Jamila Lyiscott is a Harry Potter enthusiast, a community-engaged scholar, a nationally renowned speaker, and a spoken word artist. She serves as an Assistant Professor of Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Senior Research Fellow of Teachers College, Columbia University’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME). Across these spaces, Lyiscott’s work focuses on racial justice, community engagement, and youth activism in education through the lens of what she has termed, “Vision-Driven Justice.” She has been invited to over 100 institutions throughout the nation where she works with youth, educators, and people across disciplines to inspire vision and action. Her scholarship and activism work together to prepare educators to sustain diversity in the classroom, empower youth, and explore, assert, and defend the value of Black life. As a testament to her commitment to educational justice for students of color, Lyiscott is the founder and co-director of the Cyphers For Justice (CFJ) youth, research, and advocacy program, apprenticing NYC high school youth, incarcerated youth, and pre-service educators as critical social researchers through hip-hop, spoken word, and digital literacy. She is the recent recipient of the 2019 AERA Outstanding Public Communication of Education Research Award and the 2019 Scholar-Activist & Community Advocacy Award (AERA).
Lyiscott is the author of Black Appetite. White Food. Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom. She is most well known for being featured on Ted.com where her video, 3 Ways to Speak English, was viewed over 4 million times, and for her commissioned TED Talk, 2053 in response to the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States. She has also been featured in Spike Lee’s “2 Fists Up,” on NPR, Huffington Post, Lexus Verses and Flow, Upworthy, The Root, and many other media outlets nationally and internationally. Her poetry and scholarly work have been published in several peer-reviewed scholarly journals.