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2016 Opening Keynote
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Friday Night Opening Session  - March 11, 2016 5:30 PM 


Assistant Secretary Catherine E. Lhamon, Office of Civil Rightspicutre of Catherine Lhamon

Catherine E. Lhamon is the assistant secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. President Obama nominated her for this position on June 10, 2013, and she was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 1, 2013. Immediately prior to joining the Department, Lhamon was director of impact litigation at Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Before that, she practiced for a decade at the ACLU of Southern California, ultimately as assistant legal director. Earlier in her career, Lhamon was a teaching fellow and supervising attorney in the Appellate Litigation Program at Georgetown University Law Center, after clerking for The Honorable William A. Norris on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In 2004, California Lawyer named Lhamon Attorney of the Year for Civil Rights. The Daily Journal listed her as one of the Top 20 California Lawyers Under 40 in 2007, and as one of the state’s Top Women Litigators in 2010 and 2007. Lhamon received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was the Outstanding Woman Law Graduate, and she graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College. 


picture of Hasan Davis, Young African American MaleA. Hasan Davis, J.D.

There was a time when the first words that might come to mind when discussing Hasan Davis would have been delinquent or trouble maker. In his youth, running the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, Hasan barely stayed one step ahead of the law. After an early arrest as a pre-teen, expulsion from alternative school and a life long struggle with learning and behavior challenges, ADHD and Dyslexia, Hasan earned his GED and decided to leave the life he knew well, for one he could hardly imagine.

Hasan moved to Kentucky to attend Berea College. Although Hasan was expelled from Berea College twice, he returned a third time, determined to prove that failure would not be his lasting legacy. With the right attitude and support Hasan earned his BA degree from Berea College and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Hasan has been recognized for his professional and personal efforts serving the needs of our young people in education, juvenile justice and the arts. He is a Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellow, an inductee into the Council of State Governments Henry Toll Fellowship program and an Annie E. Casey Children and Family Fellow.

In 2012 Hasan became Kentucky’s fifth Commissioner of Juvenile Justice. During his tenure as Commissioner, he was instrumental in reforming Kentucky’s juvenile justice system. Currently Hasan provides technical assistance to youth serving organizations across the country. Hasan lives in Berea Kentucky with his wife and two sons. 

Hasan Davis will share his journey through the education, justice and social service systems. Systems that more often than not failed to provide him the support he needed to be successful. Luckily on his journey, there were within each system outliers and resisters, whom Hasan affectionately calls “hope dealers”, who found a way to engage, encourage and empower him. With their support he was able to transcend his mounting list of “failures” and become a champion for youth.  Hasan believes that each person in the community has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to influence and change the way youth encounter the education, justice and social service systems.  Hasan will share the simple strategies his personal champions employed to help him make the JD shuffle from Hasan Davis Juvenile Delinquent to Hasan Davis Juris Doctor. 

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