Keynote Speaker

Patrice Head shot

On Twitter @PatriceGaines

Patrice Gaines is devoted to helping heal people and situations.

She is a speaker, author, journalist and co-founder of The Brown Angel Center, a program in Charlotte, NC that runs workshops for women in the Charlotte Jail. She is a spiritual life coach dedicated to helping others transform their lives.

Her autobiography Laughing in the Dark details her journey from heroin user and abused woman to award-winning journalist and good mother. She is also author of Moments of Grace, which outlines her path to change.

A veteran journalist, Ms. Gaines was a reporter at the Washington Post for 16 years and was a member of a reporting team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer. She has won the National Association of Black Journalists First Place Award for Commentary and the Best News Story Award from the Associated Press, Chesapeake Chapter.

Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Essence, USA Today and Black Enterprise. Ms. Gaines has been a commentator for National Public Radio, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and was featured in a segment of Dateline NBC.

She was a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan in 1989 and has received fellowships to the noted artists’ retreats MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. She has won many awards for writing about ordinary people, including the Women at Work Award from Wider Opportunities for Women and the Empathea Award from Volunteers of America.

Ms. Gaines received a Soros Justice Media Fellow to write a series of articles entitled, “The Invisible Cost of Incarceration to the Black Community.” She is an abolitionist who believes crime can be reduced without depending on the mass incarceration of human beings.