Judith Browne Dianis

Executive Director
Advancement Project - DC

Judith Browne Dianis has an extensive background in civil rights litigation and advocacy in the areas of voting, education, housing, and employment. She has protected the rights of people of color in the midst of some of the greatest civil rights crises of our modern times, including in Florida after the 2000 election and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Dianis is also a pioneer in the movement to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline in school districts. Working closely with grassroots organizations, With Judith’s leadership, Advancement Project’s work has significantly decreased student suspensions and arrests in Denver, Baltimore and Florida.

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

Dispatches from Cleveland

Dispatches from Cleveland is a documentary in five parts that closely examines the Midwestern city of Cleveland, Ohio, one of the most racially divided cities in America, in the wake of the police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. The film follows ordinary people – long shaken by police misconduct, social discrimination, and poverty – whose love for their home pushes them to work together to bring about real change.

Featuring post-screening Q&A with filmmaker Cat Gund, Judith Browne Dianis with the Advancement Project, and Jonathan Stith with the Alliance for Educational Justice. Moderated by Ohio Organizing Collaborative's DaMareo Cooper.

Speakers: Catherine Gund, Judith Browne Dianis, Jonathan Stith, DaMareo Cooper

Policing Race – the Intersection of Policing, Immigration, and School Criminalization

Communities of color across the United States are under siege by an unforgiving and destructive police state. While there is positive movement to transform laws that lead to over-criminalization, many communities still feel the brunt of a system infected with structural racism that includes unfair laws that criminalize even the most minor actions, contact with biased police that operate under policies that breed a culture of violence, and a correctional system that serves as a disposal system. Unjust law enforcement policies and practices, and a racist culture of police violence have poured into our public schools, specifically schools serving Black and Brown children, and continue to manifest in our neighborhoods and in immigration enforcement through ICE raids, 287G arraignments, gang databases, and the deputizing of local police departments.

As a result, communities and families have been devastated, lacking a sense of safety and justice. Grassroots organizations who can hold systems accountable must be at the forefront for there to be sustainable change. These communities should be engaged in reimagining safety.

This workshop will explore the interconnectedness of policing, immigration enforcement, school militarization that prohibits our communities from living free and safe. Through presentation, sharing and activities, participants will explore design of campaigns to that connect our communities, work and vision of safety. Participants will be provided with tools to wage intersectional efforts to address these issues within their communities.

Speakers: Judith Browne Dianis, Jonathan Stith, Carlos Garcia, Todd St. Hill

Presentations from Facing Race 2016

Using Organizing and Legal Tactics to Resist the Privatization of Public Schools

In Chicago, 50 public schools were closed in 2013. That same year, 23 schools were closed in Philadelphia. The "education reform" movement has exploded--backed by investors and philanthropists seeking to privatize education by capitalizing on our flawed accountability system and its overreliance on high-stakes testing and evaluations. The result is an explosion of school closures, takeovers, and a surplus of unaccountable charter schools. These "education experiments" are imposed primarily on Black and Brown neighborhoods--that have experienced decades of education disinvestment-- and have led to deep resource disparities and the loss of these important community institutions. Communities are resisting these harmful policies through organizing and legal tactics. This session will feature lawyers and organizers who will share the successes and challenges of these legal and organizing tactics and emphasize the need for sustainable community schools. Panelists will share opportunities to get involved in a unified fight against privatization by targeting federal policymakers. Through an interactive activity or small groups, participants will then be invited to share some of their tactics & brainstorm others -- followed by a Q&A period.

Speakers: Jitu Brown, Judith Browne Dianis, Natasha Capers, Sharon Smith

Presentations from Facing Race 2014

The Need for a Racial Justice Intervention in Education Reform

This panel of teachers, advocates and education experts will examine the history of the achievement gap. In particular the workshop will cover how it's been used as a justification for privatized school reform efforts and wedging big divisions between communities of color and traditionally liberal education advocates (eg unions, teachers, etc.).

Speakers: Chela Delgado, Judith Browne Dianis, Hany Khalil, Julianne Hing

Presentations from Facing Race 2012

Now What? Debriefing the Election and Talking Governance

This session features political luminaries reflecting on lessons from the 2012 and the agenda we need to set for policymakers in the coming years. Includes racial dimensions of electoral turnout, voting rights, the economy, immigration and more.

Speakers: Judith Browne Dianis, Jacqueline Johnson Pata, Kai Wright