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Juneteenth2024 SymposiumJune 13-14, 2024

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Jack B. Clarke Jr. 

Jack B. Clarke Jr. Esq.

Jack B. Clarke Jr. Esq. is a partner in Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo’s Student Services and Disabilities Practice Group, where he handles matters concerning education law, special education disputes and public agency litigation. He has successfully defended school districts and other education clients in student disciplinary matters and civil rights and constitutional claims, as well as special education due process hearings.

Clarke was the first African American to become an equity partner in the litigation and schools departments of the Riverside office of Best Best & Krieger LLP, where he served with distinction on the firm’s subcommittee on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. He is also the past president of the Riverside County Bar Association Board of Directors.

Clarke’s contributions as an attorney and human and civil rights advocate have been celebrated by the Riverside County Bar Association, California Business Law magazine and the NAACP. Clarke was the first African American to chair the Board of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, and he served as chair of the Mayor’s Use-of-Force Review Panel in 1999 following the high-profile and tragic police shooting death of Tyisha Miller in Riverside, California.

Chancelor Mildred García 

ChanceLlor Mildred García

Dr. Mildred García began her tenure as the California State University’s 11th chancellor on October 1, 2023. She is the first Latina to lead the nation’s largest and most diverse four-year public university system.

The appointment marks a return to the CSU for Dr. García, who served as president of Cal State Fullerton from 2012 to 2018, during which time she led the university to record improvements in graduation rates and nearly tripled new philanthropic gift commitments. She also served as president of CSU Dominguez Hills from 2007 to 2012, where she held the distinction of being the CSU’s first Latina president. At CSU Dominguez Hills, she dramatically increased retention rates for freshman and transfer students and eliminated a structural deficit of $2.8 million.

Prior to becoming chancellor, Dr. García served as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) since 2018, where she was a strong advocate for public higher education, working to influence federal policy and regulations on behalf of 350 member colleges and universities. She is the first Latina to lead a presidentially based higher education association in Washington, D.C.

Dr. García was raised in New York City by her parents, who moved to New York from Puerto Rico. The first in her family to earn a degree, she received her bachelor’s in business education from Bernard M. Baruch College and a master’s in business education from New York University. At Teachers College, Columbia University, she earned a master’s and a doctorate in higher education administration

Dr. Dilcie Perez 

Dr. Dilcie Perez

Dr. Dilcie Perez was appointed deputy vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs in 2023 and co-leads the division with Dr. Nathan S. Evans. She joined the Chancellor’s Office as associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs, Equity and Belonging in 2022, with more than 23 years of experience in many facets of student affairs. In this role, she served as the Chancellor’s Office liaison to the CSU campuses’ vice presidents of student affairs and the senior diversity officers. For her efforts to advance student success and equity, Dr. Perez was recently recognized with the Cal State Student Association’s Administrator of the Year award.

She formerly served as vice president and assistant superintendent of Student Services for the Cerritos Community College District, where she led the restructuring of student services to focus on learning and career pathways to ensure high-impact student services and support. Dr. Perez holds a doctorate in educational leadership from San Diego State University, a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from CSU San Marcos.

Dr. Luke Wood 

Dr. Luke Wood

Dr. Luke Wood was appointed Sacramento State’s ninth president in May 2023. Prior to his appointment, as San Diego State’s chief diversity officer and vice president for student affairs and campus diversity, Dr. Wood served as a key leader driving transformational change in the areas of student success, enrollment and campus diversity.

Dr. Wood joined San Diego State in 2011 as a professor and in 2012 was named co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab, a research and practice center focused on reducing equity gaps between students of color and their peers. In 2017, he became the first Black faculty member to be named a distinguished professor at SDSU, while serving as a professor in the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education.

In 2023, Dr. Wood was appointed by the California State Senate to serve on the newly established California Racial Equity Commission, which works to promote racial equity and address structural racism across the state.

Nikole Hannah-Jones 

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Nikole Hannah-Jones is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine. The book version of The 1619 Project as well as the 1619 Project children’s book, “Born on the Water,” were instant #1 New York Times bestsellers. Her 1619 Project is now a six-part docuseries on Hulu.

Hannah-Jones has spent her career investigating racial inequality and injustice, and her reporting has earned her the MacArthur Fellowship, a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards and the National Magazine Award three times.

She also serves as the Knight Chair of Race and Journalism at Howard University, where she founded the Center for Journalism & Democracy. Hannah-Jones is also the co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which seeks to increase the number of investigative reporters and editors of color, and in 2022 she opened the 1619 Freedom School, a free, after-school literacy program in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. Hannah-Jones holds a master of arts in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned her B.A. in history and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Yaba Blay

Dr. Yaba Blay

Dr. Yaba Blay is a scholar-activist, public speaker and cultural consultant whose scholarship, work and practice centers on the lived experiences of Black women and girls, with a particular focus on identity/body politics and beauty practices. Lauded by O Magazine for her social media activism, she has launched several viral campaigns including Locs of Love#PrettyPeriod and #ProfessionalBlackGirl, her multiplatform digital community.

In 2012, Dr. Blay served as a producer on CNN's television documentary “Who Is Black in America?" and since has been named one of today's leading Black voices by “The Root" and Essence magazine. She has appeared on CNN, BET and BBC, and her work has been featured in media such as The New York Times, EBONY and Essence. She is the author of the award-winning “One Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race."

Dr. Blay earned a master of arts and a doctorate in African American studies and a graduate certificate in women's studies from Temple University. She also holds a master of education in counseling psychology from the University of New Orleans.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi 

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is an acclaimed historian whose powerful insights are reshaping our understanding of racism and anti-racism. Through a compelling blend of scholarship and storytelling, Dr. Kendi invites readers and audiences to engage in a meaningful dialogue about the history of oppressive systems and how they have shaped societies for generations.

He is the author of many highly acclaimed books including “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.” Dr. Kendi also authored the #1 New York Times  bestsellers “How to Be an Antiracist,” “Antiracist Baby,” and  “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” co-authored with Jason Reynolds. “The Black Campus Movement,” his first book on Black student activism on college campuses in the late 1960s and early 1970s, won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize.

In 2021, Dr. Kendi was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He is also contributing writer at The Atlantic  and a CBS News racial justice contributor. Dr. Kendi has published numerous essays in periodicals such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time.

He has received research fellowships and grants from universities, foundations and libraries. Recently, Dr. Kendi was elected to the prestigious Society of American Historians and named a 2021 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Dr. Berenecea Johnson 

Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes

Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes was appointed by the CSU Board of Trustees to serve as president of Cal State LA. Her tenure began January 8, 2024. Dr. Eanes is Cal State LA’s ninth president and the first woman to serve in the position.

Dr. Eanes previously served as president of York College, City University of New York, where she provided strategic leadership and counsel to approximately 1,100 faculty, staff and administrators, while overseeing a $91 million budget, including endowments, fundraising and centrally administered resources. Dr. Eanes had also served as a professor in the Department of Social Work since 2019.

Her appointment as president of Cal State LA marked a return to the CSU for Dr. Eanes, who previously served as vice president for student affairs at Cal State Fullerton (2012 to 2019), where she delivered leadership and oversight for myriad student success programs.

Dr. Eanes earned a bachelor’s degree in public health from Dillard University, a master’s degree in social work from Boston University, and her doctorate in social work from Clark Atlanta University.

Melvin Ridley III 

Melvin Ridley III

Melvin Ridley III is a recent graduate of San Diego State University, with a degree in Political Science and minors in both Honors Interdisciplinary Studies and Economics. He graduated summa cum laude and was recognized as outstanding graduate by the Political Science department. While at SDSU, Ridley served as vice president for external relations for Association Students SDSU, as one of the founding executive board members for the Black Pre-Law Association and as an academic coach at the university’s Black Resource Center for two years. Selected as one of 18 fellows, Ridley will pursue his interest in public policy with the 11-month Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship Program, based at California State University, Sacramento’s Center for California Studies, beginning in October 2024.