Best Selling Author and Prominent Thought Leader Michael Eric Dyson to Keynote

April 26, 2022

Autism Acceptance Keynote for Special Needs Network


Special Needs Network presents Tools for Transformation Conference in Observance of April as Autism Acceptance Month


LOS ANGELES The Special Needs Network (SNN) is excited to announce that New York Times best-selling author and one of the country’s prominent thought leaders Michael Eric Dyson will deliver the keynote address for the 16th annual Tools for Transformation Conference from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC), located at 400 West Washington Blvd. in Los Angeles.

In keeping with the conference’s theme of “Resilience, Resistance and Rebirth – Building Powerful Voices, Families and Communities,” Dyson will speak on racial reckoning, healthcare and education at the conference’s legislative breakfast from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Dyson’s address comes on the 30th anniversary of the LA Civil Unrest. At 3:15 p.m. PDT on April 29, 1992, four police officers were acquitted for the use of excessive force in the videotaped  arrest and beating of motorist Rodney King. And in response, Black people took their anger to the streets, setting South Los Angeles on fire with riots, looting and violence that lasted for days.

Breakfast will be served, beginning at 7:30 a.m. with a booksigning of his latest book, “Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America” to follow the keynote address.  The free one-day conference will run from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and includes complimentary breakfast and lunch; plus a resource fair with more than 50 health and education providers, including the County of Los Angeles and the state of California Department of Developmental Services. In addition, the first 300 participants to register will receive a food box with a week’s supply of food and a home goods package, which includes sheets, blankets and other small household appliances valued at $500.00 in response to food insecurities and loss of income related to the pandemic. To register, visit Evite at or

Dyson is one of the nation’s most renowned professors, gifted writers, inspiring preachers, knowledgeable lecturers and prominent media personalities. As a teacher who earned a doctorate’s degree in Religion from Princeton University, Dyson has taught at some of the nation’s most distinguished universities, including Brown, UNC Chapel Hill, Columbia, DePaul, the University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown University. He is presently the Distinguished University Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, College of Arts & Science, and Distinguished University Professor of Ethics and Society, The Divinity School, and NEH Centennial Professor at Vanderbilt University. Dyson is one of America’s premier public intellectuals and author of more than 20 books, including seven New York Times bestsellers, and has served as a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and a political analyst for MSNBC.

Dyson has written bestselling volumes on such iconic African Americans as  Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, 2Pac, Marvin Gaye, Bill Cosby, and Barack Obama. His New York Times bestselling book,  The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, has been described by the New York Times as “an interpretive miracle” and was a finalist for the prestigious 2016 Kirkus Prize. Reviews for his new book,  “Entertaining Race: Performing Blackness in America,” are in with Publishers Weekly stating that “Dyson maintains a firm grip on the cultural moment and offers razor-sharp insights into American history, politics and art. This is a feast of insights.”

“I have had an opportunity  to work with Michael Eric Dyson and I’m elated to host him at this year‘s Tools for Transformation legislative breakfast,” said Martin, founder and president of SNN.  “He is one of the nation’s leading thought leaders and critical thinkers on issues related to race and social justice. Given this moment in our history, his insights and voice are critically important. I look forward to his discussion on how we continue the efforts and progress that were made with respect to dismantling structural racism and anti-blackness bias particularly in the healthcare and educational systems.”

Along with Dyson, the Tools for Transformation Conference, presented by SNN,  will bring together the nation’s leading experts in  science, medicine, education and housing, Plus, it will address racial justice and the impact of systemic racism on Black and brown people, especially those living with autism, mental health issues and other disabilities.

SNN’s Tools for Transformation Conference  is sponsored by the California Wellness Foundation along with community partners IKEA and the Dream Girl Foundation Los Angeles with food donations from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.


Special Needs Network (SNN)was founded by media personality and civil rights attorney Areva Martin, Esq. in 2005 after she was met with obstacles in accessing necessary services for her son, Marty, who was diagnosed with autism at two years old. SNN is one of the nation’s leading social justice, autism, and disability rights organizations. Based in Los Angeles, the organization provides innovative direct service and online programming, focused on supplying aid and resources to hundreds of thousands of families annually. Its mission is to combat the discrimination disenfranchised communities of color face in getting proper care and resources for minority children with developmental disabilities.

Under the helm of Martin,SNN will open the region’s first-ever comprehensive medical and developmental center called the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (C.A.A.D.). The center is scheduled to open fall 2022 on the campus of Martin Luther King hospital in the Watts/Willowbrook community of South Los Angeles. C.A.A.D. will provide tens of thousands of young people and their families with compassionate, integrated diagnoses and intervention services, speech, occupational, physical, and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies.

For more information about SSN, visit,

COMING UP! | The Pink Pump Affair Charity Event, proceeds to benefit SNN

On May 15, 2022, Areva Martin and the supporters of SNN will be kicking up their heels in pink pumps, for the PINK PUMP AFFAIR. The fashion show and auction tea will be held from 12 to 3 p.m. at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. The annual charity raises money for the services and programs of Special Needs Network (SNN)

AREVA MARTIN is one of the nation’s leading voices for Autism advocacy. An award-winning attorney, advocate, legal and social issues commentator, talk show host, and producer, she is a CNN/HLN legal analyst, former co-host of The Doctors and Face the Truth, and a regular contributor on Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, and Dr. Phil. She currently hosts The Special Report with Areva Martin and is the Host and producer of a weekend radio talk show, Areva Martin Out Loud, on KBLA AM  1580. A Harvard Law School graduate, Martin founded Martin & Martin, LLP, a Los Angeles–based civil rights firm, and is the CEO of Butterflly Health, Inc., a mental health technology company.


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