Uplifting Black Men Conference
The song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black National Anthem, speaks to the heritage of hope amid despair, which thematically expresses the historical and contemporary narrative of American’s citizens of African descent. The song was composed by James Weldon Johnson, a man of many talents who believed that this story of despair and hope should never go unheard. The theme for our 7th Annual Uplifting Black Men Conference is “Lifting Your Voice.” This year’s conference seeks to empower young black men to lift their diverse voices in the political, social, professional, educational, and spiritual arenas; places that often attempt to silence their stories of despair and hope. Our mission is to help students discover and utilize their voices to transform their communities and world.
The keynote speaker will be the distinguished Dr. Fred Bonner, II who is Professor and Endowed Chair in Educational Leadership and Counseling and Founding Executive Director of the Minority Achievement, Creativity and High-Ability (MACH-III) Center at Prairie View A&M University. His social philosophy has led him to publish numerous articles, books and book chapters related to: academically gifted African American male college students in varying postsecondary contexts (Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Predominantly White Institutions, and Community Colleges); teaching in the multicultural college classroom; diversity issues in student affairs; diverse millennial students in college; success factors influencing the retention of students of color in higher education and in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields in particular; and faculty of color in predominantly White institutions (PWIs).
Black male voices are powerful, prophetic, inspiring, and can envision alternative worlds. Young black men today are the legacy and posterity of great voices, which were lifted during crucial historical moments. The question now is whose future voices will resound in times of despair, while pointing to the hope that awaits? And where will these voices be lifted? Reflective questions that potential participants should ask themselves:
What is my personal voice?
How do I raise my political and social voice?
How do I develop my professional voice?
These questions will guide the next generation as they prepare to speak to the current issues of their lives and generation.