About the Summit

2018 Keynote Speakers


W. Kamau Bell

Emmy-nominated comic and CNN host W. Kamau Bell delivers incisive, scathingly funny commentary on modern society that will change your view of race, politics and social issues in America. As host of the CNN docu-series “United Shades of America,” Kamau travels the country, offering viewers a rare yet eye-opening look inside the various subcultures of American life. The second season for United Shades of America starts this April. He first captured audiences’ attention with his thought-provoking one-man show, “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour,” and later, with his widely praised FX comedy series, “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” The multi-talented entertainer also hosts the must-listen podcasts, “Denzel Washington is The Greatest Actor of All Time Period” and “Politically Reactive,” as well as the live public radio show, “Kamau Right Now!” Kamau’s book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell, will be released May 2nd.

With a post-modern perspective, Kamau brings audiences provocative insights as well as very human, very necessary commentary on the headlines of the day, from race relations to cultural divides. His edgy yet level-headed view of the world leaves you with a more hopeful understanding of our country’s challenges, as well as conversation-stoking takeaways on humanity and social change that will have you contemplating the state of the union long after he has left the stage. Kamau’s special, Semi-Prominent Negro, aired on Showtime this past April. An acclaimed comedian and satirist, he offers political and social commentary with scathingly funny wit and perspective. He discusses the impact of race on American culture and a humorously accurate portrayal of life in the so-called “post-racial” U.S. His one man show, “Ending Racism in About An Hour” has been praised by audiences and critics from leading outlets, including “The Guardian” and “Time Out New York.”


Christopher Emdin

Professor of Science Education & Author, and Minorities in Energy Ambassador for the Department of Energy

Christopher Emdin is an Associate Professor of Science Education and Director of Science Education in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University. He also serves as Associate Director of the Institute For Urban and Minority Education at the college.

Dr. Emdin holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education with a concentration in Mathematics, Science and Technology, a M.S. in Natural Sciences, and Bachelors degrees in Physical Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry.

He was recently awarded the 2016 Early Career Award by the American Educational Researchers Association and 2015 Multicultural Educator of the Year by the National Association of Multicultural Educators.

Professor Emdin was also selected as a STEM Access Champion of Change by the White House, and currently serves as Minorities in Energy Ambassador for the United States Department of Energy.

Dr. Emdin is also listed on the ROOT100 list of most influential African Americans in the fields of business, science, politics, technology, social justice, sports and entertainment.

He is founder of the #HipHopEd movement, and the author of the award winning book, Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation, and the New York Times bestseller, For White Folks Who Teach In The Hood…and the Rest of Ya’ll To.


The Summit is defined by 6 major strands.

  • Best Practices in Improving School Climate
  • Multi-Tiered System of Supports
  • Cultural Profiency
  • Social, Emotional and Physical Health
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Leadership

Click here to learn more about these strands.