2024 Center for Equity and Cultural Wealth Institute

2024 CECW Institute - Toward Student Agency and Action: The Liberatory Power of Language, Culture and Community in Higher Ed

Please join us for the Seventh Annual CECW Institute on Thursday, June 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the Charlestown campus.  

The 2024 CECW Institute affirms the liberatory power of language, culture, and community in higher education. “Liberation Literacies,” a framework developed by our keynote speaker, Dr. Jamila Lyiscott, will guide the day’s exploration.

Participants will come away with strategies for developing institutional and academic cultures that value and respect the “Liberation Literacies” students use to express the knowledge, histories, creativity, and resilience of their cultures and communities. Breakout sessions will showcase best practices for integrating students’ literacies in the classroom and college services to dismantle systems of privilege and advance racial equity. The Institute will also highlight the role that “Liberation Literacies” play in the development of student agency, advocacy, and activism which serves as a foundation for students’ academic and lifelong success. 

View the 2024 Institute Program

Dr. Lyiscott’s Keynote

Student Conversation with Dr. Lyiscott

Student Performances

Featured Speaker: Jamila Lyiscott, PhD

Jamila Lyiscott, PhDFeatured Speaker: Jamila Lyiscott, PhD headshot

Aspiring Way-Maker, Social Justice Education Scholar, Author & Spoken Word Poet

Jamila Lyiscott aka, Dr. J, is an award-winning community-engaged scholar, nationally renowned speaker, and the author of Black Appetite. White Food: Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom. She currently serves as a Tenured Professor of Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is the founding co-director of the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research, and previously led the journal of Equity & Excellence in Education as an Editor-in-Chief. Dr. J’s research and activism work together to explore, assert, and defend the value of Black life globally. Her research examines the liberatory capacity of language and culture in the lives of youth of color, racial healing, youth-led activism, and the power of the African Diaspora to transgress coloniality.

CECW Institute Agenda

Toward Student Agency and Action: The Liberatory Power of Language, Culture and Community

8:30-9 a.m. Breakfast |Gymnasium

9-9:15 a.m. Introduction of New Director | Gymnasium

Carlnita Green, Ph.D., Dean, Behavioral and Social Sciences

Welcome | Gymnasium

Divya Anand, Ph.D., CECW Director 

Land Acknowledgement | Gymnasium

Pam Eddinger, Ph.D.,  BHCC President

Native American Prayer & Song

Larry Spotted Crow Mann, BHCC Artist & Scholar in Residence

9:15-10 a.m. Keynote Speaker | Gymnasium

Introduction: Naoko Akai-Dennis, Ph.D.

Jamila Lyiscott, Ph.D.

UMass Amherst, Tenured Professor of Social Justice Education

Founder and Co-Director, Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research

10-10:45 a.m. Student and Dr. Lyiscott in Conversation | Gymnasium

10:45-11 a.m. Q&A

11-11:15 a.m. Break 

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Concurrent Workshops | G-Building Classrooms

12:15-12:45 p.m. Lunch 

12:45-1:15 p.m. Student Performance | Gymnasium

1:15-1:30 p.m. Break

1:30-2:30 p.m. Concurrent Workshops | G-Building Classrooms

2:30-3 p.m. Closing discussion & Evaluation | Gymnasium

Lloyd Sheldon Johnson, Ph.D. 

Divya Anand, Ph.D., CECW Director

CECW Institute Outcomes


  • Gain an understanding of the power of “Liberation Literacies” in shaping identity, fostering agency and activism, and advancing student outcomes.
  • Gain an understanding of the role of “Liberation Literacies” from a Cultural Wealth perspective in the work of building just and equitable institutions.   


  • Engage in dialogue to critically reflect on why “Liberation Literacies” rooted in culture and communities, are marginalized in higher education.


  • Identify opportunities for collaboration to integrate “Liberation Literacies” into classrooms and support services to amplify student agency, advocacy, and activism, and increase student outcomes.    


  • Utilize multiple resources for ongoing learning and development of best practices that center “Liberation Literacies” rooted in culture and community in support services, classrooms, and student leadership efforts.