Vivett Dukes (nèe Hemans), a New Yorker through and through, was born in Queens, NY and raised in Elmont, Long Island. She earned her B.S. in English and Secondary Education from Long Island University’s C.W. Post campus and her Master of Arts in the Teaching of Writing/Literacy from Hofstra University. She is the proud wife of Mr. John Dukes and mom to Alexis, 26, Christian, 22, and Cereta, 20 — and a proud doggy mom to an Italian Greyhound named Diggi! She currently resides in Suffolk County, Long Island. Vivett is a classroom teacher, writer, humanitarian and social activist who cares deeply about those who are systematically disenfranchised. She is particularly dedicated to eradicating mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately plagues the Black community, as she is directly impacted by the devastation and decimation that incarceration inflicts on familial and community bonds. She petitions lawmakers to introduce and pass bills that respect and protect the human needs of those incarcerated and their loved ones with the Osborne Association’s Speaker’s Bureau. To Vivett, education is and will always be the key to improvement in all areas of life for members of the African diaspora and that equity in education coupled with mass incarceration are two of the biggest civil rights assaults facing our society currently. She has been an English Language Arts teacher for twelve years and currently teaches in a middle and high school in Jamaica, Queens, New York where, in addition to teaching seventh and eighth-graders English / Literacy skills, she leads the middle school chapter of My Sister’s Keeper, a State-wide all girls empowerment initiative for young Black and Brown girls. She is an active member of her school’s equity and restorative justice teams, and was recently hired as an adjunct instructor in the Education and Literacy Acquisition Department at the City University of New York - LaGuardia Community College (CUNY).
As a writer and advocate, Vivett is an advisor for the New York Times’ Upfront and Scholastic Action and Scope magazines., blogger for New York School Talk, Co-CEO/Co-Founder of SpeakYaTruth.org and One Voice Blog Magazine, and host of the bi-weekly #SafeSpaceConvos Twitter chat in partnership with the non-profit educational organization, Sevenzo.
As a teacher leader, she has served as a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Teacher Advisory Council, a classroom lab facilitator with former NYC Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s Learning Partners Program, and a Bethune Teaching Fellow for the New York Urban League, among other roles. Mrs. Dukes is on the board of her county’s New York Civil Liberties Union chapter as well as a member of the board of the New York State English Council (NYSEC), is the Recording Secretary for the Brookhaven Rosa Parks Democratic Association, and is a proud member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), among several other professional organizations.
In November of 2019, she and her husband, John Dukes, received acknowledgements of appreciation from New York Senator Brian A. Benjamin for their dedicated service through their grassroots organization Speak Ya Truth to the Harlem community. In addition, Vivett was awarded the Community Service Award of the Year from Black Educators Rock - New York. She has been the keynote speaker at national and local venues, including professional conferences hosted by the National Civil Liberties Union - Suffolk County Chapter (NYCLU), New York State English Council (NYSEC), NAACP’s Annual Gala at St. John’s University, Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (ECET2), South by Southwest Education (SXSWEDU), and the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), She and her husband John were honored for their commitment to love in the face of incarceration in 2018 by the Long Island-based non-profit organization Excellence in Success. Vivett and John were also heralded by Silent Cry, Inc in 2018 and 2019 for their astute advocacy for families enduring the incarceration of a loved one. Vivett knows that representation matters. At her core, she is a passionate woman of God, wife, mom, teacher-leader, and social activist who is dedicated to taking her voice outside of the classroom and into the public arena in an effort to elevate authentic conversations and grassroots changes in educational equity and human rights.