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Diversity Educator Focuses Programs on Health Disparities, Affordable Housing, Educational Equity

(Posted November 9, 2009)

The "green" movement encompasses much more than environmental awareness and activism, a trend illuminated by sociologist A.A. Akom in the workshop "Greening the Globe: Creating Environmental and Racial Justice in Our Schools" at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11 in the Sill Boardroom in the von Liebig Center for Science.
The workshop is free and open to the public.

Akom, who attended high school in State College, Pa., will address how citizens can approach solutions for environmental degradation and educational underachievement. He outlines several models that can alleviate health and educational disparities in local communities.

As a sociologist, Akom focuses his programs on common urban challenges such as health disparities, affordable housing, educational equity, environmental racism and unequal access to shopping, public transportation and open spaces.

Akom is assistant professor of environmental sociology, urban education and Africana studies at San Francisco State University. He also serves as co-director of educational equity at the university's Cesar Chavez Institute. In 2006, he founded Youth as Public Intellectuals, a youth empowerment organization in northern California.

Akom also received a 2009 fellowship with the Research Infrastructure and Minority Institutions. He is a board member or active member of the Green Social Equity Group, the California Green Stimulus Coalition, Youth Speaks, Justice Matters and Project Rebound.

Akom earned a bachelor's degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to earn a master's degree in education at Stanford University. He earned a doctorate in sociology in 2004.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.