Dialogue Series Focuses on Educational Justice Within African American Communities


Community DialogueThe LMU Family of Schools and the SOE Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Social Justice Program hosted a series of panel discussions in 2014-2015 on “Building Educational Justice within African American Communities.” These dialogues provided participants the opportunity to engage as a diverse community in critical conversations that promote a more just and equitable education for students while building stronger connections between the university, K-12 schools and communities.

The first community dialogue, titled “Social, Emotional and Identity Formation of African American Students,” took place on October 8, 2014 and explored the educational experiences of African American students including issues of identity formation, social relationships and emotional well-being in considering a more socially just learning practice for students of color. This dialogue was moderated by Deanna Cooke, Ph.D., director of engaged learning, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, Loyola Marymount University. Panelists included Alan Green, Ph.D., associate professor in the Clinical Education and School Counseling Program, USC; Cheryl Grills, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, Loyola Marymount University; Brandi Odom Lucas, Ed.D. ’14, assistant principal, Verbum Dei High School and William Parham, Ph.D., ABPP, director of the Counseling Program, School of Education, Loyola Marymount University.

On November 5, 2014, the second community dialogue took place, “African American Youth Empowerment: Culturally Relevant/Responsive Teaching and Pedagogy.” This dialogue, moderated by Starlett Quarles, host, of “The Dialogue – Real Talk Real People!,” on LA Talk Live explored ways of teaching and learning that encourage positive self-identity and empower students of color. Panelists included Wade Brown, Ed.D. ’14, specialist in the Los Angeles Unified School District; Shani Byard, Ed.D. ’12, owner/instructor of Message Media Education and Co-Chair, Education Committee, Empowerment Congress; Adilifu Nama, Ph.D., associate professor, African American Studies, Loyola Marymount University; Jean Pennicooke, M.A., principal of the Kentwood Elementary School and Miranda L. Ra’oof, Ed.D. ’13, principal of the Pio Pico Middle School.

The Spring 2015 series of community dialogues kicked off on February 10, 2015 with the second annual Leavey Presidential Chair Lecture hosted by the Loyola Marymount University Leavey Presidential Chair, the School of Education Office of the Dean, the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Social Justice program and the LMU Family of Schools. The keynote address, “50 Years After the Moynihan Report: Ethical Concerns in the Education of African American Children,” was delivered by Carol Brunson Day, Ph.D., board president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Day addressed the historical ramifications of the report upon African American children and their communities, both then and now, and addressed ethical concerns related to public policy and social justice efforts of teachers, researchers and educational leaders, with respect to the educational needs of African American children.

On February 25, 2015, Beth Stoddard, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of Educational Leadership, School of Education, Loyola Marymount University moderated the first spring panel discussion on “African American Students and Higher Education.” This dialogue focused on issues of higher education and the experience of African American college and university students. Panelists included Abbie Robinson-Armstrong, Ph.D., vice president for Intercultural Affairs, Loyola Marymount University; Brad Stone, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, and chair of the African American Studies Department, Loyola Marymount University; Lauren Turner, Ed.D. ’10, teacher, El Segundo High School and LaDana Willis, B.A. ’12, History and African American Studies.

The final event in the series, “Educational Justice: Policy and Leadership Issues Impacting African American Students,” was hosted on March 25, 2015 and was moderated by Ref Rodriguez, Ed.D., co-founder, Partnership to Uplift Communities (PUC) Schools and member of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. This dialogue explored implications of education policies and practices that either enhance or preclude social justice in education and opportunities for African American students. Panel members included Dean Shane P. Martin, Ph.D., dean and professor of the School of Education, Loyola Marymount University and commissioner of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing; Angela Bass, Ed.D. ’11, vice president of Partners for Developing Futures and Carla McCullough, Ed.D. ’12, principal of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.