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Commemorating 60/50

A Conversation about Brown, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Achieving Educational Opportunity for All in the District of Columbia. 

CCE Civil Rights Cover Photo

The 60th and 50th anniversaries of Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 respectively are pivotal milestones that changed the course of US history. As we pause to remember and reflect on the changes that came after the Brown decision and this landmark legislation, particularly in the context of public education, we are also reminded of the inequalities that remain.

These inequalities can be seen throughout the nation and are starkly apparent here in the District of Columbia. This panel of experts discuss historical perspectives of Brown and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and their lasting impact on equal access to quality education in the District's public school system.

The panel is moderated by Allison Brown, President of Allison Brown Consulting and former civil rights attorney at the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section.  

council for court excellence

Allison Brown (Moderator)

Allison R. Brown is a civil rights attorney and President of Allison Brown Consulting (ABC).

Immediately prior to founding ABC, Ms. Brown worked as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice in the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division where she and her colleagues enforced Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution as it relates to public education. 

Dr. Ramona Edelin

Dr. Ramona Hoage Edelin is a scholar, activist and executive consultant with 40 years of experience in leadership to uplift and advance African Americans and the economically disadvantaged. She has served as Executive Director of the District of Columbia Association of Chartered Public Schools since 2006.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Fisk University in 1967, Dr. Edelin earned the master of arts degree from the University of East Anglia in England in 1969 and the doctorate from Boston University in 1981, in philosophy. She has earned the Certificate in Fund Raising Management from The Fund Raising School at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Under her leadership, cutting-edge programs in education, community empowerment, and young adult leadership development have been established and sustained. Education and urban policy, the definition and cultivation of African American cultural leadership, and the building of policy collaborations have been her primary priorities.

Dr. Edelin served as Vice President, Policy and Outreach of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) from September of 2003 through August of 2004. She was elected a member of the Board of Directors of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. in 1991, was elected its Executive Director in February of 1998 and served in that capacity until June of 2002. Before assuming this position, she had been President and CEO of the National Urban Coalition (NUC) from 1988 until 1998.

Before joining the NUC in 1977, Dr. Edelin was founder and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Northeastern University (1972-1977). She was Visiting Professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University in 1974 and 1975; a full-time Instructor in the First Level Program and the Department of Philosophy at Emerson College in 1971 and 1972; and a Lecturer in logic for the University of Maryland’s European Division in 1970 and 1971.

A nationally respected lecturer, her media presentations include network, public and cable television, radio, print and other published venues.

Dr. Edelin serves as a member of inaugural State Early Childhood Development Coordinating Council of the District of Columbia, as DC’s official representative to the State Leaders Council of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on the Commission on the Mission of American Education of the American Education Think Tank, and on the Community College Advisory Board of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of the District of Columbia Education Compact. She was an appointee of President William Jefferson Clinton on the President’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, served as Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia, and as Chair of the District of Columbia Education Goals 2000 State Panel. In the 1980s, she served the District of Columbia by chairing its DC Community Humanities Council and the Committee on Education and Prevention of its Commission on Drug Control Policy; and through membership on two blue ribbon panels, the Commission on Budget and Financial Priorities (“Rivlin Commission”) and the Committee on Public Education (COPE). 

Jim Flug

Jim Flug who for the past three years served as Senator Edward Kennedy's Chief Counsel, was first exposed to politics as News Director of Harvard's radio station almost 50 years ago. Flug oversaw WHRB's 1958 Congressional election coverage, interviewed Senator John F. Kennedy during the West Virginia Presidential primary in 1960, and did so again in 1961 when the President-elect attended a Harvard Overseers meeting. After Harvard Law School, Flug went to Washington for one year in 1963, and has been there ever since. Flug clerked for a Federal Appeals Judge, and then served at the Justice Department as Assistant to the head of the Tax Division and Assistant to the Attorney General. From 1967 to 1973, as Legislative Assistant and then Chief Counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy, Flug helped Kennedy beat back a Congressional attack on the Supreme Court's "one-man, one-vote" decision, pass the 1968 gun control law, defeat two of President Richard Nixon's Supreme Court nominations, and conduct the first formal investigation of the Watergate scandal. In his off-hours, he supervised the Youth and Student activities of the 1968 Robert Kennedy Presidential campaign.

As Director of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Flug was active in the adoption and implementation of the 1974 Legal Services Corporation Act, funding legal aid to the poor. Next Flug headed "Energy Action," challenging oil companies and the Carter administration on energy issues during the 1970's oil crisis. In 1979-80, Flug was special counsel, Maryland director, and convention press secretary for Ted Kennedy's Presidential Campaign. From 1980 to 2003, Flug practiced "private public interest law," assisting many state governments in obtaining large oil overcharge refunds for use in their energy programs and, as Washington Counsel for the Generic Drug industry, helping enact the historic "Hatch-Waxman" compromise accelerating approvals of generic drugs. In 2003, Flug returned to the Senate as Senator Kennedy's Chief Counsel, working on legal and constitutional issues, including the Roberts and Alito Supreme Court nominations. 

Andy Glass

Andrew J. Glass, known as "Andy," views himself as an online pioneer. In 1994, he submitted an article to a Harvard political quarterly envisioning a time when presidential candidates would stream full-motion video on the Web. The Harvard professors, then struggling to go online via their dial-up modems, thought Andy was wrong. But they ran his piece anyway. Some years later, Andy found himself seated next to Bill Gates at a World Economic Forum lunch in Switzerland. Bill envisioned what came to be known as the dot-com bust, telling Andy that he had bet his own billions on it by selling tech companies (but not Microsoft) short. Andy hung around Davos with Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, and other cyberspace visionaries who thought Bill was wrong. That's one reason why Bill is the world's richest man while Andy remains far down the list. Andy is now trying to make amends by helping take out the metaphorical trash at Politico. 

Samantha Simpore

Samantha Simpore is one of the nation’s leading youth advocates. A graduate of the Maya Angelou Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., Samantha has a relevant approach to supporting at-risk youth and their families, in addition to service providers and volunteers. Her unique lens is driven by her own youth experience focusing on the positive outcomes of good decision making skills and alternative thinking strategies to escape the arena of poor choices.

With intimate knowledge of the juvenile justice system her expertise as a Behavior Management Specialist at the Maya Angelou Academy at New Beginnings Youth Development Center – the District of Columbia’s educational facility for incarcerated youth – Samantha is an active speaker, trainer, and advocate for justice, education, and diversity initiatives on the local, state and national level. Through advocacy, she transforms lives and learning communities into an area of possibilities where all young people have the opportunity to succeed.

Samantha is currently pursuing professional and personal milestones well beyond the expectations of the disconnected youth she almost became. Now, continuing her education at the University of Maryland and working at a facility where she too was once detained, she uses her experiences and her expertise to engage, train and inspire young people, families, service providers, policy makers, the media, and the community at-large. 

Dr. Ivory Toldson

Dr. Ivory A. Toldson is the newly appointed Deputy Director, for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Prior to this role, Dr. Toldson served as an associate professor at Howard University, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and editor-in-chief of "The Journal of Negro Education." He was also contributing education editor for The Root, where he debunked some of the most pervasive myths about African-Americans in his Show Me the Numbers column.

Dr. Toldson has more than 60 publications, including 3 books, and more than 150 research presentations in 36 US states, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Scotland, South Africa, Paris, and Barcelona. He has been featured on MSNBC, C-SPAN2 Books, NPR News, POTUS on XM Satellite Radio, and numerous local radio stations. His research has been featured on The Root, The National Journal, Essence Magazine,, The Grio, and Ebony Magazine.

Dubbed a leader "who could conceivably navigate the path to the White House" by the Washington Post, one of "30 leaders in the fight for Black men," by Newsweek Magazine, and the "Problem Solver" by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, Dr. Toldson, according to U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, is "a prolific young scholar and myth buster." According to Capstone Magazine, "Toldson has spent a lot of time traveling across the country talking with teachers about misleading media statistics that invariably either link Black males to crime or question their ability to learn." Dr. Toldson was named in the 2013 The Root 100, an annual ranking of the most influential African-American leaders.

Eboni-Rose Thompson

Eboni-Rose Thompson is a native Washingtonian educated in both DC Public Schools and the charter sector. She was the first valedictorian of the SEED School of Washington, DC, going on to receive a BA in History from the University of Pennsylvania, while working in their Office of Government and Community Affairs. Currently Ms. Thompson works as a Program Specialist at Save the Children US, a leading organization that creates equity and opportunity for children globally. In her role with Save the Children, she oversees their early childhood and school-age literacy programs in the District and contributes to projects for their National Education and Health Team.

Prior to working with Save the Children, she was employed with DC Public Schools in the Office of Family and Public Engagement. While at DCPS, she led an interdepartmental Innovation Team to design a comprehensive template highlighting the impact of system-wide school reforms and initiated a district-wide parent leadership initiative to support developing capacity for parent organizations, including a “PTA Prep Series” for burgeoning parent leaders. In 2011, she received the Founder’s Day award from DC PTA for her parent leadership efforts.

Ms. Thompson’s work in her community includes service as a second term advisory neighborhood commissioner and the Chair of the Ward 7 Education Council. She is the former legislative chair for DC PTA, serves as an LSAT member for Plummer Elementary School, and is a contributor for Greater Greater Education. Eboni-Rose participated on the Ward 7 redistricting committee following the 2010 census, working groups for the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative, and had the privilege to serve on the 2013 OSSE Parent Engagement Summit Panel. 

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