10th African American Children and Families Conference: The Time Is Now

10th African American Children and Families ConferenceThe 10th African American Children and Families Conference will focus on "The Time Is Now: Restructuring Our Mind and Spirit”  in a special virtual version of the annual conference on Friday, February 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The conference, sponsored by the University of Northern Iowa College of Education,  continues a tradition of engagement and education over the past decade. 

“This year’s conference, though virtual, allows us to continue with meaningful dialogue  and networking to increase understanding of the lives, experiences, issues and opportunities for African American children and families,” said Gloria Kirkland-Holmes, professor emeritus, UNI College of Education, and coordinator of this year’s conference. “In light of national events, the time is now for people of all races, cultures and backgrounds to join together to make a difference.”

The conference features general public as well as youth tracks for students in grades 6-9 and 9-12. 

A diverse group of national and local presenters are led by keynote speaker J. Luke Wood, from San Diego State University, who will kick off the general public virtual conference with a keynote session on "Black Minds Matter." Additional guest speakers include:

  • Effua McGowan, Amazing You, LLC
  • Amir R.C. Glymph, Academic Preparation Squad
  • Gabby Goodwin, CEO, Confidence
  • Gail Thompson, Inspirations by Gail, LLC
  • Kingsley Botchway, Waterloo Community School District 
  • Brianna Burnette, South Carolina elementary teacher
  • Daniel Hoilette, South Carolina elementary teacher
  • Sarah Montgomery, UNI College of Education

Topics include community development; the role of parents, educators and students; literacy; diversity issues in schools; and virtual learning in elementary schools. In addition, Keyah Levy, UNI Department of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice, will lead a mental health panel while Tiffany A. Flowers, Georgia State University Perimeter College, will moderate a Black girls panel.  

The youth tracks, which attracted nearly 300 students last year, feature sessions on mindfulness, STEM education, hip hop literacy, math education and teen violence in dating. Amber Collins, proprietor of the new Soul Book Nook in Waterloo, Iowa, will also share a sampling of books by African American authors. 

The conference is free to UNI faculty, staff and students as well as middle and high school students. There is a fee of $50 for the general public. Social work continuing education credits are also being offered. Get more information and a link to register at aac.uni.edu.