t working to tell the whole story. Eva’s workshop, Strategic Framing for Movement Messages, is about overcoming futility and responding to objections with empathy, evidenced-based use of emotion, and some of the specific messages that perform the best.

Fernanda García-Naranjo Ortega is the co-founder and Executive Director of Granjita TyH, an animal sanctuary in the State of Mexico. She is also Grant Advisor for The Pollination Project Animal Rights & Welfare panel and a member of the Anti-speciesist Vegans Network.  She’s a passionate animal rescuer and intersectional feminist and was recently recognized as Citizen of the Year in the State of Mexico. Fernanda’s workshop, The Beginning of a Forever Bond: Tools for Before, During and After the Rescue of Animals, will provide you with basic and holistic tools to consider before, during and after helping an animal in a vulnerable situation.

Jessica Castellanos is a 1L at the University of Chicago Law School. She has been a member of DxE's legal team since February 2022. Jessica is passionate about using the legal system to dignify animals and those who aid them.

Jonathan Paul has been an eco-animal activist since the early 1980s. He has founded and co-founded numerous organizations like the U.S. Hunt Saboteurs, Global Investigations, Siskiyou Forest Defenders, Sea Defense Alliance, Ocean Defense International, and America’s Whale Alliance, and was involved with Earth First! during the timber wars of the 1990s. Jonathan preferred being on the front lines standing between the hunters and the hunted, organizing protests, participating in civil disobedience and blockades, documenting fur farms around the country, and liberating thousands of animals from laboratories and farms. Jonathan currently works in ecological forestry, is an investigator for animal and environmental organizations, and is on the Board of Advisors for the Civil Liberties Defense Center. Jonathan and Lauren will share insights from their decades of experience in the animal rights movement. They will discuss how we can learn from our mistakes and our gains in order to become better activists and make a more successful movement to protect animals and the planet.

Josie Moberg is a legal worker and organizer against fossil fuel industry polluters of the Willamette riverfront in Portland, Oregon. They have experience in direct action planning, police liaisoning, legal observing, and staffing jail support hotlines for anti-border, anti-policing, and animal liberation movement work. Josie will be leading a Tier I Know Your Rights Training.

Joyce Lipener has 10+ years of proven leadership experience across a variety of industries (Healthcare, Manufacturing, Risk/Controllership, Internal Audit and Finance/Accounting), excellent relationship, communication skills and proficiency handling challenges in different geographical environments, leading multinational teams and influencing Senior leadership/top management in big corporations like General Electric and Ernst & Young. She is passionate about strategy, innovation, problem solving, animal rights and making a positive change to the world through living, advocating and taking direct nonviolent action to promote a plant-based lifestyle that removes animals from the social and political system. Joyce's workshop, Developing Next Level Skills & Finding your own Leadership Style Leadership skills are key to mobilizing individuals towards making a positive change in the world. In this training you will learn the different leadership styles out there, decide which one you identify with the most and learn some tools to start practicing your leadership skills right away!

Kitty Jones is a tattoo artist and organizer with DxE SF Bay Area. Kitty has been active with DxE for the last 10 years and is the point person for this year’s ALC. In addition to organizing with DxE, Kitty also tries to find other ways to help humans and animals such as fostering bottle babies, rescuing dogs, providing food and supplies to unhoused neighbors, and doing art and murals around themes of human and animal liberation (such as the design on the ALC t-shirts!) 

Lauren Regan is the founder, director and senior staff attorney at the Civil Liberties Defense Center, and has specialized in civil rights, activist criminal defense, SLAPP and grand jury resistance, and environmental, climate, and animal rights law for the last 25 years. She has successfully represented over 4500 political activists in both civil and criminal litigation around the country. In February 2020, Lauren and CLDC presented the first complete climate necessity defense to a jury within the United States (Portland, Oregon). The case resulted in a hung jury and a dismissal of charges against the climate defenders. Lauren and CLDC provide over 100 Know Your Rights trainings a year to activists, immigrants, and other at risk groups.

Melanie Joy, PhD, EdM is a psychologist, educator, and author specializing in effective advocacy, social change, relationships, and communication. She’s given trainings to vegan advocates for nearly two decades, on six continents. She’s also the award-winning author of seven books, including Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, and she's the founding president of the NGO Beyond Carnism. You can learn more about her work at carnism.org. Melanie’s workshop, How to Prevent and Manage Infighting, teaches the causes and consequences of infighting, and ways to manage and prevent it. This unique and empowering workshop can help activists cultivate more resilient organizations and a more impactful movement.

Michelle Del Cueto is the International Coordinator of the DxE network and a photographer. Shehas organized with DxE since 2017 in both Mexico City and the Bay Area. She has mentored 20+ DxE chapters around the world and has mobilized hundreds of people to trial convergences and actions in animal exploitation facilities. She is involved in the fight for women's rights and produced a short documentary about victims of Femicide in Mexico. She loves hardcore music, crocodiles and being a dog mom.  

Orla Coghlan has been working with Animal Rising assisting in the strategic direction of the movement for the past two years. Her work is primarily focused on strategic narrative development and media design.

Paul Darwin Picklesimer is originally from West Virginia and has organized in Berkeley since 2016. They are the point person of the Creative and Protest Working Groups for DxE SF Bay Area. They’re a Total Liberation Ranger, dedicated to helping create positive change in their communities and the world.

Reverend Robert Ryugen-Doshin Yamada is an ordained Soto Zen Monk and founder of the Animal Liberation Temple, a Soto Zen Buddhist Temple and Animal Sanctuary based in Martinez, CA. The Animal Liberation Temple is home to 40 resident rescued animals. In addition to providing physical and spiritual sanctuary to many animals, Robert has done nonviolent direct action, locking himself and glue himself down to interrupt violence and work on the front lines such as investigating facilities of violence and doing open rescue.

​​Rose Patterson has been the Action Coordinator of Animal Rising since early 2020, leading large complex projects with hundreds of people taking action. Most recently Rose was part of the team that developed Animal Rebellion's Plant Based Future campaign which mobilized hundreds of people to take action disrupting dairy distribution centers that resulted in empty milk shelves in supermarkets and gained international press. Rose has worked with other groups including Extinction Rebellion, PETA, and the Earthlings Experience and also took a leading role in planning actions for the first Just Stop Oil campaign in 2022 which involved blockading oil terminals causing petrol shortages across the UK. Rose's training, Designing Impossible Actions, draws on her experience with Animal Rising organizing some of the most ambitious actions and campaigns in the last few years. Find out how to disrupt supply chains, gain international press and mobilize hundreds of people to take action. If your plan doesn't sound impossible, you aren't being ambitious enough!

Ryuji Chua is a filmmaker and animal advocate focused on challenging how we think about and treat animals through education. He’s been a guest speaker at schools like the University of Warwick and the University of Chicago, produced videos for animal rights organizations like Surge, Sentient Media and Faunalytics, and was featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to talk about animal ethics and his independent documentary “How Conscious Can a Fish Be?”
Ryuji’s workshop, How to Talk about Animal Rights: Principles of Effective Communication for Educators & Content Creators, will discuss principles for creating media, how to earn people’s attention, keep it, and how to offer them an alternative perspective on the world in an engaging and memorable way.

Samantha Faye is an activist from the Bay Area with multiple years of experience on DxE’s press and communications teams. She worked with a small team on numerous actions and events both locally and nationally, including ALC 2021. Samantha’s workshop, Becoming an Effective Press Coordinator, will help activists develop the skills to become a successful press coordinator. It teaches tested methods for getting the press to cover your action, uses real examples of how to build relationships with journalists, and explains tactics to ensure your narrative is portrayed accurately. We will explore strategies that will help you craft protests into newsworthy actions and use examples of past events to outline dynamic press opportunities that exist outside of an animal rights scenario.

Wayne Hsiung is a lawyer, former faculty member at Northwestern School of Law, and co-founder of Direct Action Everywhere and The Simple Heart Initiative. He has led teams that have rescued dozens of animals from factory farms, and has organized successful campaigns to ban fur in San Francisco and California. He faces decades in prison for challenging so-called “ag gag” laws across the nation and removing animals from labs, slaughterhouses, and farms for veterinary care. He has served as lead counsel in two groundbreaking open rescue trials, in which activists were acquitted after being charged for removing animals from factory farms. Wayne's workshop, The Open Rescue Experience, will teach the process of planning and executing an open rescue – from initial surveillance to defending activists at trial. Participants will be in mock rescue teams and work together in a simulated effort to expose cruelty and give aid to sick and dying animals.

Zoe Rosenberg is the founder of Happy Hen Animal Sanctuary, a sprawling farm animal rescue on the Central Coast of California that has saved over 1,000 lives. Additionally, she is an organizer and the social media coordinator for the grassroots animal rights network, Direct Action Everywhere. In recent years, Zoe has been awarded the Youth Activist of the Year Award from the National Animal Rights Conference and the Paul McCartney Veg Advocate Award. She has also delivered a popular TEDx talk about her ongoing activism. Zoe is currently a student at UC Berkeley where she is leading a campaign calling on the school's dining halls to stop buying from factory farms and to transition to a more sustainable and humane plant-based food system.


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