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Gesu Symposium Features Ibram X. Kendi on Antiracism in Education

The 2020 virtual Gesu Symposium drew nearly 1,800 attendees and featured a conversation with Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author, leading antiracist voice, professor, and historian. Professor Kendi was recently named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2020. The 23rd Symposium on Transforming Inner-City Education took place on November 11.

Professor Kendi shared his insights on dismantling racism, the courage to have difficult conversations, and how to teach children to “value cultural diversity” and “contribute to a just and equitable society.” Trina Gary, CEO and Principal Consultant of Brown-Gary Associates, LLC, moderated the conversation with probing questions on topics ranging from white privilege to addressing policies that are harmful to Black communities and understanding how independent schools can integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into their communities.

View the Gesu Symposium program book for more on the event.

An engaging Q&A session centered on education. Highlights included Professor Kendi’s perspectives on the integral role that teachers play in educating students on antiracism, the critical impact of curricular choices in expanding students’ understanding of cultural diversity, and how schools can serve as spaces that foster healing in our nation.

Gesu alumna Cierra ’16, a graduate of Merion Mercy Academy and a marketing major at Saint Joseph’s University, detailed her experience as a student leader in DEI work and how Gesu School impacted her confidence in raising her voice and working towards racial justice.

President and CEO Bryan Carter reflects on the Symposium’s significance this year: “As a pioneer in urban education, Gesu continues to seek new approaches to better serve all students and to confront the tough issues in the field. Gesu is honored to host Ibram X. Kendi to dialogue on antiracism at this critical time in our nation. Now is a time for conviction, courage, and collaboration.

I hope that our work through the Symposium generates hope and spurs further discussion and positive action in other schools and communities. Let us resolve to continue working together to ensure a just future for all students.”

Read media coverage from the 2020 Gesu Symposium:

Thank you to our 2020 Symposium sponsors for supporting urban education and bringing this event to the public free of charge.


Always seeking to improve education for all of America’s inner-city children, Gesu School launched our Annual Symposium on Transforming Inner-City Education in 1997 to bring together educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders to tackle the tough issues in urban education. From our first moderator, the late Tim Russert, to outstanding panelists like Stedman Graham, Joe Klein, and Paul Tough, the annual gathering brings together top thought leaders to stimulate productive conversation and empower educators and the community for our work in the field.

Learn about Gesu School's past symposia.

For more information on Ibram X. Kendi, please visit