The Social Development Commission’s Summit on Poverty Returns with In-Person and Virtual Offerings

Three-day conference runs October 19th thru October 21st  

(Milwaukee, WI) — The Social Development Commission’s Summit on Poverty is back!  After postponing the event during the height of the pandemic, the popular conference returns in October as an in-person or virtual experience.

The 2021 theme is Realities, Reflections and Recovery: Surviving and Thriving Through the Year 2020. The pandemic forced all of us to address tough realities in our community. These issues included everything from health disparities to social unrest to an economic crisis.

The Summit on Poverty examines evidence-based strategies and the latest tools for exposing and disrupting the experience of poverty.


The Summit on Poverty conference will feature a variety of dynamic speakers. The Social Development Commission is pleased to announce our keynote speakers: .

Pedro Noguera is one of the country’s most important voices on education reform, diversity, and the achievement gap. An award-winning educator, author and activist, he is the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. His research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional and global contexts.

Tawanna A. Black is a nationally recognized thought leader and the Founder & CEO of the Center For Economic Inclusion. She is known for influencing, inspiring, and equipping cross-sector leaders to produce actions that create equitable and thriving communities. For more than 20 years, Tawanna has led multi-sector collaboratives, triple bottom line diversity and inclusion strategy development, and economic revitalization organizations in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota.

Richard Rothstein is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He is the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. He is also the author of many other articles and books on race and education. Previous influential books include Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black–White Achievement Gap and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right.

Mariah Parker is part of a new wave of young women of color entering politics. She first made headlines after being sworn in as an Athens-Clarke County, Georgia Commissioner, at age 26, with her hand on a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X held by her mother. Photos of her taking the oath went viral, highlighting the growing numbers of millennial Black women making their voices heard in local politics nationwide.

Mayor Chokwe Lumumba is the 53rd mayor of the City of Jackson, Mississippi. Sworn in at 34 years old, he is the youngest mayor in Jackson’s history. He is an attorney, a husband, a father, and the son of two life-long community activists—the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and Nubia Lumumba. Since assuming the role in 2017, Mayor Lumumba and the Lumumba Administration have advanced a number of important initiatives in the City of Jackson.

Dr. R. Kweku Smith was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. Since 2007, Smith has been the President of BLAQUESMITH Psychological Consultative Services, LLC. As chief consultant, Dr. Smith’s work with the federal government, Washington DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and Kansas University’s SWIFT urban education project; to improve educational outcomes for at-risk youth, adjudicated youth and school districts in need of improvement. In addition to his work nationally, Dr. Smith strives to make an impact locally through providing #training and support to area schools and agencies on the topics of #violenceprevention, #trauma informed care, foster care #reform and human trafficking.


Register now for the 2021 Summit on Poverty, visit

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