Keynote Speakers

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Piper Kerman

Piper Kerman is a social justice advocate and the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison. This eye-opening memoir recounts the year that Piper spent in federal prison for a crime she had committed ten years previously during a brief involvement with the drug trade. Compelling, moving, and often hilarious, Orange is the New Black explores issues of friendship and family, mental illness, the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailor, and the almost complete lack of guidance our society offers for post-prison life. The book inspired the Peabody Award-winning, critically acclaimed Netflix series of the same name, and has been credited with radically increasing the public’s awareness about mass incarceration and the growing female prison population. Kerman speaks to audiences around the country, including the American Correctional Association’s Disproportionate Minority Confinement Task Force, federal probation officers, public defenders, justice reform advocates and volunteers, and formerly and currently incarcerated people. She serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association and the advisory boards of the PEN America Writing For Justice Fellowship, InsideOUT Writers, Healing Broken Circles, and JustLeadershipUSA, and has spoken at the White House and testified before the US Senate. She speaks about learning from mistakes, the power of women’s communities, the need for prison reform and support for people after incarceration, her life and experiences, and the TV series.

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Dr. Pedro A. Noguera

Pedro Noguera is the Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. His research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional and global contexts. He is the author of twelve books and over 200 articles and monographs. He serves on the boards of numerous national and local organizations and appears as a regular commentator on educational issues on CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and other national news outlets. Prior to joining the faculty at UCLA he served as a tenured professor and holder of endowed chairs at New York University (2003 – 2015) Harvard University (2000 – 2003) and the University of California, Berkeley (1990 – 2000). From 2009 - 2012 he served as a Trustee for the State University of New York (SUNY) as an appointee of the Governor. In 2014 he was elected to the National Academy of Education. Noguera recently received awards from the Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences, from the National Association of Secondary Principals, and from the McSilver Institute at NYU for his research and advocacy efforts aimed at fighting poverty.