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Jamila Lyiscott - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Jamila Lyiscott

Associate Professor of Social Justice Education | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Jamila Lyiscott's research focuses on racial equity, youth activism, and the power of hip-hop and spoken word in education.

Expertise (4)

Social Justice Educaiton

Community-Engaged Research

African-American Literature

Youth-Led Social Research


Jamila Lyiscott is most well known for her 2014 TED Talk title, "3 Ways to Speak English," which has been viewed more than five million times.

She has delivered keynotes and workshops at hundreds of institutions throughout the nation where she works closely with youth, educators and communities towards racial healing, equity, and justice

A community-engaged scholar, nationally renowned speaker, and the author of "Black Appetite. White Food: Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom," Lyiscott is the founding co-director of the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research. Her scholarship and activism work together to explore, assert, and defend the value of Black life throughout and beyond the field of education.

Her current research focuses on the power of youth-led social research and activism to foster liberation and racial healing across schools and communities.

Social Media






Jamila Lyiscott: 3 ways to speak English | TED


Education (2)

Columbia University Teachers College: Ph.D.

Hunter College: M.A., Black Literature

Select Recent Media Coverage (1)

6 Black Lives Matter Activists Talk Openly About What It’s Like Leading the Fight for Racial Equality

Cosmopolitan  online


“I realized I needed to hit the streets when there was a continued delay in arresting the cops/people who murdered Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. When the ethical duty of doing what is right is not enough to move the hearts of those in power, social unrest becomes ‘the language of the unheard.’” —Jamila Lyiscott, Ph.D.

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Select Publications (2)

Case Studies of Effective Learning Climates for Civic Reasoning and Discussion

The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

Jamila Lyiscott, Cati V. De Los Rios, Christopher H. Clark


While the national media continues to highlight the tensions of cultural politics in education, there is a need for young people and educators to be equipped for the daunting local, national, and global challenges that mark their everyday lives. Many educators and young people alike are interested in engaging youth in civic reasoning and discourse that prepares them to meet those many challenges.

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Black Appetite. White Food.: Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom

Book – Routledge

Jamila Lyiscott


Black Appetite. White Food. invites educators to explore the nuanced manifestations of white privilege as it exists within and beyond the classroom. Renowned speaker and author Jamila Lyiscott provides ideas and tools that teachers, school leaders, and professors can use for awareness, inspiration, and action around racial injustice and inequity.

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