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Metro Center Hosts Equity Now: 70 Years of Brown vs. Board Conference

A sign for the Equity Now conference

NYU Steinhardt’s Metro Center hosted the Equity Now Conference exactly 70 years to the day since the momentous Brown vs. Board decision.

On May 17, 2024, Steinhardt’s Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools (Metro Center) hosted the Equity Now Conference. The event commemorated exactly 70 years to the day since the momentous Brown vs. Board decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that segregating children in public schools based on race was unconstitutional.

More than just a celebratory occasion of a historical moment, the Equity Now Conference also served as a stark reminder of what it means to continue to fight for equity on behalf of many learners – Black, Indigenous, Latinx, multilingual, and those with disabilities – who still have not received equality nor equity in their educational experiences.

The conference welcomed educators, parents and caregivers, community organizers, young people, and more with the opportunity to learn clear next steps to move toward district and school-based equity practices.

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad signs books at the Equity Now Conference

Dr. Ghouldy Muhammad signs copies of her books.

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad, nationally renowned equity advocate and best-selling author, delivered the keynote address. “Dr. Muhammad has created a critical framework like no one else, looking through the lens of literacy on how children think about current events their own identities and experiences,” says María G. Hernández, deputy executive director of school change and community engagement and co-director of the Innovations in Equity and Systemic Change (IESC). 

After the keynote and breakout sessions, the Equity Now Conference concluded with an intergenerational panel discussion focused on the school change and equity efforts necessary to facilitate the promise associated with the Brown v Board decision. Titled "Moving Equity: 70 Years Post Brown v Board," this panel discussion interrogated the contemporary moment that finds many of America’s schools to still be largely segregated. 

Panelists speak at the Metro Center Equity Now Conference

Panelists speak at the Equity Now Conference.

Moderated by Dr. Khalil G. Muhammad, director of the Institutional Antiracism and Accountability Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School, the discussion included a stellar panel of social justice leaders and equity advocates:

“This discussion looked more closely at what 70 years really means, and how we translate it into action,” says Hernández. “History in the United States is very circular, and here we are again in a moment where there is a normalization that’s happening around failing Black children and other identities by not offering them basic equality in education. This panel made us all think about what’s at stake, what we are fighting, and what to do now.”

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