Bettina Love presents "Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal" in conversation w/Ashley Esposito

Bettina Love presents "Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal" in conversation w/Ashley Esposito

This event has already happened.

Friday, September 15th 2023
7:00 pm
Red Emma's
In the tradition of Michelle Alexander, an unflinching reckoning with the impact of 40 years of racist public school policy on generations of Black lives

In Punished for Dreaming Dr. Bettina Love argues forcefully that Reagan’s presidency ushered in a War on Black Children, pathologizing and penalizing them in concert with the War on Drugs. New policies punished schools with policing, closure, and loss of funding in the name of reform, as white savior, egalitarian efforts increasingly allowed private interests to infiltrate the system. These changes implicated children of color, and Black children in particular, as low performing, making it all too easy to turn a blind eye to their disproportionate conviction and incarceration. Today, there is little national conversation about a structural overhaul of American schools; cosmetic changes, rooted in anti-Blackness, are now passed off as justice.

It is time to put a price tag on the miseducation of Black children. In this prequel to The New Jim Crow, Dr. Love serves up a blistering account of four decades of educational reform through the lens of the people who lived it. _Punished for Dreaming _lays bare the devastating effect on 25 Black Americans caught in the intersection of economic gain and racist ideology. Then, with input from leading U.S. economistsDr. Love offers a road map for repair, arguing for reparations with transformation for all children at its core.

“I am an eighties baby who grew to hate school. I never fully understood why. Until now. Until Bettina Love unapologetically and painstakingly chronicled the last forty years of education ‘reform’ in this landmark book. I hated school because it warred on me. I hated school because I loved to dream.” —Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times bestselling author of How to be an Antiracist

Dr. Bettina L. Love is the William F. Russell Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and the bestselling author of We Want To Do More Than Survive. In 2022, the Kennedy Center named Dr. Love one of the Next 50 Leaders making the world more inspired, inclusive, and compassionate. She is a co-founder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN), whose mission is to develop and support teachers and parents fighting injustice within their schools and communities, having granted over $250,000 to abolitionists around the country. She is also a founding member of the Task Force that launched the program In Her Hands, distributing more than $15 million to Black women living in Georgia. In Her Hands is one of the largest guaranteed income pilot programs in the U.S. Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including abolitionist teaching, anti-racism, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, educational reparations, and art-based education to foster youth civic engagement. In 2018, she was granted a resolution by Georgia's House of Representatives for her impact on the field of education.

Ashley Esposito is one of two of the first-ever elected Commissioners for Baltimore Public City Schools. Ms. Esposito is a mom, artist, and community builder. She is a passionate advocate for trauma-informed care, disability inclusion, and restorative practices. She has worked as an IT professional and in communications. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Development and Security from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Ms. Esposito lives in Southwest Baltimore with her husband, Calo, and son Vinny. As a high school student, she barely graduated. She has several learning differences, spent time in foster care and independent living programs. Thankfully, she had access to a comprehensive school-based wellness center. She had an amazing art teacher who believed in her abilities. Her school also provided students with night school, and it allowed her to graduate on time. Through art and these relationships, she began her healing process. Ms. Esposito went on to work in social services and community-based agencies after high school. Superpowers are the unique gifts we share with the world, usually influenced by our experiences. Ms. Esposito’s superpower is being neurodivergent and her ability to meet people where they are. She believes in authentic community engagement in decision-making and solution creation. She believes in the superpowers of our students, families, teachers, administrators, and community members in Baltimore City.

RSVP on withfriendsSee all upcoming events

Location and hours

3128 Greenmount Avenue
Baltimore, MD

Tuesday-Saturday 9AM-9PM
Sunday 10AM-4PM

Get in touch


Phone: (410) 601-3072

If you'd like to propose an event, please fill out this form. If you have questions, email us at

Follow us






Get our newsletter