Keynote Speakers 2019

Remi Adeleke

Former Navy SEAL, Actor,
& Writer
Remi Adeleke


Remi Adeleke is an actor and writer, known for Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Last Shall Be First and 6 Underground (2019). Adeleke was born into a rich Nigerian family and experienced the best that life had to offer. All of that was ruined when at the young age of five his father died and the government seized his family’s wealth. His mother moved the now-impoverished family to the United States, where they settled in the Bronx borough of New York City. At the time, Bronx, NY was one of the toughest inner cities in America. Growing up there in the 1980s and 1990s, Adeleke said, he looked to hip-hop culture as his “father” and took to stealing, selling drugs and “running scams.” “In my mind I was successful,” he said. “That was not success. That was failure. It was the wrong thing.” Eventually a “wakeup call” led him to change his ways, he said.

In early summer of 2002, Remi enlisted in the U.S. Navy and embarked on a journey that instilled a key lesson that he teaches to this day—perseverance. Remi is the former co-founder of Acumen Performance Group, a consulting company that facilitates mental toughness, leadership and team building training for Olympians, pro athletes and corporations.

When Remi is not on the set of a project, he is speaking to men and women young and old about the support he received to overcome the odds, even when it did not make sense. His is an inspiring story of true personal transformation.

Gregory Boyle

Founder and Director
of Homeboy Industries, Speaker
Greg Boyle


Gregory Joseph Boyle is the founder and director of Homeboy Industries and former pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Los Angeles. In 1988, in an effort to address the escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth, Boyle and community members began to develop positive opportunities for them, including establishing an alternative school and a daycare program, and seeking out legitimate employment, calling this initial effort, Jobs for a Future.

In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Jobs for a Future and Proyecto Pastoral, a community-organized project, launched their first social enterprise business, Homeboy Bakery. In the ensuing years, the success of the bakery created the groundwork for additional social enterprise businesses, leading Jobs for a Future to become an independent nonprofit organization, Homeboy Industries. Homeboy Industries is the largest and most successful gang rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. Homeboy offers an “exit ramp” for those stuck in a cycle of violence and incarceration. The organization’s holistic approach, with free services and programs, supports 10,000 men and women a year as they work to overcome their pasts, re-imagine their futures, and break the inter-generational cycles of gang violence.

Dr. Chris Emdin

Professor, Researcher,
Author, & Speaker
Chris Emdin


Dr. Christopher Emdin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University; where he also serves as Director of the Science Education program and Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education. He is an alumni fellow at the Hutchins Center at Harvard University and served as STEAM Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State and Minorities in Energy Ambassador for the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Emdin is a social critic, public intellectual and science advocate whose commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality and education have appeared in dozens of influential periodicals including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education with a concentration in Mathematics, Science, and Technology; master’s degrees in both Natural Sciences and Education Administration, and bachelor’s degrees in Physical Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry.

Dr. Emdin is the creator of the #HipHopEd social media movement, and a much sought-after public speaker on a number of topics that include hip-hop education, STEM education, politics, race, class, diversity, and youth empowerment. He is also an advisor to numerous international organizations, school districts, and schools. He is the author of the award-winning book, Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation and the New York Times bestseller For White Folks Who Teach In the Hood and the Rest of Ya’ll too.

Dr. Victor M. Rios

Professor, Author,
& Speaker
Dr. Victor M. Rios


Dr. Victor M. Rios is an award-winning professor, author, and former high school drop-out and juvenile delinquent. His research examines how racism, inequality, and class play a role in determining if a person will be successful in education. Dr. Rios grew up in a single parent household in one of the poorest neighborhoods in East Oakland, where he was surrounded by drugs and gangs. Rios dropped out of school in the eighth grade. He would later attempt to attend school a second time, but dropped out again soon after. After being a victim of gun violence multiple times he decided to resume his schooling with the help of one of his high school teachers, Flora Russ and various other mentors.

In 1995, Dr. Rios began attending California State University, East Bay, with the condition that he take part in a summer program that would teach him basic college academic skills. He graduated from East Bay in 2000. In 2005, Dr. Rios earned a master’s degree and then a Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Rios is currently employed by University of California, Santa Barbara, where he works as Associate Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology. He is the winner of the 2013 Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for his book Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys, and is the creator of the sociological theories, “The Youth Control Complex”, “Racialized Punitive Social Control”, and “Cultural Misframing.”

Also Featuring

Dr. Abdul-Malik Muhammad

Educator, Entrepreneur,
Transformation Leader at
Akoben LLC & Transforming Lives Inc.
Abdul-Malik Muhammad


Dr. Abdul-Malik Muhammad has been a grassroots organizer and activist for marginalized people for nearly 25 years. As an educator, Dr. Muhammad has over 20 years serving both youth and adults as a teacher, principal and campus president, always working with the underserved in urban and rural areas, he has focused on the development of Black boys to men, establishing a progressive pedagogy for oppressed youth. As a leader and executive, he most recently oversaw several educational, mental health, and human services operations in seven states across the U.S. Through this work, he focused on “transforming lives, one community at a time.” He is also actively involved in several national and international organizations, championing an emphasis on restorative leadership, cultural relevancy and building progressive organizations.

He has a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Franklin & Marshall College, an master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, and an doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware.

Dr. Jacqueline Perez

Assistant Superintendent,
Instructional Support, Riverside
Unified School District,
President, California Association
of Latino Superintendents
and Administrators
Jacqueline Perez


Dr. Jacqueline Perez is the Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Support for Riverside Unified School District. Riverside USD serves 42,000 students and 50 schools. She supports schools and the district through the use of data, research and educational technology and the implementation of systemic equity approaches. She also serves as the current president of the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA), advocating for the leaders of the growing number of Latino students in the state of California.

As a veteran educator and practitioner for the last 20 years, her roles have spanned from high school science teacher, high school principal to district office administrator. She earned a bachelor’s and master’s in Education from UC, Santa Barbara, a master’s in Educational Administration from CSU, Los Angeles and doctorate from the University of Southern California (USC).

Dr. Jacqueline Perez is a passionate leader, focused on the systemic and district-wide improvement process to ensure access and equity for all students. She has presented the work of implementing equity practices and supporting women leaders at EdTrust West: Education Equity Forum, iNACOL, Leadership Institute of Riverside County: Excellence through Equity Conference, CALSA, ACSA, and Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS).