Creating Equitable Education Spaces
Zoom - Register Below
20 October, 2020


12:30 & 17:00


18:30 & 23:00


22:00 & 02:30 (+1)


02:00 (+1) & 06:30 (+1)
The second day of the Design for Equity | Conscious NYC | Conscious Cities Festival 2020 event series, will be: Creating Equitable Education Spaces.

Series of Presentation – Addressing inequity in Education | 12:30 to 3:30pm

At Conscious NYC, we believe inclusivity and intersectional ideation is critical in pedagogy and practice. In the first day of the 2020 NYC Conscious Cities Festival, speakers will address various issues and solutions inequity in educational institutions, pedagogy, and practices. See the lineup of speakers below.

Round Table Discussion - Creating Equitable Education Spaces | 5:00 to 6:15pm

A diverse group of international and local experts will participate in a collaborative and interactive brainstorming session, along with attendees, to deconstruct and reimagine a more conscious NYC, by illuminating challenges, solutions, and key metrics in equity. Attendees should be prepared to participate in a Zoom meeting for part of the event. Design for Equity | Conscious NYC | CCF 2020 | Monday October 19th-22nd “Equality does not see colour, therefore, contributes to privilege. Equity sees colour, recognizes systemic forms of racism and actively provides resources to level the playing field” ― Sope Agbelusi “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”― James Baldwin These quotes help us frame the dialogue and the flow of ideas we will explore in this year’s festival: How to recognize, discuss, and ultimately address racial equity issues in different experiences: governance, education, healthcare, and neighborhoods. We intend to use this festival as a live experiment, to abstract key metrics and work towards the first real indicator of socio-economic equity.

Founder and CEO DC Design

Durell Coleman is the namesake founder and CEO of DC Design. He has worked to redesign aspects of the foster care system, develop new approaches to criminal justice reform, reimagine healthcare service models, create apps that connect communities, and develop new 21st century educational models for youth and adults. Trained in mechanical engineering (B.S) and sustainable design (M.S.), he is a two-time alumnus of Stanford University and its famous Institute of Design (the Stanford 

As an educator, Durell regularly lectures on social impact design, innovation, and leadership at Stanford University. He has taught design thinking to refugees designing solutions to challenges in refugee camps, school leaders seeking to redesign the culture of their schools, and corporate executives from Sony, Oracle, and Santander. He is an expert in Multi-Stakeholder Human-Centered Design; creator and Director of Design the Future, an award winning STEM program run in collaboration with top universities that teaches high school students to design products for individuals with physical disabilities; and recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service as a result of his work.

Director of the Integrated Schools Project at New York Appleseed

Nyah Berg is Integrated Schools Project Director at New York Appleseed. She joins New York Appleseed after working as the Education Equity Organizer at ERASE Racism. Ms. Berg spearheaded ERASE Racism’s Student Voices Campaign and continued development of ERASE Racism’s Education Equity Initiative. During her time with ERASE Racism from 2017 to 2019, Nyah created workshops, actions and events to educate Long Island educators and students on topics such as implicit bias, student advocacy, culturally responsive education, and suburban segregation. Her work with students catalyzed the formation of ERASE Racism’s Student Task Force, which has since been invited to present workshops and participate on panels for Teachers College, Columbia University and the New York State School Board Association.

Nyah’s professional and personal life has driven her passion to use her voice to amplify others that are systematically not heard. As a biracial woman who grew up in a suburb outside of Boston, Massachusetts, she gained a unique perspective on the complexities that surround racial relations across geographically segregated areas. She hopes to draw on her own personal narrative, while continually learning from others to better advocate for Real Integration and educational equity in New York City and New York State. She holds a Master of Arts from Teachers College, Columbia University in education policy and social analysis with a specialization in education law and a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in English and Educational Studies from Vassar College.

Deputy Leader for Policy at New York City Council

Brad Lander is a member of the New York City Council, representing the 39th District in Brooklyn. Brad serves as the Council’s Deputy Leader for Policy. He co-founded the Council’s Progressive Caucus, helped bring participatory budgeting to NYC, and has led the way toward a more just, equitable, and sustainable city.

Brad’s track record shows that we can strengthen our democracy, make government work better, and build a city that reflects our values.

Brad has fought successfully to protect freelancers from wage theft, give fast-food workers a fair work week, and make sure Uber/Lyft drivers earn a living wage. To win safer streets and new transit infrastructure. To reform discriminatory practices in the NYPD, and to combat segregation in our schools and neighborhoods. His hard-hitting policy reports have led to better bus service, air-conditioning for all NYC school classrooms, and more effective affordable housing policy.

Brad’s background in community planning informs his commitment to make government work better. By helping to bring participatory budgeting to NYC, Brad has involved tens of thousands of New Yorkers in shaping the city’s investments in our neighborhoods. His legislation has resulted in better tracking of expenditures across NYC’s parks, more effective ways to measure and combat poverty, and improvements to the city’s capital projects management (where, ok, we still have a lot of work to do). By launching #GetOrganizedBK, he brought thousands of Brooklyn residents together to stand up to bigotry, corruption, and injustice of the Trump regime.

Brad serves as chair of Local Progress, a national network of over 800 progressive local elected officials in 45 states. Prior to serving in the City Council, Brad directed the Pratt Center for Community Development and the Fifth Avenue Committee. Brad is a graduate of the University of Chicago, with a Masters degrees in social anthropology from University College London, and in city planning from Pratt Institute. He lives in Park Slope with his wife, Meg Barnette, President and CEO of NonProfit New York, and their children, Marek and Rosa.

Director at the Center for Professional Education of Teachers

Dr. Roberta Lenger Kang was a high school English teacher for eight years in Denver, Colorado and New York City. She wrote several district wide curricula for Denver Public Schools and the NYC Department of Education before transitioning from classroom teacher to professional development coach in 2006. As a coach, Roberta has supported schools on instruction, assessment, systems and structures, literacy and accountability mandates. In 2015, Roberta completed her doctorate in English Education from Columbia's University, Teachers College with a focus on the impact of mandated assessments on students, teachers and school leaders. In her role as the Initiative Director, Roberta supervises the professional development programs and initiatives projects across the Center. Roberta cultivates partnerships with schools, districts, and organizations, in critical areas such as developing academic rigor, refining literacy in high school, creating meaningful instruction for high stakes assessments, and leveraging city and state mandates for authentic school change.

Assistant Head of School for Ethical Education and Social Impact
Bilingual and Bicultural Educator

Liz J.Fernández, Ed.M. (she/her(s)/ella) is a bilingual and bicultural educator, trainer, and speaker. She has written curriculum and facilitated workshops throughout the Americas, Asia and South Africa focused on gender identity, cross cultural competency, conflict management, hiring, recruitment and retention practices, and curriculum development for grades pre-Kindergarten through higher education.

She has served as an administrator, teacher and facilitator in the independent school community including serving as the Director of Diversity at The Dalton School, Dean of the Class of 2013, MS Ethics Department Chair and member of the Board of Trustees at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School (ECFS). Currently, she serves as the Assistant Head of School, Ethical Education & Social Impact at ECFS. 

From 2000 to 2011, she served on the faculty of the National Association of Independent Schools, Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) and for eight years was a co-chair. Since 2000, she has coordinated the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) Job Fair to Promote Diversity designed to increase teachers and administrators of color within member schools. She began her career within the independent school community as a result of being a candidate at the very job fair she now coordinates. Her insight into hiring, recruitment, and retention has been invaluable to schools and candidates alike. She is an alumna of and has proudly served on the Board of Directors of Bloomingdale Family Head Start Programs, Inc. a NYC preschool program serving low-income families with comprehensive educational support services.

Ms. Fernández holds a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Hamilton College, an MA in Social Sciences with a concentration in Sociology and Education from Binghamton University, State University of New York and an Ed.M. from Columbia University, Teacher’s College, Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership where was an Altman Scholar.

Architect @ Deborah Berke Partners

Wells Megalli is an architect with a deep arts, media, and technology background. At Deborah Berke Partners, Wells has focused on projects for mission-driven clients - first on The Women’s Building - a project to transform a women’s prison into a hub for activists – and most recently on the design of the 485,000 SF Princeton University Residential Colleges project. She has developed designs for a broad range of projects spanning residential, educational, and cultural programs. She enjoys managing multi-disciplinary teams to deliver designs with a focus on the people that use them. Wells received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and her Master of Architecture degree from the Tulane University School of Architecture, where she currently serves on the Advisory Board. She also serves on her local community board in Manhattan - shout out to CB6!

Disability After Dark podcast
Disability Awareness Consultant
Cripple Content Creator

Andrew Gurza is a Disability Awareness Consultant and Cripple Content Creator.  In his work, he seeks to explore how the lived experience of disability feels, as it interplays with intersectional communities.  By using hashtags like #diSAYbled, #DisabilityAfterDark, #BearinAChair and #KissAQueerCripple Andrew shares his lived experiences of disability, queerness, sexuality and body image in a raw, vulnerable and unapologetic fashion.

He has presented all across North America on sex and disability as a Queer Crippled man. His written work has been highlighted in Out Magazine, The Advocate and Huffington Post.

He hosts the Disability After Dark podcast, which shines a bright light on sex and disability, while also aiming to explore parts of the disabled experience that we don’t often hear about.

Founder & Editor of Able Zine
Creative Director and Disability Activist

Claudia Rose Walder (she/her) is freelance creative director and disability activist from London, UK. She is a former fashion stylist with a First Class degree in Journalism. After becoming sick with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in 2017 she founded Able Zine - a publication and platform for disabled and chronically ill communities, young people and creatives with an interest in diversity, inclusion and public health. She has chronic pain and chronic fatigue as part of her disability, as well as complex multi-system issues. Claudia’s work has been profiled and praised by the likes of Dazed Magazine, The BBC and Vogue.

Assistant Professor of Education, Vassar College

Jaime's work examines the continual and ‘accepted’ forms of oppression that marginalized communities endure in overt and subtle forms in the United States. Though this research agenda intersects a variety of topics, his two current lines of inquiry are (1) College Access and Equity for Undocumented Students; and (2) The School-To-Military Pipeline. Jaime holds a PhD in Education from UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSE&IS) and a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley. His doctoral dissertation examined the college matriculation of undocumented students using Critical Race Theory (CRT) as his primary theoretical framework and a mixed methodology using both qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Jaime has been a classroom math teacher, a university outreach program provider, and he served in a US Army artillery unit during the Gulf War.

Science journalist
Author of The Great Indoors

Emily Anthes is a science journalist and author. Her new book, The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness, was published in June. She is also the author of Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts, which was longlisted for the PEN/E.O Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Emily’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Wired, Nature, Slate, Businessweek, and elsewhere. Her magazine features have won several awards, including the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award and the NASW Science in Society Journalism Award. Emily has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in the history of science and medicine from Yale, where she also studied creative writing. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Check out her book "The Great Indoors" here:

Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution
Director of Temple University’s Infant Language Laboratory
Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in Psychology at Temple University
Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania

Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in Psychology at Temple University and is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Director of Temple University’s Infant Language Laboratory, Kathy is the recipient of the Simms/Mann Whole Child Award, the AERA Outstanding Public Communication for Education Research Award, American Psychological Association’s Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society, the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science, the American Psychological Society’s James McKeen Cattell Award for “a lifetime of outstanding contributions to applied psychological research,” the Society for Research in Child Development Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development Award, and the Temple University Great Teacher Award and University Eberman Research Award. She was a finalist for 2013 Best Professor of the year for the American Academy of Education Arts and Sciences Bammy Awards.

Kathy received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research in the areas of early education, language, playful learning and spatial development has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and Human Development, and the Institute of Education Sciences resulting in 13 books and over 200 publications. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, elected a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society for “individuals whose research has exhibited sustained excellence and had sustained impact on the Cognitive Science community” and was elected a fellow of AERA. She was an Associate Editor of Child Development, and is the Past President and past treasurer of the International Association for Infant Studies. Her book, Einstein Never used Flashcards won the prestigious Books for Better Life Award as the best psychology book in 2003. Her newest book, Becoming Brilliant: What Science tells us about raising successful children (2016) was on the NYTimes Best Seller List in both education and parenting.

Kathy has a strong interest in bridging the gap between research and application. To that end, she was an investigator on the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, is on the Advisory Board of the Children’s Museums in San Francisco and Boston, and Jumpstart, Disney Junior and Noggin (Nickelodeon). She worked on the language and literacy team for the development of the California Preschool Curriculum, is on the Core Team for the LEGO Research Network, a member of the Steering Committee of the Latin American School for Educational and Cognitive Neuroscience and is on the advisory board for the National Center on Early Child Development, that advises Head Start. She was also a founder of the prestigious Learning Sciences Exchange Fellowship, an interdisciplinary program for mid-career scholars. founder and organizer of the Ultimate Block Party ( and a founder of Playful Learning Landscapes ( Kathy has been a spokesperson on early childhood development for national media like the NYTimes and NPR. She tweets at KathyandRo1.

Founder; Co-Director Artists' Literacies Institute

Andrew Freiband is a filmmaker, producer, researcher, writer, educator, and multimedia artist who founded ALI based on several years of original research and development into the unique capacities - and imposed restrictions - of artists in contemporary society.

He has 20 years of professional experience in the film, television, museum, and fine arts fields, having worked in productions everywhere from the top of the unfinished skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan to post-earthquake Haiti to the slums of Nairobi and beyond. He has worked with the US Agency for International Development to form media narratives around transformative humanitarian development, and with high levels of the Federal Government to make the case for new innovations in international development and new engagement models for artists and filmmakers in humanitarian work.

He has served on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts' Dept of Film and Television, and for 14 years on the faculty of the Department of Film, Animation, and Video at the Rhode Island School of Design; and has taught film, video, and art students in Haiti (CineInstitute), Malawi (Chancellor’s College), and Bangladesh (Dhaka University), among other places.

Andrew was co-producer and director of photography on the feature documentary I Learn America, about the life of 5 high-school age immigrants in the New York City school system.

He is the Executive Producer of Denali Tiller’s Tre Maison Dasan, winner of numerous Best Feature Documentary awards at festivals in the US and Europe, as well as a featured presentation for the 2019 season of PBS’ Independent Lens. As Impact and Engagement Producer, he coordinated a national campaign to put the film to work in meaningful contexts, connecting incarcerated parents with their families and communities, catalyzing awareness about the enormous rippling social impacts of mass incarceration in America, and leveraging the deep, systemic knowledge embedded in the film and filmmaking team to inform new policy, programs, and approaches to reshaping culture around criminal justice.

At the Artists Literacies Institute, he teaches artists to be researchers and artists simultaneously, believes there is untapped knowledge in trained intuitions, and is sure the world will be a more just and equitable place if artists and culture producers were held in the same regard as scientists and technologists.

Lead organizer of The Coalition for Student Transit Justice and Youth Alliance for Housing

Emma Rehac is a first year college student currently living in Harlem. Emma is an avid photographer and total foodie who has had a strong sense of social awareness from a young age. She worked at a restorative justice program, the Harlem Youth Court, for two years and has been teaching photography composition and Adobe Photoshop to elementary schoolers for the past eight years.

Emma is also a founding member and lead organizer of The Coalition for Student Transit Justice and Youth Alliance for Housing. As an Asian girl living in Harlem with a white, immigrant, single mom, Emma uses her intersectional perspective to amplify the voices of those neglected by the status quo.