Dr. Darnisa Amante is an educational and racial equity strategist that is deeply committed to the study of culture; innovation; and adult development. Since earning her master’s degree in Anthropology from Brandeis University, and her doctorate from Harvard’s Educational Leadership Doctorate (Ed.L.D.), Dr. Amante has honed her knowledge of culture and adult development to transform organizational and school cultures on issues of equity; change management and re-design. Dr. Amante currently serves as the CEO of The Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP) and as system level leadership lecturer at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Dr. Darnisa Amante
Deaweh Benson is a research associate at the American Institutes for Research. She has a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA from Spelman College. Her primary areas of focus include youth empowerment, persistence in higher education, school-to-work transitions, and social and emotional learning. She has conducted secondary analyses of large-scale national survey data, written literature reviews, and provided consultation to nonprofits on curriculum design and implementation. Deaweh also has experience launching and managing nonprofit organizations, designing programs to promote equitable practices in education, teaching English as a second language in China, and supporting positive youth development interventions for underserved populations.
Sundai K Bestman is an aspiring educational and racial equity strategist that is committed to using his dual passion of art and fitness to positively impact boys of color. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and being the son of two hardworking parents of African descent, Sundai developed a strong cultural identity early. During his high school and college years, his work as a Camp Counselor, Mentor and Big Brother to boys of color evolved into a passion to use his love of art and fitness to dismantle systemic oppression as it shows up on the mental health and body self-images of boys of color. He currently serves as the Project Coordinator and Executive Assistant to Dr. Amante of The Disruptive Equity Education Project Company.
With over 10 years of experience teaching in the classroom and serving as a socio-emotional learning (SEL) facilitator, Daisy deeply believes in the power of uniting people from diverse backgrounds and providing experiential opportunities for meaningful coalition building. After earning her undergraduate degree early at the University of California, Berkeley, in ethnic studies and international relations, she lived abroad in Nicaragua where she taught leadership and environmental education. She continues to work in Central America twice a year with global student workshops through the World Leadership School. Daisy has her master’s degree in education from St. Mary’s College and four Montessori certifications for 1st-12th grade education. Daisy teaches a course called “Leading for Equity” at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and partners with local schools in the Boston area to dismantle systemic racism and create equitable opportunities for all students. As DEEP’s Director of Equity Curriculum and Education she is, first and foremost, the holder of the practice, the toolkit, and the workshop impact.
Since the onset of his career, the Reverend Eric C. Jackson, Senior Minster at Brookside Congregational Church in NH, has worked tirelessly to build the bridge between religion, advocacy, and social justice. With his Masters of Divinity from Drew Theological School, an Engel Fellow at Princeton University Theological Seminary and a current candidate for the Doctorate of Ministry at Hartford Seminary, Reverend Jackson focuses on partnering with communities to leverage the teachings of the Bible and Jesus Christ.
As the current branch president of the Greater Manchester, New Hampshire NAACP, Reverend Jackson has worked tirelessly to bring awareness of racism, prejudice and biases to many communities across New England and New York City. For Jackson, the tandem of religion and advocacy affords communities the ability to combat injustice; garner new forms of justice and to create bridges for reconciliation.