DAYO ADIATU is a Nigerian-American small business owner and writer who is passionate about creating diverse communities of female entrepreneurs. She uses her multifaceted experience in management, business development, and marketing to head a Digital Marketing Agency called LeadGen180. In addition to LeadGen180, Dayo leads an online accountability group for women entrepreneurs and creatives dubbed Grind Groups. She graduates with her MBA from Rutgers University, May 2019.
RENIQUA ALLEN, M.A. is a journalist that produces and writes for various outlets on issues of race, opportunity, politics and popular culture. She is currently an Eisner fellow at the Nation Institute and a producer at Fork Films. Her first book, It Was All A Dream: How A New Generation is Navigating the Broken Promise of America, about black millennials and upward mobility will be out in January 2019 from Nation Books/Hachette.
She has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Quartz, Teen Vogue, Glamour and more, and has produced a range of films, video, and radio for PBS, MSNBC, WYNC, the American Museum of Natural History and HBO. Reniqua is also completing a Ph.D in American Studies from Rutgers University. Her dissertation looks at how black culture has and continues to engage with the idea of the American Dream. She lives in the South Bronx.
SHERIL ANTONIO, Ph.D. is an Associate Arts Professor in the Department of Arts Politics at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts where she also serves as Associate Dean. Dr. Antonio is a film lecturer, scholar, and author whose book and essays have been published by Peter Lang, Indiana University Press, the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound, Black Camera, Silver Birch Press, and Bertz Verlang. She has worked closely with community organizations and institutions such as the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, NAACP, The Museum of the Moving Image, Ghetto Film School, and the U.S. State Department. She has served a judge for Panasonic Kid Witness News and has written for Huffington Post and for Quadranti.
JILLIAN BÁEZ, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. Báez specializes in Latinx media, audience studies, and transnational feminisms. She is the author of In Search of Belonging: Latinas, Media, and Citizenship (University of Illinois Press, 2018). Báez is also the co-editor of WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly. She earned her doctorate at the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her bachelor’s degree from Hunter College-CUNY in Media Studies and Black & Puerto Rican Studies.
LEO DOUGLAS, Ph.D. is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Liberal Studies. He received his Ph.D., a Masters of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, and an Advanced Environmental Policy Certificate from Columbia University. He also holds a Masters of Philosophy degree in Zoology from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. He is the immediate past-president of BirdsCaribbean, the largest single international NGO focusing on the conservation flora and fauna within the greater Caribbean region. He is a former board member of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). His previous professional experiences include work as the Executive Director of BirdLife Jamaica, and a manager for the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID-Jamaica) Ridge to Reef Sustainable Watersheds Project for four years. He describes his work as “Nature and Society Geography” as it lies with the complex nexus of human-environment relations within space, place, biodiversity conservation and social identities. His current research interests explore the importance of identity in environmental conservation education programs. He also leading a long-term visual art project that sees to illuminate the identities black Caribbean biologists, and, by so doing confront their under-representation and the marginalization of Afro-Caribbean biologists more broadly.
IFEONA FULANI, Ph.D. is a Clinical Professor in Global Liberal Studies at New York University. Her research interests are Caribbean Literary and Cultural Studies, literatures of Africa and its diasporas, Transnational Feminisms and Writing. Her scholarly publications include an edited volume of essays titled Archipelagos of sound: Transnational Caribbeanities, Women and Music (University of West Indies Press, 2012), as well as articles and reviews, most recently in Atlantic Studies and Caribbean Quarterly. She has also published a novel titled Seasons of Dust (Harlem River Press, 1997) and a collection of short stories titled Ten Days in Jamaica (Peepal Tree Press, 2012). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, both from New York University.
WILL GUZMÁN, Ph.D. is Director of the Dr. Lee F. Hagan Africana Studies Center and Associate Professor in the African and African American Studies program at New Jersey City University. His next book project, Consigliere to Black Power (under contract, Fordham University Press), will be on the biography of prominent civil rights and criminal defense attorney Raymond A. Brown.
FAREED HAYAT, J.D. was the co-director of Criminal Justice Clinic at Howard University School of Law before joining the CUNY Law faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2018. Under his direction, students studied trial skills, substantive and procedural criminal law, drafted motions in misdemeanor and felony cases, conducted misdemeanor judge trials and wrote appellate briefs.
Before entering academia, Professor Hayat was co-founder of The People’s Law Firm in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC. Professor Hayat’s practice included criminal defense, plaintiff-side police brutality, and Section 1983 Medical Malpractice claims in state facilities. He also worked at the Maryland Public Defender’s Office in Baltimore City as a Neighborhood Defender where he provided holistic criminal defense to indigent clients. He assisted clients in enrolling in drug treatment programs, obtaining prescriptions for legal alternatives to illegal narcotics, receiving mental health treatment, and accessing job placement resources. He conducted “Know Your Rights” workshops, reviewing the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Amendments and jury education throughout the community. As a defense attorney, he litigated thousands of criminal matters, demanding trials in 95 percent of his cases and maintaining a 90 percent win rate in jury trials.
Professor Hayat studied history at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and went on to become a high school history and drama teacher in Los Angeles. He graduated from University of Southern California (USC) with a Master’s in Playwriting and worked for a non-profit as a social worker developing emancipation plans for foster youth. He later studied law at Howard University School of Law and is admitted to the Maryland and District of Columbia Bar. Professor Hayat writes at the intersection of criminal procedure, evidence and criminal law.
CHYNA LAYNE is an actress and film producer originally from East New York, Brooklyn. Layne stars as Shemekka Epps in the hit Netflix series, “She’s Gotta Have It,” directed by Spike Lee. Chyna was recently seen in Universal Pictures’ “The First Purge.” Layne received critical acclaim as Jamaican student, Rhonda, in the Oscar winning film, “Precious,” based on the novel by Sapphire. Additional film credits include HBO's “Life Support,” “Cadillac Records,” “Life of Crime” and “Barbershop 3.” Layne is currently producing the feature films, “Dark Sunday” and “County of Kings.” TV guest star credits include Comedy Central’s Workaholics, TNT’s “Major Crimes.” Layne next stars in the TV One movie, “In Broad Daylight,” premiering Summer 2019.
L’HEUREUX LEWIS-McCOY, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Sociology of Education program in the Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science and Humanities at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Sociology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI (2008) and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA (2000).
His central line of research concentrates on educational inequality particularly focused on the intersecting roles of race, class, and place. His first book, Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling examined the experiences of low income and racial minority families’ attempts at accessing school-related resources in an affluent suburb. He is currently fielding a multi-site ethnographic study in Westchester County that examines residents’ experiences with housing and schools. His larger research interests include race and racism, gender justice, and community mobilization. His research has appeared in multiple edited volumes and academic journals such as Urban Education, American Educational Research Journal, and Ethnic & Racial Studies. He is a frequent media contributor and public speaker. His insights have been included in Ebony Magazine, The Grio, The Root, US World News Report and on channels such as CNN and Al Jazeera.
Prior to joining NYU Steinhardt, he held an appointment as an associate professor of Sociology and Black Studies at the City College of New York–CUNY and was a member of the doctoral faculty at the CUNY Graduate Center.
AFRODESIA McCANNON, Ph.D. is a native New Yorker who received her doctorates from the University of California, Berkeley in Comparative Literature (French, English, and German). She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Liberal Studies at NYU and is the current chair of the Art, Text, Media concentration of the Global Liberal Studies degree program. She is interested in unearthing the autobiographical impulse in the Middle Ages and uncommon expressions of medieval subjectivity. Currently, she is preparing a manuscript on the Vie de Saint Louis, by thirteenth-century author Jean de Joinville, provisionally titled, “Joinville’s Project.” In this work, she argues for a reconsideration of medieval autobiography in the light of, among other things, feminist and critical race theory.
ARI MELENCIANO, M.P.S. is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, designer, creative technologist, researcher, educator, activist and DJ who is passionate about exploring the relationships between various forms of design and the human experience.
Her research lies at the intersections of aesthetics, imaginative uses of human-computer interaction technologies, social policy, psycho-geography, experiential design, experimental pedagogy, and speculative design.
She is currently a Research Fellow at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Graduate Program, creative technology educator and adjunct professor. She is the founder of the New Media Arts, Culture and Technology Festival, Afrotectopia.
ADEDAMOLA OSINULU, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Global Liberal Studies at New York University where he investigates and teaches about African cultural production. His current research examines how Nigerian Pentecostals conceive of and make space on the outskirts of the city of Lagos. Osinulu earned his Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures and has held a fellowship with the Michigan Society of Fellows, University of Michigan.
DONAVAN RAMON, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at Kentucky State University. A specialist in African American Literature, he is a recipient of the 2018–19 Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Currently, he is editing a collection of journal articles to commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of Nella Larsen’s novella Passing, and is revising his book manuscript on the psychoanalysis of racial passing. Each year, he conducts a summer institute at his undergraduate alma mater, Hunter College, where he trains Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows for graduate study in the humanities.
CARLA SHEDD, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Sociology & Urban Education at The Graduate Center, CUNY whose research and teaching focus on: crime and criminal justice; race and ethnicity; law and society; social inequality; and urban policy. Shedd’s first book, Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice (Russell Sage, 2015), is the winner of multiple academic awards, including the prestigious C. Wright Mills Award given to the top book in sociology on the topic of social inequality. Unequal City examines the symbiosis between public school systems and the criminal justice system, specifically highlighting the racially stratified social and physical terrain youth traverse between home and school in Chicago. Shedd’s second book project, When Protection and Punishment Collide: America’s Juvenile Court System and the Carceral Continuum, draws on her one-of-a-kind empirical data to interrogate how NYC schools and juvenile justice courts deftly intertwine the contexts of urban schools, urban neighborhoods, and juvenile justice courts, in this dynamic moment of NYC public policy shifts (e.g., school choice, educational segregation/stratification, “Raise the Age,” and “Close Rikers.”).
Photo: B. Alper
ROLANDA WEST SPENCER, Ed.D. is the co-founder and Executive Director of Alternative Education Research Institute and author of the germinal work, Reexamining Reentry: The Policies, People, and Programs of the United States Prisoner Reintegration Systems (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017).
For the past decade, Dr. Spencer has worked as a professor, researcher and community activist for underrepresented populations, primarily formerly incarcerated youth and adults. Dr. Spencer is a former assistant professor of sociology at the University of Belize where she studied post-colonialism and colorism in the Caribbean and Central America and served as the Chief Researcher for the Great Belize Research Center evaluation of the country’s domestic violence policies.
Her work and on the ground research of the criminal justice systems in Venezuela, Cuba, Denmark as well as other countries have been groundbreaking in the research and development of restorative justice programs that are targeted for descendants of the African Diaspora.
Today, Dr. Spencer continues her academic work as a Justice Studies lecturer at Northeastern Illinois University. Outside of the academy, Dr. Spencer has worked as a consultant for Los Angeles Unified School District and the Federal Department of Probation District Courts in Inglewood, California, developing Empowerment Education and Reentry programs for the formerly incarcerated adults. Her on the ground work includes direct service program development and evaluation with incarcerated youth and has developed restorative justice programs designed to serve as interventions rather than punitive measures for all formerly incarcerated populations.
Most recently, Dr. Spencer has committed her research and program development efforts in the support of formerly incarcerated pregnant and parenting women. Through AERI, she and her team created the innerSCOPE Restorative Justice and Radical Self-Care program that will assist vulnerable populations in gaining a sense of pride that comes with loving yourself, wholly, despite past barriers.
ANTHONY THOMPSON, J.D. is a Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law. He has been in the NYU Law Faculty for over 20 years and teaches courses related to criminal law and civil litigation, race, and leadership. His scholarship focuses on race, offender reentry, criminal justice issues and leadership. Prof. Thompson has authored several books in these areas. In his first book, published by NYU Press, Releasing Prisoners, Redeeming Communities, Professor Thompson takes an in-depth look at the issues of Reentry, Race and Politics. He analyzes the media’s involvement in shaping public policy as well as the role that race plays in reentry.
In his recently published book, A Perilous Path, Prof. Thompson has a candid discussion about race, inequality and the law with some of the most brilliant legal minds of our time: Sherrilyn Ifill, Loretta Lynch and Bryan Stevenson. His forthcoming book, Dangerous Leaders (Stanford University Press) explores the role of lawyers as leaders and the type of preparation that lawyers need to lead.
Prof. Thompson is the founding faculty director of the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law at New York University which was founded last year. In addition to his clinical law work, he also teaches a seminar on leadership and the law as well as an undergraduate course on race and criminal law. Thompson is part of the Duke Corporate Education Global Learning Research Network and has provided executive education to a number of global companies focusing on leadership and strategy execution.
Prior to his appointment to the NYU faculty, Prof. Thompson was in private practice in Richmond, California where he handled criminal, civil, and entertainment matters. Before opening his own practice, Prof. Thompson served for nine years as a Deputy Public Defender in Contra Costa County California. While there, he represented adults charged with criminal offenses and juveniles charged as delinquents. He also brought a major impact action which forced the county to provide confidential interview rooms for detained juveniles.
In 2007 Prof. Thompson was awarded the Podell Distinguished Teaching Award by NYU School of Law. In 2010, received the Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award and in 2010 he was also awarded the New York University Distinguished Teaching Award. Thompson was recognized by El Diario in 2011 with “The EL” award, as one of the “outstanding Latinos in the Tri-State area,” for his community service. Prof. Thompson has published a wide range of articles examining various aspects of the criminal justice system and has contributed to the New York Times and El Diario/La Prensa.
Prof. Thompson is on the board of several nonprofits and serves on Governor Cuomo’s Reentry Council. He earned his JD at Harvard Law School and his BS Ed from Northwestern University.