Distinguished Speaker Series

New York Edge’s Distinguished Speaker Series provides our staff with unique opportunities to hear from leaders across a range of topics and areas of expertise. Designed to inspire staff as they develop and deliver programming, the series is just one of the exciting ways we provide leadership and professional development. 

Please see below to read about past speakers. 


Pops Peterson

Pops Peterson is a Berkshire-based artist and writer who debuted Reinventing Rockwell, a series of artworks reimagining mid-century illustrations by Norman Rockwell, in a manner reflective of today’s times. Celebrating America’s rich diversity and embracing Rockwell’s sense of humanity, Peterson has created images that envision social change and express his desire for a positive, inclusive, and just world. His writings have been published in Andy Warhol’s Interview, Essence, The Village Voice, and The New York Times. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination named Peterson its first Artist in Residence; in this role, he lectures annually at the Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference. His painting, “Freedom from Shame,” inspired the Massachusetts Office on Disability’s statewide art competition, “Breaking Barriers.” Peterson’s work has been presented at high schools and colleges, as well as such community arts institutions as The Spencertown Academy, The Foundry, and The Norman Rockwell Museum. Please Read more about Pops Peterson here.


Clover Hope

Clover Hope is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. She’s written for a range of publications over a 16-year career: Vibe, Essence, XXL, Elle, Billboard, Wired, The New York Times, Vogue, W, ESPN The Magazine, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, and Village Voice, among others. Hope has held staff writing and editing positions at Billboard, XXL, Vibe, and Jezebel. She’s currently a Contributing Editor at Pitchfork.com and an adjunct professor at New York University.


Kaitlin McGaw

Co-founded by Kaitlin and Tommy Soulati Shepherd, Alphabet Rockers creates brave spaces to shape a more equitable world through hip hop, as two-time GRAMMY nominees, Othering & Belonging Institute Fellows and industry leaders for change. As touring and resident artists, Alphabet Rockers has been featured by The Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, SXSW, Lollapalooza and festivals around the country, in addition to 50+ schools each year.

Kaitlin is a writer, listener and artist based in Oakland, CA on Ohlone lands. Her path in anti-racism and art began as a high school student in Belmont, MA, where community dialogue, activism, and poetry framed her purpose and relationship with the world.  Kaitlin is a graduate of Harvard University with a BA in Afro-American Studies. Kaitlin believes radical imagination begins with the way we read, sing, and ask questions of the world with our children. She is the mother of two creative children of her own, whom she is raising with her husband Adhi. Click here to read more about Kaitlin and Alphabet Rockers.