Outspoken Benton Harbor School Board Member Elnora Gavin to Keynote PuLSE 2023 Conference on Affirmative Action Sep 14

Elnora Gavin, a longtime advocate for educational and racial equity, and a member of the Benton Harbor Area Schools Board of Education, has been invited to be a keynote speaker at this year’s conference on Affirmative Action and Economic Justice organized and hosted by The PuLSE Institute, Detroit’s national and independent non-partisan anti-poverty think tank.  

The poverty-themed conference will be held virtually this year on Thursday, September 14, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 pm and will feature solution-oriented keynote presentations and cutting-edge about how to address the salient issues of poverty and inequality in urban America including Detroit, one of the nation’s largest Black cities, and one of the most impoverished in the country. 

Registration for the conference is now open on Eventbrite. 

The September gathering is the Institute’s annual racial and economic justice conference for policy makers, scholars, industry captains and community advocates working towards creating an ethical economy that guarantees equality for all.

The theme for the 2023 conference “Unfinished Mandate: Affirmative Action and the Call to Champion Racial Equity and Economic Justice” in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Affirmative Action, one of the crucial programs that came out of the Civil Rights Movement.

Gavin has been a convening partner for the Race2Equity Benton Harbor Hub and Co-Founder of the Peace4Life Student Organization, where she facilitated healing workshops, community events and strategy sessions to address key areas of local concern with regard to destabilization efforts of public schools in both the City of Benton Harbor and across the State of Michigan.

In collaboration with residents, racial equity leaders, and supporting organizations, Gavin’s most relevant education justice work involves mobilizing youth and community to inspire education funding and reform harmful policy practices that lead to public school closures.

“As we gather for this year’s PuLSE National Racial and Economic Justice Conference, I am honored to serve as a keynote speaker in the midst of great thought leaders who dare to plant the audacious seeds of ending systemic oppression and poverty,” Gavin said. “Thriving communities don’t happen without concerted movements and no great movement ever took flight without first enacting impactful conversations. When a proven human rights organization such as The PuLSE Institute is charged with leading our linked communities’ most urgent conversation, the inevitable synergistic result is elevated mindsets inspiring the radical change that today’s abundance movement demands from everyone of us.”

Attorney Tina M. Patterson, the President and Director of Research at The PuLSE Institute said the future of education in Benton Harbor is important to the theme of the conference.

“At The PuLSE Institute, we are honored to continue bringing in different voices across the spectrum of the Affirmative Action debate. That is why centering an impoverished Black city like Benton Harbor at this conference is important because the discussion is about access and equity in education, all of which will be addressed by our speaker Elnora Gavin from the Benton Harbor Board of Education,” Patterson said.

Bankole Thompson the nationally renowned Black journalist and a standard-bearer for racial and economic justice issues, whose longstanding and influential work on race, democracy and poverty led to the founding of The PuLSE Institute five years ago, said Benton Harbor is part of ground zero of the urban educational crisis.

“This gathering is also about the educational future of Black Michigan and that includes Benton Harbor which is nestled in our midst with so many challenges that mirror the state of affairs in urban communities across the nation. Every community from Detroit to Benton Harbor should be concerned about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Affirmative Action because it is going to decide whether they have an opportunity in college to flourish and contribute meaningfully to society,” said Thompson, who serves as the executive dean of The PuLSE Institute, and is a twice-a-week opinion columnist at The Detroit News. 

Thompson, who was recently elected to the National Board of Directors of the historic Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the signature civil rights organization founded by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who served as its first president, and which led the Civil Rights Movement, said “As a journalist who has long focused his lens on the socioeconomic crisis that has been unraveling in Benton Harbor and seeking to bring those issues to the attention of those in government, it is important to hear from one of that community’s courageous school board members such as Elnora Gavin. She is at the forefront of the fight for equity in that city.”

Several prominent leaders speaking at The PuLSE Institute conference include Erwin Chemerinsky, the internationally celebrated legal scholar and the dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, who is dubbed as the most influential person in legal education in the United States, Michigan State University interim President Dr. Teresa WoodruffDTE Chairman and CEO Jerry NorciaDr. E’Lois Thomas, the President SEEL, a national African American energy company, Attorney Patterson of The PuLSE Institute.

For inquiries about the conference email info@thepulseinstitute.org.

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