We believe Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) youth and their communities MUST be at the center of racial justice in schools, educational research, and teacher education.
Placing Black and Brown youth at the center of racial and educational justice across all disciplines in education.
Jamila Lyiscott a.k.a 'Dr. J' is an Assistant Professor of Social Justice Education. Her community-engaged research focuses on racial equity, youth activism, and the power of hip-hop and spoken word in education. Jamila is a community-engaged scholar, nationally renowned speaker, and the author of Black Appetite. White Food: Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom. She serves as an Assistant Professor of Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is the founding co-director of the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research. She also serves as a co-Editor-in-Chief of the highly reputed Equity & Excellence in Education journal. Her scholarship and activism work together to explore, assert, and defend the value of Black life throughout and beyond the field of education. Jamila’s current research focuses on the power of youth-led social research and activism to foster liberation and racial healing across schools and communities. Her scholarship has been published in several peer reviewed journals including, Review of Research in Education, Action Research, the Urban Review, and the New Educator,as well as several book chapters. She is most well known for being featured on Ted.com where her video, 3 Ways to Speak English, was viewed over 4.6 million times.
Keisha L. Green
Keisha Green is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education & School Improvement. She is a community-engaged scholar and critical teacher educator with research interests in English Education, youth literacy practices, critical literacy, and critical pedagogy. Dr. Green is published in journals including International Journal for Qualitative Studies; Equity & Excellence in Education; Race, Ethnicity, and Education; and Educational Forum. She has authored chapters in edited volumes including Humanizing Research: Decolonizing Qualitative Inquiry with Youth and Communities and Youth Voices, Public Spaces, and Civic Engagement. Dr. Green currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies at UMass Amherst College of Education, where she is the co-founder and co-director of the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research and co-editor of the highly acclaimed journal of Equity & Excellence in Education. Dr. Green also serves as a consultant for area educational institutions supporting their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
Esther O. Ohito
Esther O. Ohito, Ed.D. is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Toni Morrison Faculty Fellow for the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research. Dr. Ohito specializes in curriculum studies, Black studies, teacher education, and feminist-oriented qualitative research. She began her education career in 2004 as an elementary and secondary public school teacher in Chicago, IL. This is the hyper-segregated setting where her curiosity about curricula and pedagogies that attend to questions of justice and knowledge production vis-à-vis dilemmas of Blackness, race, and gender was piqued. She has since investigated related questions while serving as a faculty member and administrator at a range of schools and institutions.
Chalais Carter is a doctoral candidate in the Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research informs school and teacher practice through participatory research methods that highlight student feedback and experiences in schools.
Olivia McNeill (she/her) comes from a lineage of Black feminists and educators in Southeastern North Carolina. She began her teaching career in Winston-Salem, NC, where she taught English and Journalism in secondary schools. She received an M.Ed in Higher Education with a certificate in Gender Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Thomas Albright is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Justice Education. He is a Bob Moses Graduate Fellow for the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research.
Leigh Gehringer-Wiar received a M.Ed in Social Justice Education and is currently working towards her Ed.S. degree and obtaining licensure to teach High School ELA. Leigh is an Administrative Associate for the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research.
At UMass/Amherst, Bara is pursuing his PhD in Education in the department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies (TECS). He is also a Research Enhancement and Leadership fellow (REAL). His research interest explores the Idealized Performance of Black and Brown students in Elite Independent Prep Schools and the interconnectedness of Sufi Islam and Education in the French post-colonial world. Bara is a CRJ Apprentice in Event Planning and Coordination.
Sofia Meadows-Muriel is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Government with a minor in Education and Afro-American Studies. She is a CRJ Apprentice in Racial Healing.
Samantha Gallant is a CRJ Apprentice in Social Media at the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research.
Gabriel is pursuing his MEd in secondary English education while student teaching at Amherst Regional High School. After graduating from Brandeis University ('19) with a BA in English and African & African-American Studies, Gabriel worked at St. Stephen's Youth Programs in Boston as a Youth Organizing coordinator. Gabriel is passionate about helping young people build power through community organizing.
Sarah Tracy-Wanck (TW, she/they) is an educator, organizer, and new parent based in New Haven, CT. For the last 10 years, they have been teaching, managing leadership programs, and supporting youth-directed queer and trans liberation and racial justice organizing. Sarah Tracy Wanck is a CRJ Apprentice in Developing White Co-conspirator group for the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research.
Mariah Lapiroff (She/her) is pursuing an Education Specialist degree in Social Justice Education. She is an apprentice in Event Planning & Coordination
CRJ Apprentice Jayna is wrapping up her first year of the Social Justice Education EdS program, and is also a full-time Residence Director in Residence Education here at UMass Amherst.