ABOVE PHOTO: Malcolm Kenyatta and Chad Dion Lassiter
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden has announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans:
Malcolm Kenyatta, Chair
Lezli Baskerville, Member
Marla Blunt-Carter, Member
Stacy Brown-Philpot, Member
Vilicia Cade, Member
Vincent Dorien Evans, Member
Michael Anthony Holmes, Member
Fedrick C. Ingram, Member
Lonnie L. Johnson, Member
Chad Dion Lassiter, Member
Adena Williams Loston, Member
William “Billy” Mitchell, Member
Clarence A. Nesbitt, Jr., Member
Denise Louise Pease, Member
Rebecca “Becky” Pringle, Member
Marisa J. Richmond, Member
Bernice G. Scott, Member
Richard “Mouse” Smith, Member
Joe Tate, Member
Kenny D. Thompson, Jr., Member
Benaree “Bennie” Pratt Wiley, Member
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans aids in developing, implementing, and coordinating educational programs and initiatives for agencies such as the Department of Education.
Specifically, the Commission provides advice to the prsident through the Secretary of Education on matters pertaining to educational equity and economic opportunity for the Black community. The Commission primarily focuses on: 1) promoting career pathways for Black students through programs such as internships, apprenticeships and work-based learning initiatives, 2) increasing public awareness of the educational disparities Black Americans face and providing solutions to these problems, and 3) establishing local and national relationships with public, private, philanthropic, and nonprofit stakeholders to advance the mission of equity, excellence, and economic opportunity for Black Americans.
Kenyatta is a third-generation North Philadelphia native, thought leader, and legislator, currently serving in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in public communications with a minor in political science from Temple University and his master of science in strategic and digital communications from Drexel University.
Kenyatta also completed the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executives in State and Local Government Program. He was chosen for multiple prestigious fellowships and international delegations, including the Bertelsmann Leadership Fellow in the Digital Economy, the bipartisan Hunt/Kean Leadership Fellow in Education, and the American Jewish Committee Project Interchange.
Kenyatta is also a barrier-breaking public figure, becoming the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color and one of the youngest members elected to the PA General Assembly in 2018. In 2022, he became the first openly LGBTQ+ person of color to run for the U.S. Senate in American history. Kenyatta has been a vocal proponent of protecting workers’ rights, enacting common-sense gun safety policies, and rooting out government corruption and waste.
He has multiple legislative leadership roles, serving as a member of the State Government Committee with oversight on state agencies and elections, chair of the Subcommittee on Campaign Finance and Elections, chair of Automation and Technology in the Committee on Commerce, and member of the Finance Committee.
Since his election, he has served on Governor Tom Wolf’s Suicide Prevention Task Force and has been a member of the Philadelphia delegation leadership team. Kenyatta lives in North Philadelphia with his husband Dr. Matthew Kenyatta and their dog Cleo.
Lassiter is a national expert in the field of American race relations. He has worked on race, peace, and poverty-related issues in the United States, Africa, Canada, Haiti, Israel, and Norway.
Lassiter is the current executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission where he has developed and launched a “No Hate in Our State Townhall” to address the surge of White nationalism in Pennsylvania, a “Social Justice Lecture Series” providing an outlet for communities to discuss imperative issues, and serves as a Racial Reduction Response team member for those communities impacted by hatred.
Lassiter has also developed programs such as the “Global Social Justice Initiative,” “Black and Jewish Beloved Community Dialogue,” and the “College Race Dialogue Initiative.”
Lassiter received his master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Social Work, where he was the A. Phillip Randolph Award winner in 2001, and was the recipient of the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement Award in 2008. Lassiter is the co-founder and current president of The Black Men at Penn School of Social Work, Inc., an organization within the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, the first Ivy League Black male group of social workers.
In 2019, he was inducted into the School of Social Policy and Practice Alumni Hall of Fame. Lassiter was recently chosen as the National Association of Social Workers – Pennsylvania Chapter’s “Social Worker of the Year” for 2021 and was recognized by the Philadelphia Tribune as “The Most Influential African American Leader” from 2010-2022.
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