Blake Wood
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The University of Illinois Springfield and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation (ILBCF) Speaker Series will discuss “Dismantling Systemic Racism through Education and Workforce Development Reform” during a Zoom virtual event from 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7.

The third session in the speaker series will focus on Pillar II of the Caucus’s policy pillars, which aims to reform education and workforce development by improving early childhood through adult learning.

The event will begin with a welcome from Tiffany Hightower, executive director of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, and Molly Lamb, executive director of the UIS Center of State Policy and Leadership.

Following the welcome, a fireside chat featuring Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) and State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) will take place. They will share details about their advocacy and championship of Pillar II in their roles and in working with a myriad of key stakeholders and partners. The chat will be moderated by Hightower.

Next, panelists will review implementation of the statutory reform, challenges and early wins during a roundtable and panel discussion. Members of the panel include Sophia Gehlhausen, senior associate director for policy at the Illinois Board of Higher Education; Tiffany Brunson, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Rockford Public Schools District 205; Betsy Goulet, UIS clinical assistant professor in public administration; Nicole Nash Moody, assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and school culture at Springfield Public Schools District 186; Omowale Casselle, director of Pritzker Tech Talent Labs, part of The Discovery Partners Institute; Ken Walker, executive vice president, diversity and operational excellence at Per Scholas; and Stacy Davis Gates, political director for the Chicago Teacher's Union. The discussion will be moderated by Ryan Williams, UIS online program coordinator for the Master of Arts in Education and a current student in the doctorate of public administration program. 

The goal of this series is to educate the citizens of Illinois on critical societal issues resulting from social determinant factors impacting historically marginalized populations. 

Registration for the Zoom webinar is required. Register at to receive the Zoom link.

The first-of-its-kind speaker series embodies principles of equity, diversity and inclusion and promotes social change with a concentration on the reform pillars of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.

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