large crowd in ballroom seated with speaker and podium at front, 2 projection screens, large light fixture hanging from ceiling

More than 300 people expected to attend second Black Boys and Men Symposium

The second Black Boys and Men Symposium offers participants opportunities to learn, question and deconstruct barriers that impact the lives of Black boys and men.

More than 300 people are expected to attend the three-day symposium, June 14-16, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids. Proceeds from the Sneaker Ball on June 15 will benefit the Office of Multicultural Affairs Program Fund. 

The conference is aimed toward professionals who work with Black boys and men: teachers and educators, community leaders, youth service providers and others. 

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said the successful 2022 symposium offered space for attendees to question and begin to dismantle systems that oppress Black boys and men and rebuild for success. Organizers drew from that model to plan for this year's symposium, he said.

"Our speakers offer innovative programs that serve as models, they shine a light on current issues and invite discussion on how to take action," Truss said. "We want people to share best practices to create capacity for new and better outcomes for Black boys and men." 

Keynote speakers and featured presenters are outlined below:

  • Adolph Brown, motivational speaker and founder, president, and CEO of the Leadership & Learning Institute, is the opening plenary speaker. Brown is a master teacher, clinical and educational psychologist and consultant. He starred in ABC's "The Parent Test" with Ali Wentworth.
  • Bakari Sellers is an analyst for CNN, an author, attorney and civil rights activist. Sellers enrolled at Morehouse College at age 16. He graduated from the University of South Carolina Law School and went on to become that state's youngest legislator. Sellers will give the closing plenary on Friday afternoon.
  • Edward Louis Hill Jr. is the vice president of strategic initiatives and associate provost at Talladega College, a partner in the HBCU/HSI Pipeline Consortium.
  • Wanda L. Everson-Gross is the director of the University System of Georgia’s African American Male Initiative, which provides an integrated program model of academic, leadership and life skills that supports students.
  • Rik L. Stevenson Jr., is an assistant instructional professor of African American Studies at the University of Florida and CEO of RLSII Consulting, Cultural Competency and Diversity Training Business.