Racial Disparities Project Conference – Speakers

Leading the Charge: Fighting Implicit Racial Bias Inside and Out

April 26-27, 2019



Adjoa Aiyetoro

Adjoa AiyetoroAdjoa A. Aiyetoro is the Director of the Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System Research Project. The project released a comprehensive report of its research findings in August 2015. Aiyetoro also served as the inaugural director of UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity from July 2011 to December 2012.

She is an Emerita Professor at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, where she taught from 1994 until 2016. Before joining the law faculty Professor Aiyetoro had a career as a human rights attorney and social worker. As a social worker, she served as the supervisor for the Malcolm Bliss Community Mental Health Center’s Model Cities’ outpatient program. Aiyetoro began her legal career as a staff attorney with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section where she litigated cases involving the rights of the institutionalized and developed an expertise in prisoner rights. She joined the ACLU National Prison Project in 1981 where she remained until 1992.

Since 1992 Aiyetoro has served as the Executive Director of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Director of Administration for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., a consultant to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, organizing its 1995 delegation to the United Nations Beijing Conference on Women, represented the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) at the preparatory meetings for and the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) held in South Africa, and the Chief Legal Consultant for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). In March 2014 Professor Aiyetoro received the Washington University George Warren Brown School of Social Work’s Distinguished Alumni Award and in April 2014 she received the Arkansas ACLU’s Civil Libertarian of the Year Award.

Theresa M. Beiner

Theresa Beiner photographed for Faculty Excellence on March 31, 2016.Theresa M. Beiner was appointed as Bowen’s first permanent female dean on July 1, 2018. She previously served as the law school’s Associate Dean of Faculty Development and as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. She writes in the areas of anti-discrimination law, the interaction between civil procedure and civil rights law, women in the legal profession, and federal judicial appointments.

Dean Beiner joined the faculty in 1994 from private practice as an associate with the San Francisco law firm of Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin. Her main practice area was general civil litigation, with an emphasis on employment discrimination, antitrust and environmental litigation. She also clerked for the Honorable John F. Grady, United States District judge for the Northern District of Illinois, located in Chicago. A graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, Professor Beiner was named to the Order of the Coif and was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology. She has visited on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Anastasia M. Boles

Professpr Anastasia BolesProfessor Anastasia M. Boles is the co-director of the The Racial Disparities in the Arkansas Criminal Justice System Research Project. She has been on the faculty of the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law since 2012. As a scholar, Boles examines the intersection between labor and employment law and legal issues involving race, age, gender, sexuality, disability, and class. She also examines the need for culturally proficient legal education and lawyering.

Professor Boles graduated with honors from Stanford University where she dual majored in political science and sociology. She is a Columbia Law graduate and served on the editorial board of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review and the National Black Law Journal. In addition to her journal work, Boles was an executive board member of the Black Law Students Association, a student senator, and was recognized for her pro bono work as an intern with the Harlem Legal Aid Society.  She has served as a panelist at the 2018 E. C. Morris Ministers’ Institute Collegiate Symposium, discussing implicit racial bias, and has written extensively about culturally proficient legal education.

Furonda Brasfield, Esq.

Furonda Brasfield, a native of Stuttgart, Arkansas, returned home to open a general practice. Brasfield has a wealth of legal and professional experiences, including work with the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the City of Pine Bluff, the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission, the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission, and Legal Aid of Arkansas in Helena. She is a 2009 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a 2015 Bowen graduate of the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.


andré douglas pond cummings

Professor andré douglas pond cummings joined the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law faculty in 2018. Prior to arriving at Bowen, Professor cummings was a Visiting Professor of Law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, where he taught Contracts I and II, Hip Hop & the American Constitution and Sports Law. He has served as Interim Dean, Vice Dean and founding Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Indiana Tech Law School. Additionally, cummings was Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law.

cummings writes extensively on issues regarding investor protection, racial and social justice, and sports and entertainment law, publishing in the Washington University Law ReviewIndiana Law JournalUtah Law ReviewHoward Law Journal, Drexel Law ReviewMarquette Sports Law ReviewIowa Journal of Gender, Race and JusticeThurgood Marshall Law Review and Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice, amongst many others. cummings has published three books including “Corporate Justice” (with Todd Clark) in 2016, “Hip Hop and the Law” (with Pamela Bridgewater and Donald Tibbs) in 2015, and “Reversing Field: Examining Commercialization, Labor, Gender, and Race in 21st Century Sports Law” (with Anne Marie Lofaso) in 2010. Noted public intellectual Cornel West has stated that cummings’ scholarly “reputation goes far beyond . . . the nation, and is heard in every corner of the globe, wrestling with legacies of legal thinking on one hand and popular culture on the other.”

Joyce Elliott

Senator Joyce Elliott has represented the 31st District since 2009, after a six-year term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. She sits on numerous committees including the Arkansas Legislative Committee and the Charitable, Penal, and Correctional Institutions Subcommittee.



Christopher M. Jones

Dr. Christopher M. Jones is Executive Director and Lead Maker of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. He has graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and urban planning, and 20 years of experience in energy and infrastructure, diversity, community development, housing and management. Formerly a principal at BCT Partners, Jones was lead executive on numerous multimillion-dollar federal projects. As executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) in Boston, Mass., he secured more than $6 million in funds for the organization and supported a community of active and engaged residents. As assistant dean for graduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he led efforts that doubled minority enrollment and more than tripled minority applications to MIT graduate programs. His academic research ranges from plasma fusion and nuclear nonproliferation to the social impact of large-scale energy infrastructure systems. An Arkansas native, Jones has served on or supported several boards of directors and spent one year as an algebra teacher in a Boston public school. Jones holds five degrees, including a B.S. in mathematics and a B.S. in physics from Morehouse College, where he received a full scholarship from NASA and served as student body president; an M.S. in nuclear engineering and an M.S. in technology and policy from MIT, and a Ph.D. in urban studies and planning from MIT.

Justice Rhonda K. Wood

Justice Rhonda Wood earned her B.A. in politics, magna cum laude, from Hendrix College, and her J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law (“Bowen Law School”), with highest honors, in 1999. She received the highest score on the Arkansas bar examination.

Upon graduation, Wood practiced law with the Wood Law Firm (Conway) and Williams and Anderson. She previously served as an Assistant Dean at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law and is a Certified Faculty for the National Center for State Courts.

Justice Wood is in her thirteenth year on the judicial bench.  She served 6 years on the circuit bench, two years on the court of appeals, and is in her fifth year on the Arkansas Supreme Court.  Justice Wood has Chaired the Supreme Court Commission on Children, Youth, and Families since 2014. The Commission’s primary focus since 2014 has been on fundamentally overhauling the juvenile justice system from the very first contact a juvenile has with the juvenile court in a delinquency proceeding.

Justice Wood is a member of the Arkansas Judicial Council [Chair, Supreme Court Liaison Committee, Education Committee, Long-range Planning Committee, Racial and Gender Equality Committee, and former Co-Chair of Juvenile Drug Court Committee] Arkansas Bar Association [former Co-chair Health Law Committee, Legislative Liaison for Health Law, 6 year delegate to the Arkansas Bar Association]. She has served her community in many ways. She currently sits on the Advisory Council for the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas. She was a founding board member of the Conway Inter-Faith Clinic- a free medical and dental clinic in Conway.