PA-NAME - 18th Annual Conference - April 1-2, 2016

West Chester University
Sykes Student Union
110 W. Rosedale Avenue, West Chester PA 19383

April 1-2, 2016

Imagining Possibilities: 
Moving Beyond Boundaries to Realize American Democracy



The classroom with all its limitations remains a location of possibility. In the field of that possibility, we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress.

- bell hooks (1994)   

In fall 2015, the National Association of Multicultural Education celebrates its 25th year anniversary by looking back at the legacy of the organization and the leading scholars who laid the groundwork for the field. Pennsylvania NAME intends to continue this important conversation with a focus on imagining future possibilities.  In step with hooks’ call to “collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries,” we ask participants to reflect on the past accomplishments of multicultural education and envision their roles in the advancement of social justice in a democratic society.  We invite proposals from a wide range of fields and professions to address this conference theme.  Conference proposals should engage with the following questions: 
  • Where are the spaces of possibility in our work, and how can we maximize these spaces? 
  • What possibilities do we see for ourselves, our communities, and our students and how are we realizing these? 
  • What are the challenges that we face as we work to enact possibilities?


Helen Gym

Helen Gym was elected to serve in the Philadelphia City Council in 2015. Helen is a recognized movement strategist serving Philadelphia's communities for over two decades. A mother, teacher and community activist, she has been a leading voice for more than 20 years organizing communities for educational equity, immigrant rights, neighborhood self-determination, and racial justice. She is a former Philadelphia Public School Notebook editor and a co-founder of Parents United for Public Education, a citywide parent group focused on school budgets and funding to improve achievement and accountability in the public schools. 

She is a board member at Asian Americans United, a Chinatown-based community organization active in education, youth leadership, immigrant rights, and community development; an associate editor with Rethinking Schoolsa national social justice teaching journal; and one of the co-founders of the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School founded by Asian Americans United in 2005.  Pacific Citizen named Helen their Outstanding Asian Pacific American Community Leader of the Year in 2011, and she was the Philadelphia Inquirer's "Citizen of the Year" in December 2007 for her work in education, immigration and community activism. Gym received a bachelor's degree in history and economics and a master's degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Brian Johnson
Brian C. Johnson honors the struggles and accomplishments of the ordinary citizens who launched the Civil Rights Movement by committing himself personally and professionally to the advancement of multicultural and inclusive education.

He serves as a faculty member in the department of academic enrichment at Bloomsburg University and is the director of the Frederick Douglass Institute forAcademic Excellence. He is a founder of the Pennsylvania Association of Liaisons and Officers of Multicultural Affairs, a consortium that promotes best practices for diversity in higher education. He earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in English from California University of Pennsylvania, and is an advanced doctoral student in communications media and instructional technology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Brian is the co-author of Reel Diversity: A Teacher’s Sourcebook (2008), winner of the 2009 Phillip Chinn Book Award by the National Association for Multicultural Education, and We’ve Scene It All Before: Using Film Clips in Diversity Awareness Training (2009).

Linda Christensen

Linda Christensen is the Director of the Oregon Writing Project, located in the Graduate School of Education at Lewis & Clark College. The OWP is part of the National Writing Project network, the oldest and largest professional development project in the United States. Linda is the author of Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching about Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word, and Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-Imagining the Language Arts Classroom.She has co-edited several books, including The New Teacher Book Finding Purpose, Balance, and Hope During Your First Years in the Classroom and Rethinking School Reform: Views from the Classroom. She has given keynote addresses at local, national, and international conferences about her work on literacy and social justice. She taught high school Language Arts and worked as Language Arts Curriculum Specialist for thirty years in Portland, Oregon. She is a member of the Rethinking Schools editorial board. She has received numerous awards, including the Fred Heschinger Award for use of research in teaching and writing from National Writing Project and the U.S. West Outstanding Teacher of Western United States and most recently, the Humanitarian Award from Willamette Writers.