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In December 2010, the Black Community Crusade for Children (BCCC) gathered at CDF Haley Farm. Black leaders from across disciplines met to discuss not only the crisis faced by the Black community and Black children, but solutions as well. Use these videos to learn more about challenges facing Black children and ideas that work.
Michelle Alexander teaches at the Ohio State University’s College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Alexander is the author of the new book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Prior to joining the OSU faculty, she taught at the Stanford Law School, where she served as director of the Civil Rights Clinic. She previously directed the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California. Alexander studied at the Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the U.S. Supreme Court, and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Angela Glover Blackwell, vice chair of the Children’s Defense Fund’s board of directors, is founder and chief executive officer of PolicyLink, a national research and action institute that works to improve opportunity for low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education, and infrastructure. Prior to founding PolicyLink in 1999, Blackwell served as senior vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation. A lawyer by training, she gained national recognition as founder of the Oakland (CA) Urban Strategies Council, where she pioneered new approaches to neighborhood revitalization. Blackwell studied at Howard University and the University of California at Berkeley law school. She serves on numerous boards and served as co-chair of the task force on poverty for the Center for American Progress.
Judith Browne-Dianis is co-director of the Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. Browne-Dianis has an extensive background in civil rights litigation, including fighting to protect the rights of displaced Hurricane Katrina survivors. Browne-Dianis began her civil rights career at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), practicing law in the areas of housing, education, employment, and voting rights. In 2000, Essence magazine named Browne-Dianis one of “30 Women to Watch” and featured her in an article defining the Black agenda for the millennium. Browne-Dianis studied at Columbia University School of Law.
Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan is on the faculty of New York Theological Seminary teaching church history and African American studies. Previously, Callahan taught religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She also serves as pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Philadelphia. A West Virginia native, Callahan has studied at Princeton, Harvard, and Union Theological Seminary. She is an active member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Geoffrey Canada is chair of the Children’s Defense Fund’s board of directors, and is recognized nationally for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform. Since 1990, Canada has been the president and chief executive officer for Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, which The New York Times Magazine called "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time." In October 2005, Canada was named one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report. The work of Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media.
Shawn Dove manages the Campaign for Black Male Achievement at the Open Society Institute. He has more than two decades of leadership experience in youth development, education, and community building. Dove was one of the founding directors of New York City's Beacon School movement in the early 1990s while working with the Harlem Children's Zone. Before joining OSI, he served as Director of Youth Ministries for First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J. Dove started The Male Mentoring Project, a recruitment initiative for African American and Latino male mentors for New York City's boys. Dove studied at Wesleyan University and Columbia University’s Business School.
Marian Wright Edelman is a lifelong advocate for disadvantaged Americans and is the president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF). Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation's strongest voice for children and families. In the mid-1960s, Edelman directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. In l968, she moved to Washington, D.C., as counsel for the Poor People's Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the Children's Defense Fund. For two years she served as the director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and in l973 began CDF. Edelman received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings.
Ronald F. Ferguson is a senior lecturer in education and public policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is also an economist at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. He has taught at Harvard since 1983, focusing on education and economic development. His research and writing for the past decade has focused on racial achievement gaps and appeared in a variety of publications. He is the creator of the Tripod Project for School Improvement and also the faculty co-chair and director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard. Ferguson studied at Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
James Forbes, Jr. is a Children’s Defense Fund board member and the senior minister emeritus of The Riverside Church, where he was the first African-American to serve as senior minister of one of the largest multicultural congregations in the nation. He served as the Brown and Sockman Associate Professor of Preaching at Union Theological Seminary, was Union’s first Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching, and the first Harry Emerson Fosdick Adjunct Professor of Preaching. In 1996, Newsweek recognized him as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world. A native of North Carolina, Forbes studied at Howard University, Union Theological Seminary, and Colgate Rochester Divinity School.
James Forman, Jr. is an associate professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. He previously worked with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where he developed an interest in juvenile justice and the challenges facing young people and their families in the inner city. He helped found and build an education and job-training project for children in the juvenile justice system that evolved into the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, which he continues to serve as board chair. Forman studied at Brown University and Yale Law School, where he was as an editor on the Yale Law Journal. After law school, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Richard Gray is the co-director of the Community Organizing and Engagement Division of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Prior to joining the Institute, Gray was a director with the Community Involvement Program at New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy, and was the co-executive director of the National Coalition of Advocates for Students. He studied at Brown University and the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. Gray served as a servant leader in CDF’s Black Student Leadership Network.
Rev. Ray Hammond is the founding pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston. Before he became a minister, Hammond received medical training and served as a surgeon. Hammond has a long history of involvement with youth and community activities in Boston. He was one of the founders, and is now the chair, of the Ten Point Coalition, a nationally recognized ecumenical group of Christian clergy and lay leaders working to mobilize the community around issues affecting black youth, especially violence. He also serves as chair of the board of the Boston Foundation. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Hammond studied at Harvard College and Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Tambra Jackson is an assistant professor in the Department of Instruction and Teacher Education at the University of South Carolina. Her current research projects focus on the preparation and support of program interns as teacher-activists at a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools site, the development of culturally responsive practice for teachers of color, and the development of urban schools as clinical sites for teacher learning. Jackson has been an educator for over 14 years in various capacities. She studied at Miami University, Ohio, Indiana Wesleyan University, and Michigan State University. Jackson has served in CDF Freedom Schools since 1995 as a summer intern, site coordinator, and as a training consultant for the Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute.
Dr. Emma Jordan–Simpson is the executive director of the Children’s Defense Fund – New York. She also serves as associate pastor for The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, in Brooklyn. Jordan–Simpson currently serves on the board of directors for Union Theological Seminary (New York City), the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Weeksville Heritage Society and the Concord Christfund. She studied at Fisk University, Union Theological Seminary, and Drew Theological Seminary in New Jersey.
Rasuli Lewis is director of the Practitioners Institute at the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). Lewis joined the HCZ in 1993 to help establish the Harlem Peacemakers Program, a youth leadership development program. He has great experience in community/organizational assessment, youth development and community conflict resolution, working in urban centers throughout the Northeast and Atlanta. Previously, Lewis worked with the Private Industry Council for Atlanta. He is a board member of the African American Success Foundation. Lewis studied at Bowdoin College and Columbia University.
Honorable Patricia Martin serves as judge with the State of Illinois Circuit Court. She is also incoming president of the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges. She is a member of the board of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She has chaired the Supreme Court of Illinois Judicial Conference Study Committee on Juvenile Justice. Martin was elected to the bench in 1996 and retained in 2002. From 1986 to 1996, Judge Martin was an assistant Cook County Public Defender. Martin has studied at Northern Illinois University College of Law in Dekalb, Ill., Middlebury College, and the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Roy Martin is a senior youth development specialist in the Youth Development Network within the Boston Public Health Commission. He helps connect young men with health and social services they desperately need. Previously, Martin worked as a network manager and constituent services manager in the office of U.S. Sen. John Kerry.
Michael Tubbs is a student at Stanford University where he is pursuing a Master of Education degree. He serves as a speaker with the Great Black Speaker’s Bureau and Inspiring Speaker’s Bureau. He is the founder and executive director of The Phoenix Project and co-founder of the Stockton Summer Success Academy and the Taskforce to End Racial Profiling in Palo Alto. Tubbs has interned at Google and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Tubbs has been engaged in the CDF-California Cradle to Prison Pipeline summits and serves as a servant leader in CDF’s Young Advocate Leadership Trainings (YALT).
Rev. C.J. Rhodes is the pastor at Mt. Helm Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., having ascended to the position earlier this year. Previously, Rhodes was the administrative assistant to Dolphus Weary at Mission Mississippi, a faith-based organization that works to bring community reconciliation. He was ordained in July, and is the youngest pastor in Mount Helm's history. Rhodes is a native of Hazlehurst, Miss., and studied at the University of Mississippi and Duke Divinity School.
The Rev. Dr. Raphael Gamaliel Warnock has served, since 2005, as the senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, spiritual home of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Warnock began his career in ministry at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church of Birmingham, Ala., and later served as youth and assistant pastor at Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York City. He also served as senior pastor of Baltimore’s Douglas Memorial Community Church. Ebony magazine named Warnock as one of “Thirty Leaders of the Future.” Warnock studied at Morehouse College and Union Theological Seminary.
Dr. Renita J. Weems is pastor of the Ray of Hope Community Church in Nashville, Tenn., a Bible scholar, and an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University and was a former visiting professor at Spelman College. Ebony magazine named Weems as one of America's top 15 preachers. Weems was a contributor to Essence magazine for a number of years, and her articles have also appeared in Ms. and the New York Times Book Review. A native of Atlanta, she studied at Wellesley College and Princeton Theological Seminary.