American Race: A Philadelphia Story - Conversations on race and education

Nov 5, 2021 at

3718 Locust Walk
473 McNeil Building


Penn SNF Paideia and the Asian American Studies Program present American Race: A Philadelphia Story.

Interested in learning more about race from different disciplines?  Want to be in conversation with Philadelphia's community leaders about current issues in our city? American Race: A Philadelphia Story, a new Spring 2022 SNF Paideia course, examines issues impacting communities of color in Philadelphia.  Join us during Advance Registration for two events that will showcase future course discussions. This is an introductory level course.  No prerequisites are required.

Join us for the first of two compelling conversations on race, education, and our Philadelphia communities in anticipation of American Race: A Philadelphia Story* with:

Krista Cortes, Director of La Casa Latina   

Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher, Penn GSE 

Van Sam, Community Defense Coordinator of VietLead. 

*American Race: A Philadelphia Story, is a new Spring 22 SNF Paideia course, proposes an examination of race in the United States with a two-pronged approach: through a multi-disciplinary academic approach and through an opportunity to engage local community leaders about real-time issues in Philadelphia, home to the University.   

This is a hybrid event, please RSVP here to join us in person, if you can't, please join us by Zoom and register in advance for the meeting here!


3718 Locust Walk
473 McNeil Building

Meet the panelists here:

Dr. Krista Cortes earned her Ph.D. in Education from the University of California Berkeley, with a concentration in Critical Studies in Race, Class, and Gender. She holds two graduate degrees from Penn (in Language and Literacy and in Teacher Education). She earned a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Dr. Cortes taught Introduction to Chican@ History to undergraduates and Language Study for Educators at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she taught at Furness High School in Philadelphia. At Berkeley, Dr. Cortes undertook research on Afro-Puerto Rican mothers and Puerto Rican identity formation. She also engaged in research and writing analyzing Latinx families’ use of digital media. Dr. Cortes is a member of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, the American Educational Research Association, Puerto Rican Studies Association, and other professional organizations.

Dr. Ghaffar-Kucher is Senior Lecturer in Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division Director, International Educational Development Program at Penn. She is a coeditor of the award-winning volume Refugees, Immigrants and Education in the Global South: Lives in Motion (2013; Routledge), the winner of the 2013 Jackie Kirk Outstanding Book Award of the Comparative and International Education Society. Currently, she is an editorial board member of Contingencies: A Journal for Global Pedagogy, and an Associate Editor for Anthropology and Education Quarterly. She has developed and taught courses at Drexel University and Teachers College, Columbia University.

Van Sam (they/them) have been working with Vietlead Community Defense team since the summer of 2017 as a trilingual volunteer. After they finished their undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies, they returned to Philadelphia and became our Community Defense Projects Coordinator, working with both our youth and adult base. They are deeply passionate about the work that they are doing to stop all detention and deportation and have supported case management, crisis calls, safety planning, and held community campaigns to free our people. In their free time, they enjoy spending time with their friends, their puppy, Momo (named after Momo in Avatar - the last airbender) and their 13 years old doggo, Bobo. They love cooking, baking, running and rock climbing.