Welcome to the 9th Annual African American Children and Families Conference, and the 14th Annual UNI African American Read-in, 2020. We at the University of Northern Iowa are proud and honored to offer many interesting, engaging and culturally relevant sessions, presenters and speakers. Transforming Communities so that the needs of children and families can be met. As we strive to transform communities, that calls for attitudinal, changes, actions as well as the exhibition of caring and sharing in bettering the lives of children and families. Culturally relevant speakers, workshops and open conversations will highlight this year's conference. Come join us for another great year of helping to spread the word that we all should be a part of the “village”, ensuring justice, peace, understanding and good will toward each other.


“Our theme this year is Transforming Communities for the Betterment of the Lives of African American Children and Families sets the tone for the work that we need to do. Today, we see and hear about the struggles of children and families across America and the state of Iowa. We are reminded that we must be the voices for those who can not, will not or shall not stand up and speak for themselves. There were many who played key roles in strengthening and endurance such as that of the 1619 Project. We are reminded today that everyone should have the right to the be free and to be treated respectfully and with human dignity.

Today we see thousands take to the streets across America to march and fight  for children to not be separated from their families. While this is tragic, some say history is repeating itself when little African American children were separated from their families for a lifetime. Families and communities were key in the launching and sustaining of the Civil Rights Movement by people of all races and ethnicities joining together in unity for the cause. We must share in times that brought about hope, prosperity and opportunities for Black children and families as well as other groups that needed support. The College of Education started this conference 9 years ago with hopes of promoting diversity and better understandings among all people as we strive to help children attain positive goals in life through our educational mission.


As we approach the 9th year of the University of Northern Iowa's Conference on African American Children and Families, we are happy to present diverse and well prepared presenters and researchers to share about the lives and experiences of African American children and families. This is one of the few nationally and internationally recognized conferences addressing relevant issues that present a strength-based approach to children and families. Participants are community and state-wide representatives such as educators, faculty, staff, administrators, school personnel, law enforcement, social workers, psychologists, parents as well as middle and high school and university students.

We are a team of supporters ensuring the delivery of culturally relevant information, by providing resources and documentation reigniting the power to focus on the unique strengths and needs of Black children. The emphasis of a strengths-based model decries the all-too-often deficit-focused model imposed upon Black children and their families. With the support of the University of Northern Iowa's administration, faculty, students and representatives of our local and statewide communities, we must forge ahead transforming communities for the betterment of all people. We must be more determined now than ever that our graduates who leave the university be prepared to make unbiased and supportive decisions as they venture out into the world, working with diverse populations. With Iowa's changing diverse population, the time is now to help implement the university's strategic plan on diversity, inclusion and community engagement. We too are a part of the mission of the National Black Child Development's message of improving and advancing the quality of life for Black children and their families through education, support and advocacy.

Today, more than ever before, we must all stand up to share in and uphold the legacy that was led by many who paved the way . There is much work to be done in the promotion of racial, cultural, gender equity and diversity. Join us on this journey!!!

Pre-Conference Institute on African American Children and Families

Thursday, February 27, 2020, 5-9 p.m. Maucker Union, UNI

9th Annual Conference on African American Children and Families

Friday, February 28, 2020, 8 am- 4:15 p.m. Schindler Education Center, UNI

Designed for educators, administrators, child care providers, law enforcement, policy makers, health care professionals, social workers, business leaders, middle and high school students as well as UNI students and faculty.

This conference will promote a better understanding of culture, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, ELL and the needs of African American children and families as well as others of diverse backgrounds. Come join us for a day of networking, sharing and meeting new colleagues to help improve the quality of life of children and families. Learn many new strategies and approaches to better relationships. Many individuals want to engage with you!

We hope that you will join us in celebrating a collective work of transforming communities for the betterment of all people . We thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to being engaged in providing hope and encouragement for improving the quality of life for African American children and families while joining in brighter experiences for all children! 

Classroom Management Book CoverAfrican Americans and Students of Diverse Backgrounds Book CoverThe first ten UNI students to register will receive a copy of either Effective Strategies and Approaches to Use with African Americans and Students of Diverse Backgrounds or Effective Strategies in Elementary Classroom Management