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Bob Moses Conference

2024 Agenda

**Agenda as of 4/17/24

Downloadable Agenda ---> 

Day One

Saturday, April 27, 2024


Welcome and Opening Remarks 

  • Invocation:  Drum solo by Ron Savage 

  • Danny Glover reading Reverend Turner McNeal’s Address to Congress, 1865

  • Welcome by Dr. Janet Moses

11 AM ET
11:30AM ET

Lecture 1 - Speaker:  Kirsten Mullen | Moderator:  Nicholas Lemann


Topic:  The Principles of Reconstruction: Still a Viable Route to Full Citizenship


If Reconstruction had been successful, would 66% of those incarcerated today be of African American or  Latino descent? What was the promise of Reconstruction?  Is picking up that promise a way back to the future of creating a truly multiethnic, democratic society?

Kirsten Mullen, Reconstruction scholar and co-author of From Here to Equality will present a template and a challenge for a future that incorporates the descendants of the formerly enslaved as full citizens. 


Q&A Moderator:  Nicholas Lemann– former Dean of Columbia University Graduate school of Journalism, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War

8:30 AM PT
12:30 PM ET
9:30 AM PT


1 :00 PM ET 
10:00 AM PT

Lecture 2 - Speaker: Julian Zelizer  |  Moderator: Joannie Wynne 

Topic: LBJ, Atlantic City and the Taming of the Civil Rights Movement … And Here We Are!

Freedom is a constant struggle of fits and starts and little, and sometimes big, refusals and uprisings to eliminate America’s racial hierarchy. Julian Zelizer, renowned Princeton Professor of History and Public Affairs takes us behind the scenes of Civil rights Movement history to underscore the long, arduous, and grass roots nature of the struggle, and of the political disruption and chicanery that led to the January 6th insurrection. 

Author of Myth America and Burning Down the House, Zelizer makes us pay attention to the true story, and the manipulation of that story to co-opt and defang the civil rights movement. 

Q&A Moderator: Joannie Wynne is co-founder of the Bob Moses Research Center for Math Literacy through Public Education at Florida International University, author of Reckoning with our Roots: Unearthing injustice to find our way home and co-editor of numerous books including Quality Education as a Constitutional Right: Creating a Grassroots Movement to Transform Public Schools.

2:00  PM ET
11:00 AM PT


Midday Show & Tell Sessions


Session #1:  Destiny and the Pre-assignment (DESPA)

DESPA is an interactive exhibit which assesses the likelihood of climbing America’s economic ladder over the course of five generations depending on one’s race and one’s starting economic quintile. Participants are randomly assigned a ‘race’ and a starting quintile, and the app uses Markov Chains to model the probability of moving up or down the economic ladder. The app was designed by Sharif Abdullahi and Cliff Freeman of the Young People’s Project, with the support of Greg Budzban, mathematician and Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Session #2: The Principles of Reconstruction: Still a Viable Route to Full Citizenship  

Using data from Ida B. Wells’ 20th century assessment of the state of the African American community, Prof. Nathan Alexander and his students from Howard University and Morehouse College use statistical methods, mathematical modeling, and graphic design to explore and compare the state of Black America in the early 20th century to the present.

Session #3: Street Theory Art Presentation: The Brushstrokes and Lens of Resistance  

Victor Quiñonez, Marka27, international award winning street artist and muralist will provide a mini workshop on the power of street/public art to counter oppressive systems and to reveal the cultural beauty that abounds in the urban landscape. He has included the work of renowned photographer and member of Street Theory, Moses Mitchell, who has captured the soul of civil rights luminaries, and the unapologetic essence of ‘this is who we are’ in bold black and white and living color.

Session #4: 21st Century FREEDOM SCHOOL featuring “News From the Inside”, A multimedia online experiment.

“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” In this session, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated artists, activists and spoken word poets offer perspectives on life inside and after prison, and their wisdom, encouragement and hope for a nation addicted to incarcerating, punishing and dehumanizing its citizens. Participating artists and news correspondents will include Suleine Valdez and Summer Pichon (California), Nanon Williams (Texas), Jermaine Archer (New York) and Jason Dorsey (New Haven). This multimedia session will be moderated by artists, prison activists and UCLA professors Claudia Peña and Bryonn Bain (“Lyrics From Lockdown”), and is a collaboration between For Freedoms and The UCLA Prison Education Program and Center for Justice.

2:30 PM ET 
11:30 AM PT
3:15 PM ET
12:15 PM PT


Lecture #3 -  Speaker: Elizabeth Hinton | Moderator: Maria Lovett 


Topic: Mass Incarceration: The Social Control of “Disposable” Communities


Professor Elizabeth Hinton, understands that the country has decided to criminalize poverty. Historically discriminated against and segregated, poor African descendent communities have been devastated by policies of mass incarceration begun in the 1960’s as part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. That war has devolved into a war on the Black community. Professor Hinton will unveil the history of those policies and challenge us to chart a new course for the nation, one which does not relegate people to the dustbin of society.​

Elizabeth Hinton, Author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: the Making of Mass Incarceration in America and MacArthur Foundation awardee is a professor of African American Studies and Law at Yale University.​

Q & A Moderator: Maria Lovett, associate professor and faculty fellow of the Bob Moses Research Center at FIU and liaison for Florida Local Alliance for Math Literacy & Equity teaches courses on the intersection of carcerality and education.  She has over 30 years of experience working with young people, communities, and schools, including incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and system impacted young people and received the FIU Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2020 and the FIU Martin Luther King Service Award for Civic Engagement in 2013.

3:30 PM ET 
12:30 PM PT


4:30  PM ET 
1:30 PM PT

Lecture #4:  - Speaker: Laura Kurgan | Moderator: Ben Moynihan

Topic: The Carceral Merry Go Round

Laura Kurgan, Million Dollar Blocks / Data Scientist Artists is the director of Columbia University’s Center for Spatial Research. A recipient of many awards for her work, she helps us see the data, and better understand spatial inequality and social justice. She is an architect and is widely published.

In seven cities, the Department of Justice spends 1 million dollars per city block per year incarcerating residents who, on average, cycle through prison every three years. In these communities, the police are the government; and the interface between the prison and the community is seamless. Is this relationship another manifestation of racialized American apartheid? 

Q&A Moderator: Ben Moynihan is Executive Director of The Algebra Project, Inc. Ben joined The Algebra Project in 1992, fostering collaborations among mathematicians, educators and community organizations. He is the co-developer of The Algebra Project’s African Drum and Ratios Curriculum materials for late elementary grades.

4:45 PM ET
:45 PM PT

Closing Summary and Insights for Day 2

5:45  PM ET 
2:45 PM PT
Day 1

Day Two

Sunday, Sunday, April 28, 2024

11:00 AM ET 
8:00 AM PT

Welcome to Day 2 

  • Invocation: Spoken Word Offering by Artist 2Truth

  • Welcome: Benjamin Moynihan, Executive Director, The Algebra Project

11:15 AM ET
8:15 AM PT

Lecture #5 - Speaker: Bettina Love | Moderator: Brian Williams


Topic: Africans Built the Pyramids. How come Black Kids in America Can’t Do Math?

The caste system that Reconstruction was designed to dismantle is being retrofitted for the age of mass incarceration. And perhaps, the greatest manifestation of that system is in prisons, and in the classrooms of poor Black communities. It is in these classrooms—in every way a direct inheritance of slavery—that Black youth struggle. School is often a mechanism for trauma in which the quest for learning and the cultivation of imagination are often squelched. Professor Love helps us understand what needs to happen in schools if our children are to thrive. ​


Bettina Love is the author of Punished for Dreaming, and To Do More Than Survive. She is a Professor of Education at Columbia University and Co-founder of The Abolitionist Teaching Network. 

Q&A Moderator: Brian Williams, Executive Director of the Bob Moses Research Center for Math Literacy Through Public Education at FIU, is a scholar, author, speaker, and advocate. He works at the intersection of science, urban, and social justice education and has published in Democracy and Education, Science Education, School and Community Journal, Negro Ed Review, and International Journal of Social Research Methodology.

12:15 PM ET 
9:15 AM PT


12:30 PM ET 
9:30 AM PT

Midday Panel Conversations


Session #1:  Destiny and the Pre-assignment (DESPA)

DESPA is an interactive exhibit which assesses the likelihood of climbing America’s economic ladder over the course of five generations depending on one’s race and one’s starting economic quintile. Participants are randomly assigned a ‘race’ and a starting quintile, and the app uses Markov Chains to model the probability of moving up or down the economic ladder. The app was designed by Sharif Abdullahi and Cliff Freeman of the Young People’s Project, with the support of Greg Budzban, mathematician and Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Session #2: Voting Our Way Out of Mass Incarceration  

Mass incarceration has resulted in the dilution of the Black vote rendering many communities voiceless. 66% of those incarcerated in the country are Black and Latino. Many of them are counted as residents of communities in which the prison is located,--usually predominantly white rural communities. In Massachusetts, the incarcerated cannot vote if serving a felony conviction. These policies strip poor, Black and Latino communities of political voice and clout. Understanding the 1994 Crime Bill as a War on the Black Community and Voting from Behind the Wall as an antidote to this disenfranchisement is the topic of this session.


Jacqueline Fonseca, Executive Director of The Harriet Tubman Project

Christopher Worrell, Massachusetts State Representative 

Liz Miranda, Massachusetts State Senator


Q & A Moderator Rahsaan Hall: Rahsaan is the Executive Director of The Urban League of Massachusetts. He serves as a minister at St. Pauls African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cambridge and is a former prosecutor.

Session #3: Organizing Education Inside and Outside the Wall  

Education is an essential feature of caste maintenance, as is the carceral state. They both operate in tandem with each other. Prison education programs show that it's not the children that have failed, but the system which has failed them. The panel will discuss the above and their experiences both from vantages inside and outside the wall.



Jonathan Rochkind, Senior Strategy and Research Analyst, Educational Testing Service

Lee Perlman, Ph.D., Co-Founder, The Education Justice Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

Mac Hudson, Founder and Director, Emerson Prison Initiative 

Stan Andrisse, Ph.D., Medical Researcher, Howard University, Formerly incarcerated, author of From Prison Cells to Ph.D: It is Never Too Late to Do Good


Q & A Moderator Carlos Gonzalez, works with “Exchange for Change,” which brings together students from either side of the wall to co-create, through their writing, collaborative learning experiences. He is the co-editor of Who Speaks for Justice: Raising Our Voices in the Noise of Hegemony and has been teaching at Miami Dade College for over three decades.


1:45 PM ET
10:45 AM PT


2:00 PM ET
11:00 AM PT

Lecture #6 -  Speaker: Margaret Burnham | Moderator: Ernesto Cortes

Topic: The Jim Crow Roots of Police Violence in Black and Latino Communities

Property was not lynched during slavery. Only after African descendant communities threw off the yoke of slavery where they were trapped in a system as hideous as the one which they had fought valiantly to overturn. Constitutional protections in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendments are being frayed. Police violence, sanctioned by the state against communities of color persists as does the resistance to that violence. 

Professor Burnham, a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960’s, author of By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners, is the Founder and Director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Program of Northeastern Law School which has created the nation’s largest archive of racially motivated unsolved murder cases.​

Appointed by President Biden, Professor Burnham serves on the board of The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Commission which is charged to review government files of unsolved murder cases from 1930 to the 1970’s. 

Q&A Moderator: Ernesto Cortes, MacArthur Fellow and Co-founder and Director of the Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most effective grassroots organizers. The IAF works with faith-based communities to improve public life. The IAF and the Algebra Project have collaborated over the years to make math literacy an attainable goal for all children.

2:45 PM ET
11:45 AM PT


3:00 PM ET
12:00 PM PT

Lecture #7 - Speaker: William Darity, Ph.D. | Moderator: Tasseli McKay


Topic:  The IOU for the Devastation of Black Life: From Slavery and Jim Crow to Mass Incarceration

Policymakers bemoan the high expense of incarceration, but the real price of mass-scale captivity has been paid by Black families and communities. ​

Under the mantle of law and order, the US government has effectively siphoned trillions of dollars from Black communities and produced systematic, intergenerational advantages for their white counterparts in education, employment, and wealth. ​

What would it look like for the federal government to make Black Americans whole for the legacies of chattel slavery and Jim Crow, as well as the multi-trillion-dollar losses associated with repressive policing and punishment? ​

William “Sandy” Darity, Jr., is the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and the Director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. His most recent books, with A. Kirsten Mullen, are The Black Reparations Project and From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century

Tasseli McKay is a postdoctoral fellow in sociology at Duke University and incoming Assistant Professor of Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina. She is author of Stolen Wealth, Hidden Power: The Case for Reparations for Mass Incarceration and Holding On: Fatherhood and Family During and After Incarceration.


3:45 PM ET
12:45 PM PT

DESPA Presentation 

Destiny and The Pre-assignment (DESPA) Experience Results


Gregory Budzban, Emeritus Dean and Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Southern Illinois University Edwardsvill

Cliff Freeman, Director of STEM Programs, The Young People’s Project (YPP)

Amina Osman, Assistant Project Manager Intern, The Young People’s Project (YPP) 

Sharif Abdullahi, UMass Boston, Young People’s Project (YPP)

3:55 PM ET
12:55 PM PT

Closing Panel Conversation

Topic: Where Do We Go From Here?



Professor William Darity, Ph.D.

Professor Margaret Burnham

Representative Liz Miranda 

Professor Elizabeth Hinton

Sean Evelyn (Truth) Spoken Word Griot

Ernesto Cortes (Moderator)

4:55 PM ET
1:55 PM PT

Closing Remarks
Thank you by Dr. Janet Moses

Day 2
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