Speakers

KozolFisher Jackson Ward CowellOcholaLegendLewis

 

Jonathan Kozol, educator, author, and social justice advocate

Biography

Jonathan Kozol

In the passion of the civil rights campaigns of 1964 and 1965, Jonathan Kozol gave up the prospect of a promising and secure career within the academic world, moved from Harvard Square into a poor black neighborhood of Boston, and became a fourth grade teacher.
He has since devoted nearly half-a-century to the increasingly complex and urgent issues facing public education and to the challenge of providing equal opportunity within our public schools to every child, of whatever racial origin or economic level. He is, at the present time, the most widely read and highly honored education writer in America.
Death at an Early Age, a description of his first year as a teacher, was published in 1967 and received the 1968 National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Now regarded as a classic by educators, it has sold more than two million copies in the United States and Europe.
Among the other major works that he has written since are Rachel and Her Children, a study of homeless mothers and their children, which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for 1989 and the Conscience in Media Award of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and Savage Inequalities, which won the New England Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992.
His 1995 bestseller, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, described his visits to the South Bronx of New York, the poorest congressional district of America. Featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and praised by scholars such as Robert Coles and Henry Louis Gates, and children's advocates and theologians all over the nation, Amazing Grace received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor previously granted to the works of Langston Hughes and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Noble Laureate Toni Morrison wrote that Amazing Grace was “good in the old-fashioned sense: beautiful and morally worthy.” Elie Wiesel said, “Jonathan’s struggle is noble. What he says must be heard. His outcry must shake our nation out of its guilty indifference.”
Ten years later, in The Shame of the Nation, Kozol returned to the battle with his strongest, most disturbing work to date: a powerful exposé of conditions he had found in visiting and revisiting nearly 60 public schools in 30 different districts in 11 states. Virtually everywhere, he found that inner-city children were more isolated racially than at any time since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. “They live an apartheid existence and attend apartheid schools. Few of them know white children any longer.” The proportion of black children who are now attending integrated public schools, he noted, is at a lower level than in any year since 1968.

Some Information

Jonathan Kozol : Archive. Seevak Website Design Competition*. Johnny B, GNICE, & Marky Mark
<http://www.learntoquestion.com/seevak/groups/2002/sites/kozol/Seevak02/ineedtogoHOMEPAGE/homepage.htm>. (*about "Seevak" <http://www.learntoquestion.com/seevak/#competition>)

We are three very tired Boston Latin School students. John who had heard of Jonathon Kozol during a lecture in a German class suggested him. Glen and Mark agreed and began to research Kozol. Everything we found impressed us. The sheer enormity of his passion for his causes and his ability to present the plights of people in a clear and reasonable argument appealed to us. This site, while being probably one of the most intensive research projects we have ever undertaken, was very rewarding. Throughout we were able to step back and ask ourselves, "Do we care enough? What kind of people are we? Are we racist and pitiless towards the poor or do we actually do something about the problems we see around us?" This allowed us to take an objective view to Kozol's work. We all became impressed with him as a person whether we agreed with his analyses, his work, his goals, or not. We had the great luck to find someone that we could admire and who has made a tangible difference.....

Confronting the Inequality Juggernaut: A Q&A With Jonathan Kozol. Education Week Teacher. July 18, 2011 <http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-ialogue/2011/07/time_to_get_off_our_knees_why.html>

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Judge Fern

 

Judge Fern Fisher,Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts; Director of
New York State Access to Justice Program

Biography

Judge Fisher is responsible for administration of all New York State trial courts in New York City which includes oversight over 500 Judges and 8000 non-judicial personnel. She is for oversight of 30 court facilities, preparation and implementation of an $850 million dollar budget and discipline of non-judicial personnel.  She serves as the central administrative authority for New York City’s Criminal Court, Civil Court and Community Courts.  She develops and implements state-wide access to justice policies and developed and implemented numerous access to justice initiatives. She administers volunteer lawyer programs in housing, foreclosure, divorce, family and consumer credit and for community outreach and education. (continued)

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Rev. Jesse Jackson

Rev. Jesse Jackson, American civil rights leader, Baptist minister, and politician

Biography

Jesse Jackson was born October 8, 1941, Greenville, South Carolina. While an undergraduate, Jackson became involved in the civil rights movement. In 1965 he went to Selma, Alabama, to march with Martin Luther King, Jr. In the 1980s he became a leading national spokesman for African Americans. After being appointed special envoy to Africa, he was awarded the 2000 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is the founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Over the past 40 years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality and economic and social justice. On August 9, 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Rev. Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. (continued)

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Sharon Ward

Sharon Ward, Executive Director of thePennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC)

Biography

Sharon Ward received her B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany, and pursued an M.S. in Political Science with a concentration in statistics and methodology at the Rockefeller Institute of Public Policy. She has worked as an advocate on behalf of children, consumers, and the environment for more than 20 years. She was the Director for Advocacy and Child Care Policy for Public Citizens for Children and Youth and has worked as a community organizer and issue advocate for the New York Public Interest Research Group and Citizen Action of New York. In 1989, she was elected with a slate of reform candidates to the Albany City Council, where she served for eight years, and chaired the Finance and Environmental Committees. At PBPC, Ward plays a vital role in educating policymakers, community groups, and the public on state budget and tax policies. She has authored numerous reports and policy briefs, regularly delivers testimony on policy matters to legislative committees, and is often sought out by reporters as an expert on state policy matters. Ward also has worked with various coalitions to advocate for health care and education reforms, to support a fair and equitable tax system, and to advance policies to reduce poverty.

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Ron Cowell, President of the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC)

Ron CowellBiography

The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC), an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit organization based in Harrisburg. Ron served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for twenty-four years until 1998. While in the Legislature, he served as the majority or minority chair of the House Committee on Education for twelve years. He also served for twelve years as a member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education and for twenty years as a board member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). Ron is a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education, and the board of directors of Communities in Schools Pennsylvania. He is on advisory boards for the Office of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Parent Information Resource Center, and Public Education Network. He previously was a trustee of Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Community College of Allegheny County and the University of Pittsburgh. He also was a member of the Governor's Commission for Children and Families and the Governor's Commission on Preparing America's Teachers. He was a board member of Pittsburgh Children's Museum, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Gateway to the Arts, NEED, and the Family Support Policy Board in Allegheny County. At the national level, he served as a member of the National Education Goals Panel, and held leadership positions with the Education Commission of the States, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the National Association of State Boards of Education. He also served as a board member of the Association of Governing Boards of Trustees of Colleges and Universities (AGB) for nine years and was a member of the recognition Committee of the Council on Higher Accreditation for several years.

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Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola & Dr. Charles Ochola

Biography

Martey-Ochola

As we seek to step into the cycle of abundance that is all around, Africans need to redefine themselves and shed off the brand of poverty, hunger, deprivation, drought, AIDS, malaria, and corruption. Let Africa be the brand that claims joy, growth, life, beauty, and abundance that is all over the continent of almost 1 billion people, with a burgeoning middle class, educated people, innovative business people, immense mineral wealth, almost 60% arable land that has not been tapped, millions of unknown species, and endless stretches of land that can be used to harness wind and solar energy.

On Monday, January 30th, 2012, the White House honored 14 leaders in American Diaspora communities with roots in the Horn of Africa as Champions of Change. These leaders are helping to build stronger neighborhoods in communities across the country, and working to mobilize networks across borders to address global challenges.  Christine Martey-Ochoa was one of the 14 individuals honored.  (See http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions.)

“She [Christine] is a leader who has mobilized her enormous intellectual acumen and integrity in service to citizens from all walks of life," said the Chamber’s Executive Chairman of the Board, Mr Vuyo T. Dunjwa. “From academe to health to accelerating private sector development, she is a Champion of Change who is leaving indelible footprints of progress in the lives of families—from the Horn of Africa to the streets of Philadelphia.”

Dr. Martey-Ochola is co-founder and president of the Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce and is a partner in Avoglobal Ltd, an infrastructure consulting company. Under her direction, the Chamber has run various trade missions into Africa, assisted U.S. company entry into Africa, and facilitated key business partnerships. She is a coach for African small and medium enterprises seeking opportunities in the U.S. market.  She sits on the advisory board of the Philadelphia-based World Health Care Infrastructures, an organization that partners with countries, NGOs, hospitals, and clinics to establish sustainable and culturally relevant health care provision and health education, especially in the area of HIV/AIDS management.  She also sits on the board of the Logiri Women’s group, of Wimagak village in Kenya.

Dr. Martey-Ochola obtained her Ph.D. at Lehigh University after obtaining her B.S. in Biochemistry from East Stroudsburg University.  She has had a successful career in academe, teaching biochemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry at Villanova and Shippensburg Universities.  Her research interests include cancer chemotherapeutics and controlled drug release and the impact of cigarette smoke toxicants and nanoparticles on normal human lung cells.
Dr. Ochola is a member of the Business Committee of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Affairs, is on the advisory board of the Center for International Business Education and Research at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and is the senior outreach liaison and advisor for the Great Lakes Region (East Africa) Health and Environmental Affairs division of FirstSource Worldwide.  She is also a consultant for SunGard Higher Education on eLearning.

Dr. Charles Ochola is President and CEO of Avo Global LLC.  His educational background consists of a PhD in Environmental Engineering, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering (Lehigh University) and a B.A. in Physics (ESU). He has published numerous papers in Environmental and Engineering related to the reuse of industrial co-products and by-products, and has served as a Guest Editor for the International Journal of Environmental Waste Management. He has also consulted on various projects for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as for the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance. Dr Ochola’s research activities include the development of nano-materials for subsurface remediation, identification of new and innovative applications for industrial by products and other traditional waste material, and investigations on the toxicity of nano-Zero Valent Iron on living cells. As a corporate environmental engineer, he has been able to effectively communicate, educate and influence the legal department, senior management, marketing, and operations on environmental compliance and liability issues at over 80 facilities throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Some Information

Champion of Change <http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions>

Bridging the Gap between US and Africa <http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/01/31/bridging-business-gap-between-us-and-africa>

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John Legend

john legendBiography

Nine-time Grammy Award winning John Legend, is not only a recording artist and concert performer, but a passionate philanthropist. Mr. Legend was named Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. Before recording Top 10 albums, John accelerated his career as a session player and vocalist for top industry artists such as Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. Get Lifted (2004), Once Again (2006), and Evolver (2008) each reached #1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop charts.

In 2007 Mr. Legend launched the Show Me Campaign, a non-profit organization that fights for reform in education in the U.S. Continuing his involvement in education and poverty, John sits on the Boards of The Education Equality Project, Teach for America, Stand for Children and the Harlem Village Academies, and co-chairs the Harlem Village Academies’ National Leadership Board.

Staying in the public eye, Mr. Legend is the national spokesperson for Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a non-profit organization that advocates the next generation of minority business leaders. With his intense involvement in the community, there is no telling what other great impacts he may have on the world. Julianna Rodrigues ’13, USG Events Council Chair notes “We are honored to host Mr. Legend at Moravian College. We hope his message will inspire students to engage themselves in projects that will improve education around the world and contribute to solving the issue of poverty.”

More Information

To learn more about John Legend’s affiliations and non-profit organizations go to:

www.johnlegend.com
www.showmecampaign.org
www.twitter.com/showmecampaign
www.myspace.com/johnlegend
www.johnlegendnetwork.com
www.columbiarecords.com

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Congressman John Lewis

Biography

John Lewis

Often called "one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced," John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls "The Beloved Community" in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.

The Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has called Rep. Lewis "the conscience of the U.S. Congress." And Roll Call magazine has said, "John Lewis...is a genuine American hero and moral leader who commands widespread respect in the chamber."

He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama.  He grew up on his family's farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama.  As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts.  In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States. (continued)

More Information

Website of Congressman John Lewis
Georgia congressman John Lewis in town to help boost local Democratic Party
Academy of Achievement
John Lewis - PBS

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