Homecoming 2020

Talking About Race and Racial Justice With Children and Young Adults

This important and timely discussion about how adults can engage with the children and youth in their lives around the topics of race and racial justice was hosted on Tuesday, October 20 by the UMass Amherst College of Education and co-sponsored by the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research


Access a list of Racial Justice Resources compiled by the College of Education by clicking hereDownload the transcript from this event or view a recording from the event below.


The Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research integrates youth voices and racial equity across all educational disciplines through research, service, and technical assistance. Consider supporting the Center's important work by making a donation now. Thank you!



Watch the Session


Jamila Lyiscott at the UMass Amherst College of Education

Jamila Lyiscott, Moderator

Jamila Lyiscott aka Dr. J, 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 currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Social Justice Education at the 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. J is most well known for being featured on TED.com where her video, '3 Ways to Speak English,' has been viewed over 4.5 million times.

Dr. J's scholarship and activism work together to explore, assert, and defend the value of Black life globally. As a testament to her commitment to educational justice for youth of color, she is the founder and co-director of the Cyphers For Justice (CFJ) program, apprenticing NYC high school youth, incarcerated youth, and educators into research and activism through hip-hop, spoken word, and media literacy. 
She has been invited to over 100 institutions throughout the nation where she works closely with youth, educators, and communities to disrupt racial inequities and enact a vision-driven justice. Dr. J holds faculty fellowships at the University of Notre Dame and Teachers College, Columbia University. She is the recipient of the 2019 AERA Outstanding Public Communication of Education Research Award and the 2019 Scholar-Activist & Community Advocacy Award.

In her active efforts to disrupt the bounds of the academy, Dr. J. has also been featured in Spike Lee's "2 Fists Up," on NPR, Cosmopolitan, NowThis, and many other media outlets nationally and internationally. 

Twitter: @jamila_lyiscott

Instagram: @jamila_lyiscott

Website: www.jamilalyiscott.com/


Maria Jose Botehlo at UMass Amherst College of Education

Maria José Botelho

Associate Professor of Language, Literacy, & Culture Dr. Maria José Botehlo’s research in critical multicultural analysis of children's and young adult literature challenges researchers, teacher educators, and teachers to reconsider how multicultural children’s literature and other texts are studied in elementary and secondary classrooms. She is Faculty Director of the Five College Doors to the World Project , which offers summer institutes and online resources to support teachers, literacy coaches, school librarians, and curriculum specialists in the critical teaching of multicultural and international children's literature.

Dr. Botelho is particularly interested in how school literacy practices can be re-imagined to affirm children’s cultural and linguistic knowledge as well as to offer tools for cultural production and social participation and re/organization. Her current research explores how critical literacies, multiliteracies, and Waldorf language arts pedagogies converge and diverge in the research literature and in Waldorf-inspired and democratically organized public schools. Lastly, she is studying how critical collaborative inquiry and ethnographic research practices hold great promise for the professional learning of experienced and preservice teachers. 

Her research has taken her to Ontario, California, Massachusetts, and Finland. Dr. Botelho teaches doctoral seminars in critical literacies, reading, writing, research on children's literature, and ethnographic methodology; master’s courses in critical multicultural analysis of children’s and young adult literature and literacy assessment; and, an undergraduate course that critically surveys the field of children’s literature.


Kofi Charu Nat Turner at the UMass Amherst College of Education

Kofi-Charu Nat Turner

Dr. Kofi-Charu Nat Turner is a community-engaged scholar, dynamic mindfulness facilitator, and ceaseless seeker of knowledge who embodies the qualities of a global ambassador of love. Dr. Turner is a tenured Associate Professor of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies at the College of Education and has headed the doctoral concentration of Language, Literacy & Culture which includes and programs in Bilingual, ESL, Multicultural Education, and Reading & Writing.

Dr. Turner is prolific at conceptualizing ways of engaging youth, K-12 teachers, university/community partnerships in advocating and organizing for racial justice and reparations in education and for the past four years he has done direct engagement with primarily African American and Latinx students in juvenile (in)justice settings in New Jersey. A teacher’s teacher, Dr. Turner is a learner/practitioner of the Raja Yoga Tradition across multiple global contexts and has received degrees in Education Administration at Harvard University and in Africana Studies and Political Science at Brown University as well as his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Watch Dr. Turner's TEDxAmherst Talk, "How dynamic mindfulness saved my life."


Marcella Runnell Hall

Marcella Runell Hall

Dr. Marcella Runell Hall is the Vice President for Student Life, Dean of Students and Lecturer in Religion at Mount Holyoke College. In the Division of Student Life, Dr. Hall oversees Residential Life, Health, Counseling, Religious & Spiritual Life, Community & Inclusion and Student Involvement. She has co-created programs and initiatives such as the MoZone Diversity Peer Education program, Be Well Mount Holyoke, Intergroup Dialogue, Living Learning Communities, the Dean's Corner and worked with her team to revamp New Student Orientation.

Prior to coming to Mount Holyoke, Dr. Hall was the founding Co-director for the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at New York University. She was also the recipient of the NYU 2013–2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award. The prestigious award recognizes faculty members who exemplify the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through their excellent teaching, leadership, social justice work, and community building.

For her accomplishments in the field, Dr. Hall has received numerous teaching and programmatic awards, including the Association of American Colleges and Universities K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award. She was honored by inclusion in the JFK 50th Anniversary Legacy Gallery, and was recognized by the Brooklyn Borough President for her social justice work. She is also a former fellow for the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.

Trained in the interdisciplinary field of social justice education as both a practitioner and scholar, Dr. Hall has authored numerous books, articles, and curricula on topics of popular culture, friendship, race, spirituality and critical pedagogy. Most recently, she co-authored the book, UnCommon Bonds: Women Reflect on Race & Friendship with Kersha Smith and a chapter on “Parenting Mixed Race Children," in Biracial Families: Crossing Boundaries, Blending Cultures, and Challenging Racial Ideologies. Additionally, she has written for Scholastic Books, the New York Times Learning Network, VIBE, and various academic journals, including Equity and Excellence in Education, and contributed to many edited book projects.

Dr. Hall is an advisory board member for Embrace Race, serves on the Board for the Holyoke Children's Museum and has recently founded a new project called More Joy Parenting. Dr. Hall is a white Mom committed to anti-racist pro-liberation parenting, raising two young daughters, Aaliyah and Ava, who identify as Black and mixed in Western, MA with her partner.

Twitter: @Marcella_R_Hall

Facebook: @marcella.r.hall

Instagram: @marcellarhall


Aaliyah Zoe Hall

Aaliyah Zoe Hall

Aaliyah Zoe Hall is a 10 year-old entertainer and community builder who created her own social media web series during quarantine called "Dreamland with Aaliyah" where she has read over 200 stories and raised over $10,000 for various nonprofits. Aaliyah believes representation matters and that kids should always have a voice, especially as it relates to conversations about race and racism. She has been featured on multiple media outlets including Mass Appeal, 1010WINS, NPR, NBC Universal, and the Drew Barrymore Show.

She loves Tik Tok, Apple products, The Babysitters Club, graphic novels, hanging out with her sister and best friends, and making memories with her family.

Facebook: @aaliyahsdream

Instagram: @dreamlandaaliyah

YouTube: www.tinyurl.com/dreamlandYouTube