Keynote speaker breaks down barriers

By Juliette Coulter

Dallas Women’s Foundation has announced a blockbuster speaker for its Oct. 30 luncheon: Ava DuVernay, writer, producer, director and distributor of independent films. The first African American female director to helm a $100 million budget feature film, DuVernay is breaking down barriers through films, such as her award-winning “Selma” and “13th,” that address race, social justice, gender and age. Her recently released film, “A Wrinkle in Time,” grossed more than $116 million in its first month of release. DuVernay will be joined onstage by Michele Norris — noted American radio journalist, former National Public Radio host and director of TheRaceCard project — who will moderate a dialog.

The Foundation’s 33rd Annual Luncheon on Oct. 30 takes place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, with a VIP reception at 10:30 a.m.

Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Dallas Women’s Foundation president and chief executive officer, said, “We are honored and thrilled to feature Ava DuVernay, one of the world’s most lauded and influential women in film, whose work has fearlessly explored racial inequity in the United States, broken new ground in family drama and brought to life a best-loved children’s classic. Just as we are inspired by her work as a writer, director and producer, so shall we be motivated by her personal story and journey as a pioneer in changing culture in Hollywood. Her conversation with Michele Norris, one of the most trusted voices in American journalism, is sure to be an unforgettable experience.”

The Annual Luncheon is the Foundation’s principal fundraiser in support of its work to advance women’s economic security, leadership, childcare access and healthcare in North Texas and to drive positive social and economic change for women and girls through research, advocacy and grant making. Founded in 1985, Dallas Women’s Foundation is the largest regional women’s fund in the world and has granted more than $37.6 million since its inception.

DuVernay is in production on her next film, “Central Park Five,” while overseeing production of the critically acclaimed drama series, “Queen Sugar.” She directed “Selma” (2014), which chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Her critically acclaimed feature-length documentary, “13th” (2016), exploring racial inequality in the U.S. by focusing on the nation’s prison system, was released on Netflix. “13th” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and won four EMMY Awards out of its eight nominations.

Michele Norris (pictured above) is one of the most trusted voices in American journalism. She is a former host of the National Public Radio (NPR) evening news program, “All Things Considered” (2002-2011), and later served as a special correspondent for that program (2013-2015). In 2015, she left NPR to focus on TheRaceCard project. She is author of “The Grace of Silence” (2010), a memoir.

For more information, visit

Ava DuVernay, writer, producer, director and distributor of independent films, is the keynote speaker for the Dallas Women’s Foundations Oct. 30 luncheon.
Photo courtesy of DWF

One Response to "Keynote speaker breaks down barriers"