Award-Winning Academic Visits to Discuss Racial Literacy in Education

Guest speaker at a lectern in the Student Union Multipurpose Room

The SUNY Old Westbury School of Education recently welcomed a nationally recognized speaker on issues of race, culturally responsive pedagogy, and diversity to discuss with its students, alumni and partnering school districts how to move towards more equitable school experiences for Black and Latinx students.

Speaker Dr. Sealey-Ruiz with Dean Sukhram
Guest speaker Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz (left) with SUNY Old Westbury School of Education Dean Dr. Diana Sukhram.

Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, an associate professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, works around the nation with K-12 and higher education communities to increase their racial literacy knowledge. 

In her presentation, "Moving to Action: Racial Literacy Development-From Theory to Practice," Dr. Sealey-Ruiz challenged the approximately 150 in attendance to consider what she describes as the "Archeology of Self" when teaching, which engages students to dig deep into their life experiences and explore how those experiences have shaped the lives they have today. 

In both 2022 and 2023, Dr. Sealey-Ruiz was named one of EdWeek’s EduScholar Influencers — a list of the Top 1% of educational scholars in the United States –a highly selective group of 200 scholars. She also earned the Edward B. Fry 2022 Book Award Winner from the Literary Research Association for her work, "Advancing Racial Literacies in Teacher Education: Activism for Equity in Digital Spaces."

At Teachers College, she is founder of the Racial Literacy Roundtables Series where for 15 years, national scholars, teachers, and students facilitate conversations around race and other issues involving diversity. Yolanda has appeared in several documentaries including Spike Lee's "2 Fists Up: We Gon' Be Alright" (2016), a documentary about the Black Lives Matter movement and the campus protests at Mizzou. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Love from the Vortex & Other Poems was published in March 2020. Her sophomore book of poetry, The Peace Chronicles, was published in July, 2021.

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