Unraveling Inequity Conference Logo


Virtual Conference
May 14, 2021

Session & Speaker Information

Rebuilding Black Wall Street

Phil Armstrong will enlighten, educate, and inform participants about the history and legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Participants will learn about Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District, the storied “Black Wall Street,” including the massacre and its effects on Oklahoma and the nation. Participants will also be introduced to Greenwood Rising, a world-class history facility to showcase Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District. The museum-grade exhibition, to be constructed in 2021, will tell the story of the original Black Wall Street and reconnect this iconic African American enclave. The overarching theme for Greenwood Rising, “The Human Spirit,” speaks to the dignity of a people who turned trials, tribulations, and tragedy into a triumph.

About the Speaker:

Phil ArmstrongPhil ArmstrongProject Director, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission 

Philip Keith Armstrong is a native of Ohio and has been in Tulsa for 20+ years. He holds a Bachelor’s in Mass Communications from Central State University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Akron. Phil has a varied background working in the corporate sector and as an entrepreneur in the restaurant business. In 2019 he was hired by the Tulsa Community Foundation as Project Director for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. Phil has been actively engaged in the community by serving on several non-profit boards, most notably Barthelmes School for Music, Community Service Council, Reading Partners of Tulsa, and past board chair of the Greenwood Cultural Center.

Keynote - Robin Mazumder, PhD

In our keynote, Robin Mazumder will explore the intersection between urban design, systemic oppression and well-being. In his talk, he will discuss the Tulsa Race Massacre and the implications of the violence that took place on modern day Tulsa and its citizens.

About the Speaker:

Robin Mazumder, PhD, Waterloo University

Robin MazumderRobin is an award-winning urban neuroscientist with a keen interest in understanding how living in cities affects well-being. His PhD research, funded by the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, used wearable technology in real and immersive virtual reality settings to examine psychological and physiological responses to the urban built environment.

His research interests are informed by his clinical experience working as mental health occupational therapist in the urban cores of Canadian cities. Working with individuals with mental illnesses in urban environments provoked curiosity into how different settings, from busy streets to parks, inhibited or supported well-being.

In addition to his research, Robin is an outspoken advocate for urban design that supports well-being and has given more than 30 keynotes internationally on the topic. He is also passionate about science communication and has been interviewed by and written for major media publications, including the BBC, CBC, Huffington Post and Wired Magazine.


Panel: Engagement Strategies for Equitable Transportation Planning

Engagement is a critical component to transportation planning – how can we ensure we are considering equity in our engagement processes with our most vulnerable transportation users? What does it look like to incorporate our engagement findings into our plans? What does it look like to collaborate with each other in our complex transportation networks to ensure our vulnerable users voices are being heard? Hear from a city, regional agency on aging, and grassroots representative on how they approach this topic in their work.

About the Panelists:

Alyssa RodriguezAlyssa A. Rodriguez, P.E., PTOE (F)Director of Information Technology, City of Henderson, NV
Alyssa Rodriguez serves as the Director of Information Technology for the City of Henderson, Nevada. Henderson is a full-service city of more than 320,000 residents located in the southeast corner of the Las Vegas Valley. Alyssa has a diverse employment history including municipal engineering, consulting, and academia. Her background includes a wide variety of transportation engineering and planning projects including complete streets design, traffic studies, traffic signal design, travel demand modeling, maintenance management and asset management systems, safe routes to school, fleet management, and GIS applications.

Recent work in smart cities and transportation technology led to the role in information technology. She is a Professional Engineer registered in the states of Nevada and California. A proud Montana State University (MSU) Bobcat, Alyssa received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from MSU and volunteered with the Alumni Foundation. Alyssa’s participation with ITE includes leadership roles at the International, District, Section, Chapter, and Student Chapter level. Alyssa is currently the President of ITE.

Katie ZimmermanKatie ZimmermanExecutive Director, Charleston Moves
Katie became Executive Director of Charleston Moves in April 2017 after eight years at the Coastal Conservation League, where she was the Air, Water and Public Health Program Director. Prior to the League, she was a contractor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Services Center, where she worked on performance metrics, strategic planning and legislative tracking.

Before NOAA, she led several research and outreach projects on environmental justice, community empowerment, green building and water quality in the Charleston area. Katie earned her M.S. in Environmental Studies and her B.A. in English with minors in Political Science and Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston. She serves on several boards and committees, including the Palmetto Cycling Coalition, the City of Charleston Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, the Rethink Folly Road Steering Committee, the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments Technical Advisory Committee on Bus Stop Design Guidelines, and the educational advisory board to the Lowcountry Graduate Center in Healthcare Management and Community Wellness.

Regan McManusRegan McManus, MHA, CRS-A/DDirector, INCOG Area Agency on Aging
Regan is the director of the INCOG Area Agency on Aging (IAAA) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. IAAA administers Older Americans Act projects and services for Tulsa, Creek, and Osage counties. Over the course of her career at INCOG, Regan has provided planning support for multiple home and community-based services such as senior nutrition, transportation, health promotion, and caregiver services. She has also been responsible for the aging services strategic plan and manages programs such as the IAAA Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and food desert interventions like the Tulsa CAN Plan.

Regan currently serves on the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging board, is a member of the Oklahoma Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and the Oklahoma Alliance on Aging. Regan has developed a strong sense of devotion in assisting older adults with access to transportation, nutrition, recreation and community involvement in her ten years at INCOG. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Leisure Studies-Recreation Therapy and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration, both from Oklahoma State University.


Highways to Boulevards: Stories from Across America and What They Mean for Tulsa

The construction of the federal Interstate system did not come without a significant human cost. Under the framework of ‘urban renewal,’ highways were built through cities across America, dividing neighborhoods in two, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, and creating an unhealthy preference for driving fast at the expense of the communities in their paths. Highway construction demolished Main Streets and forced businesses to close, disproportionately in Black and brown communities. Many still face ongoing negative physical and psychological effects as highways drive disinvestment, create toxic places to live, and inflict traffic violence on surrounding communities. 

Highway removal offers a way for people who live near these large roads to repair, rebuild, and reknit their communities. But simply removing a highway does not guarantee equitable outcomes. What steps are needed to channel the benefits unlocked by highway removal to the community members who have lived with the burdens? We’ll look at the lessons learned from cities that have successfully removed highways and explore how highway removal can build a more equitable Tulsa.

About the Speaker:

Ben CrowtherBen Crowther, Program Manager, Congress for the New Urbanism’s Highways to Boulevards and Freeways Without Futures initiatives
Ben Crowther is the program manager for the Congress for the New Urbanism’s Highways to Boulevards and Freeways Without Futures initiatives. In this role, he works with communities across the country seeking to remove aging highways and replace them with city streets that support socially and economically valuable places. He also leads CNU’s national advocacy for a federal Highways to Boulevards program.

Transportation, Schools, and Youth in Planning

Y-PLAN (Youth – Plan, Learn, Act, Now) is an award-winning educational strategy that empowers young people to tackle real-world problems in their communities through project-based civic learning experiences. As an action research initiative from UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools, Y-PLAN has engaged thousands of young people and dozens of schools, teachers, and civic partners across the United States and around the world. Learn from the Center’s Executive Director on their work with more than 10,000 students on projects focused on improving public transportation, access to green space, public art and civic space, healthy eating and active living, and more.

About the speaker:

Deborah L. McKoy, UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools
Deborah McKoy is the Executive Director and Founder of the UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development and a lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Graduate School of Education. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersection of educational reform, urban & metropolitan planning, community development and public policy. Central to her work is the critical role young people play in urban and metropolitan change and transformation.

The Center for Cities and Schools at UC Berkeley conducts high-quality, non-partisan policy research, engages youth in urban planning, and cultivates collaboration between city and school leaders to strengthen all communities. CC+S works to advance policies and practices that create opportunity-rich places where young people can be successful in and out of school

Why Accessibility, Inclusion, and Equity Matter

What if our streets were designed for people rather than vehicles, and what if the spaces that connect our streets together were accessible by all people regardless of their abilities or modes of transportation? Many communities in the U.S. struggle with accessibility, inclusion and equity when planning, designing and maintaining their public infrastructure. Planners, engineers and even civic leaders may think they understand accessibility until they experience the built environment from a special needs point of view. They may find the challenges are often greater than they imagined. The presenter will share how these life experiences have changed his understanding of access, inclusion and equity, and how barrier-free design goes beyond basic requirements. The session will offer infrastructure options to improve user safety, a planning process that promotes inclusion, and techniques for outreach that can lead to better streets for all people.

About the Speaker:

Dave RobertsDave Roberts, ASLASenior Vice President of Planning & Business Development, Crafton Tull
Dave is the Senior Vice President of Planning & Business Development at Crafton Tull, where he collaborates on planning and urban design projects like the Tulsa Regional “Go Plan” completed in 2015, as well as numerous citywide master plans, greenway studies, and corridor plans for communities across the mid‑south region. He is active with the Built Environment Team at Healthy Active Arkansas and serves on the Arkansas Governor’s Advisory Council on Cycling, and the Little Rock Bike Friendly Committee, the perfect places for Dave to merge his knowledge of planning with his passion for cycling. Dave is a graduate of the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design with a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture. 

On a personal note, Dave’s daughter Alex, born with Cerebral Palsy, utilizes a power wheelchair to navigate the world. This affords him the unique insight into accessibility and inclusion issues as seen by a parent with a special needs child as well as viewed through the eyes of an urban planner. Dave leads multiple walk audits each year where he shares solutions for reducing barriers in the built environment.

Panel: Centering Equity in Transportation

As we reconcile the inequities within our transportation systems, we recognize the complex nature of deeply embedded and systemic barriers to transportation access. What are the solutions and next steps to addressing the social, economic and health effects of our transportation inequities? What does it mean to center equity within our transportation work? How do we make our equity work actionable? Hear from three panelists working to embed equity in our transportation decision-making and operations processes.

About the Panelists:

Charles T BrownCharles T. BrownMPA, CPD, LCI, President & CEO, Equitable Cities LLC
Charles is the founder and managing principal of Equitable Cities LLC—a nationally known urban planning, policy, research and multimedia firm working at the intersection of transportation, health, and equity. He serves as a senior researcher with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) and adjunct professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, both at Rutgers University. He also serves as a 2020 Fellow within the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication in Partnership with The OpEd Project. 

With more than 17 years of public and private sector, military, and academic experience, he has gained international attention for helping to create safe, healthy, and livable communities. His recent and notable contributions through research and practice include understanding barriers to biking and walking for women and minorities; analyzing the effects of crime on walking frequency and propensity; centering and prioritizing equity in transportation planning and decision-making; analyzing barriers to accessing parks and open spaces; and, serving as an instructor for the Smart Growth America (SGA), National Transit Institute (NTI), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and CDC’s Walkability Action Institute. 



Stephanie Brodie, PhD, Senior Researcher, Toole Design Group
Stefanie is a senior researcher specializing in transportation planning and policy at Toole Design Group. She holds a doctorate in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech, and has focused her research and professional work on developing analytical frameworks for equity in long-range planning processes. She has also led cutting-edge research focused on micromobility pilot programs. 

Stefanie believes that research should help public agencies make informed decisions and focused her doctoral and postdoctoral research on performance-based decision making in transportation, especially how to incorporate equity and other social sustainability considerations into decision making. Stefanie completed her BS in Civil Engineering at the University of Maryland and obtained a Master’s of City and Regional Planning and a MS and PhD in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to her role at Toole Design, she worked as a Marie Curie postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Nottingham and the Research Program Specialist at the District Department of Transportation.


Veronica DavisVeronica O. Davis, PE, Director of Transportation & Drainage Operations, City of Houston
Veronica O. Davis is the Director of Transportation & Drainage Operations, a service line within Houston Public Works. Transportation & Drainage operations is responsible for maintaining and improving the infrastructure that spans Houston’s 671 square miles. Veronica has nearly 20 years of experience in engineering and transportation planning. She is an entrepreneur and Civil Engineer, co-founding Nspiregreen, LLC., a community, multimodal transportation, and environmental planning and consulting firm. While at Nspiregreen, she led the Vision Zero Action Plans for Washington, DC and the City of Alexandria. She also co-founded Black Women Bike, an organization and movement which builds a community and interest in biking among black women through education, advocacy and recreation. Veronica was recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2012 for her professional accomplishments and advocacy.

Presented by

Oklahoma Highway Safety Office
Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation

OU Urban Design Studio

with support from:

Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust
George Kaiser Family Foundation
Team Soundpony / Triad Bank

Landplan Consultants

Tulsa Planning Office