Texas Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Conference Series, Democracy Schools

Friday-Saturday, April 5–April 6, 2024
in the Bowden Alumni Center - Sutton Learning Center (SLC), Building 10, 3rd Floor

Conference Description

The Texas Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Conference Series, Democracy Schools, is the historic gathering of students, faculty, and staff of Texas HBCUs and community partners that started in the spring of 2022 on the campus of Huston-Tillotson University (HT).  The conference series, now in year three, emerges from the efforts of students in the campus wide leadership development and civic engagement initiative known as Public Leadership in Faith and Social Justice Traditions (Public Leadership).

The conference series speaks to the moment of democratic peril America faces today.   The series seeks to reclaim and renew visions of American democracy rooted in civic capacity, community traditions, and institutions.  America as a bold, responsive, and inclusive community is how we think of this tradition.

American democracy as a bold, responsive, and inclusive community has deep roots in American history.  The idea is woven into America’s founding documents and has inspired movements for freedom of enormous proportion, passion, talent, and energy often in unexpected places.  Black communities and Black institutions, specifically, help revive the commitment.  Bold, responsive, and inclusive community is intimately bound with the experience of African Americans.  The Civil War, Reconstruction, Amendments 13, 14, 15, America’s HBCUs, Rosenwald schools and libraries, and the American Civil Rights movement all tell the story of bold, responsive, and inclusive community and the advancement of American democracy.

The work of scholars and professionals across disciplines and fields comes to the fore in the cultural view of democracy and citizenship that grounds the conference series.  Scholars and professionals who learn to “let go” of control and work with other citizens, rather than work “on” them or “for” them is the model of professional practice we call the “civic professional.”  Civic professionals provide a form of leadership we call “strong meaningful citizenship.”  Strong, meaningful citizenship is a distinct leadership practice that is locally embedded, directed, and resourced to be inclusive and ideas oriented.  Leaders bring people together in and through community traditions and institutions (like colleges and universities) across differences, that typically divide constituencies, to build a world.  People assemble great power working together this way.  They become civic agents capable of contributing to solutions to public problems in meaningful ways.  The practice of strong meaningful citizenship helps to build a civic culture in which citizens learn to become public, powerful people, and democracy comes to be understood as the work of everyone.

We call settings where civic professionals are formed “democracy schools.”  Democracy schools and civic professionals have been central to the Black freedom movement from the beginning.  HBCUs are powerful examples of democracy schools with deep roots in democratic movements and periods throughout American history.  We mean to model and to spread democracy schools through the conference series.  The conference series seeks to contribute to an American democratic renewal highlighting the role of Texas’ and America’s HBCUs.

The idea for the conference emerged from Huston-Tillotson University in 2021 and aims to create meaningful opportunities for experiential learning for students and social learners through public discourse. In preparation, students at HBCUs have been examining higher education policy in Texas as a part of this effort. Click here for more information on the genesis of the HBCU conference.

Conference Theme Year 3

Development of the Democratic Person, Research/Practice Agenda

Development of the democratic person through research and practice is the theme of the Texas HBCU Conference Series, Democracy Schools, Year Three.  A major objective of the year three conference is to help participants develop strategies that enable them to contribute to the state of knowledge and practice in the field (development of the democratic person). 

The Democratic Person.  The democratic person is not an individual, but a culture marked by practices of strong meaningful citizenship.  The domain (development of democratic person) is a process field as much as substance with insights for just about everything a people do or might do.  Strong meaningful citizenship infuses the way the democratic person generally behaves.  How would a biologist, for example, who is also culturally a strong meaningful citizen, do biology, and what would new knowledge in the field (a “democratic biology” let’s say) look like?  How would an entrepreneur, who is also a strong meaningful citizen do business?  Imagine similar impacts and outcomes in student affairs programming, urban planning, music, accounting, etc. 

HBCU Leadership and Legacy, Rosenwald Schools.  Democratic personhood is closely linked to the concept of human flourishing in philosophy and, in traditions of personalism as developed at Morehouse College in particular.  A traditional leader in philosophy among America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Morehouse was a significant center for development of personalist philosophy and theology in the US.  Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King, and many of the leaders of the Black freedom movement were educated at Morehouse.  Personalism holds that the flourishing of the personality is the premise of a good society.  Personalist philosophy and theology at Morehouse stressed “the sacred or otherwise inviolable dignity of persons…[and] promoted an educational process that activated the potential of individuals within and across diverse communities,” as the historian Kipten E. Jensen stated.  Personalism was a major foundation for nonviolent philosophy and a strong cultural view of democracy and citizenship. 

The thousands of Rosenwald schools that Black communities created across the American South (including Texas) during Jim Crow are a powerful example of strong meaningful citizenship infused with ideas of human flourishing from personalism.  The movement had direct links to America’s HBCUs.  The network of educators closely linked to Rosenwald schools, called Jeanes Teachers, were schooled in HBCUs. 

The larger American society’s failure to recognize the immensely valuable educational and civic history of the Rosenwald schools, and the Jeans Teachers, was a loss to American democracy after Brown v. Board of Education as mainstream school systems failed to hire the bulk of Black teachers who worked in Rosenwald Schools. 

Diverse Contributions.  Manifold contributions from across disciplines and fields are needed to explore the roots of strong meaningful citizenship in our time and to develop its practices.  The visions of the common good and human flourishing and the beliefs and values in practices of strong meaningful citizenship need public discussion and consideration if they are to grow and spread.  Cultures emerge when values and beliefs people share lead to ways of doing things and visions of the future that people embrace. 

Conference Year Three.  The year three conference supports this effort.  The conference will explore pedagogical personalism’s possibilities as a resource and a guide for developing processes and outcomes in diverse disciplines and domains that reflect and promote practices of strong meaningful citizenship – the values and beliefs, and vision of the common good and of human flourishing therein.  The conference will also help scholars and practitioners become better acquainted with the leadership of HBCUs in developing pedagogical personalism and its current possibilities. 

Additionally, conference goers will continue the important conversation (began in year one of the conference and furthered in year two) about higher education policy in Texas and the need to adequately fund Texas HBCUs, both public and private, in manner that is commensurate with the role the Texas HBCU plays in building a shared Texas future.  “What now” in the policy discussion is the question that lies ahead after the year two conference. 

During the year two conference students and stakeholders received training and then visited the Texas State Capitol to share the conference’s desire that Texas lawmakers form a bipartisan Texas HBCU Legislative Caucus.  The caucus would be a vehicle for sustaining an ongoing conversation among stakeholders over time about support for Texas HBCUs in Texas higher education policy.  Lawmakers were supportive of the idea of the caucus and moreover, of the role of students as important stakeholders in the process.  State Representative. Ron Reynold held a public press conference from the Speaker’s Conference Room at the State Capitol to announce his support of the initiative.  The press conference was attended by students, State Representative Yolanda Jones, and leaders from the Texas Industrial Areas Foundation network of organizations from Austin and Huston.  Formation of a bipartisan Texas HBCU Legislative Caucus requires growing the statewide network of stakeholders in support of HBCUs both public and private in Texas higher education policy.  Students and stakeholders are energized by the prospects.

Strong meaningful citizenship.  Strong meaningful citizenship is the way of life of the democratic person.  It is the leadership that is possible when people, working together in and through community traditions and institutions, across differences of class and race/ethnicity that typically divide constituencies, come together to build a better world.  People assemble great power working together this way.  Strong meaningful citizenship is locally embedded, directed, and resourced; the leadership practice is inclusive and ideas-oriented, eliciting great passion and energy.

Democracy schools.  Democracy schools nurture strong meaningful citizenship.  They are centers of empowerment, community life, and citizenship education where personalist pedagogy affirming the potential of each child can be put into practice across a wide scale.  Texas’ and America’s HBCUs are an important example of the commitment (to citizenship development and democracy schools as a model).  They are perhaps the quintessential example of approach in American society. 

The third-year conference highlights the historic role of democracy schools in an American democratic renewal.  The power of the approach, the leadership of HBCUs, and the astounding practical example of the Rosenwald schools, and more will be featured.

Submit a Scholarly Research Proposal

The Texas HBCU Conference Planning Team is pleased to announce a call for proposals for submissions of scholarly research for the Texas Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Conference Series, Democracy Schools, Year Three, at Saint Philip's College (SPC), San Antonio, TX, April 5-6 (Fri-Sat), 2024. The theme for the year-three conference is Development of the Democratic Person, Research/Practice Agenda. SPC is part of the Texas HBCU family. There are nine Texas HBCUs: Huston-Tillotson University, Jarvis Christian University, Paul Quinn College, Prairie View A&M University, St. Philip’s College, Southwestern Christian College, Texas College, Texas Southern University, and Wiley College.

Click here to submit a proposal. Proposals are due by March 1, 2024.

Submissions from scholars whose work incorporates purposes and themes that speak to the formation of the democratic person are welcome (see the conference theme). We invite submissions for conference panels, presenters, and discussants. We encourage submissions that include the active participation of students. Click here to submit a proposal.

Questions about the Freedom Schools Journal may be emailed to HCBU Conference Planning, Dr. Robert M. Ceresa (rmceresa@htu.edu) and Dr. Ronald E. Goodwin (regoodwin@pvamu.edu). We look forward to working with you.

Peer Review Academic Journal

We are excited to offer the opportunity for educators to submit their work to the conference for a chance to publish through the University of Texas Press in the peer-reviewed, academic journal, Freedom Schools: A Journal of Democracy and Community. Freedom Schools elevates the distinctive voices of the HBCU in Texas and more broadly as well as practitioners from across disciplines and institutions who recognize democracy as a politics/culture, a society, as well as a government requires people to think seriously about civic capacity building across the social life of a people, and the role of community traditions and institutions, including colleges, universities, and schools.

Submissions from educators whose work incorporates purposes and themes that speak to the formation of the democratic person, the citizen professional, and/or strong meaningful citizenship are welcome. The cultural view of democracy and citizenship that grounds the conference series makes room for contributions from a variety of fields (literature, science, humanities and the arts, the media, and more). We invite submissions for conference panels, presenters, and discussants. We encourage submissions that include the active participation of students. Click here for electronic submission.

Questions about the Freedom Schools Journal may be emailed to HCBU Conference Planning, Dr. Robert M. Ceresa rmceresa@htu.edu and Dr. Ronald E. Goodwin (regoodwin@pvamu.edu). We look forward to working with you.

Campus Excellence and Innovative Programs

We request the participation of each Texas HBCU to present innovative programs, initiatives, and events, of remarkable history, people, and more by faculty and/or staff with students as co-authors, co-presenters, and/or as panel discussants. Presentations highlight the talents and skills abundant on our campuses.

Submit a Proposal for Campus Excellence, Innovative Programs, Initiatives, Events, History, People

Click here to submit a proposal. Proposals are due by March 15, 2024.

Registration and Fee Payment

The conference registration is now closed. If you have any questions about the conference or registration, contact Dr. Joelle Nanivazo (jnanivazo@alamo.edu or 210-486-2609).

Conference Agenda
SPC MLK Campus Map
Hotel Information

SPC will be hosting the 3rd annual HBCU conference this April. The hotels being considered to serve as lodging during this event are the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Antonio Brooks Hotel & Spa and The Wyndham Garden on the Riverwalk. Below is a fact sheet containing information on these hotels.

Embassy Suites by Hilton San Antonio Brooks Hotel & Spa
7610 S. New Braunfels Ave
San Antonio, TX 78235
Phone number: (210) 534-1000

Embassy Suites Hotel Fact Sheet

The Wyndham Garden Riverwalk San Antonio
103 9th Street
San Antonio, TX 78215
Phone number: (210) 515-4555

The Wyndham Garden Riverwalk Fact Sheet

Hotel Rooms:
Embassy Suites will provide the following

  • 46 rooms (2 queens 2 room suit) at a rate of $259.00

The Wyndham will provide the following:

  • 20 rooms
    • 5 king rooms at a rate of $209.00
    • 15 double queen rooms at a rate of $209.00

Hotel Amenities:
Embassy Suites offers the following amenities & attractions

  • Full-service fitness
  • Full-service spa
  • Outdoor pool and patio
  • It is also located 10 minutes away from downtown San Antonio, the Riverwalk, and the Alamo

The hotel also offers the following concerning food and beverage:

  • Free made-to-order breakfasts
  • Complimentary evening reception featuring free drinks and snacks
  • The Gourmet Market provides fresh to-go options for patrons
  • A full-service restaurant & lounge on-site. Called the ‘1917’, it offers upscale local cuisine.

The Wyndham offers the following:

  • Full-service hotel
  • 24-hour fitness center and business center
  • Complimentary guest laundry
  • Complimentary high-speed internet
  • Complimentary coffee 24 hours in the lobby
  • Heated pool & hot tub
  • Restaurant & Bar
  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner available for purchase
  • Self-parking is available for $20.00 (plus tax)
  • Plenty of parking space for motorcoach buses
  • 8 miles from the SA International Airport.

Hotel Check-in & Check-out Times:

For the Embassy Suites: April 5-April 6

For the Wyndham: April 5-April 6

Hotel Room Reservation Procedures & Cut-off Date:

For the Wyndham:

  • The cutoff date for reservations is March 5, 2024. Cancellations may be made 72 hours before arrival, without penalty. If an individual reservation is canceled within 72 hours there will be a penalty charge of one night plus tax.
  • Reservations can be made by calling the hotel at (210) 515-4555 and asking for the HBCU Group Block.
  • Click this link for a reservation: HBCU Conference Year 3 Booking Link

For the Embassy Suites:

  • The cutoff date for reservations is March 5, 2024. Cancelations can take place 48 hours before arrival. Failure to do so will incur a one-night room and tax charge. No-show guests will receive a charge for one night’s room and tax. The room will be released for future sales.
  • To reserve a room, guests must call the hotel at 1-800-HILTONS and ask for the St Philip’s College room block. Reservations can also be made at the website using the promotional code the group was provided with by the hotel representative.
Speakers Bios and Picture

Ron Nirenberg,

Mayor of San Antonio

Mayor Nirenberg is the first San Antonio Mayor of Asian Pacific Islander descent. Through his personal experiences, Mayor Nirenberg developed a core commitment to civic participation and the universal values of liberty, justice, and equal opportunity for every person. First elected in 2017, Mayor Nirenberg was re-elected to a fourth term on May 6, 2023.

Under his leadership as mayor, the city has adopted an equity framework in budgeting to reduce poverty, improve public health, and overcome historical socioeconomic inequality. He is focused on making key investments necessary to accommodate San Antonio’s rapid growth. This forward-looking approach drives the mayor’s vision of a compassionate community with a globally competitive economy.


Dr. David Wilson,

Dean, Goldman School of Public Policy and Professor of Public Policy and Political Science

David C. Wilson, Ph.D is Dean of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Professor Wilson is a political psychologist specializing in the use of survey-based experiments to study political behavior and policy preferences. His scholarship focuses on the psychology of political opinion about policies, contentious social issues, and political figures. He is drawn to investigate justice-related biases in political preferences created by judgements of others.

He is the author of 2022 book, Racial Resentment in the Political Mind (University of Chicago Press), and his scholarship can be found in a variety of research outlets, including Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior, Du Bois Review, Psychological Sciences, and Journal of Applied Psychology. In 2022, he co-edited Public Opinion Quarterly's special issue on "Race, Justice, and Public Opinion."

Prior to UC Berkeley, Dean Wilson served as a Senior Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Dean of the Social Sciences, at the University of Delaware. He also served as a statistical researcher at the Gallup Polling Organization in Washington, DC. H earned a BA (government) from Western Kentucky University, and an MPA (policy analysis) and PhD (political science), from Michigan State University.


Dr. Jelani M. Favors,

The Henry E. Frye Distinguished Professor of History at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Dr. Jelani M. Favors is the Henry E. Frye Distinguished Professor of History and the founding director of the Center of Excellence for Social Justice at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He has been awarded major fellowships in support of his research that includes an appointment as a Humanities Writ Large Fellow at Duke University in 2013, and he was an inaugural recipient of the Mellon HBCU Fellowship at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke in 2009. In 2019, Dr. Favors released his first book entitled Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism, which was published by the University of North Carolina Press. Shelter in a Time of Storm was the recipient of the 2020 Stone Book Award presented annually by the Museum of African American History in Boston. Additionally, Shelter in a Time of Storm was the recipient of the 2020 Lillian Smith Book Award given yearly by the Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries. Shelter in a Time of Storm was also one of five finalists for the 2020 Pauli Murray Book Prize presented by the African American Intellectual History Society.

Dr. Favors’ research and commentary have appeared in several publications and media outlets, including CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, MarketWatch, The Atlantic, The Root, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Teen Vogue, The Point, and The Conversation. Favors earned his Ph.D. in History and his M.A. in African American Studies from The Ohio State University. He is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with honors. Dr. Favors is a native of Winston-Salem, NC and he currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.


Brandon A. Logan,

Vice President for University Advancement and Innovation, Grambling State University

A millennial and native of San Antonio who found inspiration at the nexus of business, community, and mentorship, Brandon A. Logan has carved a niche for himself as a social entrepreneur, advocate, and speaker on all topics relating to service, business, and diversity. Brandon’s accomplishments have been noted on local, national, and international levels. For his contributions, he has also received personal recognition from President Barack H. Obama, USAA, Essence Magazine, United Negro College Fund, Rotary International, and the United States Marine Corps.

Brandon has devoted and dedicated his life to service, specifically in the areas of youth, education, and the underserved population. As the Founder & CEO of Urban Capital Partners, Brandon established people- and place-based strategies to uplift the standard of learning and living in inner city communities. The organization’s community-based program, Becoming A Better You, has been uniquely designed to deliberately influence a change in thoughts and attitudes by intentionally targeting four cause areas: education, family support, leadership, and health. Moreover, Brandon has spent a considerable amount of time working to positively reconstruct the built environment, through real estate transactions, to better fulfill the basic human needs and desires of the community. In 2020, Brandon became the founding Executive Director of The Doug Williams Center to create a learning commons and advancement space for audiences to examine the history of race, gender, and politics in American sports.

Brandon graduated Cum Laude in three years from Grambling State University, where he focused his efforts on academics and athletics. Notably, he was named Grambling Football Scholar Athlete of the Year and was a contributing member to the 2005 national championship team. Since 2005, he has been an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and his accolades from the fraternity range from being awarded the Undergraduate Louisiana Scholar of the Year to receiving the highly coveted International Citizen of the Year. Brandon has also received the Beacon Award from Grambling State University, Distinguished Alumni Award from Grambling University National Alumni Association, and was the recipient of the Bayou Classic Marines’ Excellence in Leadership Award. Furthermore, he is a proud graduate of Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program, FBI Citizens Academy, and Air War College’s National Security Forum.

Brandon has a well-established record of giving his time to the long-term betterment of the community. As Chairman of the 2016 San Antonio Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, Brandon’s efforts elevated the standard of participation for the Nation’s largest MLK, Jr. March by increasing participation to a record of over 300,000 people and, simultaneously, raising over $400,000 in scholarships. As the 107th President of the Rotary Club of San Antonio, Brandon’s strategy was to address the most pressing issues affecting the advancement of humanity, while enhancing the quality of life for residents. Under his leadership, San Antonio’s first-ever outdoor ice-skating rink, the Rotary Ice Rink, was delivered to the central business district, all while raising over $300,000 and contributing 8,500 hours of service from Club membership to marginalized communities during the coronavirus pandemic. After being shaken by the tragic death of George Floyd, Brandon co-created and produced a documentary entitled “Living in My Skin” to help facilitate a better understanding to the community of what the American experience is like as a Black man or boy. This impactful film garnered the attention of PBS and, subsequently, the documentary has aired in local and national markets as a feature during Black History Month. As Tri-Chair of the 2022 City of San Antonio Bond Program, appointed by Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Brandon organized and engaged voters across the community to overwhelmingly pass six ballot propositions totaling $1.2 billion – the largest municipal bond program to date – delivering improved public infrastructure in streets, parks, drainage, facilities, and housing.

As previously demonstrated, Brandon selflessly gives of his time, talents, and treasures to benefit others. Brandon currently serves on the Board of Directors at The Najim Charitable Foundation, Pre-K 4 San Antonio, Valero Alamo Bowl, San Antonio Parks Foundation, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, and Southwest Research Institute. In 2022, Brandon was afforded an opportunity to become an investor in the San Antonio Missions baseball team. Brandon and his wife, Ryanne, have one son, Bryce.


Judge William H. ("Cruz") Shaw III,

436th District Court in Bexar County

A native of Houston, Texas, Judge William H. ("Cruz") Shaw III has a passion for helping people in his community. This passion is reflected in his educational, professional, and public service pursuits.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, with a focus on juvenile corrections, from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1999.

Judge Shaw served his country as a Yeoman Second Class in the United States Navy Reserves from 2003 until 2011. While in the Reserves, Shaw served in San Antonio and Singapore.

He graduated from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in 2009, and he was admitted to the State Bar of Texas that same year. While in law school, Shaw was a member of the Hispanic Law Student Association and the Black Law Student Association. He also participated in the Criminal Defense Legal Clinic in 2008 and 2009.

Judge Shaw opened his own law practice in the heart of the east side of San Antonio in September 2010, the Law Office of William H. Shaw. He handled criminal defense, real estate, probate, and personal injury.

He often speaks to community groups and organizations on a variety of topics such as wills and estate planning, gun violence and police and community relations.

Judge Shaw is actively involved in the San Antonio legal and political community. He was a member of the Rotary Club of San Antonio, and he served as the Chairman of the San Antonio Zoning Commission as well as the San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE) Board. He previously served as Vice President of the San Antonio Black Lawyers Association, and he is also a member of the San Antonio Bar Association. He currently sits on the board of Community in Schools, Child Safe and the YMCA of San Antonio.

 Judge Shaw was elected to City Council in June of 2017 and was appointed as Associate Judge in the 436th District Court in Bexar County in January of 2019 and was elected to the 436th District Court in November 2022.


Ben Peavy,

Accenture – San Antonio Office Managing Director (OMD)
Accenture Federal Services (AFS) – Chief Information Officer

Ben Peavy has been with Accenture over 30 years and is currently the Accenture Office Managing Director (OMD) for San Antonio. In addition to his role as OMD, he serves as the Accenture Federal Services (AFS) Chief Information Officer, overseeing the people, processes, and technologies within our company’s IT organization to enable our over 15K employees and business to support our clients and their mission.

Peavy is also a part of the AFS Inclusion and Diversity Executive Advisory Council. The council plays a key role in executing I&D initiatives with the support of other groups within our firm. Under Peavy’s leadership, the council developed a plan and makes recommendations on actions that AFS can take to increase diversity hiring and create a culture of inclusion and equality where everyone can succeed. Peavy says it is in keeping with one of his favorite quotes by literary giant, James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Outside of the office, Peavy is the chair of the San Antonio Ready for Work Advisory Council, and a member of the Greater: SATX Executive Committee. Peavy is involved in various efforts to support and develop local business and education relationships throughout the community focused on helping create the workforce of the future.

A San Antonio native, Peavy is an active member of his community serving as a volunteer youth basketball coach and participates in several different charity events. He currently lives in San Antonio with his wife, Kavita and four children, Tyler, Alex, Raina and Alisha.


Dr. Harry C. Boyte,

Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Harry C. Boyte is a public intellectual, organizer, and theorist of the public work framework of civic engagement and democracy. In the 1960s, he worked as a field secretary for Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, reporting to Dorothy Cotton, director of the movement’s 900 grassroots citizenship schools. From 1966 to 1972, following the suggestion of King, he organized poor white mill workers in Durham, North Carolina. Boyte is now Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Institute for Public Life and Work.

Asked by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute in 1987 to organize a project on democracy, what became the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, he worked with partners to strengthen the civic mission of schools, colleges, congregations, local businesses, government agencies and nonprofits. In 1990, with St. Mayor Jim Scheibel, he founded Public Achievement (PA) a youth political and civic education initiative based on community organizing practices and a citizen-centered view of democracy which spread to hundreds of communities in more than 20 countries.

From 1993 to 1995, Boyte coordinated Reinventing Citizenship, a cross partisan alliance of educational, civic, and philanthropic civic groups, which worked with President Clinton’s White House Domestic Policy Council to analyze the gap between citizens and government and to advance solutions. Boyte presented findings to a Camp David summit on the future of democracy in 1995 with President Clinton and other senior members of the administration. In 2012-2013 on the invitation of President Obama’s White House Office of Public Engagement, he coordinated the American Commonwealth Partnership, a confederation of higher education and civic groups formed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act.

Harry Boyte has authored, coauthored, and edited eleven books on democracy, citizenship, and community organizing including The Backyard Revolution (1980), Free Spaces with Sara Evans (1986, 1992); CommonWealth: A Return to Citizen Politics (1989) and Awakening Democracy (2018). His writings have appeared in more than 100 publications including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Political Theory, Chronicle of Higher Education, Public Administration Review, and Education Week.

Boyte’s Ph.D. is in social and political thought from the Union Institute. He is married to Marie Ström, long time democracy educator in South Africa and a co-founder of the Institute for Democracy and Public Work.


Ron Reynolds,

State Representative, House District 27

Representative Reynolds was sworn in on January 10, 2011 as State Representative, House District 27. Ron is currently serving his seventh term in the Texas House. He is the first African American State Representative in Fort Bend County since Reconstruction. Reynolds was named “2021 87th Session Legislator of the Year” by Fort Bend United and The Young & the Politics. He was voted by his House colleagues as “Freshman Legislator of the Year” and “Public Servant of the Year” by the Houston Minority Contractors Association. He served as the House Minority Whip during the 83rd & 84th Legislative sessions. Reynolds is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and 100 Black Men of America. He is a dedicated and well recognized member of the Texas House of Representatives.


José Menéndez,

State Senator, District 26

The son of immigrants, José Menéndez grew up working at his family’s small business located in San Antonio's West Side. During his term in office, Menéndez passed over 200 bills that benefited children, seniors, veterans, and San Antonio families. Senator Menéndez began his public service career in 1997 when he was elected to the San Antonio City Council District 6 office, representing the city’s West Side. He is a recipient of the esteemed 'Texas Municipal League Legislator of the Year Award' in 2017 which honors his outstanding efforts to empower Texans to make decisions affecting their local communities. He has been recognized as a dedicated public servant to the San Antonio peoples and those in his district.


Tommy Calvert,

Bexar County Commissioner for Precinct 4

Tommy Calvert was elected Bexar County Commissioner for Precinct 4 in 2014 and is one of five chief executives of county government. He ran unopposed in 2018 for his second four-year term. He is the youngest and first African-American County Commissioner in Bexar County. Before being elected, Tommy Calvert had a distinguished career in international policy. He led the American Anti-Slavery Group, the first anti-human trafficking organization founded in the United States since reconstruction. As its chief, he helped get the first $50 million dollars in funding for the U.S. to fight trafficking. As commissioner, Tommy Calvert has served his community in multiple way such as serving as chair of Reentry Council which has helped scores of people get jobs through the Second Chance Job Fair.


Dr. Lawrence Scott,

Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Dr. Lawrence Scott currently serves as an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from St. Mary’s University in Political Science, History, and Education. He has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of Texas in San Antonio, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership with a focus in Educational Leadership from the University of the Incarnate Word. His research interest includes non-cognitive factors influencing academic success of underrepresented populations, leadership development, and urban school and community relations. Additionally, he has been an active member of the community providing leadership for organizations such as Teach for America, SA Youth and many others.


Dr. Robert M. Ceresa,

Associate Professor, Political Science at Huston-Tillotson University

Dr. Robert M. Ceresa is founding Director of the Politics Lab of the James L. Farmer House and Associate Professor, Political Science at Huston-Tillotson University.  The Farmer House nurtures the civil rights vision of American democracy as a bold responsive inclusive community celebrating the life of James L. Farmer, Jr.  Dr. Ceresa has devoted his career to exploring the roots and practices of democratic politics and culture.  How commitments from political theory and racial/ethnic identity are used in the context of political engagement efforts is a central question his research addresses.  Dr. Ceresa is the author Cuban American Political Culture and Civic Organizations: Tocqueville in Miami (Palgrave, 2018).  Dr. Ceresa studied at Florida International University, where he received a doctorate in international relations, and the University of Minnesota, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs for his master’s degree in public affairs.  He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.


Barbara Gervin-Hawkins,

State Representative, Texas 120th House District

Barbara Gervin-Hawkins is the State Representative for Texas' 120th House District, which includes parts of San Antonio and Converse, and encompasses Windcrest and Kirby. She also serves as one of the founders of the George Gervin Youth Center, Inc. (since 1991) and George Gervin Academy (since 1994), a public charter that serves approximately 1,000 students throughout the Bexar County area.

As a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Barbara currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Select Committee on Education Opportunity and Enrichment, as well as on the House Appropriations and Ways & Means committees. She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Appropriations Article III Subcommittee. Additionally, she serves on the House Democratic Special Committee on Clean Air, Clean Water, & Climate Change. Barbara proudly serves as member of the House Democratic Caucus, in which she serves as Vice-Deputy Whip, Texas Veterans' Caucus, Women’s Health Caucus, LGBTQ Caucus, Innovation and Technology Caucus, and Texas Legislative Black Caucus where she currently serves as 1st Vice-Chair. As of the 88th session, she also serves as Chair of the Texas Legislative Tourism Caucus. In addition, she is also a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures and serves on their Redistricting and Elections Standing Committee.


Tehuan Band of Mission Indians of San Antonio

The Tehuan Band of Mission Indians, the direct descendants of the San Jose Mission. We exist in order to share our culture and lived experiences through genealogy, dance, education, music, art, and community.


Jolanda Jones,

Texas House Member District 147

JOLANDA "JO" JONES rose from a childhood of poverty and tragedy to membership in numerous Halls of Fame, a CNN Hero, a 4-time national track and field champion, a basketball All-American, a Rhodes Scholar nominee, a successful businesswoman, author, and an unapologetic human rights activist, a Houston City Council member and school board Trustee. This respected analyst has interviewed with Roland Martin, Tom Joyner, and Jacque Reid and is on the cover of Curve Magazine.

Today, Jolanda serves as a Texas State Representative for House District 147.

She has a proven track record of leadership, commitment, charitable work, and teamwork and is a highly sought-after public speaker. Jolanda was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, at the University of Houston’s Epsilon Lambda, in the Fall of 1987. She is a current dues-paying member of Mu Kappa Omega!

Her single mom raised Jolanda after her dad committed suicide in her presence. She was confronted with multiple evictions, houses burning down, bullying, rape, domestic violence, being shot at, seeing dead bodies, lack of food, gas, water, and electricity, and being bullied. She overcame the murder of her brother, aunt, and numerous cousins, the SIDS death of her niece, and survived death threats related to her legal practice.

Jolanda has distinguished herself legally, garnering prestigious legal awards. Her courtroom expertise helped shut down Houston Police Department’s Crime Lab that faked lab results that convicted innocents and allowed the guilty to go free. She defeated a powerful politician by reuniting an African mom with her child whom that politician had stolen. Her legal acumen has won multiple murder cases and serious felonies. Her business is 24 years old.

She has been the moral conscience and the voice of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised in every elected body she has served. She is a go-to person who fights for and stands up to those who seek to oppress. She grew up in a union household and believes in the invaluable power of unions.

Jolanda has and continues to improve the lives of her constituents and helps create jobs and opportunities for small and minority businesses. She is a different kind of businesswoman committed not only to business but to her family and humanity by bending the arc of the moral universe towards justice.

To date, Jolanda has saved five lives. One: a gunshot victim. Two: an SUV rollover victim who was ejected on the freeway. Three: a hit-and-run victim. Four: a victim passed out on a busy street. And her fifth and most notable save, for which she won a HERO Award, was that of a teenager whose car fell approximately 100 feet off of a freeway interchange, caught fire, and exploded seconds after Jolanda and her son extricated her. Jolanda ran to safety 50 meters with the teenager in her arms.

If someone is in danger and Jolanda is near, she will be the person who rushes in to save whoever needs saving. Jolanda feels compelled to save people due to the many times she was a victim of circumstance and in need of help, combined with her mother’s teachings that she must have the courage to do what is right when it’s easier to do wrong and that she must help people who, but for her help, would be helpless.

Jolanda is a TV personality on CBS’s Survivor Pa- Lau and was the star of WEtv’s Sisters in Law. Her second book, Owning My S.H.I.T! (Suffering Hardship Internalizing Trauma), is an Amazon bestseller. She also coauthored School Athlete's Survival Guide ~ Essential Study Skills for the Scholar Athlete.

Jolanda is most proud of her amazing son, Jiovanni, who is a Dean’s List college graduate and lawyer.


Dr. Ronald Goodwin

After an honorable discharge from the US Air Force, Goodwin completed his graduate studies at Texas Southern University and choose to remain at an HBCU as an educator and mentor. His research involves race and slavery, politics, and urban development. Goodwin is the author of two manuscripts, a co-author of another, and numerous peer reviewed book chapters and articles.He contributes to the academy by serving as the General Editor of the PVAMU Book Series (with Texas A&M University Press), the Associate Editor of the Southern Conference on African American Studies’ peer-reviewed journal, The Griot, and the Associate Director of the Politics Lab at the James Farmer House (Huston-Tillotson University).

* Opinions expressed by conference speakers and participants are their own and do not represent the views of St. Philip’s College or Alamo College’s District.

Texas HBCUs

HBCUs in Texas, Institutional Leaders, State Lawmakers 88th Texas Legislature

Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas

  • University President & CEO, Dr. Melva K. William
  • Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Archibald W. Vanderpuye

    Link to HTU website: https://htu.edu/
  • State Senator Sarah Eckhardt
  • State Representative Sheryl Cole

Jarvis Christian University, Hawkins, Texas

  • College President, Glenell Lee-Pruitt, Ph.D.
  • Provost and Vice President Academic Affairs,

    Link to Jarvis Christian University: https://www.jarvis.edu/
  • State Senator Bryan Hughes
  • State Representative Hefner Cole

Paul Quinn College, Dallas, Texas

  • College President, Michael J. Sorrell, Ed.D.
  • Chief Administrative Officer/Institutional Programs, Dr.

    Link to Paul Quinn College: https://paulquinn.edu/
  • State Senator Royce West
  • State Representative Toni Rose

Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, Texas

  • University President, Dr. Tomikia P. LeGrande
  • Provost and Senior Vice President, Dr. James M. Palmer

    Link to Prairie View A&M University: https://www.pvamu.edu/
  • State Senator Lois Kolkhorst
  • State Representative Stan Kitzman

St. Philip’s College, San Antonio, Texas

  • College President, Dr. Adena Williams Loston
  • Vice President for Academic Success, Randall Dawson

    Link to St. Philip’s College: https://www.alamo.edu/spc
  • State Senator Roland Gutierrez
  • State Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins

Southwestern Christian College, Terrell, Texas

  • College President, Dr. Ervin D. Seamster
  • Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Deborah Hodridge

    Link to Southwestern Christian College: https://www.swcc.edu/
  • State Senator Bob Hall
  • State Representative Keith Bell

Texas College, Tyler, Texas

  • College President, Dr. Dwight J. Fennell
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Jan Duncan

    Link to Texas College: https://www.texascollege.edu/

State Senator Bryan Hughes

State Representative Matt Schaefer

Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas

  • Interim University President, Mary E Sias
  • Acting Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Needha Boutté-Queen

    Link to Texas Southern University: https://www.tsu.edu/
  • State Senator Boris Miles
  • State Representative Jones, Jolanda "Jo"

Wiley University, Marshall, Texas

  • College President, Dr. Herman J. Felton Jr.
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs and Strategic Retention,

    Link to Wiley College: https://wileyc.edu/
  • State Senator Bryan Hughes
  • State Representative Gary VanDeaver
Donors Acknowledgment

Mr. Youree and Mrs. Emily McBride