The 2012 Dealing with Difference Summer Institute is honored to feature two prominent keynote speakers: Dr. Pedro A. Noguera and Reverend C.T. Vivian
2012 Dealing with Difference Institute
“Preparing for the New Majority: The Role of Schools in Building a More Inclusive and Equitable Society”
Professor Pedro Noguera taught in public schools in Rhode Island and California and held tenured faculty positions at the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education before being appointed to New York University’s Teaching and Learning, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Sociology departments. Besides his departmental appointments, Dr. Noguera, the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University, directs the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, and co-directs the Institute for the Study of Globalization and Education in Metropolitan Settings.
After receiving his teaching credentials, B.A., and M.A. in sociology from Brown University, Professor Noguera earned his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. He has published over 150 articles and book chapters as well as several books. Two of those books, City Schools and the American Dream: Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education (2003) and The Trouble with Black Boys and Other Reflections on Race, Equity and the Future of Public Education (2008), have won the American Association of Educational Studies’ Book of the Year award. Among his most recent publications are two co-edited anthologies, Understanding and Responding to the Disenfranchisement of Latino Males (2011) and City Kids, City Schools (2008); Creating the Opportunity to Learn: Moving from Research to Practice to Close the Achievement Gap (2011), co-written with A. Wade Boykin; and “A Broader and Bolder Approach Uses Education to Break the Cycle of Poverty” (Phi Delta Kappan, November 2011).
Dr. Noguera will focus on “Preparing for the New Majority: The Role of Schools in Building a More Inclusive and Equitable Society” when he addresses Dealing with Difference Institute participants at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. As he has written, ”Most demographic projections show that by the year 2041 the United States will become a nation where those groups that previously were regarded as minorities—Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans—will constitute the majority of the population.” In his presentation, Dr. Noguera will consider whether this transformation will lead to more conflict and polarization between ethnic groups or to a more integrated and equitable society, and he will look at the role institutions, particularly public schools, can play in moving toward the latter, a more integrated and equitable society.
Dr. Noguera’s appointments, his writing, and his conference presentations reflect a deep concern for diverse youth and young adults as our world transforms itself from a Eurocentric society that is predominantly industrial to one that is primarily technological, with increasing dependence on electronic communication and interaction. He is passionate about the wellbeing of “vulnerable and marginalized populations” and about eliminating the achievement gap between this segment of youth and those who have been advantaged economically and educationally. Though his focus is often on urban youth, his research and the application of that research is relevant to education in rural as well as metropolitan settings.
One of the reasons Dr. Noguera’s perspective is broadly applicable is his emphasis on education that envisions a society people want to live in. He wants students to leave schools “as problem-solvers. To come out as people who can make a difference. Who have a sense of compassion for others. Who have a sense of dignity, not only for themselves, but for others” (May,2011, Courageous School Conference). His passionate commitment to education is readily understood with the stakes as high as they are.
Dr. James La Prad, a professor in WIU’s Educational and Interdisciplinary Studies Department (EIS), is familiar with Dr. Noguera’s work and has heard him speak. He suggests that when you combine leadership and scholarship “with a dynamic speaker you get Dr. Pedro Noguera, a scholar and a leader.” Dr. Debra Miretzky and Dr. Gloria Delany-Barmann, who also teach in EIS and have heard Dr. Noguera speak, agree that he is a passionate and compelling speaker. Dr. Delany-Barman goes on to assert that his “critique of the state of public education is as straightforward as it gets.” He defines education, she says, “as a human and civil rights issue and must be addressed with that type of urgency.”
Given Professor Noguera’s intense commitment to effective and equitable educational opportunities for the increasingly diverse students in U.S.A. classrooms, we are fortunate to be able to bring him to Western Illinois University to open the 19th Dealing with Difference Institute. He will begin participants’ exploration of the institute theme, Multiculturalism and/or Assimilation?
2012 Dealing with Difference Institute
“Nonviolence: Motivation, Preparation, and Social Justice Initiatives”
Reverend C. T. Vivian is, as noted in his Speak Out Now biography, “a living legend of the Civil Rights Movement” who has never let his commitment to social justice lapse. He is as fervent today as he was in the 1960s when he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, rode with other Freedom Riders into Jackson, Mississippi , served time in the Jackson State Penitentiary, or challenged Mayor Ben West in Nashville, Tennessee, or Sheriff Jim Clark in Selma, Alabama. His energy and wisdom are now focused to a great extent on education, an essential element of contemporary life and of nonviolent social justice activism.
Rev. Vivian, though born in Missouri, spent his youth in Macomb, Illinois, graduating from elementary and secondary schools there before attending Western Illinois University. He moved from Macomb to Peoria where, over a decade before sit-ins became a strategy to integrate lunch counters in the South, he participated in sit-ins to integrate a Peoria cafeteria. Influenced by James Farmer, a principal founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and a staunch supporter of nonviolent direct action, Vivian adopted nonviolence as his modus operandi, a stand that continues to form the basis of his work.
Rev. Vivian prepared for the ministry at American Baptist College in Nashville, where he met another strong advocate of nonviolence and human rights, Rev. James Lawson. Rev. Lawson facilitated workshops in nonviolent direct action in Nashville that prepared Rev. Vivian and other activists, including James Bevel, James Forman, Bernard Lafayette, John Lewis (currently U. S. Representative John Lewis), and Diane Nash, to stand up to Nashville’s Mayor West, to stage lunch counter sit-ins, and to take the place of Freedom Riders when injuries threatened to put an end to that movement.
A member of the executive staff of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a close friend of Rev. Martin Luther King, Rev. Vivian remained active in the Civil Rights Movement, throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. In 1970, Fortress Press published his Black Power and the American Myth, the first book-length analysis of the Civil Rights Movement. Just as important to Rev. Vivian, however, have been his initiatives to further the education of African American children, but not only African American children. His Vision program became Upward Bound, now a government-backed program that still assists high school students from low-income families to prepare for and succeed in college.
Besides Vision, Rev. Vivian founded the Black Action Strategies and Information Center (BASIC) to provide multicultural training in workplaces, the Center for Democratic Renewal to provide a place where culturally diverse allies could work together against white supremacist activities, Churches Supporting Churches to provide assistance to Hurricane Katrina victims, and the C. T. Vivian Leadership Institute to build strong leaders through “education, cultural enrichment and academic pursuits.”
Rev. Vivian will provide an introduction to nonviolent direct action: what does it mean to be nonviolent and how does one prepare to be nonviolent in the face of the violence we see and at times experience in society? Since he is a living example of nonviolent civil rights and social justice work, who better to help us understand just what it means to adopt nonviolence as the way to carry on social justice initiatives? How do we prepare? What do we do in the face of opposition? How do we remain nonviolent when many colleagues as well as national and international leaders sanction violence to achieve what they consider worthy ends?