Black love emanates thru leadership conference

Shiree teng presenting Black love is liberation research

By Quinci Mann | Photos: Josh Egel & Brenden Anderson 

4/26/24 Oakland, CA – The Spring Symposium burst forth with raw energy and radical intent, echoing the words of Chris ‘Baba C’ Chatmon’s keynote, “Our ancestors left the blueprint within our DNA – don’t get caught up in AI right now, that artificial intelligence. We must stay grounded in ancestral intelligence, our relationship with the earth, the stars, and others.” 

King sharing a comment in keynote sessionNestled in Oakland, California, the symposium served as a crucible for Black liberation and educational equity. Leticia Erving, Director of the African American Achievement and Leadership Initiative (AAALI), shared a poignant moment witnessing Black boys affirming their worth; “To walk in this space, and see nothing but Black males – older brothers, younger brothers, welcoming in the next generation… to see these little Black boys believe they were special and important meant a lot to me.”

Amidst the symposium’s bustling corridors, a symphony of youthful optimism intertwined with seasoned wisdom. From Baba C’s familial welcome to breakout sessions amplifying lived experiences, the day burgeoned with depth of narratives, each thread contributing to a richer, more inclusive dialogue.

Day 1 Breakout RoomsBreakout sessions, akin to sacred circles of knowledge-sharing, explored the multifaceted dimensions of Black male achievement. Facilitators, drawn from the very communities they served, led discussions on culturally responsive pedagogy and curriculum development, youth voice and leadership, Black male teachers, narrative reclamation, and family and community engagement. Kings who traversed the labyrinth of societal barriers emerged as guides, their voices imbued with authenticity and resilience.

Shiree Teng’s keynote pierced through the veil of societal constructs, urging us to confront the nexus between self-love and systemic resistance. “When we don’t love ourselves, who benefits? I would say capitalism benefits, racists benefit… When we love ourselves, we will fight back,” Teng proclaimed, igniting a fervor for collective empowerment.

Antoinette Malveaux fireside chatHer discourse on love and radicalization emboldened attendees to embrace compassionate curiosity, underscoring the transformative power of empathy in dismantling oppressive systems. Dr. Antoinette Malveaux’s insights on Black wealth and philanthropy underscored the imperative of economic empowerment in redressing historical injustices.

The day reached its apex with the announcement of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s generous contribution—two million dollars—to fuel the KOO Lab Design Center & Production House. With our new community center in the West Oakland Black economic zone; this investment symbolized hope and commitment to nurturing the next generation of changemakers.

The first day of the symposium was more than just a gathering; it was a declaration of solidarity and action. As attendees departed, they carried with them a renewed sense of purpose, ready to continue the fight for racial equity and justice.

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