2023 Schedule & Special Sessions

This year's virtual event includes a variety of speakers and topics of interest to professionals, students, community and youth attendees: 

  • Keynote and guest speakers 
  • Five panels
  • 12 concurrent sessions 

Full Conference Schedule


Opening Session 

All Times Central Standard Time (CST) 

8 - 8:05 a.m.


Leigh Zeitz, Emcee
Colleen Mulholland, Dean, College of Education

8:05 - 8:35 a.m. 

Tribute to Gloria Kirkland-Holmes, PhD

8:35 - 8:55 a.m.

UNI African American Heritage Trail Project

Kathleen Scholl, PhD
Charles Pearson, Pearson Consulting
Oksana Grybovych Hafermann, EdD
Students of RTNL 4779 Community Workshop Planning, Fall 2022

The University of Northern Iowa has a vibrant heritage of African American students, faculty and events. Their stories add meaning and strengthen the social fabric of our campus. This presentation shares the work of UNI students who researched and developed 13 narratives of UNI's African American history and activism.  The narratives can be read as short stories or experienced as a digital UNI campus tour. 

Keynote Session 

9 - 10 a.m. 

History, Human Rights and the Power of One

Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.
Take a living history journey with a descendant of two of America's most influential heroes. Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. is a direct descendant of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. Morris will give a dynamic presentation about his famous family's history, the pressure he felt growing up in the shadow of his esteemed ancestors, and his work today building strong children and ending systems of exploitation and oppression as co-founder and president of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives.

10 - 10:10 a.m. -- Break 

Concurrent Sessions: Block 1

10:10 - 11 a.m.

Curriculum as a Tool for Affirming Race, Culture and Identity in the Classroom

Denisha Jones, PhD
This session will provide an overview of race, ethnic and cultural (REC) identity development research and strategies early childhood teachers can take to support children. As educators, we have an opportunity and responsibility to support all aspects of child development. This session will introduce REC identity development and provide pedagogical and curricular recommendations and resources to continue this vital work. ​

Delivering on the Promise of Early Childhood Education for Black Children: An Equity Strategy 

Iheoma U. Iruka, PhD 
This presentation discusses early childhood education (ECE) and reviews policies and strategies to dismantle racism inherent in ECE. To support Black children's health, development and well-being, Iruka believes we must attend to policies that address equitable access, support, experiences and outcomes in ECE.

11 - 11:10 a.m. -- Break 

Concurrent Sessions: Block 2

11:10 a.m. - Noon

Black Males Panel: Decisions That Black Men Make

Shuaib Meacham, PhD, Moderator
Hiawatha Smith, PhD, L. Trenton S. Marsh, PhD, Panelists

Hear from the panelists about the decisions they’re facing as Black men across the nation. Black males regardless of age frequently deal with potentially life-altering situations that require decisions for which they have not been prepared. This session is an opportunity for young Black male attendees and those who educate them to hear first-hand accounts of those decisions and the factors that went into them as a way to help promote conversations between those in attendance and the people who care about them.

Trauma-Sensitive Social and Emotional (SEL) Practices for Racial Justice

Sarah Montgomery, PhD
How can we integrate trauma-sensitive approaches with SEL practices to create spaces rooted in connection and care? Learn practical ways we can work together to promote racial justice in our community and in our PreK-16 classrooms.


Noon - 12:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions: Block 3

12:30 - 1:20 p.m.

Community Panel: Faith, Community and Social Justice

Pastor Charles Daniel, Moderator
Pastor Marshaundus Robinson, DM,  Pastor Corey Holmes, Panelists

What role does the faith community play in addressing social issues across the diaspora? Learn where the Black church needed to pivot and how we can recapture moments.

Black Girls Panel: Inspire, Educate, Protect & Empower Black Girls

Tiffany Flowers, PhD, Moderator
Cachia Cherise Lewis, Nneka Gigi, Dorian Harrison, PhD, Panelists

Hear from the panelists about the work they’re doing to inspire, educate, protect and empower.

1:20 - 1:30 p.m. -- Break

Concurrent Sessions: Block 4A 

1:30 - 2:10 p.m. 

Juvenile Court Services (1 of 3) 

Lawrence Daniel
A deeper dive into the Black Hawk County juvenile court system. 

2:15 - 3 p.m.

Iowa Safer Areas for Everyone (IowaSafe) (2 of 3)

Lawrence Daniel, Moderator
Maxine Matlock, Raynell Walker, Ruthie Wright, Marcus Norris, community members impacted by gun violence; Brian Williams, Black Hawk County Attorney; Ashley Corkery, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Iowa; Tammy Banning, Black Hawk County Juvenile Public Defender 
Hear from community members and law enforcement on the topic of gun violence in Waterloo. 

3:05 - 3:30 p.m.

Juvenile Court Panel (3 of 3) 

Lawrence Daniel, Moderator 
A conversation with individuals who play a role in the juvenile court system. 

Concurrent Sessions: Block 4B

1:30 - 2:20 p.m. 

Helping Families Become More Financially Stable & Supportive Through a Money Mindset

Choyo Wilson-Daniel 
Create a new Money Story and develop a healthy relationship with money. Identify what is blocking the flow of money in your life and create a new money paradigm.

2:20 - 2:30 p.m. -- Break

2:30 - 3:20 p.m.

Affirming Black Students' Lives and Literacies

Gwendolyn McMillon, PhD
Patriann Smith, PhD 
As Christian mothers and scholars, co-authors will share their stories, research and standard of CARE framework that disrupts deficit models of Blackness and challenges others to reimagine their literate Blackness.

Conference Closes