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Audience in Lecture






Founder and Managing Partner


Ember Charter School for Mindful Education, Innovation and Transformation


Rafiq R. Kalam Id-Din II, Esq., a current resident of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, is Founder & Managing Partner of Ember Charter Schools for Mindful Education, Innovation and Transformation. A social entrepreneur, activist, teacher, lawyer and nonprofit leader, Rafiq grew up in severe poverty in inner city Philadelphia during the height of the crack epidemic and violence of the 1980s and
early 1990s.

A two-time graduate of the University of Virginia (bachelor’s in English and African-American Studies, and a Master of Teaching—English Education), Rafiq received his Juris Doctor from NYU School of Law as a Thurgood Marshall Scholar, Editor of the Law Review and President of the Student Bar Association.

Rafiq practiced corporate law (M&A, capital markets, etc.) with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York and Hong Kong, before serving as Executive Director of the AnBryce Foundation in the Washington, DC area, a pioneering pipeline program focused on impactful education opportunities for socio-economically disadvantaged youth. In 2007 Rafiq received the prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs for his “Teaching Firm” model, an innovative design for fully teacher-led schools managed like law firms, which launched as the model for Ember in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn in 2011.

A co-founder and executive board member of the Black Latinx Asian Charter Collaborative, co-founder and former executive Board member of the NYC Coalition of Community Charter Schools, and founder of the #BlackLedSchoolsMatter initiative, Rafiq also serves as a board member of Echoing Green, The National Charter Collaborative, and President of the board of NYU’s Law Alumni of Color Association (LACA). Rafiq has been honored as an inaugural 2021 recipient of the Black Voices for Social Justice Fund Award from the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, 2022 recipient of the Teach for America Reinvention Lab’s Enduring Ideas award, and a 2023 BMe Vanguard Fellow award.

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