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Joint Conference Keynote Speakers

June 29, 2015

Opening Plenary

Marissa Franco

Lead Organizer
#Not1More Deportation Campaign

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Marisa Franco was raised in the Phoenix, Arizona area. From the time she graduated from Arizona State University to the present, she has been a community organizer—an activist, agitator and advocate.

For six years, she organized on economic justice for low-wage workers in the San Francisco Bay area. There she learned that “community issues and labor issues don’t exist in separate boxes—they’re interconnected.”

Then Marisa Franco returned to Phoenix after Arizona passed one of the most repressive anti-immigrant measures (SB-1070) in the nation. “I just knew I had to go home and fight for immigrant rights and against the criminalization of immigrants. The struggle for immigrant rights is a national one, but Arizona is an epicenter in that struggle.”

Today, Marisa Franco is the lead organizer of the #Not1More Deportation Campaign for the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, which calls for: “Not one more deportation. Not one more family separated. Not one more day of inaction.”

After the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Marisa Franco appeared on the Melisa Harris-Perry program on MSNBC to voice her solidarity with the family of Michael Brown and the demonstrators in Ferguson.

The product of public education, Melisa Franco message to educators is: “You are powerful! The movement for social justice in our country needs you.” 

June 30, 2015

Luncheon Plenary

Dr. Kevin Kumashiro

Dean of the School of Education
University of San Francisco

Educator, scholar and advocate, Dr. Kumashiro is Dean and Professor of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco. He is an expert in educational policy, teacher preparation, and educational equity and social justice. He has long advocated for those who are marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

He is the author or editor of ten books, including Troubling Education (recipient of the 2003 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award), Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning Toward Social Justice, and Bad Teachers! How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture. In 2012-2014, Dr. Kumashiro served as President of the National Association for Multicultural Education. He has received awards from American Educational Research Association, the Association for Asian American Studies, and the Society of Professors of Education.

Before the University of San Francisco, Dr. Kumashiro was at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served as Professor and Coordinator of Asian American Studies and Chair of the Department of Educational Policy Studies. And before returning to academia, Dr. Kumashiro served on the NEA Human and Civil Rights staff. He co-authored A Report on the Status of Asian American and Pacific Islanders in Education: Beyond the “Model Minority” Stereotype, NEA, 2005. He contributed to Strengthening the Learning Environment: A School Employee’s Guide to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Issues, NEA, 2006.

June 30, 2015

Closing Plenary

Rep. Stacy Y. Abrams

House Minority Leader
Georgia General Assembly

Stacy Y. Abrams is the House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District. She is the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly; and she is the first African American to lead in the House of Representatives.

One of six children, Rep. Abrams grew up in Mississippi with parents who taught their children the value of public service. The family moved in 1989 to Georgia so her parents could attend Emory University. Both graduated with Masters of Divinity and became United Methodist ministers.

Rep. Abrams attended Spelman College, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies. She earned a Masters from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

She returned to Atlanta as a tax attorney and eventually was appointed Deputy City Attorney for the City of Atlanta. First elected to the Georgia House in 2006, Stacy Y. Abrams, a Democrat, quickly became known for ability to explain complicated tax and legal questions. She also earned a reputation as someone who could work across party lines to pass legislation.

Rep. Abrams has written public policy articles in the Yale Law and Policy Review other publications. She is also the award-winning author of several romantic suspense novels, writing under the pen name Selena Montgomery.



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