Register Here

Race to Equity Summit

Register Here

Click here to download the conference program booklet

Day One

Opening Session

When: February 8, 2017
             1:00pm - 4:00pm

Where: Palm Beach County Convention Center, Ballroom A, B & C

Race, Power and Policy: Dismantling Systemic Racism

This session will bring government, business and community leaders together to network and to lay the foundation for the following day. The keynote speaker, Tim Wise will provide historical context on the social construct of race and how systemic and structural racism has led to the issues we are facing today, especially as it relates to our boys and young men of color. Mr. Wise's address will be followed by a panel discussion, which will explore the racial inequities that exist within our education, criminal justice and labor/employment systems nationally and locally. The panelists will also introduce innovative solutions taking place both locally and around the country to address these issues


1:00pm-1:25pm - Welcome/Opening Remarks

  • James Green, My Brother's Keeper PBC Task Force Leader
  • Verdenia Baker, County Administrator, Palm Beach County

1:25pm-1:30pm - Introduction of Guest Speaker

  • Marsha Guthrie, Community Planning and Partnership Officer, Children's Services Council of PBC

1:30pm-2:30pm - Keynote Speaker 

  • Tim Wise, Author and Activist

2:45pm-4:00pm - Panel Discussion

  • Moderated by Marcus Littles, Sr. Partner Frontline Solutions
  • Dr. Robert Simmons III, Vice President, Strategy & Innovation, Campaign for Black Male   Achievement
  • Ronald Alvarez, Retired Palm Beach County Judge
  • Josh Kirschenbaum, Chief Operating Officer, PolicyLink
  • Priscilla Taylor, Former County Commissioner, District 7, Palm Beach County

4:00pm-4:30pm - Closing Remarks & Next Steps

  • James Green, MBKPBC Task Force Leader

5:00pm-7:00pm - Welcome Reception


Day Two

When: February 9, 2017

Marking Progress: The Movement Toward Racial Equity in Palm Beach County

This plenary session will explain President Obama's rational for issuing the My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge, and convey the challenges boys and young me of color face across the nation. Participants will also learn about the innovative initiatives cities across the nation have implemented to address these challenges and how President Obama plans to continue this work after his term expires.  The session will also discuss the educational achievement gaps for boys and young men of color nationwide, and the efforts government and communities should take to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.


8:45am - Welcome

  • James Green, My Brother's Keeper PBC Task Force Leader
  • Paulette Burdick, Mayor, Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners
  • Jeri Muoio, Mayor, City of West Palm Beach

Introduction of Guest Speaker 

  • Eddie Ruiz, Ed D, Assistant Superintendent Student Services, School District of Palm Beach County

Keynote Speaker

  • Dr. John Jackson, President and CEO of Schott Foundation for Education

10:00am - Transition 

  • Steve Craig, President and CEO, CareerSource Palm Beach County


10:15am Workshops

Moderator: Suzette L. Harvey, President & CEO, Prime Time Palm Beach County
Sarita Turner, Associate Director, PolicyLink
Lisa Williams-Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Children's Services Council of PBC

Comprehensive disaggregated data are essential components in effective decision-making. Demographic and geographic data, in particular, can serve as catalysts for much needed policy and system reform. Through robust data analysis, organizations can identify indicators that provide significant insight into racial disparities and possible paths toward social justice. This workshop will discuss the ways in which our communities, large and small, are collecting, analyzing, and applying local data on racial disparities to employ evidence-based programs and to advance policy changes that foster racial equity and inclusion.

Moderator: Andrea Stephenson, Executive Director, Healthcare Council of South East Council
April Young, Principal, New Equity Partners, Inc.
Dr. Alina Alonso, Director Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County

The health access, quality, and outcomes of America's racial and ethnic minorities are worse than that of Whites. The healthcare of minority groups who also have limited incomes and lower educational attainment, as well as those with disabilities is particularly substandard. Narrowing these healthcare disparities has been the goal of many public and private efforts since the early 1990s. Although some progress has been made-particularly in closing the quality gap that minority groups experience-much more work remains to be done. The multiple causes of health and health care disparities are complex, and limited research, as well as institutional racism, makes progress a challenge. This workshop will summarize what is known about health and health disparities locally and nationally, discusses recent efforts to close the gaps, and enumerate best practices and policy recommendations to move the needle towards improved outcomes.

Moderator: Daryl K. Houston, Community Investment Officer, Community Foundation
Damon T. Hewitt, Executive Director, Executives' Alliance for Boys and Men of Color
Abigail Goodwin, VP, Grants & Community Investments, Palm Healthcare Foundation

As racial equity becomes a recurring theme in the nation's cultural, economic, and political narratives, grant makers are expanding their grant portfolios to support innovative ideas and policies to advance inclusion and opportunity. Not only are portfolios becoming more diverse and explicitly focused on addressing racial inequality, grant makers are also developing new tools and strategies that are transforming philanthropy as we know it. At a time when it is essential for foundations, grant makers, and philanthropists to be in alignment with the national conversation on racial justice, this session provides the critical space and expertise for defining examples of racial equity philanthropy, reviewing foundation-based strategies, and charting the future of this growing field.

Moderator: Kevin Jones, Coordinator of Community Initiatives, City of West Palm Beach
Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis, Church of Open Door, Collective Empowerment Group of South Florida
Nicholas O'neil, President, PBC Ministerial Alliance

Faith communities and their leaders have long been powerful voices in the fight for racial equity and social justice by keeping central questions concerning core human values at the forefront of political debates. However, as our nation becomes more diverse, the need for interfaith, equity-focused organizing remains. New strategies and innovative methods are emerging at the local, state, and national levels on a range of issues: wage and wealth inequality, voting rights, immigrant rights, gun violence, and police brutality. In this session, panelists will discuss the importance of building equity-focused leaders within faith communities, and will make the case for the continued power and expanding potency of interfaith efforts in the fight for greater racial equity and economic inclusion.

Moderator: Seth B. Bernstein, Psy.D., Committeeperson, PBC Action Alliance for Mental Health
Dr. Eddy Regnier-Psychologist, Chairman of Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Males
Dr. Ischaji Robertson, Psychologist, President of ABPsi, Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) Black Male Mental Health Conference
Dr. Maria Gallardo-Cooper, ESE Specialist, School Psychological Services, PBC School District

Communities of color experience ongoing and pervasive trauma on a daily basis. Its effects are far-reaching and particularly detrimental for marginalized youth of color, such as LGBTQ and low-income youth, impairing learning, cognitive development, and their ability to participate fully within their families and communities. While systems and programs that support healing are often focused solely on providing traditional counseling and mental health services, mental health providers and community advocates have developed and successfully implemented other modes of healing to nourish marginalized communities of color. In this session, community advocates and mental health professionals will discuss alternatives to traditional mental health support that fosters personal healing and supports community development.

Moderator: Leontyne Brown, Organizer of Pretty Girls Vote
Rae Whitely, Community Organizer, Black Votes Matter
Kayla Reed, Community Organizer, Organization for Black Struggle
Jane Tierney, President, Catalyst for Justice

Elected officials, civic leaders, and community members throughout the country are realizing what criminal justice advocates and reformers have known for a long time: our criminal and juvenile justice systems are bloated and broken. Nevertheless, making the leap from awareness and protest to legislated policy change requires identification of urgent priorities, seeking out specific political opportunities, and learning to navigate barriers that can make or break grassroots efforts. The mainstreaming of this reality has energized a host of new initiatives, partnerships, and reform efforts that are exploring a range of solutions, including parole reform, outcomes-driven justice reinvestment, and abolishing youth prisons. With the current level of interest and energy flowing in this field, what will the future of criminal justice reform look like? In this workshop, policy experts and activists will share their experiences advocating for police reform and discussing best practices and recommendations as per the successes and challenges within their communities, with a special emphasis on current ideas and strategies that have the potential to become major forces in the growing movement to end the school to prison pipeline and the mass-incarceration crisis.



Promoting Equity, Access and Opportunity for All

The purpose of this panel is to facilitate meaningful dialogue with our youth. Participants will gain a better perspective about the challenges that boys and young men of color are facing within the Palm Beach County School District. Participants will learn how the school district's strategic plan, equity audit, disparity study and collective impact efforts coupled with mentoring supports and other initiatives will reduce the racial achievement gaps and dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. This session will also explore the role of implicit bias in our education and economic system and discuss how leading organizations are adjusting to the shifting demographics locally and throughout South Florida.

12:30pm-1:30pm Lunch Panel (Ballroom A,B &C)

  • Kayla Reed, Community Organizer, St. Louis Action Council
  • Ernie Ellison, Board Chair, United Way of Palm Beach County
  • Steve Vassor, Director, Rumble Young Man Rumble, Campaign for Black Male Achievement
  • Deena Hayes-Greene, Managing Director, Racial Equity Institute


Moderator: Bruce Lewis, President, Black Chamber of Commerce PBC
Benjamin Evans, Managing Director, BMe Community
Sam Roman, President, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce PBC
Patrick Franklin, President & CEO, Urban League of Palm Beach County

The economic opportunity gap affects boys and young men of color (BMoC) disproportionally nationwide. The resulting high rates of unemployment have long-term negative effects that can determine the course of their lives. Improving access to high-quality workforce training programs is instrumental in overcoming the skills gap that excludes BMoC from well-paying jobs and careers, and that prevents them from improving their quality of life and well-being. Thus, preparing BMoC with the necessary skills for tomorrow's job market has emerged as a critical area of intervention. This workshop will address important and successful strategies community leaders are employing locally and throughout the nation to secure living wage, workforce development opportunities, entrepreneurship and careers for these boys and young men.

Moderator: Dr. Deandre Poole, Chair, Coalition for Black Student Achievement
Dr. Robert Simmons III, Vice President, Strategy & Innovation, Campaign for Black Male   Achievement
Deena Hayes-Greene-Managing Director Racial Equity Institute, Member, Guilford County Board of Education

A growing movement is working to eliminate harsh, inequitable school discipline practices like suspensions and expulsions that push students of color, including students with special needs, out of school for acts like truancy and "willful defiance." Efforts to put in place positive solutions to reduce out-of-school suspensions, increase student learning, and return schools to safe and supportive learning environments have begun to take hold in select cities and schools throughout the country. In this workshop, education experts and advocates will discuss the ongoing work to implement supportive, inclusive disciplinary policies that hold students accountable and improve school climate and safety for all members of the school and larger community.

Moderator: Ricky Aiken, Founder, Inner City Innovators
E. Bomani Johnson, CEO Emergent Pathways
Steve Vassor, Director, Rumble Young Man Rumble, Campaign for Black Male Achievement
Gary Graham, Director, United Way Mentor Center (morning panel)
Brenda March, City of Orlando, Children and Education Manager/Parramore Kidz Zone 

There is a belief that a child's life, especially one living in a high-risk community, will change for the positive by simply matching him or her with a mentor. In reality, mentors and mentoring programs are in a constant "tug of war" with the negative social and environmental elements that confront the lives of young men of color. In effect, mentoring programs must recognize that it takes more than a mentor to change children's lives. This workshop focuses on identifying best practices for mentoring, collaborations and resources mentors and mentoring programs need to "pull" young men of color into achievement.

Moderator: Kimba Williams, Executive Director, CollegePath
Gary Hartfield, President and CEO, Serenity Village, Inc.
Dr. Cory King, VP Student Affairs, Florida Atlantic University
Jose Enriquez, PhD, Latinos in Action

Getting students to college is an achievement, but getting students THROUGH college is a challenge. In response to the average 69.5 percent persistence rate in the U.S. (i.e. students returning to college for their second year), colleges and universities are expanding their mentoring support to college students, thereby increasing the persistence rate of students. This session will present best practices on the most effective ways for parents to find and utilize mentoring supports to help students prepare and persist in college. This session will also provide students, parents and other stakeholders with the most recent research in this area and inform participants about local efforts underway to improve college access and retention.

Moderator: Marsha Guthrie, Community Planning and Partnership Officer, Children's Services Council
Jordan Thierry, Senior Associate, Policylink
Simran Noor, VP Policy & Programs, Center for Social Inclusion

As soaring inequality continues to push low-income and communities of color beyond the margins of society, collective impact has emerged as a framework for achieving transformational change both nationally and worldwide. In effect, countless initiatives are using this framework to organize collaborative, cross-sector action to address poverty, education, health care, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and other major social structural challenges. Collective impact reflects a new energy around social engagement and a growing recognition that societal problems are too complex for any single organization or sector to resolve. Collective impact also exposes the hunger for disciplined practice, rigor, and meaningful accountability. As this framework of social action evolves, equity must be front and center. In this workshop, collective impact leaders will share their experiences and lessons learned from incorporating equity as an essential element in ongoing community impact efforts.


3:15PM Workshops (Repeat)

  • Sustaining Community-led Movements towards Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Policy Reform (Room 2A)
  • Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color through Mentoring (Room 2C)
  • Improving College Access and College Retention through mentoring (Room 2D)

Some Organizations Who Have Confirmed Participation:

  • Black Male Achievement Campaign
  • National League of Cities
  • Government Alliance on Racial Equity
  • PolicyLink
  • Kellogg Foundation
  • Racial Equity Institute
  • Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys
  • Frontline Solutions


Contact Us

Tammy Fields

Tammy Fields
  Youth Services Director

“Every child dreams of success – it’s our job to provide the tools and resources to make those dreams come true.”

50 S Military Trail
 Suite 203
West Palm Beach, FL 33415