In Celebration of the Life of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, January 21, 2011
4 p.m., Memorial Chapel

Keynote Address by:

Geoffrey Canada

Education Reform & Youth Empowerment

Click here to learn more about Mr. Canada's visit to campus.

This event was the keynote address for the 2011 Social Justice Leadership Conference. To learn more about the conference, go to

Geoffrey Canada has a radical new idea: if you really want to change the lives of inner city kids, change everything all at once - their schools, families, and neighborhoods. As President and CEO of the revolutionary Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, he has dedicated the past 20 years of his life to helping the most impoverished, at-risk youth beat the odds. Radically ambitious and startlingly simple, Canada's programs are on the cutting edge of preventing youth violence and fostering community development.

Canada's groundbreaking work for a 24-block neighborhood in Harlem has been replicated in communities across the country. Through programs such as the Beacon School, Community Pride Initiative, Harlem Gems, Harlem Peacemakers, and the Promise Academy, a new generation of charter school, he has developed a network of services that reach most of the 6,500 children and their families living in the Harlem Children's Zone.

The acclaimed author of Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and Reaching Up for Manhood, a moving vision of hope for young boys, Canada is also East Coast Coordinator for the Black Community Crusade for Children. Most recently, he can be seen in the groundbreaking documentary Waiting for "Superman" directed by Dennis Guggenheim, which challenges the current American education system.

Canada knows inner-city life firsthand. Having grown up in the South Bronx, he went on to earn a Master's Degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Recently, Canada was honored with the prestigious McGraw Prize for education. In his vibrant, hands-on presentation, he teaches communities about improving the lives of today's youth, one child at a time.

Canada's ideas and life work are chronicled in New York Times reporter Paul Tough's new book, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America.