The Eighth Annual International Colloquium on Black Males in Education was held November 5 – 8, 2019, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Milwaukee Marriott Downtown. The theme for this year’s Colloquium was “Disrupting Educational Disparities, Segregation, and Mass Incarceration: Hidden Battle Grounds for Black Males.”
Each year, ICBME brings together top researchers, high-impact practitioners, funders, policymakers, students, and concerned citizens to engage in conversations regarding the state of affairs for Black boys and men in education. The Colloquium offers a diverse array of programs that serve to elicit intellectual thought, discussion, and ideas that can be implemented to serve and improve the experiences of Black males throughout the world. These activities allow participants to interact with peers from other institutions and develop a global network of contacts.
Learn more by reading the daily recaps below. View photos from the event here: ICBME 2019
ICBME 2019 RECAP:
The first day of the Colloquium featured a keynote from Dr. Chance Lewis, who spoke about the importance of Black male teachers to the success of Black boys. “Milwaukee is an example of what we see everywhere else in the country,” he shared. “A student could go their entire K-12 career and not ever see a Black male teacher.”
Following his presentation was a panel on high impact programs in Wisconsin featuring representatives from The Literacy Lab, Milwaukee Fellows program, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Dr. David Pate delivered the Equity in Life keynote address and talked about the economic barriers facing marginalized families. “The reality is that your zip code affects your life course,” he shared.
Following lunch, Drs. James Moore III, Jerlando Jackson, and Chance Lewis took the stage for a panel moderated by Autumn Arnett. They shared their insights on how to improve the trajectories of Black males and their personal experiences in higher education. “There are great minds in every zip code,” said Moore. “How do we create the critical mass, space, and opportunities to give the same things [we] want for our own families to everyone else?”
The day concluded with a financial empowerment and strategy workshop from Ramsey Jay Jr. and the opening reception.
The second day of the Colloquium opened with a keynote address from Kalan R. Haywood Sr., founding member and president of Haywood Group, a full-service real estate development firm based in Milwaukee. Haywood discussed his own upbringing as a Milwaukee native and how his duality between crime and success informed how to best help and inspire others. “My job is to build buildings, but my deepest, most sincere passion and obligation is to build people and to build opportunities,” he said.
Next, Colloquium participants had the opportunity to learn from both poster and roundtable sessions, choosing between topics including Effects of Sexual Education HIV/AIDs Prevalence in the Black Community and Solidifying Black Political Leadership.
The lunch keynote was delivered by Dr. John B. Diamond. Focusing on the enduring role of segregation, Diamond took us through America’s longstanding history of institutional racism, followed by modern-day segregation in Milwaukee and Chicago, including his work on The Degree Project in Milwaukee. “We have a stratified system, full of and embedded with white supremacy and structural inequality and we have to be mindful of that when creating policy,” he shared.
Afterward, participants experienced the first of two Manuscript Sessions, featuring Roberto Garcia and Dr. Chance W. Lewis, with Brian A. Burt serving as moderator. Then, Donald Dantzler, Christine Pribbenow, and Percy Brown Jr. played their educational video game, Fair Play, with the Colloquium audience. Fair Play presents real-life examples of bias concepts such as microaggressions, color blind racial attitudes, tokenism and others. The game involves taking on the challenges of graduate student while also learning when, how or if to name biases.
The day concluded with the Cultural Immersion Experience at America’s Black Holocaust Museum. Outgoing director Brad Pruitt previewed the space to the Colloquium participants, taking them through Dr. James Cameron’s journey as a survivor of a lynching to his life as an advocate for racial justice and founding America’s Black Holocaust Museum in 1984. Guests walked through the museum’s exhibits, which detailed the African American journey in the context of world history, from human beginnings in Africa to the Black Lives Matter movement. Visit the virtual museum by clicking the button below!
The third and final day of the Colloquium began with none other than the Lieutenant-Governor of Wisconsin, Mandela Barnes, providing the opening remarks. Lt. Gov. Barnes spoke on his upbringing in Milwaukee and how it inspires his work as one of the highest officers in the state. “We have to make sure that opportunity exists for everyone,” Lt. Gov. Barnes said. “My neighborhood, fortunately, did not dictate my outcome. But my story should not be an anomaly.” In addition, Lt. Gov. Barnes discussed Wisconsin’s inequalities in education and his dedication to eradicating disparities. “I am using my experience to advocate for our children and I hope that you all do the same,” he shared.
Next, Dr. Donna Ford delivered her keynote address titled “A Clarion Call to the Blacks: We MUST Desegregate and Integrate Gifted and Talented Education.” She discussed the juxtapositions of gifted education programs, which suffer from a lack of representation of Black boys and girls, and special education programs, which have over-representation.
Before lunch, the second manuscript session took place, with presentations from Corey Reed, Shawn Robinson, and Keisha Wint. The scholars covered topics such as Anti-Blackness and the patriarchy, critical literacy, and the experiences of Black boys in state-funded preschools.
The lunch keynote featured an intergenerational fireside chat from Kalan Haywood Sr. and Kalan Haywood Jr., with Dr. Carl Wesley serving as moderator. Haywood Sr. talked about his position as a father who grew up in a single-parent home and Haywood Jr. elaborated on his position as the youngest person in the Wisconsin state legislature. “So many kids would say they saw me on TV or talked to be in class, but they never expected to meet me,” Haywood Jr said. “I needed to show them that I was a 20-year old Black man from Milwaukee.”
The afternoon comprised of a final Manuscript Session and Panel Discussion. Jesse Ford, Erik Hines, Brian Johnson, and others continued yesterday’s discussion on postsecondary institutions as battlegrounds. Afterward, Clarence Johnson, James Cross, and Wendel Hruska discussed best practices in recidivism programs and the experiences of Black men navigating incarceration to emancipation.
This year’s Colloquium concluded with the Awards Banquet and final keynote speaker, Muhibb Dyer. Dyer electrified the audience as he reminded them why they must never forget the youth which they strive to positively impact and their ancestors who fought for freedom. “You had an ancestor on the bottom on a slave ship, and they had to suffer, and the only thing that got them through is you,” Dyer said.
Lastly, Dr. Jackson and Dr. Moore inducted ICBME19’s Warrior Award Class. John W. Daniels Jr. and Dr. Donna Y. Ford were brought to the stage and given their commemorative medals. Then, as a surprise selection from the Awards Committee, Dr. Moore also inducted Dr. Jackson to the Warrior Award class.
Pre-Colloquium events are critical drivers of the social innovation platform geared toward building capacity in local communities to serve the needs of Black males in education. Every effort is made to develop outreach opportunities that engage constituents (e.g., parents, community organizers, students) that might not normally participate in a research gathering, but can greatly benefit from learning how research can empower them to work with Black males in education. The operational philosophy of the Colloquium is to engage with and give back to the communities that serve as hosts.
Black Female Forum
Led by Dr. Tamara Bertrand Jones, the forum featured a fireside chat with Michelle Nettles, chief people and culture officer at Manpower Group, and Syneathia LaGrant, vice president of global people development at Molson Coors. The participants discussed the experiences of Black women in higher education and the workplace and how to navigate challenges facing Black women. “There is no such thing as work/life balance,” said LaGrant. “There is only work/life management.” The event also featured a panel on breaking down barriers and creating opportunities with Gloria Ladson-Billings, Joan Price, andn Artanya Wesley. “Our job is not to win, it is to struggle,” said Ladson-Billings. “Why? Because the people who came before us struggled.”
The Community Conversation served as a forum for the local community to discuss the impact of trauma on Black males life outcomes and opportunities.. The forum featured a keynote presentation from Alfonzo Watkins, founder of Project Wake Up, and a spoken word reading from Roberto Rivera. “There must exist courageous conversations investigating the systems that produce trauma, who benefits from symptoms, and who and what is needed to eliminate these systems,” said Carl Wesley in the call to action.
Graduate School Academy
Led by Drs. LaVar and Sherri Charleston, the academy featured a keynote presentation on grit from Kenny Yarbrough, chief equity, diversity, and inclusion officer at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and panels on selecting the right institution and the graduate school application process.
Led by Daniel Thomas and conducted by precollege and college experts, the college academy prepared students for competitive admission into higher education institutions. The event offered insight into accessing local and national resources and support systems to gain exposure, garner experience, and build a competitive college portfolio.