Keith Benjamin, by nomination from Mayor John Tecklenburg, and the unanimous vote by City Council was appointed to the position of Director of the Department of Traffic and Transportation for the city of Charleston, South Carolina in April of 2017. In his position he oversees all transportation maintenance, planning and partnerships at the local, county and state level. He previously served in the Office of Policy Development, Strategic Planning and Performance as well as led the Office of Public Liaison at the US Department of Transportation.

Prior to his Federal service, Keith was Community Partnership Manager for the Voices for Healthy Kids Community Consortium with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. In this role, he was responsible for the recruiting and developing of public and private partners that were dedicated to creating healthy accessible and safe communities across the nation. At the national, regional and local level, Keith provided technical assistance to policy campaigns in underserved communities, built coalitions, increased leadership capacity, engaged elected officials, created advocacy resources and led The Nation Active Transportation Diversity Task Force.

Keith has also previously represented the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO advocating on behalf of 200,000 members and retirees and also served on Capitol Hill with Senator Carl Levin, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, the Committee on House Administration, Representative Kendrick Meek, and the late Representative Donald Payne.

He has served as a member of the National League of Cities Advisory Panel on Health Disparities, the Better Bike Share Partnership Equity Panel, the National Working Group on Healthy Food access with the Food Trust and the National Urban League and the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, Citizens Advisory Committee. He has appeared and written for the American Journal of Health Promotion, Prevention Institute, Institute of Transportation Engineers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The American Planning Association, The Washington Post, The Root, Streetsblog, Urban Cusp, Huffington Post, and Black Enterprise.

Keith Benjamin is a graduate and Deans awardee of Swarthmore College and comes to Charleston with his wife Tiffany Nicole and son Kingsley Randall.



Kenji Jasper is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller, Dark and the critically-acclaimed memoir, The House on Childress Street. His work has appeared in Essence, VIBE, and on National Public Radio. His short story “A Moment of Clarity At The Waffle House” was nominated for a 2018 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.


Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA FRGS is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. He is the originator of the increasingly influential concept of just sustainabilities, the intentional integration of social justice and sustainability defined as: the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now, and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.

Trained in the UK, initially in Geography and Botany, Conservation Policy, and finally Urban Studies, he is better known today as a critical urban planning and environmental social science scholar. His combined science and social science background, together with extensive experience in local government, consulting, working for, and board-level advising of NGOs and community-based organizations, helps frame his perspectives, research and writing. This enables him to thrive at the borders and intersections of a wide range of disciplines, knowledges and methodologies which he uses in creative and original ways. He centers his research on critical explorations of the complex and embedded relations between humans and the urban environment, whether mediated by governments or social movement organizations, and their effects on public policy and planning processes and outcomes, particularly in relation to notions of justice and equity. For example, are we, as urban planners, as good at fostering belonging (recognition, reconciliation, difference, diversity, inclusion) as we are at developing prescriptions for what our cities can become (smart cities, sharing cities, sustainable cities, resilient cities)? His conviction is that just sustainabilities, which foregrounds belonging and becoming, can help us think through both, together.

Julian was co-founder in 1988, and chair until 1994, of the Black Environment Network (BEN), the first environmental justice-based organization of its kind in Britain. In 1996, he was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA) in the UK, a network of people dedicated to enriching society and shaping the future through ideas and action, and in 2016 he became a Fellow of the UK Royal Geographical Society (FRGS), the learned society and professional body advancing geography and supporting geographers.

In 2018, he was awarded the Athena City Accolade by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, for his “outstanding contribution to the field of social justice and ecological sustainability, environmental policy and planning”.

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Seventh generation Texan, Andrea Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Faculty Fellow of the Center for Heritage Conservation ( ) as well as the Institute for Sustainable Communities ( at Texas A &M University ( ). She teaches Planning History and Theory, Critical Place Studies, Preservation as Social Justice, and Neighborhood Revitalization. She is also the founder of The Texas Freedom Colonies Project ( ).

Calling herself an activist scholar, she examines place preservation and planning within African American communities through the lens of Critical Race Theory, Black Geographies, Black Feminism, and Performance Theory. She has written about social justice, intersectionality, and historic preservation for the National Trust, rural Black women’s contributions to placemaking in The Journal of Planning History, and the role of performance and storytelling among grassroots preservationists in Deep East Texas for the Journal of Archaeology and Community Heritage ( ).

Current projects include a book about Black historic preservation practice as a form of resistance and a statewide Black settlement inventory and digital humanities project call the Texas Freedom Colonies Atlas. The Atlas will make disappearing historic Black settlements visible to policymakers and enable the global diaspora of freedom colony descendants to share data, organize, and co-research with scholars. From 2016-17, Andrea was an Emerging Scholar Fellow at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin School of Architecture. She holds a Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning with a specialization in historic preservation and African Diaspora studies from The University of Texas at Austin (UT), an MA in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania (2006), and a BA in Political Science from Vassar College (1996). She brings to her scholarship 12 years’ experience in grassroots journalism, political activism, community and economic development, and government administration in Houston and Philadelphia.

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Chanceé Lundy Russell is a small business owner, author, wife, mother, friend, COOKIE ADDICT and Outkast fan still waiting on the reunion. She believes that life presents us all with a unique set of challenges, but it is our response to those challenges that shape our destiny. This Selma, Alabama native is a community conscious engineer who co-founded Nspiregreen LLC an urban planning and engineering firm in Washington, DC. Through this firm her work focuses on engaging the public in projects that impact them, developing transportation plans and preventing and reducing environmental inequities in marginalized communities.

Chanceé was a first-generation college student that saw education as the key to transform her circumstances. She received her Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Florida State University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. Mrs. Lundy is a global citizen and has lead and participated in trainings on social justice issues and engineering achievement in: Accra Ghana; Mali, West Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; and Bosnia Herzegovina. In addition, she participated in the International Scholar Laureate Program’s Delegation on Engineering to China. She is a past National Chair of Black Youth Vote, past National Chair and Lifetime Member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was in the inaugural class of Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholars.

She has been recognized by US Black Engineer as one of the Top 100 Most Important Blacks in Technology and selected by Ebony Magazine as one of the 30 Leaders of the Future. Further, she believes it is her life’s mission to serve others and champions issues and opportunities to empower women and small businesses. She is currently a Mayoral appointee to the Chesapeake Bay Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee and advisory board member to the NSBE Environmental Engineering Special Interest Group as well as T.R.E.E. (Together Restoring Economic Empowerment) an organization committed environmental and economic justice. She is on the School of Business Advisory Board for Columbia Southern University and she is the founder of a new organization, Destination Liberation, which is dedicated to exposing, educating, and empowering young women in Selma through international travel.

She is an author and has published two anthologies. It’s Just High School: Inspiring Reflections of the Beauty, Pain and Pressure of High School and EmpowerMoments for the Everyday Woman: A 31 Day Devotional to Empower Your Womanhood. Chanceé resides in Washington, DC with her husband Dwight R. Russell and her rambunctious son Amari K. Russell.


Tiffany Robinson is currently a Senior Planner for The City of West Hollywood, managing the Citywide Bike Share Program, WeHo Pedals and serving as the Bike Share Coordinator. She has over 13 years of planning experience in local, regional and statewide planning projects.

Before moving to the West Coast, Tiffany lived in New Jersey and worked for The RBA Group on projects involving bicycle and pedestrian facility planning, scenic byways, trails, open space and recreational master plans, and the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School and Pedestrian Safe Corridor initiatives. She was one of the founding members of the American Planning Association’s New Jersey Chapter Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Committee (ECDC), which was created in 2009 to actively promote and increase awareness among APA-NJ members for socially equitable planning that embraces the diversity and unique perspectives found in communities across the State. In addition, she served as a Trustee and Outreach Chair for Bike&Walk Montclair, a local bicyclist and pedestrian advocacy group.

Tiffany holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Public Policy from Boston University. When she’s not in the office, she’s creating a new playlist on Spotify, kicking back at the beach, checking out the latest foodie pop-up, searching for a great documentary, or planning her next adventure!

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Paul A.Toliver is an over 30 year veteran in the transportation field. In the 80s he was the Deputy GM and Chief Transportation Officer at San Francisco Muni, from there he moved on to King County in Washington where he was the Director of Transportation, and finally he ended his public sector career as the Chief Operating Officer at the Detroit Department of Transportation. He is currently the principal for New Age Industries consulting, a transportation and technology marketing and consulting firm focusing on establishing and managing relationship for clients with new and emerging technologies.He holds a MBA from University of Cincinnati, Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

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Black Kids in Outer Space interviews Tamika L. Butler. Tamika serves as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a non-profit organization that addresses social and racial equity, and wellness, by building parks and gardens in park-poor communities across greater Los Angeles. Tamika has a diverse background in law, community organizing, communications, and nonprofit leadership. Recently, she was the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Prior to leading LACBC, Tamika was the Director of Social Change Strategies at Liberty Hill Foundation, and worked at Young Invincibles as the California Director. She transitioned to policy work after litigating for three years as a public interest employment lawyer at Legal Aid at Work (previously Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center). Tamika is currently a board member of New Leaders Council – Los Angeles (NLC) and Lambda Literary Foundation, and is an advisory board member for the Legal Aid at Work’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports program. She previously served as a the co-chair of the National Center for Lesbian Rights Board of Directors, the Institute Co-Director of NLC, and a board member of T.R.U.S.T. South LA. Tamika received her J.D. in 2009 from Stanford Law School, and in 2006 received her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Sociology at Creighton University in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.