Conference Panels

Blackness as an Asset in the New Paradigm of Human-Centric Development

MLK spoke about how poor blacks and poor whites need to unite. Today, development across America is no longer about the extraction economy. We need to spur development on human-centric efforts that consider creative and cultural uniqueness of regions. We need to discuss the challenges of driving urbanization in rural settings while avoiding past mistakes of gentrification at the expense of Black communities. As leaders in predominantly-white towns, there is also an identity challenge associated with satisfying constituents. This discussion will focus on how to leverage the creativity of Blacks in America as developmental success is redefined.

Whose Decade is it Anyway? The Politics of Race in International Development

In 2013, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent under the theme “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development.” It was a call to action for the United Nations, international organizations, states, civil society and other actors to fight the discrimination and injustices that people of African descent face globally. This panel will highlight the activities and lived experiences of African descendants who actively work to empower Black communities across the globe. Join us as we affirm Blackness through a discussion on race, international development and poverty reduction in the Global South.

Identity Politics: Power & Perceptions

In this session we hope to highlight the battles and progress made to create enforceable laws to prevent discrimination and encourage full political participation for LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups. Our panel members will discuss strategies to advance non-discrimination laws, promote inclusion and cultivate powerful voices in politics and within the multi-faceted society in which we all live.

Black Wealth Creation & Entrepreneurship

Wealth—an individual’s or family’s financial net worth—can function as a generational stepping stone that older generations pass on and future generations benefit from and build over time. However, America's Structural Racism has helped create the Black-White Wealth Gap. This black-white wealth gap has persisted for decades, beginning with slavery. This inequality in the shape of unprecedented wealth has called into question the basic principle of a liberal society. In fact, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, the wealth disparity between black and white families will take 228 years to close. This discussion will examine the importance of entrepreneurship as one of the many, but critical, routes necessary to take in the Black community to close the wealth gap.

Technology & Innovation for the Black Community

This panel will uncover how the black community fits into the ever-changing space of technology and innovations. The panel members will discuss the challenges, opportunities, and strategies private industries are facing to ensure excellence and equity. The panel will focus on topics like data, Al, cloud, blockchain, cybersecurity, and autonomous vehicles. The panel will also discuss how political initiatives and non-profit programs or the lack thereof impacts how the Black Community not only stays relevant but thrives in technology and innovation.

Expanding Black Career Options: Growing Access to Family Sustaining Employment

This panel will cover Black employment from a historical perspective while exploring how we may need to reset our direction moving forward. It will be centered around how we are seemingly beholden to a baccalaureate education system that is not necessarily producing the outcomes we need within our communities. The panel members will discuss the interventions needed to increase the number of people from the Black community into middle skill employment. The panel aims to look into the future of work and how Black actors fit within it.

Marked - Understanding the Lasting Effects of Incarceration

In America, more than 600,000 people are released from prisons every year. These individuals are constantly reminded of their previous incarceration when they look for housing, apply for jobs, and take other steps toward a healthy lifestyle. When considering the disproportionate impact of mass incarceration on the Black community, there is a need for race-conscious solutions to problems of criminal stigma. This panel will discuss various proposals to supporting the lives of formerly incarcerated people.

Combatting Health Inequity in the Black Community

Health inequity, for African Americans, is the product of a history of marginalization throughout the United States. This panel will explore the efforts of members of the Black community who have taken the lead on moving the needle to address health inequity. Panelists will describe their experiences innovating in the healthcare space both inside and outside of the hospital and discuss how to better serve Black communities and tackle the social determinants that impede access to adequate health service. There will also be a discussion on the barriers to innovation and the challenges associated with encouraging future Black practitioners and researchers to enter this space.

The Joke’s On You: Comedy as an Anti-racism Tool for Survival

Racism is no laughing matter! And yet we have so much Black excellence at the intersection of comedy and activism. The people working at this intersection are affirming the Black experience through the medium of comedy and are using comedy as a way to call attention to interpersonal and structural racism. Our panelists will discuss the ways that comedy can be used as a tool for organizing, building coalitions, public education, and sometimes just a tool to use laughter to acknowledge the daily load we carry.