Conference Schedule


*Indicates Youth Track

7 - 8:00 am   REGISTRATION & REFRESHMENTS in SEC 1st Floor 

8 - 9:20 am – Opening Remarks & Keynote Speaker

Welcome by Dr. Jim Wohlpart, Vice President & Provost, UNI

Greetings The Honorable Mayors, Quentin Hart, City of Waterloo & Rob Green, City of Cedar Falls

National Black Anthem

Keynote Speaker

Corey Roberto Lanair Holmes, Graduate Northern University High School – Clark Atlanta University

Followed by Q & A

Union Steppers Drill Team - Reverend Marvin Jenkins - Lobby

Break and Exhibits

9:40 am - 10:40 am   LARGE GROUP SESSIONS

*Large Group Session A - Town Hall, Dr. Kingsley Botchway, Chief Officer of Human Resources and Equity, Waterloo Community School District

*Large Group Session C- Black Girls- panel discussion led by Dr. Tiffany Flowers, Georgia State University Perimeter College

10:50 am - 11:40 am   BREAKOUT SESSIONS I General Public

Dr. Louis Hilton

Presentation Title: "Reflections of a Transformational Educator: Education as Liberation Theology"
This presentation discusses the use of counter-narratives and testimonies as pedagogical methods to address the issues of racial equality and social justice. The potential and power for an equitable society lies within the development of a collective narrative, collaborative effort and collective action. The goal of this presentation is to help individuals develop an identity and ideology that cultivates a critical race consciousness along with fostering academic excellence, cultural competence and social political activism.

Dr. Stephanie Jones, Assistant Professor Grinnell College
Sarah Beisner, Research Assistant Grinnell College
Sophie Shea, Research Assistant Grinnell College

Presentation Title: Iowa and the School to Prison Pipeline
Based on the work and research in a college course on the School to Prison Pipeline, researchers present on two strands of school pushout/dropout that directly impact Black and Brown children in the State of Iowa: Seclusion and Restraint and Suspension and Expulsion. Each presenter will share state-wide data, video, and infographics related to these topics and the implications for Black and Brown children in the state of Iowa.

Dr. Taraneh Matloob Haghanikar, Assistant Professor University of Northern Iowa

Title of Presentation: Is My Syllabus Diverse Enough?
(Designed for teachers, educators)

The purpose of this session is to introduce practical ways to help teachers include and teach literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.

The main focus of the workshop is on un-narrated or mis-narrated elements of stories of others whose general lack of representation contributes to their invisibility. There will be an introduction of stories about people of color and spans all different aspects of diversity. 

I will share concrete examples and lesson plans that represent authentic as well as inauthentic stories about others. By sharing these examples, I would like to encourage thoughtful dialogue around African American children’s literature so that teachers become knowledgeable about books that function as mirrors, windows, and doors.

Felicia Carter, Certified Intervention Specialist Pathways Behavioral Services
Howard Griffith, Iowa Department of Human Services

Title of Presentation: Disproportionality of Families in the Child Welfare System

If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?  Session will include how reporting has affected our families of color and ways to help families stay together.  Statistically, families of color are reportedly entering and exiting the Child Welfare System at an alarming rate. They are three times that of their white counterparts. Come find out about what has been done in the last 10 years through the Break Through Series Collaborative and Casey Foundation to assist in the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA's) assuring that all is being done to lower these rates. What can professionals and the community do to decrease the biases? it is going to take from us as professionals and community to What is classified as a "risk" or "danger" according to the Department of Human Services? Research indicates that children do better in their own  homes and communities.

Joyce Levingston, Doctoral Candidate, University of Northern Iowa
(Target audience, students, social justice workers, educators, social workers)

Presentation Title: Critical Race Theory in education: A Black Mother’s Narrative on Special Education

Learn about Critical Race Theory in education and experiences of black boys in special education.

Dr. Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure, Ph.D., Professor, University of Northern Iowa


The paper explores how African American parents and families can use Hip-Hop and Rap Music to teach their children about Africa and African cultures, not unlike Blues Ivy Carter and her siblings have been learning about their African roots. Illustrations derive from Beyonce's Lemonade and The Lion King: The Gift and Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly. Eventually, the children overcome the Du Boisian Double Consciousness.

Abraham Funchess, Executive Director, Waterloo Human Rights Commission

Ghosts of Jim Crow and Its Impact on Black Families in the Metroplex    
Socio-political activists argue that despite racial progress nationally and locally,  local communities remain far from the imagined utopia that elite groups try to sell to the general public.   Data demonstrate that the socio-political realities on the ground point to an enduring racial paradigm of hierarchy and separation – historically, politically, economically, educationally and socially – which is crushing Black families and children.  We will examine ways to alleviate the suffering and build a stronger community.

12 - 1:00 pm Breakout Sessions II General Public

Ty Allan Jackson, Author, Publisher Motivational Speaker

Guest Author and Illustrator, Ty Allan Jackson is an award-winning children’s book author, literacy advocate, publisher and captivating motivational speaker. Ty travels to schools, youth organizations and various professional settings nationwide inspiring children and educating adults about the impacts of illiteracy. A three time TedX presenter, Ty believes that literacy is the foundation for a successful life and promotes it with humor and enthusiasm.

Stephanie Shavers, Program and Coalition Coordinator Cedar Valley Readers and
Co- Presenter-Gina Weekley, Waterloo Community Schools Director of We Believe Summer Academy & At Risk Coordinator Lincoln Elementary

Title: We Believe Summer Academy
The We Believe Summer Academy is the brain child of Gina Weekley who is a Waterloo kid and was frustrated with the options that our kids had during the summer and before and after school. Thus, Summer Academy was born. We Believe Academy is the answer to Summer Slide, Best Attendance, and 3rd grade proficiency.  We Believe Academy is a free summer program offered to children for 6 weeks where the morning is a strong and Structured learning experience. The afternoon is equally structured until 6pm. Data is available supporting the success of the academy, has a strong structured learning piece, and the afternoon piece

Dr. Theodora Jn Baptiste, Founder/CEO, Authentic Breakthrough
Dr. Fadialddin, Program Analyst, Authentic Breakthrough

Presentation Title: Youth Empowerment: Vision book to purpose, wellness, success and happiness.
What is the ultimate vision? Too often our youth are caught up in the struggle with no clear vision or pathway to breakthrough. This session is an experiential process designed to activate our youth to think beyond their immediate circumstances and elevate their perspectives to embrace a holistic vision and pathway to success. Join us to see how the dimensions of wellness, individual style, and the art of newspaper theatre collide to bring purpose and long term vision to life!

1 - 1:10 pm Union Dance Performance - Reverend Marvin Jenkins- Lobby

1:15 pm - 2:30 pm   SPECIALIZED SESSION

Panel Discussion on Mental Health – by Keyah Levy, Associate Director for Multicultural Education Services. Division of Student Affairs.  Panelist include:  Juana Hollingsworth, M.S.W, Assistant Director of Diversity Recruitment, UNI; Chatara Mabry, LMSW, Instructor Hawkeye Community College; Shantila Caston, LMSW Mental Health Therapist/ Diversity Outreach Specialist, UNI.

2:50 pm - 4:00 pm   SPECIAL COMMUNITY FORUM

Community Forum speaker, Dr. Theodora Pinnock -Dr. Pinnock heads up the Maternal and Child Health Section of the Tennessee Department of Health.  She provided statewide training on the importance of developmental screening and practical application of standardized developmental tools.  Also, she teaches and consults with Head Start teachers and parents on developmental disabilities, promoting positive social emotional development and behavioral problems.