Uplifting Black Men Conference
The Student Success Center is eager to announce our 6th Annual Uplifting Black Men Conference that will be held virtually on Saturday, February 27, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Building upon previous thematic conferences, we have selected “I Got Next” as the theme for this year’s virtual conference. The mission of “I Got Next” is to inspire and empower this generation of Black men to achieve any goals that they want—to promote the importance of the journey and the work associated. This conference will provide a virtual space for participants to plan, execute, and assess their educational and personal goals with the help of renowned presenters.
Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Dr. Dyson—a Distinguished University Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, College of Arts & Science, and Distinguished University Professor of Ethics and Society, The Divinity School, and Centennial Professor at Vanderbilt University—is one of America’s premier public intellectuals and author of over 20 books, including sevenNew York Times bestsellers. A contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and political analyst for MSNBC, Dyson is recipient of two NAACP Image Awards and the 2020 Langston Hughes Festival Medallion. Former President Barack Obama has noted, “Everybody who speaks after Michael Eric Dyson pales in comparison.”
I Got Next is a call to action, it is a phrase that keeps the dream attainable and focuses one on the goal at hand. Without that, dreams’ purpose are lost, and without purpose, function is lost. No matter where I am or where you are, you have to know that there is always a next step. We want to pose some specific questions to prepare our listeners for today:
- How do you prepare for the next game?
- What game are you playing? (Either athletic or life situation)
- What is the next step?
These questions and scenarios play a vital role in preparing you for the next steps in life. It’s more than just a game. It’s applicable to life, and the journey awaits. Collectively, we curated a theme to describe the preparation, planning, and execution necessary to master life’s journey.
Friday, February, 26, 2021
Registration coming soon
*To attend both Welcome and Live Keynote, you must register for the conference.
|Saturday, February 27, 2021|
|10:30 a.m.||Welcome Session led by Dr. Kimberly Smith, Associate Vice Provost, Student Success Initiatives; Deseria Creighton Barney, President VA Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors; and Dr. Michael R. Williams, Assistant Director, Student Success Center
|11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.||Concurrent Session Track 1|
|12:00 - 12:30 p.m.||Break|
|12:30 - 1:30 p.m.||Concurrent Session Track 2|
|1:30 - 2:00 p.m.||Break|
|2:00 - 3:00 p.m.||Live Keynote led by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson
|3:00 - 3:30 p.m.||Break|
|3:30 - 4:30 p.m.||Concurrent Session Track 3|
|4:30 - 5:00 p.m.||Break|
|5:00 - 5:30 p.m.||Networking Group Session|
The Culture Misfit: Being a Black Man in Tech and Unfiltered Tips to Create Wealth in the Industry
The tech industry produces the most capital and billionaires through massive valuations and salaries, but how do we get a piece of that? The silent rules do change based upon the color of your skin, but there is value in identifying your competitive advantage to overcome imposter syndrome, create wealth, and leverage innovation/ entrepreneurship to achieve the seeds of wealth. Founder of a data analytics tech start- up and author of the e-book, The Culture Fit, the experiences Boyd is able to authentically share stem from resilience, mental fortitude, and economic empowerment with a specific focus for those interested in tech with non-traditional or underrepresented backgrounds.
Africulture: The contributions of people of African descent to Agriculture
Africulture will highlight the contributions of people of African descent to agriculture, challenging the perception of Africans to just being slaves and growing cotton. We share facts and actual numbers of the value Africans added to the Western economy, the many inventions, practices and propagation techniques that Black people have created that we partake of on a daily basis to this day. Africulture desires to reshape the image of the farmer and the agriculture profession as a dignified, needed and profitable occupation that young black men and women should consider as a profession. We also highlight basic crops of interests, asset acquisition, ownership and retention of land and taking pride in telling your story of pride and rural life.
Securing Your Seat at the Decision-Making Table
50-80% of jobs are found through networking according to National Public Radio. My talk will focus on how to network, build meaningful relationships, and how to find mentors.
Say what you mean: Tips from a Master of Ceremonies
Join in this interactive workshop on communicating as a Black man. From writing lyrics, speeches, and personal statements to speaking up in a group setting, communication is a complex part of life for a Black man. This workshop will focus on written and oral communication highlighting strategies for using assertions and transitions. Sign up for this session to express yourself and bond through wordplay.
I Got Now
During this discussion, we’ll talk to members of the advisory board about the vision behind “I Got Next” and how Black men could move forward as a collective in post-secondary education and beyond.
Deeply Rooted: Maintaining the Breath on a Daily
“...O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up.” - Toni Morrison, Beloved. As Black men and boys experience trauma and triggering messages from social media, intercommunity engagement, and failing systems, they may often feel a weighted pressure on their necks. This session hopes to utilize hip hop theory and ideology through a crafted playlist that explores the nuance of having the ability to “keep ya head up”. Utilizing the concepts of breathwork and mindfulness, while interweaving yoga techniques focused on dealing with individuals dealing with trauma, the presenter hopes to provide pathways that guide participants to new ways of centering their health and well-being.