Speakers

Keynote

Philip Alston

United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Philip Alston teaches international law, international criminal law, and a range of human rights subjects. He has degrees in law and economics from the University of Melbourne and a JSD from Berkeley. He previously taught at the European University Institute, the Australian National University, Harvard Law School, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He was one of the founders of both the European and the Australian and New Zealand societies of international law and was editor-in-chief of the European Journal of International Law from 1996 through 2007. In 2014, he was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as its Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. From 2004 to 2010, he was UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, undertaking official missions to Sri Lanka, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, Israel, Lebanon, Albania, Kenya, Brazil, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, and the United States. He has also been on the Independent International Commission on Kyrgyzstan (2011) and the UN Group of Experts on Darfur (2007) and served as Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals (2002-07); chairperson (1991-98) and rapporteur (1987-91) of the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; and UNICEF’s Senior Legal Adviser on children’s rights (1986-92).

Opening Plenary

Untangling Inequity: Intersectionality and Poverty

Megan Minoka Hill

Program Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development; Director, Honoring Nations Program at Harvard Kennedy School

Megan serves as the Program Director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and the Director of the Honoring Nations program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Through applied research and service, the Harvard Project aims to understand and foster the conditions under which sustained, self-determined social and economic development is achieved and sustained. Megan currently serves on the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative board and as the Secretary for the Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill Fund board. Previously, she worked as the Director of Development for the University of New Mexico College of Arts and Sciences, Senior Program Officer at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and Director of Individual Giving at the American Indian College Fund. In her spare time, she volunteers for the Somerville Backpack Program, the Urban Agriculture Program, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Megan graduated from the University of Chicago with a Master of Arts in the Social Sciences and received a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, with an emphasis on Latin America, and Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Nadya Okamoto

Founder and Executive Director, PERIOD

Nadya Okamoto, who grew up in Portland, OR, is 20-years-old Harvard student on a leave of absence. She is the Founder and Executive Director of PERIOD (period.org), an organization she founded at the age of 16. PERIOD is now the largest youth-run NGO in women’s health, and one of the fastest growing ones here in the United States. Since 2014 they have addressed over 400,000 periods and registered over 230 campus chapters. In 2017, Nadya ran for office in Cambridge, MA. While she did not win, her campaign team made historic waves in mobilizing young people on the ground and at polls. Nadya recently published her debut book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement with publisher Simon & Schuster, which made the Kirkus Reviews list for Best Young Adult Nonfiction of 2018. Most recently, Nadya has become the Chief Brand Officer of JUV Consulting, a Generation Z marketing agency based in NYC. Most recently Nadya was named to InStyle Magazine’s “The Badass 50: Meet the Women Who Are Changing the World” list, along with Michelle Obama, Ariana Grande, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Denise-Marie Ordway

Managing Editor, Journalist’s Resource, Harvard Kennedy School

Denise-Marie Ordway is the Managing Editor of Journalist’s Resource. She joined Journalist’s Resource in 2015 after working as a reporter for newspapers and radio stations in the U.S. and Central America, including the Orlando Sentinel and Philadelphia Inquirer. Her work also has appeared in publications such as USA Today, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post. She has received a multitude of national, regional and state-level journalism awards and was named as a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2013 for an investigative series she led that focused on hazing and other problems at Florida A&M University. Ordway was a 2014-15 Fellow of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism. She also serves on the Journalist Advisory Board to the national Education Writers Association. @deniseordway

Xavier Ramey

CEO, Justice Informed

Xavier Ramey is the CEO of Justice Informed, LLC, a social impact consulting firm based in Chicago, IL. Combining his background in economics, extensive management & social impact experience, deep network and practice in institutional change, & direct action campaigning in the Black Lives Matter movement, Xavier leads a company that brings a wealth of experience & networks to clients seeking catalyzed strategies for Diversity-Equity-Inclusion, philanthropy, CSR, & community engagement. Xavier is an award-winning social sector leader, international public speaker, & workplace and community cultural practice translator. A native Chicagoan, he is a recognizable voice on the topics of community and economic development, intersectional social justice, racial justice, public policy, & 21st century inclusion and equity practices. Xavier served as the lead of the Social Innovation and Philanthropy strategy in the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement, managed multi-million dollar philanthropic portfolios to support employment and income opportunities for marginalized communities, & worked as a nonprofit Director of Development in Chicago’s North Lawndale community. He has consulted for institutions and persons across the world, predominantly in the US and Africa. He is a founding member of The #LetUsBreathe Collective—an artist-activist group working to engage the challenges of police violence, anti-blackness, and the marginalization of divested communities. Xavier is a member of Rotary International, an Executive Board member of Young Chicago Authors, & the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology.

Morning Sessions

The World’s Oldest Colony: Puerto Rico

Elizabeth Angeles

Manager, Global Clinton Initiative, Clinton Foundation

Elizabeth Angeles is a lifelong New Yorker committed to supporting underserved communities and creating new opportunities for impact. Elizabeth is currently at the Clinton Foundation, where she focuses on supporting post-disaster recovery and resilience in the Caribbean region. Previously, Elizabeth developed partnerships with organizations that serve people with disabilities, focusing on strategic planning, and inclusive emergency management practices at New York City Emergency Management. Elizabeth was also part of New York City’s response to various emergencies, including the Chelsea bombings in 2016, and the Flatiron District steam explosion in 2018. One of her most memorable experiences, which also inspired her to continue this work in her current role, was as part of the team sent to support Puerto Rico one week after Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island in September 2017. Elizabeth holds a BA from Columbia University and an MPA from New York University.

Ricardo Arroyo

Public Defender, Committee for Public Counsel Services

Ricardo Arroyo served as a Public Defender in Essex and Suffolk County. He has dedicated his professional life to fighting for marginalized communities. He is a proud Puerto Rican who was born and raised in Boston, MA.

Keila Fontánez La Salle

Puerto Rico Operations Coordinator, Hispanic Federation

Keila I. Fontánez La Salle is a Boricua theater and arts producer, community based organizer and artivist based in San Juan, PR. In 2012 she graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a degree in Theater Arts, specializing in performance and movement. While living in NYC , she helped develop and run large-scale theater festivals such as FRIGID New York, NY INternational Fringe Festival, Politikos Festival and The Fire This Time Festival, this last one earning an OBIE Award in 2015. As an organizer, Keila has stayed active collaborating with diverse grassroots organizations such as El Hormiguero- Centro Social Autogestionado, Red de Apoyo Mutuo, Aborto Libre PR campaign and Amnistía Puerto Rico’s Diversxs. Currently she is part of the Hispanic Federation team in Puerto Rico, working directly with more than 20 organizations and projects focused in doing advocacy and lobbying work for accesible housing and a just and transparent reconstruction efforts. A passionate advocate for the recovery and restoration of abandoned spaces in marginalized communities in efforts to prevent (or minimize) gentrification, food sovereignty through agroecological practices and long due racial reparations. In her free time she loves to make art, go camping and spending sometime at the kitchen behind @donapastelpr.

Rafael Irizarry

Professor of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Professor of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Rafael Irizarry received his Bachelor’s in Mathematics in 1993 from the University of Puerto Rico and went on to receive a Ph.D. in Statistics in 1998 from the University of California, Berkeley. His thesis work was on Statistical Models for Music Sound Signals. He joined the faculty of the Department of Biostatistics in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 1998 and was promoted to Professor in 2007. He is now Professor of Biostatistics and Computational Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health. Since 1999, Rafael Irizarry’s work has focused on Genomics and Computational Biology problems. In particular, he has worked on the analysis and signal processing of microarray, next-generation sequencing, and genomic data. He is currently interested in leveraging his knowledge in translational work, e.g. developing diagnostic tools and discovering biomarkers.

Gerald Neuman

J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, Harvard Law School

Gerald L. Neuman is the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, and the Co-Director of the Human Rights Program at HLS. He teaches human rights, constitutional law, and immigration and nationality law. His current research focuses on international human rights bodies, transnational dimensions of constitutionalism, and rights of foreign nationals. He is the author of Strangers to the Constitution: Immigrants, Borders and Fundamental Law (Princeton 1996), and co-author of the casebook Human Rights (with Louis Henkin et al., Foundation Press). Prior to joining HLS in 2006, he served on the faculties of the University of Pennsylvania Law School (1984-1992) and Columbia Law School (1992-2006). From 2011 to 2014, he was a member of the Human Rights Committee, the treaty body that monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Drug Policy: The Opioid Crisis and War on Drugs

Mary T. Bassett

FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University

Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, is the Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, as well as the FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health. With more than 30 years of experience in public health, Dr. Bassett has dedicated her career to advancing health equity. Prior to her directorship at the FXB Center, Dr. Bassett served for four years as commissioner of Health for New York City. As commissioner, she worked to ensure that every New York City neighborhood supported the health of its residents, with the goal of closing gaps in population health across the city.

Nazgol Ghandnoosh

Senior Research Analyst,
The Sentencing Project

Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Analyst at The Sentencing Project who conducts and synthesizes research on criminal justice policies. She analyzes racial disparities in the justice system, public opinion about punishment, and the scope of reform efforts. She is the co-author of the report “Opioids: Treating an Illness, Ending a War.” Her writing has been featured in major newspapers around the country and she regularly presents to audiences of advocates, criminal justice professionals, and students. Dr. Ghandnoosh earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kate Lena

STR Grant Overdose Prevention Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Kate Lena is a harm reductionist and public health advocate who is currently working at Mass Department of Public Health as the STR/SOR Overdose Prevention Coordinator. She works on the team that manages all of the overdose prevention initiatives for the state of Massachusetts. She has a wide level of experience in public service, volunteering with Americorps Mass Promise Fellowship and serving as a Healthy Lifestyles volunteer with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. Before and after Peace Corps, Kate worked for the City of Boston at AHOPE needle exchange/drug user health program spending time with people who use drugs. She has spent the past 10 + years passionately learning from AHOPE program participants about resiliency and the power of hope.

Brendan Little

Policy Director, Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services, City of Boston

Brendan Little is the Policy Director for the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services (ORS), the City of Boston’s newly created office coordinating all addiction recovery efforts across the city. ORS is the first and only municipal recovery office in the United States. Brendan formerly worked at the City of Boston’s Office of Workforce Development, where he helped create policies that supported high-risk, court-involved youth with educational and employment opportunities. In 2014, he traveled to Pakistan with a US State Department delegation on behalf of the City of Boston to present on Boston’s work with high-risk youth. Prior to that, he worked at the Mayor’s Office where he was the internal lead coordinating the research and development process which led to the creation of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services, where he currently serves. He graduated summa cum laude from University of Massachusetts Boston with a BA in American Studies, and with two minors, Political Science and English. Brendan is in long-term recovery from substance use and lives in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.

Housing is a Right, Not a Privilege: Reckoning with America’s Housing and Homelessness Crisis

Randy Dillard

Bronx Tenant, Right to Counsel NYC Coalition

Randy Dillard is a resident of the Bronx, a single father of 5 children. He has been a CASA (Community Action for Safe Apartments) member for 6 years now and a CASA leader for 4 of those years. Randy has led the fight in CASA’s Justice in Housing Court Campaign and have been intricately involved in the City-Wide Right to Counsel Coalition since 2014 and is also a member of the steering committee. Randy also joined his local Community Board #3 in the Bronx and has been on the board for 3 years now. He also is a member of the Bronx Defenders and the National Action Network.

Jim O’Connell

President, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program

Dr. O’Connell graduated summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1970 and received his master’s degree in theology from Cambridge University in 1972. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1982, he completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). In 1985, Dr. O’Connell began fulltime clinical work with homeless individuals as the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which now serves over 13,000 homeless persons each year in two hospital-based clinics (Boston Medical Center and MGH) and in more than 60 shelters and outreach sites in Boston. With his colleagues, Dr. O’Connell established the nation’s first medical respite program for homeless persons in September, 1985, with 25 beds in the Lemuel Shattuck Shelter. This innovative program now provides acute and sub-acute, pre- and post-operative, and palliative and end-of-life care in the freestanding 104-bed Barbara McInnis House. Working with the MGH Laboratory of Computer Science, Dr. O’Connell designed and implemented the nation’s first computerized medical record for a homeless program in 1995. From 1989 until 1996, Dr. O’Connell served as the National Program Director of the Homeless Families Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. O’Connell is the editor of The Health Care of Homeless Persons: A Manual of Communicable Diseases and Common Problems in Shelters and on the Streets. His articles have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Circulation, the American Journal of Public Health, the Journal of Clinical Ethics, and several other medical journals. Dr. O’Connell has been featured on ABC’s Nightline and in the feature-length documentary Give Me a Shot of Anything. He has received numerous awards, including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award in 2012 and The Trustees’ Medal at the bicentennial celebration of MGH in 2011. Dr. O’Connell has collaborated with homeless programs in many cities in the USA and across the globe, including Los Angeles, London, and Sydney. Dr. O’Connell’s book Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor was published in 2015 in celebration of BHCHP’s 30th anniversary. Dr. O’Connell is president of BHCHP and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Andrea Reimer

Loeb Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Former Vancouver City Council Member

In spite of her abbreviated formal education, Andrea Reimer has run advocacy organizations and businesses, organized in communities, and served as an elected official, pursuing her passions for environmental justice and supporting the empowerment of indigenous and marginalized communities. She served four terms in local government in Vancouver, Canada and is currently a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Pete White

Executive Director and Founder, Los Angeles Community Action Network

Pete White is the Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), a grassroots organization working to ensure the human right to housing, health and security are upheld in Los Angeles. Mr. White has been a community organizer in Los Angeles communities since 1992 and has educated and organized thousands of low-income people on a multitude of issues and campaigns. A lifetime resident of South Central Los Angeles, he is committed to fight for a Los Angeles that does not tolerate racial injustice, promotes an equitable distribution of resources, and includes everyone. Mr. White believes that organizing and leadership development are essential tools needed to achieve social change and racial justice. He has also served on a variety of Boards and Advisory Committees related to homelessness, organizing, and grassroots funding.

Lunch Session

Bridging the Urban-Rural Infrastructure Divide

Sarah Kline

Independent Consultant, SK Solutions

Sarah Kline has nearly two decades of experience in public transportation policy and practice. She currently runs SK Solutions LLC, an independent consulting firm based in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, she directed policy and research for two national nonprofit organizations, Transportation for America and Reconnecting America. She has also served as Director of Policy and Government Relations at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). She spent eight years with the U. S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs as counsel for transit policy.

Leilani Mroczkowski

Food Justice Organizer and Youth Coordinator, Chelsea Green Roots

Hailing from the Midwest, Leilani is a queer, trans, Filipinx earthworker and has been living and growing in Massachusetts since 2011 and growing food, designing and installing landscapes, and teaching people of all ages how to grow through an environmental and racial justice lens. Leilani is passionate about community building, organizing, and fostering spaces that cultivate youth power.

Colin Rhinesmith

Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science, Simmons University

Colin Rhinesmith is an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons University. Rhinesmith’s research is focused on the social, community, and policy aspects of information and communication technology, particularly in areas related to digital equity and community technology. He has been a Google Policy Fellow and an adjunct research fellow with New America’s Open Technology Institute. He was also a faculty research fellow with the Benton Foundation and a faculty associate with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Rhinesmith received his Ph.D. in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Afternoon Sessions I

Achieving Environmental Justice: Power, Rights, and Protections for Vulnerable Populations

Leilani Doktor

JD Candidate, Harvard Law School

Leilani is a third-year J.D. Candidate at Harvard Law School with a focus on indigenous peoples rights and environmental law. Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, she is a long-standing advocate for Pacific Islanders. Before law school, she worked on community consultation, mediation, and environmental impact assessments in the state of Hawaii. In 2014, she graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in International Comparative Studies and French. While in school, she worked as a teaching assistant for the Literacy Through Photography program in Durham Public Schools and Arusha, Tanzania with the Duke Engage Program. At Harvard, she currently serves as the President of the Student Government and is the former Co-President of the Native American Law Students Association. Following law school, she hopes to combine her interests of international relations, indigenous rights and natural resource management in her work as a litigator.

Seth Magden

Senior Manager, HORNE Government Services

Seth is part policy wonk and community (re)builder, having served states and local governments around the country in disaster recovery efforts in public, private, and non-profit sectors. Following Hurricane Katrina, Seth went to New Orleans working with FEMA, and after a year transitioned to swinging hammers with Habitat for Humanity where he felt he could make more of an impact. Seth went on to work with the states of Louisiana and New York on large-scale recovery programs, including the Louisiana Office of Community Development, the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. Later Seth worked with multiple jurisdictions around the country on the $1B HUD-funded National Disaster Resilience Competition, which focused on responding and adapting to the impacts of climate change through development of multi-dimensional recovery plans and projects. Seth led teams for the States of Louisiana, California, and Shelby County, Tennessee. Seth is currently embedded with the Puerto Rico Department of Housing in San Juan, supporting the design and launch of a holistic long-term $20B recovery portfolio focused on housing, economic development, infrastructure, and planning initiatives. Seth has a joint BA in Spanish and Political Science from the University of Arizona, and a master’s from Tulane University in Latin American Studies, where he focused on international development and global health.

Heather McTeer Toney

National Field Director, Moms Clean Air Force

Heather McTeer Toney served as the first African-American, first female and youngest mayor of Greenville, MS. In 2014, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Regional Administrator for Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Southeast Region. Known for her energetic and genuine commitment to people, her work has made her a national figure in public service, diversity and community engagement. Previously working on local government policy initiatives and the Moms & Mayors program for Moms Clean Air Force, Heather now leads the field program. Heather holds a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College in Atlanta and a law degree from the Tulane University School of Law. She loves triathlons and bacon, and at any time can be found chasing her toddler or riding in old classic cars with her husband and daughter.

Laura Merryfield

Master in Public Policy Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School

Laura Merryfield, from Long Beach, California, is a Master in Public Policy student at the Harvard Kennedy School. They come from a community organizing background, with a focus on civic engagement, immigrant rights, education, and the social determinants of health. Laura has supported environmental justice efforts at local and statewide levels, and is currently studying the impacts of wildfires on socially vulnerable populations.

Lawrence A. Reynolds

MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Department of Child and Human Development

Lawrence A. Reynolds is a retired pediatrician and past president/CEO of the Mott Children’s Health Center in Flint, Michigan. In 2015, he joined a network of residents, health professionals, community organizations, researchers, and other non-profits when a series of state appointed financial managers and all levels of government refused to recognize the concerns about risks to public health from our water source, processing, and distribution system. The issues of water access and affordability as a fundamental human right and environmental justice, and in particular, environmental racism, have expanded the understanding of the Flint Water Crisis and the scope of his advocacy activities. Dr. Reynolds has a BA in Political Science from Wayne State University and has worked to improve maternal-child and community health in FQHCs since he received a National Health Service Corps Scholarship in 1974 when he entered Howard University College of Medicine. One of the happiest days of his professional life was the passage of the Affordable Care Act. One of the most pivotal incidents in his medical career was hearing Dr. Herbert Needleman speak about lead poisoning at a conference more than 30 years ago, despite an orchestrated smear campaign by the lead industry.

Marc Weisskopf

Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Physiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Marc G. Weisskopf, Ph.D., Sc.D., is the Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Physiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the departments of Environmental Health and Epidemiology. Dr. Weisskopf received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco, and his Sc.D. in Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He also spent two years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention working on environmental health issues in the Wisconsin State Health Department. His neuroscience work focused on molecular and cellular aspects of neural signaling and plasticity. His epidemiological work focuses on the influence of environmental exposures on brain health across the life course. In particular, his research focuses on environmental risk factors for outcomes such as autism spectrum disorders, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cognitive function and dementia, and psychiatric conditions. Dr. Weisskopf also explores the use of physiologically-based methods for assessing toxicant effects on the brain, and epidemiological methods issues to improve causal inference from observational environmental health studies.

Social Protections and Public Perceptions

Mary Coleman

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, EMPath

Mary Coleman provides senior leadership for EMPath’s strategy development and growth, and oversees the organization’s programs, research, and evaluation operations. She brings more than 30 years of higher education experience in executing organization goals and overseeing programs and services to EMPath. Prior to joining the organization in 2015, Mary served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Lesley University, where she focused on strategic planning, developing and implementing initiatives on well-being of faculty and students, high impact advising programs and the Lesley University Initiative on Child Homelessness, which she founded. In 2005-06, she won a prestigious Woodrow Wilson International Scholar’s award for her work on rural poverty. Mary was a post-doctoral fellow in public policy at the University of Maryland and in liberal arts at the Harvard School of Law. She holds a doctoral degree and a master’s degree in political science from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Jackson State University.

Jason Furman

Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Jason Furman is Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). He is also nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. This followed eight years as a top economic adviser to President Obama, including serving as the 28th Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from August 2013 to January 2017, acting as both President Obama’s chief economist and a member of the cabinet. During this time Furman played a major role in most of the major economic policies of the Obama Administration. Previously Furman held a variety of posts in public policy and research. In public policy, Furman worked at both the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council during the Clinton administration and also at the World Bank. In research, Furman was a Director of the Hamilton Project and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and also has served in visiting positions at various universities, including NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Policy. Furman has conducted research in a wide range of areas, including fiscal policy, tax policy, health economics, Social Security, technology policy, and domestic and international macroeconomics. In addition to articles in scholarly journals and periodicals, Furman is the editor of two books on economic policy. Furman holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

Denise-Marie Ordway

Managing Editor, Journalist’s Resource, Harvard Kennedy School

Denise-Marie Ordway is the Managing Editor of Journalist’s Resource. She joined Journalist’s Resource in 2015 after working as a reporter for newspapers and radio stations in the U.S. and Central America, including the Orlando Sentinel and Philadelphia Inquirer. Her work also has appeared in publications such as USA Today, the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post. She has received a multitude of national, regional and state-level journalism awards and was named as a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2013 for an investigative series she led that focused on hazing and other problems at Florida A&M University. Ordway was a 2014-15 Fellow of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism. She also serves on the Journalist Advisory Board to the national Education Writers Association. @deniseordway

Julie Boatright Wilson

Harry S. Kahn Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Julie Boatright Wilson, the Harry Kahn Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at HKS, teaches courses in degree and executive education programs on family and poverty policy; research design and methods; and evidence generating strategies for managers. Wilson’s research focuses on child welfare issues, particularly child abuse and neglect, adoption of foster youth, and juvenile justice. She is currently working with others to develop strategies for improving services to Massachusetts children, youth and their families. Wilson is working with Harvard colleagues to develop frameworks for more effectively generating evidence to manage individual organizations as well as collective initiatives to improve the well-being of children and families. Wilson joined the Kennedy School faculty in 1980 and has held a number of administrative positions, including Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and Associate Academic Dean. From 1986 to 1989, Wilson took a leave to direct a research and policy unit for the New York State Department of Social Services.

Criminalizing Poverty

Cornell William Brooks

Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and Social Justice, Harvard Kennedy School

Cornell William Brooks is Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership and Social Justice at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also Director of The William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice at the School’s Center for Public Leadership, and a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School. Brooks is the former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights attorney, and an ordained minister.

Peter Edelman

Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy; Faculty Director, Center on Poverty and Inequality, Georgetown University

Peter Edelman is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy and the faculty director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University Law Center. He is the author of Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America and So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America (The New Press). A top advisor to Senator Robert F. Kennedy from 1964 to 1968, he went on to fill various roles in President Bill Clinton’s administration, from which he famously resigned in protest after Clinton signed the 1996 welfare reform legislation. He lives in Washington, DC.

Breakout Group Facilitators

Shelia Bryant

Master in Public Administration Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School

Shelia Bryant is an attorney and activist in the area of Criminal Justice Reform. Growing up in rural Mississippi and in the ghettos of Los Angeles, she overcame poverty and racism to become one of a handful of African American women to achieve the rank of Colonel in the USMCR. As an attorney, Ms. Bryant practiced civil, criminal and family law in Oceanside, CA before accepting a civil service position for the U.S. Navy and relocating the Upper Marlboro Maryland. Her most recent civil service assignment was Inspector General for Naval Forces Europe and Africa while stationed in Naples Italy. Ms. Bryant is married with 2 adult children and is currently a student at Harvard Kennedy School, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Following graduation in May, Ms. Bryant hopes to run for political office to advocate for prison reform and other human rights issues.

Imani Franklin

JD/MPP Candidate, Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School

Imani Franklin is a JD student at Harvard Law School and an MPP student at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she is part of the Dubin Fellows Program for Emerging Leaders. Imani plans to commit her career to combatting human rights violations both in the United States and internationally. Before law school, Imani worked on gender justice issues at the Ford Foundation and with youth and women’s empowerment nonprofits in Jordan and Egypt. On campus, Imani is involved with the Black Law Students Association, the Harvard Immigration Project, and the Harvard Law Review. Imani graduated from Stanford University in 2013 with a degree in International Relations and Arabic. Imani is originally from Atlanta, GA.

Helen Ho

PhD Candidate in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Helen Ho is a PhD candidate in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research focuses on U.S. social policy, especially criminal justice policy. She is an affiliate of the Access to Justice Lab at the Harvard Law School and an Inequality and Social Policy Fellow at HKS. She previously worked at the Urban Institute and the School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative. Helen holds a B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Demarquin Johnson

JD/MPP Candidate, Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School

Demarquin Johnson is currently a joint degree student at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he focuses his academic studies on the intersection of race, democracy, and law. He serves in leadership roles across the campus, including as Co-President of the Harvard Black Graduate Student Alliance and Co-President of the Harvard Law School Reparatory Justice Initiative. Before matriculating at Harvard, Demarquin was a Democracy Fellow at FairVote. He advocated for structural electoral reforms to ensure a more inclusive and efficient democracy at the local, state, and national level. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Howard University.

Felix Owusu

PhD Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School; Research Fellow, Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Policy Program

Felix Owusu is a doctoral candidate in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Research Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program. His research centers on the role of social policy in influencing poverty and inequality across race and class, and national origin. His current work focuses on the the determinants of racial disparities in the criminal justice system as well as the role of resource constraints in determining defendants’ outcomes in court. Prior to attending Harvard University, Felix worked as an economic consultant at Cornerstone Research and was involved in research at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Research, and UC Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Felix holds a BA in economics and political science from Williams College and an MPP from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

Iueh Soh

Master in Public Policy Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School

Iueh is from Los Angeles and Oakland California and cares about building healthy and self-determining communities.  To these ends, he has pursued roles as a healthcare consultant, community organizer and most recently in city government. Working in the Boston Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens this summer, Iueh pioneered Rebuilding Together, a prototype Returning Citizens (formerly incarcerated) convening and advisory council, to develop leadership and reshape their image in city hall and Boston institutions. Iueh received his B.S./B.A. in Business Administration and Development Studies at Cal Berkeley and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School where he is co-chair of the AAPI caucus. 

Ash Smith

Doctoral Student in Sociology, Harvard University; JD Candidate, Harvard Law School

Ash Smith is a doctoral student in Sociology and a J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School. In her legal work, Ash has worked with public defenders, direct service providers, legislative advocates, and impact litigants to push toward an end to the criminalization of poverty. In her doctoral work, she studies inequities under law, particularly regarding the disparate impact that crime and punishment policies in the U.S. have had on marginalized communities.

Amy Wickett

PhD Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School

Amy Wickett is a first year PhD student in public policy. She studies the criminal justice system using techniques from machine learning, econometrics, and statistics. She attended Wellesley College and enjoys biographies of powerful women, tacos, political podcasts, and big data.

Afternoon Sessions II

Fighting for Voting Rights and Representation: From Courtrooms to the Ballot Box

Julie Houk

Managing Counsel for Election Protection, Voting Rights Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Julie Houk joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law as a Senior Special Counsel in the Voting Rights Project in May 2014 and began her current role as Managing Counsel for Election Protection in October 2018. Since joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Julie’s focus has been on voting rights litigation and election protection work that has sought to ensure equal access to the ballot box for people of color and language minorities. Julie has helped to lead litigation teams in cases that have included challenges to voter purges and voter caging; discriminatory and illegal voter registration requirements; vote dilution; and unconstitutional gerrymanders. She has also helped to lead advocacy efforts with state partners to prevent voting precinct and polling place closures and relocations in minority and underserved communities. Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Julie spent more than 29 years in private practice in California where she focused on civil rights litigation in state and federal courts in cases that involved police misconduct, prison conditions, employment discrimination, First Amendment and other constitutional claims. Julie obtained her law degree from the Golden Gate University School of Law in 1984, where she served as a staff writer on the Law Review. Julie holds a B.A. degree in journalism and political science and an M.A. degree in political science from Marquette University. Julie also served as the Chair of the Berkeley, Albany, Richmond and Kensington (BARK) Chapter of the ACLU of Northern California for several years and is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Miles Rapoport

Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

Miles Rapoport, a longtime organizer, policy advocate, and elected official, brings to the Ash Center four decades of experience working to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions in the United States. Prior to his appointment to the Ash Center, Rapoport was most recently president of the independent grassroots organization Common Cause. For 13 years, he headed the public policy center Demos. Rapoport previously served as Connecticut’s Secretary of the State and a state legislator for ten years in Hartford. He has written, spoken, and organized widely on issues of American democracy. He was a member of the Harvard class of 1971. Rapoport is the first fellow appointed as part of the Ash Center’s new Senior Practice Fellowship in American Democracy, which seeks to deepen the Center’s engagement on fundamental issues of democratic practice. This new fellowship is also intended to expand the connections between scholarship and the field of practice of people and organizations working to defend and improve our public institutions.

Brenda Wright

Senior Advisor, Legal Strategies, Demos

Brenda Wright is the Senior Advisor for Legal Strategies at Demos. She has led many progressive legal and policy initiatives on voting rights, campaign finance reform, redistricting, election administration and other democracy and electoral reform issues. She has argued two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court: Randall v. Sorrell (campaign finance) and Young v. Fordice (voting rights). She has written extensively on democracy and voting rights issues in both popular and scholarly publications. She has appeared frequently in print and broadcast media on these issues. Before joining Demos in 2007, Brenda served as Managing Attorney at the National Voting Rights Institute in Boston. She also served previously as Director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Board of Directors of Common Cause Massachusetts and the advisory board of the Prison Policy Initiative. She received her law degree from Yale Law School and her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College.

Bringing Communities into the Clinic: Reducing Disparities through Social Interventions

Arlene Ash

Professor and Division Chief, Biostatistics and Health Services Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Arlene Ash, PhD, is Professor and Division Chief of Biostatistics and Health Services Research, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School. As a methods expert on risk adjustment in health services research, Dr. Ash pioneered tools for using administrative data to monitor and manage health care delivery systems, including those now widely used by the US Medicare program and the Department of Health and Human Services. In 1996, she co-founded DxCG, Inc., a company with over 350 national and international clients to promote “fair and efficient health care” via predictive software (now a part of Cotivi). Since 2014, she has been working with MassHealth (Massachusetts’ Medicaid and CHIP program) to develop risk models that account for both medical and social risk factors. Her more than 200 research publications reflect long-standing interests in women’s health; gender, age and racial disparities; and quality, equity and efficiency in health care financing and delivery. She has also used her statistical expertise to advance gender equity in pay and improve the integrity of US elections.

Fatima Dainkeh

Senior Coordinator of Dialogues, YWBoston

Fatima Dainkeh, Racial Justice Senior Coordinator at YW Boston, currently works with leaders and members of organizations, schools and the larger community to facilitate dialogues on race, ethnicity, the impact of racism and how to move towards racial equity in the workplace. As a heart project, she recently co-produced a short film- Stories of Black Motherhood-which features three black mothers in the Greater Boston area who explore how race/racism and other social constructs impact their ability to raise their children in a safe and healthy environment. Dainkeh believes storytelling can be used as a tool to create genuine and productive conversations that lead to connection, healing and transformation within ourselves and among each other. Dainkeh received her MPH in Community and Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health and her B.A. in Religious Studies and Anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

John McDonough

Professor of the Practice of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

John E. McDonough, DrPH, MPA is Professor of Public Health Practice in the Department of Health Policy and Management and Director of the Center for Executive and Continuing Professional Education at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In 2010, he was the Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health at Hunter College in New York City. Between 2008 and 2010, he served as a Senior Advisor on National Health Reform to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions where he worked on the development and passage of the Affordable Care Act. Between 2003 and 2008, he served as Executive Director of Health Care For All, Massachusetts’ leading consumer health advocacy organization, where he played a key role in passage and implementation of the 2006 Massachusetts health reform law. From 1998 through 2003, he was an Associate Professor at the Heller School at Brandeis University. From 1985 to 1997, he served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he co-chaired the Joint Committee on Health Care. His articles have appeared in the Health Affairs, the New England Journal of Medicine, and other journals. He has written three books, Inside National Health Reform, published in September 2011 by the University of California Press and the Milbank Fund, Experiencing Politics: A Legislator’s Stories of Government and Health Care by the University of California Press and the Milbank Fund in 2000, and Interests, Ideas, and Deregulation: The Fate of Hospital Rate Setting by the University of Michigan Press in 1998. He received a doctorate in public health from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in 1996 and a master’s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 1990.

Fatima Cody Stanford

MD, MPH, MPA, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Dr. Stanford is a fellowship-trained obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/ Harvard Medical School (HMS). Dr. Stanford received her BS and MPH from Emory University as a MLK Scholar, her MD from the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine as a Stoney Scholar, and her MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as a Zuckerman Fellow in the Harvard Center for Public Leadership. She completed her Obesity Medicine & Nutrition Fellowship at MGH/HMS after completing her internal medicine and pediatrics residency at the University of South Carolina. She has served as a health communications fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as a behavioral sciences intern at the American Cancer Society. Upon completion of her MPH, she received the Gold Congressional Award, the highest honor that Congress bestows upon America’s youth. Dr. Stanford has completed a medicine and media internship at the Discovery Channel. An American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation Leadership Award recipient in 2005, an AMA Paul Ambrose Award for national leadership among resident physicians in 2009, she was selected for the AMA Inspirational Physician Award in 2015. The American College of Physicians (ACP) selected her as the 2013 recipient of the Joseph E. Johnson Leadership Award and the Massachusetts ACP selected her for the Young Leadership Award in 2015. She is the 2017 recipient of the HMS Amos Diversity Award and Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) Award for Women’s Health. In 2019, she was selected as the Suffolk District Community Clinician of the Year for MMS.

Intersections of Race & Poverty in Education

Tauheedah Baker-Jones

President/CEO, Advocates for Diversity in Our Schools; Doctoral Student, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Tauheedah Baker is a wife and mother of 3 who has built her career serving our nation’s most underserved student populations. She began her career as a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She has also worked in Newark, NJ, as a teacher, principal, and superintendent and in New York City as a non-profit administrator. Tauheedah is recognized as a distinguished pedagogue and her work has been featured in the Star Ledger, New York Times, and on the CBS Early Show. Tauheedah has also received numerous awards and recognitions, including being recognized in 2011, by President Barack Obama, as a White House Community Leader in Education, receiving the 2014 New Jersey Charter School Administrator of the Year Award, and being honored as the 2017 New Jersey Department of Education’s Exemplary Secondary Educator. Tauheedah is committed to social justice, arts-education, and service learning, and was the co-founder of a social justice and service-learning charter high school in Newark, NJ. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Near Eastern Language & Culture from UCLA, a Masters Degree in Education from UCLA, and a Masters Degree in Non Profit Administration from Rutgers University. Tauheedah is currently a Doctoral student in Educational Leadership here at Harvard University.

Charles Barone

Chief Policy Officer, Democrats for Education Reform and Education Reform Now

Charles Barone leads the development of DFER’s policy and advocacy agenda in areas including accountability, school turnarounds, teacher preparation, and public school choice. He has authored numerous articles and book chapters in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, trade publications, and mainstream media outlets. His commentary on education policy and politics has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio and in trade publications such Politico, National Journal, and Education Week. Barone is a Capitol Hill veteran and a former top education advisor to the late Senator Paul Simon (D-IL) and to former Chair of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, George Miller (D-CA), under whom Barone was the lead negotiator for House Democrats on the No Child Left Behind Act. Before his entry into the federal policy arena, Charles was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology and School of Medicine at Yale University where he conducted basic and applied research on academic, social, and health outcomes for students enrolled in the New Haven Public School System. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical/community psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Eric Becerra

Director, High School Equivalency Program, Hartnell Community College; Ed.L.D. Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Of Mexican descent from the highlands of Jalisco, Eric was born and raised in Castroville, a small farm working community just 7 miles north of Salinas California. Being raised in a migrant farm-working family, he experienced first-hand the barriers to education along with his parents’ frustration trying to navigate an unfamiliar educational system. This experience permeates every aspect of his professional career and allows him to empathize with students of traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds. Throughout his personal and professional life he maintains a focus on addressing the multiple achievement disparities evidenced in minoritized populations. Eric’s educational experience includes a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree in counseling from San Diego State University. As Director of the High School Equivalency Program (HEP), he supported migrant adults in attaining their HSE and entering higher ed. As bard secretary and team leader for the Salinas Valley Dream Academy, Eric supported and helped coordinate a year long leadership program for low-income first-generation youth that culminated in a trip to Ivy League schools. As a doctoral candidate in Harvard’s Ed.L.D. program he continues to demonstrate his commitment to education, community empowerment, and disrupting the school to prison pipeline. His philosophy, “we must inspire every student to dream, while empowering them to act”.

Akbar Cook

Principal, West Side High School

Akbar H. Cook Sr. was born and raised in Newark’s West Ward. He attended Essex Catholic High School, where he excelled as a student and basketball player. Mr. Cook attended college on two basketball scholarships, attending St. Catherine’s College in Kentucky before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Florida Atlantic University, a Division 1 University in Boca Raton, Florida. He went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from St. Peters University in Jersey City in 2006. Mr. Cook’s love for children and basketball led him to Newark Vocational School in 2008, where he became head coach of the Boys’ Basketball Team, and in 2012, he was named Vice Principal of West Side High School. Mr. Cook is well known for having a stern, yet caring presence in the lives of many of Newark’s youth. His desire to uplift and educate children is always at the forefront of his work in Newark Public Schools. Mr. Cook volunteers in food kitchens and participates in Christmas tree and toy drives. He also organizes recreational activities for Newark Public School students and works closely with the Newark Police Department to ensure safe transportation for all students after school functions. Three summers ago, Mr. Cook started the “Lights On” Program at West Side High School from the peak hours of 6-11 pm, to ensure that our students are safe during these hours after losing students to gun violence. Mr. Akbar Cook was named the Principal of West Side High School for the 2018-2019 school year! With only one month in on his new journey, this individual with such pure and wholesome heart installed a Laundromat inside of West Side High School. The Star ledger got a hold of this news and eventually it made its way all the way to the producers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Mr. Cook saw a need for washers and dryers in the building because students were being bullied and attendance rates were dropping. The initiative has been named “Wash Bullying Away”. In addition to serving as a Principal at West Side High School, Mr. Cook also serves as Program Director of Greater Newark’s LifeCamp, a summer camp for inner city youth. Mr. Cook and his wife Sheridan are the proud parents of Yasin, Akbar, Jr. and Ahmad.

Laura Moore

Policy Associate, Opportunity Insights

Laura Moore is a Policy Associate at Opportunity Insights where she works with stakeholders across the country to develop scalable policies that empower families to rise out of poverty and achieve better life outcomes. She has a nearly decade-long career working in policy at the national, state, and local levels. She most recently served as the Senior Advisor for Education for Nashville’s last two mayors. In that role, she worked with the city’s non-profit and educational institutions to promote policies that spur innovation and support parents and teachers. She also worked closely with Nashville and middle Tennessee’s post-secondary institutions. Prior to joining the mayor’s office, Moore served as the Vice President of Policy for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. She has also served as the Director of Innovation at the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE). Moore began her career as the project and policy manager at Civic Enterprises, a public policy firm based in Washington, D.C. A Memphis native, Moore earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and her Masters of Public Policy from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.

Irvin Scott

Senior Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Irvin Scott joined the faculty of Harvard Graduate School of Education during the summer of 2016. At Harvard, Scott’s concentration is educational leadership. He also leads a new initiative to bring faith and education communities together called the Leadership Institute for Faith and Education (LIFE), started in 2017 at Harvard.

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