Ron Brown Scholar Program Launches Salon Series

    The time has come that we all have access to candid and honest conversations about the impact race has on healthcare, access to education, safety, and security. Join us for the beginning of that candid conversation with an eye on realistic and impactful change with current and future leaders. The RBSP Salon Series will take place weekly covering an array of topics and hosting thought leaders across industries.

    Previous salon series videos can be viewed by clicking on the titles (active links) below.


    July 2, 2020

    RBSP Salon Series #4 - Open Mic (A Frank conversation about how to talk about race across races and within a race)

    Errol Saunders, Ron Brown Scholar 2002

    Errol C. Saunders, II is a doctoral student in the department of Curriculum and Teaching. Prior to coming to Teachers College, he taught middle school history for ten years at Hopkins School in New Haven, CT. His research interests include how students’ socialization to types of schooling affect their transitions into new schooling environments, how private schools and teachers conceive of their relationship to formal pedagogy, and public pedagogies of race in the United States. In addition to his educational interests, Errol serves on the boards of the New Haven Land Trust and Urban Resources Initiative because he firmly believes that wholesale engagement in civil society can strengthen communities by building community capacity. He is a Ron Brown Scholar and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University.

    Kani Keita, Ron Brown Scholar 2008

    Kani is a Vice President at TPG Capital, focused on private equity investments in the Industrials sector. Prior to TPG, Kani spent eight years at Goldman Sachs, six of which in their Principal Investing Area ("PIA") at Goldman Sachs in New York and over three of which in the London office. Kani attended Harvard College, graduating with honors with a major in Political Science, a minor in Economics, and a citation in French. Kani’s interests include history, philosophy, literature, travelling, skiing, and making fresh pastas. She grew up in Miami, Florida and has also spent 5+ years living in England, France, and Switzerland. [She is an enthusiastic member of the Ron Brown Scholar Program Advisory Board.]


    June 25, 2020

    RBSP Salon Series #3 - Role of Media for Social & Racial Equality

    Samuel L. Jackson, Actor, Producer and Activist

    Samuel Leroy Jackson is an actor and producer. Widely regarded as one of the most popular actors of his generation, the films in which he has appeared have collectively grossed over $27 billion worldwide, making him the highest-grossing actor of all time (when cameo appearances are excluded).[1][2][3] He rose to fame with films such as Goodfellas (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Amos & Andrew (1993), True Romance (1993), and Jurassic Park (1993), and has especially been noted for his roles in the Quentin Tarantino films Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Django Unchained (2012), and The Hateful Eight (2015). For his role in Pulp Fiction, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

    Patrick Baker, Board of Trustee @Ron Brown Scholar Program

    An accomplished producer, Patrick Baker is dedicated to developing and producing high quality film, TV, and documentary projects. He started his career in New York City co-producing public policy programs for Cronkite, Ward & Co., a TV-based production company run by legendary journalist Walter Cronkite where he co-produced a one-hour special on confronting hate and discrimination called One Family: Why We Should Care. His talent for identifying salient social justice issues subsequently convinced journalist Bill Moyers to join him in his next endeavor: an Emmy winning PBS project, Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools about the inequalities in public school education. Most recently, Baker produced the feature film Honeymoon starring Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones). He executive produced The Art of Getting By starring Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts for Fox Searchlight and prior to that, Baker executive produced It’s Kind of a Funny Story starring Zach Galifianakis.

    Crystal Boyd, Ron Brown Scholar, Class of 2006

    Crystal Boyd is a 2006 Ron Brown Scholar. She is a co-creator of DOWNTOWN GIRLS, a comedy collective dedicated to creating a new narrative that deconstructs modern experiences, explores relationships, and celebrates women. They've recently developed a pilot, "Black Girl Magic," at SONY Studios and NBC with Gabrielle Union. They also developed a pilot script with Elizabeth Banks and Warner Horizon. Their self-titled show, Downtown Girls, is about four broke and ballsy women hustling to make it in New York City, by any means necessary. Crystal recently played the role of Cora in Comedy Central's "South Side.

    Caleb Franklin, Ron Brown Scholar, Class of 2001

    Caleb is a founder and Managing Partner at Matter Advisors. Caleb currently works in Matter’s Mumbai office representing the company’s clients across the global landscape of media, entertainment, technology and sports. Caleb co-founded Matter in 2017. Previous to this position, Caleb worked for the Creative Artists Agency as the Managing Director for its India operations, representing and packaging opportunities on behalf of leading global companies, brands, and artists for the SAARC region.  Caleb graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University.

    June 18, 2020

    RBSP Salon Series #2 - Leadership for Change Part 2

    Hon. Chaz Beasley, State Representative | North Carolina House of Representative, Ron Brown Scholar Class of 2004

    Currently, Chaz is representative of the North Carolina House of Representatives (District 92). He cites the Ron Brown Scholar Program in his decision to run, as the Program is a personal example of how a supportive community can transform lives. Through public service, he hopes to put the Program’s values of building genuine relationships and supporting future generations into action. Chaz lives near Charlotte, NC.  Strong communities are built upon the idea that the success of one is linked to the success of all. Without the thriving, supportive community of Ron Brown Scholars, Chaz Beasley would not be the person he is today. Born and raised in the foothills of North Carolina, Chaz grew up in a low-income, single-parent home. Facing the challenges of poverty, his family did not have the money to pay for an increasingly-expensive college education. The Ron Brown Scholar Program helped bridge that gap, supporting Chaz as he graduated from Harvard with honors.  The Program honed Chaz’s desire to give back. After graduation, Chaz worked to reform the housing industry during the toughest days of the recent economic crisis. His desire to change the way our nation’s laws impact economic growth encouraged him to attend law school at Georgetown.

    Ms. Amanda Bass, Federal Public Defender, Ron Brown Scholar Class of 2006

    Amanda Bass is an attorney with the Federal Public Defender's Office for the District of Arizona where she represents death-sentenced prisoners in their federal appeals. Amanda served as a member of the two-part legal team working on Julius Jones' federal appeal. Julius Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death at 19-years old. Jones’ case was the focus of an ABC docu-series called “The Last Defense,” from Oscar-winning actress turned executive producer Viola Davis.

    Prior to joining the Federal Public Defender, Amanda worked on both capital and non-capital post-conviction cases in the South. Amanda graduated from Amherst College in 2010 and then went on to earn her JD from New York University School of Law in 2015.

    June 11, 2020

    RBSP Salon Series #1 - Leadership for Change Part 1

    Mr. Aaron S. Williams, Board of Trustees | Ron Brown Scholar Program,  @Director of the U.S. Peace Corps (2009 - 2012)

    Aaron Williams is senior adviser — emeritus, for international development and government relations at RTI International. Previously at RTI, he was executive vice president of the International Development Group. He served as the 18th director of the U.S. Peace Corps from 2009 to 2012 under former President Barack Obama. Before joining RTI, Williams served as a senior official at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Williams is also an adjunct professor of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of global public health.

    Mr. Jonathan Greenblatt, Board of Trustees | Ron Brown Scholar Program, @CEO | Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

    Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and sixth National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), is an accomplished entrepreneur and innovative leader with deep experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors. As chief executive of ADL, Jonathan leads all aspects of one of the most respected civil rights organizations in the country. After his first year at the helm of ADL he was recognized in the NonProfitTimes 2016 “Power & Influence Top 50” list.

    Ms. Morgan Harper, 2001 Ron Brown Scholar Alumni 

    Morgan was born at The Ohio State University Hospital. For the first nine months of her life, she lived in a foster home before being adopted and raised on the east side of Columbus (Berwick) by a Columbus Public Schools teacher. Morgan received financial aid to attend Columbus Academy. She developed an intense commitment to fighting inequality after seeing how opportunities open up, no matter your upbringing, once you're equipped with resources. She later received financial aid with help from the Ron Brown Scholar Program to attend Tufts (BA), Princeton (MA), and Stanford (JD). She spent three years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) protecting consumers against predatory lenders and most recently at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) which invests in communities that have been systematically under-resourced. She cares about nothing more than ending economic segregation—which she believes is systemic. She recently run a campaign for congress in Ohio.

    Mr. Damian Williams, 1998 Ron Brown Scholar Alumni

    Damian Williams is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. Damian is a Ron Brown Scholar from the class of 1998. Damian graduated in 2002 from Harvard University, where he majored in economics and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned an MPhil in international relations at Cambridge University and also holds a JD from Yale Law School At Harvard, Damian won the Detur Book Award, the John Harvard Scholarship, the Ron Brown Scholarship, the Harris Prize. He was named the Lionel de Jersey Harvard Scholar for 2002, under which he studied at Cambridge. At Yale, he was an editor of The Yale Law Journal. Damian has served on the Board of Directors of Human Rights First, the Council on African American Affairs, and Boys Speak Out. After law school, Damian clerked for Judge Merrick B. Garland on the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court.