February is Black History Month—a time in which we celebrate the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout history. Lavin speakers Titus Kaphar, Heather McGhee and Margot Lee Shetterly engage with this crucial history through a variety of lenses: art, policy, STEM. But most importantly they draw wisdom from it, in order to forge a better future.
“Art is a language. There is always a coded narrative.”
Titus Kaphar’s sculptures, paintings and installations bring pathos and immediacy to issues almost too massive and abstract to fathom: de-industrialization, generational poverty, mass incarceration, civic agency. In stirring keynotes, he uses his work to deconstruct what we think about history, art, race and more. He received a MacArthur “Genius” Grant this year for forging truly significant process towards building a more just and peaceful world.
“It's time to define anew what it means to be an American.”
In the wake of two wrongful, racially motivated arrests in one of their stores, Starbucks entrusted Heather McGhee and her team at Demos to create and implement a groundbreaking racial bias training strategy. Drawing from her policy expertise, original research and moving personal experience, McGhee motivates audiences to create a more dynamic and inclusive definition of what it means to be an American citizen.
“Diverse voices are key to the future of innovation.”
Margot Lee Shetterly wrote Hidden Figures—the bestselling book and Academy Award-nominated movie about the black female mathematicians who helped win the space race. She's a writer, researcher and entrepreneur who, in talks (like the one below), takes audiences through the gripping and unbelievable true story of NASA’s hidden figures, using it to prove the need for a greater diversity of voices in STEM.