General Sessions

Soledad O’Brien

Soledad O’Brien

Wednesday, December 1, 5:15–6:30 PM ET
Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist, who will share with PoCC attendees her deep insight on a broad array of key issues facing us as educators and individuals today. O’Brien is founder of Soledad O’Brien Productions, a multi-platform media production company dedicated to telling empowering and authentic stories on a range of social issues. She anchors and produces the Hearst TV political magazine program “Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien” and is a correspondent for “HBO Real Sports.” She is also host of the Quake Media podcast “Very Opinionated with Soledad O’Brien.”

A thought leader with over 1.3 million Twitter followers, O’Brien makes a national impact through her speeches, her documentaries, and her presence on the op-ed pages of platforms like The New York Times and Huffington Post. She has anchored shows on CNN, MSNBC, and NBC, and reported for Fox, A&E, Oxygen, Nat Geo, the PBS NewsHour, WebMD, and Al Jazeera America, among others. O’Brien has authored two books: 2009’s Latino in America, and the 2010 memoir, The Next Big Story: My Journey through the Land of Possibilities. In addition, she and her husband founded the Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation. 

She has received numerous awards, including the Emmy, the NAACP’s President's Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Alfred I. duPont Award, and the Gracie Allen Award. O’Brien also received the 2009 Medallion of Excellence for Leadership and Community Service Award from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. In 2010, she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.
Sponsored by Strategenius
Sponsored by Strategenius
john a. powell

john a. powell

Thursday, December 2, 11:30 AM–12:45 PM ET
john a. powell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties. He will provide the PoCC attendees rich context on a wide range of issues including race, structural racism, ethnicity, housing, poverty, and democracy. In addition to being a professor of Law and of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, powell holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion. He also serves as director of UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute, which works to find new ways to identify and eliminate the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable world. 

Formerly, powell headed up the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. Under his direction, the Kirwin Institute emerged as a national leader on research and scholarship related to race, structural racism, racialized space and opportunity. He has been a leader in developing an “opportunity-based” housing model that provides a critical and creative framework for thinking about affordable housing, racialized space, and the many ways that housing influences other opportunity domains including education, health, health care, and employment.

powell has written extensively on a number of issues including structural racism; racial justice and regionalism; concentrated poverty and urban sprawl; opportunity-based housing, voting rights; affirmative action in the United States, South Africa and Brazil; racial and ethnic identity; spirituality and social justice; and the needs of citizens in a democratic society. He is the author of several books, including his most recent work, Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.

Sponsored by ATOMS Placement Services
Sponsored by ATOMS Placement Services
Social Justice Summit:  Healing & Wholeness as Love, Power, and Resistance

Social Justice Summit: Healing & Wholeness as Love, Power, and Resistance

Thursday, December 2, 2:30–4:30 PM ET

Yuria CelidwenKeynote and Panelist

Yuria Celidwen
Dr. Yuria Celidwen
is of Indigenous Nahua and Maya descent and is from the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Her interests lie in the interdisciplinary approaches to the experience of self-transcendence; its embodiment in contemplative practice; and how it enhances prosocial behavior (ethics, compassion, kindness, reverence, and a sense of awe, love, and sacredness) across Indigenous contemplative traditions. She will lead the PoCC attendees in the Social Justice Summit focused on “Healing & Wholeness as Love, Power, and Resistance.”

As a scholar, she works on the intersection of Indigenous studies, cultural psychology, and contemplative studies. Her thesis on “The Ethics of Belonging” is an earth-based ecological relational experience that engenders an ethos of conscious social responsibility for self, community, and environment. In it she examines how self identity relates to cultural narratives and how reconstructing them can transform our times’ social and racial injustices. She teaches Indigenous epistemologies and spirituality and pioneered the Indigenous contemplative experience within contemplative studies. 

As an activist, she strives for Indigenous representation and the revitalization of Indigenous wisdom as sophisticated systems of contemplative insight. She emphasizes the reclamation, regeneration, and transmission of Indigenous ways of knowing and the advancement of Indigenous rights and the rights of the earth for social and environmental justice.

Sponsored by Educator's Ally
Sponsored by Educator's Ally
Liz Kleinrock

Liz Kleinrock

Friday, December 3, 10:45 AM–12:00 PM ET
Liz Kleinrock is an anti-bias and anti-racist educator and consultant. She is a transracial adoptee who was born in South Korea and grew up in DC, where she is based today. As an educator and consultant, Kleinrock’s goal is to make social justice education both accessible, meaningful, and relevant to everybody.

As a new college graduate, she served as an AmeriCorps teacher with Girls Inc. and Super Stars Literacy in Oakland. She continued to teach in elementary schools for several years in California. Liz has collaborated extensively with colleagues across schools, grade levels, and districts, and currently leads professional development within fields relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has also developed and led parent and family education workshops on social and emotional learning and the importance of discussing race and race issues with children.

This year, Kleinrock authored the book Start Here, Start Now: A Guide to Antibias and Antiracist Work in Your School Community. Each chapter in the book addresses the questions and challenges educators have about getting started in this work, using a framework for tackling perceived barriers from a proactive stance.
Heather McGhee

Heather McGhee

Friday, December 3, 5:30–6:45 PM ET
Heather McGhee, a renowned expert on the American economy, is one of the most brilliant and influential thinkers exploring inequality today. Deeply stirring, intelligent, and compassionate, McGhee’s keynote will offer PoCC attendees an actionable roadmap during one of the most critical—and most troubled—periods in history. McGhee’s New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together explores the “zero sum” paradigm–the idea that progress for some, comes at the expense of others. It illuminates how racism is at the root of some of our most vexing public problems, from collapsing infrastructure to rising student debt. 

McGhee helped build and served as president for the non-partisan “think and do” tank Demos. Under her leadership, Demos moved their original idea for “debt-free college” into the center of the 2016 presidential debate, argued before the Supreme Court to protect voting rights, and provided expert testimony to Congressional committees. McGhee also led Demos’ own racial equity organizational transformation, resulting in a doubling of the organization’s racial diversity and growth across all measures of organizational impact. In 2018, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz also asked McGhee to advise the company as it designed an anti-bias training for 250,000 employees in the wake of the unjust arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store. McGhee wrote a report with recommendations for how Starbucks–and other companies–could apply a racial equity lens to their businesses.

An influential voice in the media and an NBC contributor, McGhee regularly appears on news shows and her work appears in major news publications. McGhee holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and a J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Featured Speaker Session and PoCC Master Class

Jamila Dugan

Jamila Dugan

Friday, December 3, 12:15–1:15 PM ET
Dr. Jamila Dugan (she/her) is an author, leadership coach, and researcher. She will enlighten us as a featured speaker on December 3 at 12:15 PM ET, and will also lead the PoCC Master Class on December 3 from 1:30-3:30 PM ET. 

Dugan is co-author, with Shane Safir, of Street Data: A Next-Generation Model for Equity, Pedagogy, and School Transformation. This book focuses on culturally rich education environments and anti-racist approaches to learning. The book reminds us that what is measurable is not the same as what is valuable, and that data can be humanizing, liberatory and healing. In it, the authors break down street data fundamentals: what it is, how to gather it, and how it can complement other forms of data to guide a school or district’s equity journey, offering an actionable framework for school transformation.

Dugan began her career as an early childhood teacher in Washington, D.C., successfully supporting the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program in her school. She has served as a coach for teachers, program directors, and school leaders. In this work she specializes in equity-centered leadership development. Dugan holds a doctorate in educational leadership for equity from the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from George Mason University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fresno State University. Jamila lives in San Diego with her husband and two children.