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Race, Racism & Racial Equity Symposium


View the fifth event in the R3 series, “Transformational Research: Dismantling Systems of Oppression in Justice, Education and Health.”


VIEW R3: Transformational Research HERE


Travis Albritton

TRAVIS ALBRITTON is a Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at UNC-CH’s School of Social Work. He is the Director of the Chapel Hill 3-Year MSW Program and the Faculty Liaison for the Dual Degree MSW/M.Div. program. Dr. Albritton is a two-time recipient of the School of Social Work Excellence in MSW Advising Award. He has also received the School of Social Work Excellence in Teaching Award and has been recognized numerous times with the dean’s recognition for excellence in teaching. Dr. Albritton is the chairperson for the School of Social Work diversity committee and he serves on the University’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Dr. Albritton was selected by the Council on Social Work Education to receive a competitive scholarship to participate in the Management Development Program offered by the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The program is designed to prepare mid-level managers to address the complex issues faced by leaders in higher education. His research interests include educational equity in K-12, academic achievement among Black males and the importance of closing educational opportunity gaps for children of all ages. He has presented nationally on various topics including Critical Race Theory, the importance of critical conversations in the classroom and the educational needs of Black male high school students.


Ayesha K. HashimAYESHA K. HASHIM (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on district-level school reforms aimed at improving student learning in underserved communities, including initiatives to modernize instruction with technology and expand school choice. She also attends to the role of district and school leadership and human capital development in enabling reform success. A mixed-methods researcher, Dr. Hashim draws on theories from economics, sociology, and organizational change to study the impacts of reforms on teacher and student outcomes and surface leadership, organizational, and implementation conditions that can explain observed results. Dr. Hashim’s work has been published in Education Finance and Policy, Economics of Education Review, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Computers and Education, American Journal of Education, and Peabody Journal of Education. She received the New Scholar Award in 2017 from the Association for Education Finance and Policy. Ayesha received her B.A. from Scripps College, Master’s in Public Policy and M.A. in Economics from the University of Southern California (USC), and her Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy from the Rossier School of Education at USC.


Emily CowardEMILY COWARD serves as Policy Director of the Decarceration Project, a Durham-based non-profit addressing the harm caused by racialized mass incarceration. From 2012 to 2021, Emily Coward was a member of the School of Government’s Public Defense Education group, serving as Director and Project Attorney for the NC Racial Equity Network, formed in 2015. Ms. Coward received the Margaret Taylor Writing Award in 2015 for her work on Raising Issues of Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases. In recognition of her work on racial justice and public defense, she received the James E. Williams award in 2016 from the North Carolina Public Defenders Association. Before joining the School of Government in 2012, Ms. Coward served as a law clerk for Judge James Robertson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 2006 to 2008 and for Justice Thembile Skweyiya of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 2009. From 2009 to 2011, she represented clients in civil and post-conviction matters as a staff attorney with North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. She earned a BA from Oberlin College and a JD magna cum laude from Duke University School of Law.

Yolanda FairYOLANDA FAIR is an Assistant Public Defender with the Office of the Public Defender of the 28th Judicial District. She has been with the office since 2013 and has represented both youth and adults. Yolanda attended the University of North Carolina School of Law and Tufts University. In her role as an Assistant Public Defender, Yolanda also serves as chair of the Buncombe County Criminal Justice Equity Workshop, a group of criminal justice stakeholders committed to achieving an equitable criminal justice system. She is a member of the NC Racial Equity Network and was part of the first cohort of attorneys to graduate from this UNC School of Government program. Outside of work, Yolanda enjoys volunteering with Buncombe County Teen Court program, the UNC Law Pro Bono Program, and local non-profits.


Dane EmmerlingDANE EMMERLING is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Health Behavior at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He researches and evaluates critical consciousness-raising interventions or experiences and programs that shift individuals’ and institutions’ attitudes and behaviors about their participation in systems. Specifically, Dane is doing community-based participatory research with the Racial Equity Institute’s (REI) Phase 1 training on structural racism. The partnership has involved 1) interviewing the community organizers who lead the REI trainings and the organizations who book REI for training, 2) conducting a quantitative evaluation of changes in participant’s knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors with more than two thousand training participants, and 3) writing a case study on a system change process led by one of REI’s partners that involves judges, teachers, social workers among other stakeholders, who are coming together to collectively shift the disproportionate outcomes in the juvenile justice system in their city. Before starting the PhD, Dane worked in global health evaluation and in service-learning offices supporting universities linkages with community organizations.

Deena Hayes-GreenDEENA A. HAYES-GREENE is a racial equity consultant, trainer, and community/institutional organizer whose work focuses on the impacts of race and racism on systems, institutions, organizations and individuals. In her training and consulting she brings examination of the impact of race in systemic outcomes to include the broader environmental and social determinants of well-being and opportunity. She also brings a power analysis that guides institutions and organizations in a change process designed to dismantle racism. Deena is the co-founder and managing director of the Racial Equity Institute LLC, a minority-owned business that brings racial equity training and consultation to communities, organizations, and institutions across the United States. She is frequently requested as a speaker and commentator on issues related to structural racism and its impacts. Deena is also a leader in her community of Greensboro, North Carolina. She has been re-elected to the Guilford County Board of Education since 2002 and has served as its chair since 2018. As a school board member, her advocacy has challenged the district to investigate the structural causes of the disparate outcomes of African-American students and other students of color. She has chaired the Achievement Gap Committee, the Historically Underutilized Business Advisory (HUB) Committee, and the School Safety/Gang Education Committee. As chair of the HUB Advisory Committee, she has illuminated the disparities in school construction and goods and services data and initiated efforts to examine institutional practices and systemic barriers. Deena is also the chair of the board of directors for the International Civil Rights Center and Museum and a judge for the Roddenbury Foundation. She is a member of the NC State DMC-RED Subcommittee (Disproportionate Minority Contact – Racial and Ethnic Disparities), Guilford Anti-Racism Alliance, and the Ole Asheboro Street Neighborhood Association. She has also served on the Human Relations Commission for the City of Greensboro and the Guilford Gang Commission. Deena has received numerous awards and citations for her leadership.



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