Speakers will be featured in three separate panels: EducationActivism, and Preservation.


The Education panel will include:

Kimberly McCleary – Education Manager at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. She has an M.A. in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program at the State University of New York. She has a background teaching middle school students through Breakthrough Collaborative and experience creating participatory museum programs at the Williamson Museum and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Kimberly currently administers school programming and professional development workshops at HSP, where she focuses on document-based learning that helps students enhance their literacy skills, critical thinking, and civic engagement.

Tukufu Zuberi – Lasry Family Professor of Race Relations, and Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Zuberi engages an innovative model of presenting his research that includes writing, teaching, filmmaking, museum curating, and social media. He received his doctorate in Sociology from the University of Chicago.

Professor Zuberi’s most recent publication is African Independence: How Africa Shapes the World, (Maryland, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015). His current research will result in a book and documentary film/video comparing the Demography of Race in North and South America, Europe, and Africa. To date, Professor Zuberi has curated 4 major exhibitions, including Tides of Freedom: African Presence on the Delaware River, and Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster (exhibited in three cities). He is currently curating the re-installation and redesign of the Penn Museums Africa Gallery, opening 2019.

Ismael Jimenez – dedicated educator who, for the last twelve years, has worked with students in Philadelphia from preschool age to high school. After working as a secondary social studies teacher at Germantown High School until it was closed, Ismael then was appointed to Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School. Along with being an active member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Ismael has facilitated several professional developments with colleagues in the school district and at postsecondary institutions like University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University and Princeton University on issues ranging from structural racism to bridging the knowledge gap of students between high school and postsecondary institutions.

Currently, Ismael is co-chair of the Caucus of Working Educators and co-founder of the Philadelphia Black History Collaborative. In addition, Ismael is an active participant in several other organizations that seek racial justice in education such as Black Lives Matter Philly. The philosophical orientation that guides Ismael’s teaching and activism is rooted in the theoretical educational framework developed by Paulo Freire which emphasizes the interconnected nature of education with participating in the transformation of the world.


The Activism panel will include:

David Acosta – poet, writer, activist, and cultural worker whose work has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. For more than thee decades, his activism has focused on HIV/AIDS prevention, health care reform, indigenous and LGBT rights. He is Co-Founder of Casa de Duende, where he serves as the Artistic Director, and is a co founding editor of Wicked Gay Ways, an online artistic and literary journal devoted to queer erotica and to the intersections of sexuality, art and desire. He is a co-founder of the Philadelphia Latin American Film Festival and was the founder and previous Executive Director of GALAEI.

Acosta directed Letters to my Father/Letters to My Son and most recently Targeted as part of the First Person Arts Commonspace Collaboration between WHYY and First Person Arts; he has also directed performances for First Person Arts as part of the Fringe Festival. Acosta currently serves as the board Vice President for the Da Vinci Art Alliance, is on the Arts Advisory Committee for Taller Puertorriqueño, and is a member of the WWCC John J. Wilcox Archives.

Sharron Cooks – Owner and CEO of Making Our Lives Easier LLC, a consulting firm that provides quality resources and information to underrepresented and vulnerable communities. Cooks is the first African-American transgender female to serve as a National Delegate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2016 at the Democratic National Convention. She is a passionate human rights activist and the first-ever transgender person to chair a citywide commission in the City of Philadelphia; she was also the first African-American transgender female Vice President of Equality Pennsylvania. Cook has received numerous awards and acknowledgements for her contributions to LGBTQ social justice activism.

Cooks holds a B.A. in Philosophy with a focus on ethics from Arcadia University, where she was the first openly transgender African-American female graduate. Currently, Cooks is a graduate student at Temple University’s Master of Liberal Arts program, where her studies focus on exploring the ethics of cultural exchange in the global marketplace.

Tyrone Smith – activist and community organizer with over three decades of experience. Smith, who is originally from Kinston, North Carolina, has lived here in Philadelphia for most of his adult life. Living his truth as an openly and unapologetic African American gay man, his passion for people is what got him started working as an advocate for marginalized communities. In 1984, he helped to create IMPACT (Interpreting Minority Perspectives for Action), an organization that raised awareness of Black health, political, and social needs in Philadelphia. In 1985, he was elected to the board of We The People, an AIDS organizations that helped people living with HIV/AIDS.

Early in the crisis, Smith saw HIV/AIDS “marketed as a white gay man’s disease.” In 1993, he co-founded Unity, Inc., the first grassroots organization in the city run by Black gay men for Black gay men, addressing needs not being met by the Philadelphia AIDS Task Force. Smith has also served as the associate director of Neighborhoods United Against Drugs and as a board member and founding member of the Black Gay Men’s Leadership Council. Smith encourages us to come together to create “our own institutions for ourselves.”


The Preservation panel will include:

Faye Anderson – public policy consultant. She advises nonprofits on how to impact the policymaking process on a wide range of issues, including gentrification and historic preservation. She is a two-time recipient of a diversity scholarship to attend the annual conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Anderson is director of All That Philly Jazz, a place-based public history project that is documenting Philadelphia’s jazz heritage. The project is at the intersection of art, cultural heritage preservation and social justice. All That Philly Jazz was named one of the top 50 websites for jazz musicians, teachers and students.

Cynthia Barnes – parent, community activist, and lifelong Philadelphian. She currently serves as Assistant Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia. Barnes has held numerous positions with the City, specializing in Civic Engagement, and states that “being a Community Organizer is the most rewarding position, other than being a wife and mother of five.”

Barnes has served as the Director of the Nicetown-Tioga Improvement Team RCO (NTIT) for nearly 20 years.  NTIT is an inclusive coalition of residents and community partners who represent their neighborhood in zoning matters and address other quality of life issues, including city residents’ needs for housing, education, employment and self-development.