• Black Lives Matter Summit 2022:
    Black Justice, Black Joy

    The 7th annual Black Lives Matter Summit took place April 11-14, 2022 and invited anyone who believes in the power of activism, creativity and intellect to overcome injustice. A call to action by LaGuardia students, faculty and staff, the summit highlighted and discussed issues of inequity faced by people of color in contemporary society.
    The summit was co-sponsored by CUNY BMI and Center for the Humanities.

  • Black Justice, Black Joy Kickoff

    Dr. Kortni Alston discussed her personal and professional experiences that exemplified our theme – Black Justice, Black Joy – and what Black individuals can do to embody and advance Black joy in light of what’s happening in the world. Introductions by President Kenneth Adams and CUNY BMI Director Dr. Jonathan Quash. Moderated by Wendy Nicholson.

    Environmental Justice in the Black Community

    Prof. Sultan Jenkins moderated a virtual panel on April 12 with Linda McDonald Carter, former associate professor and director of the Paralegal Studies program at Essex County College, along with LaGuardia professors Ryan Mann-Hamilton and Nathan Hosannah. The panel discussed the importance of connecting the aspects of agricultural production and distribution to create a more sustainable food system for Black communities.

    The Next Generation: A student-led event to discuss education, racism, hate speech and students’ perspectives

    On April 13 in the Little Theater, students and alumni discussed current events and issues that impacted Black student lives across college campuses during the pandemic. Students from all backgrounds gave their perspectives and solutions to educational disparities, racism and the rise of hate speech on social media.

    Media and Black Lives

    Exploring the media's impact on Black lives and society, professionals and educators in the field of psychology and communications participated in a virtual discussion on April 14 about some of the most pressing issues in the media. Panelists Dr. Adjoa Osei, Dr. Shaunee Wallace and Dr. Vanessa Bing explored the effects of stereotypical racist and gendered-biased images portrayed in the media and its psychological impact on the mental health of Black individuals. Moderated by Prof. Charlene Bryant and Charis Victory.

  • Keynote Speaker: Dr. Kortni Alston

    Hedashot of Dr. Kortni AlstonDr. Kortni Alston is a Happiness Scholar, TEDx speaker, and Transformational Trainer. Her area of research is interdisciplinary combining the areas of positive psychology, business administration and media management. Her research concentrations value happier workplaces, well-being and meaningful work.

    She is a podcast host for Kourting Happiness, which helps listeners learn how to commit to well-being one episode at a time. Dr. Alston is the founder of Kourting Happiness Movement, which is an online community helping members live a positive life with positive psychology.

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    She is an assistant professor at North Carolina A&T State University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. Currently, she is working on two books focused on positive psychology and workplace well-being.

    Dr. Alston is an in-demand and sought-after trainer. She has created customized training sessions focused on Workplace Well-Being, Resilience, and Happiness. The Carter Center invited her to serve as a trainer for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. Report for America invited Dr. Alston to serve as a facilitator for their Self-Care Session Helping Journalists Build Resilience. As Distinguished Lecturer at Middle Tennessee State University, she was invited to train faculty and students. In a university-wide session for faculty, staff and administrators, Dr. Alston shared how to leverage positive psychology in workplace well-being for in-person and remote work.

    With more than 15 years of journalism industry experience, Dr. Alston has worked as a News Director in Baltimore for a National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate station. Dr. Alston has launched several national news programs such as “The Takeaway” hosted by John Hockenberry and produced by Public Radio International (PRI), BBC, The New York Times, WGBH and WYNC. Additionally, she has served on the advisory.

    She is a recipient of several fellowships by the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation, including Executive Development for Radio Executives at Georgetown University, Connections Mentoring Initiatives and the Albert Fitzpatrick Media Institute at Cox Headquarters.

    Dr. Alston began her journalism career as a radio personality and entertainment reporter at WAFL-FM in Delaware. She later became a reporter in the top markets in the country, including Philadelphia and Houston.

    Many of her stories gained national news coverage, including the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. In addition, Dr. Alston has made several appearances on CNN, covering the astronaut’s funerals and other stories such as Hurricane Claudette and other news events.

    She has a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, College of Journalism and Communication. Dr. Alston received her Master of Business Administration at Morgan State University and B.A in Mass Communication with a focus in Television Production from Delaware State University. Dr. Alston has been inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, an international business honor society that recognizes top business students and scholars worldwide.

    Learn more about our guest panelists:

    Linda McDonald Carter
    Linda McDonald Carter served as an associate professor and director of the Paralegal Studies program at Essex County College. Her humble beginnings started over five decades ago during the tumultuous 1950s, Republican U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s “Red Scare Period” and the Civil Rights era that evolved into the Black Power Movement. Linda blossomed early as an active citizen, protesting the Vietnam War at the tender age of 12. She vividly recalls seeing the world through the eyes of the media and TV show about attorney Perry Mason versus the realities she witnessed daily growing up in the Scudder Housing Projects located in Newark’s Central Ward. She vowed then to become an attorney, not necessarily to practice law and make money, but rather to help make a difference in her community assisting with interpreting the language of law and providing direction on how to navigate the justice system.

    Linda’s burning interest in the world in which we live intensified as she was introduced to new cultures, religions, and people. Throughout her experiences she gained an appreciation and deep respect for the History of the African Diaspora, and the political “isms.” She enrolled in Upward Bound at Bloomfield College, studied Political Science at Rutgers University, participated in the Continuing Legal Educational Opportunity Program at Howard University, and eventually completed her studies in law at Rutgers University.

    In one her first professional positions, she worked tirelessly as Resident Manager at Scudder Homes Public Housing Project advocating for fellow tenants, and later became the Section 8 Manager at the Newark Housing Authority (NHA). While in law school, she worked for United States Senator Bill Bradley before moving to Southern California where she became heavily involved with various grassroots and political initiatives such as registering voters, Linda was hired by Center for Participation in Democracy to engage in a voter empowerment campaign that registered 800,000 Californians. She negotiated political struggles between opposing parties and learning to manage media. These experiences helped her to better understand the principles of politics nationally and internationally.

    After living in Southern California, Linda returned New Jersey. In 1989, she began her current career teaching at Essex County College Simultaneously work aa a Consultant/Coordinator for 100% VOTE, New York to assisting in the implementation of the NJ Motor Voter Executive Order requiring various New Jersey State Agencies that serve the public to make available voter registration forms. In 1990 she held the position of Assistant Corporation Counsel in East Orange. In 1992, she opened her own law firm. In 1994 she became Essex County Colleges first Corporation Counsel, immediately after Governor Christine Whitman provided Community College with the opportunity to hire their own In-House Counsel, rather than using the Office of the Attorney General. Her concentration was Preventative Law. Thereafter, Linda joined Lisa Hendricks-Richardson, Rhonda Pope-Stephens, and Vanessa Williams Powell, to form one of the first and largest African American women law firms in New Jersey, Richardson, Stephens, Powell and Carter, LLC in 1996. During this time she also served as an Assistant Public Defender for the City of Orange.

    Linda is a member of the Association of Black Women Lawyers - New Jersey. She has served in the capacity of VP and as the North Jersey Representative. She is also a member of the Garden State Bar Association (GSBA) and the New Jersey State Bar Association. She recently completed her tenure as the American Association of Paralegals (AAfPE) representative to the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Paralegals. Linda was recently appointed to serve on the NJSBA Commission on Racial Equity in the Law. Her community service activities are extensive and include serving as a Community Elder. Linda is the eldest of six brothers, two sisters; aunt of 17 nieces and nephews and grandaunt of 19. She is also the wife of a cool husband, Aaron Carter.

    Dr. Adjoa Osei

    Hedashot of Dr. Adjoa OseiAdjoa Osei, is a licensed clinical psychologist who received her doctorate from Long Island University, Post campus with a concentration in serious mental illness. Her dissertation focused on examining how Black clinical and counseling psychology doctoral students experienced navigating personal and professional relationships within their academic program. She completed an APA-accredited internship at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn, NY and has experience working in inpatient and outpatient settings.

    Dr. Osei practices from a trauma-informed, culturally sensitive approach. She was trained in both psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which she uses in her virtual private practice and in her private practice office located in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Osei’s practice is founded on the perspective that identity is integral to therapeutic work and thus, she views a person and their presenting problems within a cultural context.

    She is a published author and has facilitated multiple presentations and workshops on various psychological and social issues, such as racial trauma, historical trauma, vicarious trauma, and racial microaggressions.

    Kayla Williams

    Hedashot of Kayla Williams Kayla Williams was born and raised in Queens, New York and at 19 years old she had a paralyzing fear of starting college. She was homeschooled by her mother throughout high school and with all the amazing things she learned, all her sense of social cues went out the window. She and her brother were her mother’s only students and when she would go out into the real world, her stunted social abilities stuck out like a sore thumb. If you ever had the pleasure of hearing her speak at the time, her voice would resemble one of the Teletubbies. Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa or Po, take your pick. Anxiety wrapped itself around her but didn't stop her from continuing her education. She attended LaGuardia Community College where she obtained her associate degree in Journalism. Not expecting the journey that was ahead, she was honored to be published in The Bridge, The Fiorello and The Lit Magazine. At LaGuardia Community College, Kayla was an involved student and was a part of Phi Theta Kappa Honor's Society, President's Society, President of the Journalism Club and a Peer Advisor. After graduating from LaGuardia, she was accepted into the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies program to construct and pursue her bachelor’s degree in Philosophical Journalism at Baruch, Hunter, and Brooklyn College. Kayla has interned for The Black Lotus Foundation (a Social Services Foundation in Detroit that strives to reconstruct the Black narrative through honest media and entertainment, distributing a more authentic worldview to our global audience) and as an SSM for the Center for Teaching and Learning at LaGuardia, she has been a part of countless events and designed #AllStudentsCreate (an interactive virtual museum) to help inspire students to create and share. In addition to her love for writing, she enjoys all forms of creative expression, including martial arts, painting, designing, coding, and creating music.

    Peire Wilson

    Hedashot of Peire Wilson Peiré Wilson is an arts, media and entertainment legal professional with a wide-ranging background in IP and corporate law, digital rights management, and digital media. He started his legal career at a boutique entertainment law firm as a paralegal, where he assisted counsel on publishing copyright and right of publicity issues. He currently is Associate Director of Business Affairs at Spark Foundry, a global media agency within Publicis Media, where he supports the U.S. content and investments teams on custom content programs and influencer social media campaigns on behalf of advertisers. He is passionate about creators, innovation, and finding creative solutions to help creators protect and monetize their intellectual property. He earned his associate degree in paralegal studies from LaGuardia Community College in 2017 and his bachelor’s degree in political science from City College of New York in 2019.

  • Black Lives Matter Summit 2022 Planning Committee

    Special thanks to our committee members for their work in planning and executing the Black Lives Matter Summit 2022 events.

    Name Department
    Rachel Romain, Chair Multicultural Exchange
    Kyle Hollar-Gregory, Co-Chair Social Science
    Jason Hendrickson English
    Wendy Nicholson Office of the President
    Deema Bayrakdar Women's Center/LGBTQ Safe Zone Hub
    Sultan Jenkins Natural Sciences Department
    Karen McKeon Administrative Services
    Karen Muehlbauer Marketing & Communications
    Ryan Mann-Hamilton Social Science
    Charlene Bryant Social Science
    Charis Victory ASAP Program
    Brett Cummings ASAP Program
    Claudette Davis Natural Sciences
    Shayla Pruitt Campus Life
    Shaunee Wallace Humanities