News Release


Brown’s Promise co-founder, panelists to discuss solutions to school segregation, inequitable resources


Feb. 28, 2024 

Contact: Danielle Smith, 313.231.1459

Atlanta, GAAs the nation prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, public schools are nearly as segregated as in the 1960s and we are far from delivering on the promise of equal educational opportunity for all. Panelists during the Brown at 70: Can Separate Ever Be Equal? session on March 4 at The SXSW EDU Conference & Festival, in Austin, TX, will discuss possible new approaches to delivering on the promise of the landmark Brown decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954.

Ary Amerikaner, co-founder of the Brown’s Promise initiative based at the Southern Education Foundation, will joins panelists Sharif El-Mekki, the CEO of The Center for Black Educator Development, Ericka Weathers, a leading scholar on school segregation and an assistant professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education; and The Education Trust President and CEO Denise Forte for the one-hour panel discussion at SXSW EDU. 

“If we believe that students of color deserve equitable educational opportunities — and that we must prepare students of every background to thrive in an increasingly diverse, interconnected world — then children from all backgrounds need to learn together in excellent, well-resourced, diverse schools led by diverse educators,” said Amerikaner, a national expert on school funding and resource equity, formerly serving in President Obama’s administration, on the Biden-Harris Transition Team, and conducting legislative work on Capitol Hill.

Brown’s Promise is a multi-year initiative that works to combat racial segregation and resource inequities in schools.

The SXSW EDU panel will address such questions as: Where do we go from here to address racial segregation and inequities in school resources? Should we be re-igniting efforts to end school segregation? Investing more in schools serving primarily Black and other students of color to provide supportive experiences that affirm racial identity? Do we have to choose, or can we do both? 

SXSW EDU is scheduled for March 4-7, and will feature keynote presentations and breakout sessions for education professionals, industry leaders, and policymakers looking to connect, collaborate, create and change how we teach and learn. To learn more about Brown’s Promise visit To register for Brown at 70: Can Separate Ever Be Equal? at SXSW EDU, visit


The Southern Education Foundation is a 157-year-old education and civil rights organization based in Atlanta. We work to improve education in 17 states and across the nation, with an emphasis on Black students and students from low-income families.