By Anthony Volkar
Special to the Express
Youth in Yolo County are invited to attend the 7th annual African American Student Leadership Conference on May 17 from 9 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. at Woodland Community College. Hosted by the Yolo County Office of Education, the conference seeks to immerse students in relevant conversations around Black history and culture.
“The African American Student Leadership Conference has become a signature event for youth in our county,” said County Superintendent Garth Lewis. “YCOE continues to sponsor the annual conference because we know the importance of providing a space and opportunity for students to see and experience what Black excellence looks like.”
According to the California Department of Education, of the estimated 30,000 students in Yolo County, only about three percent of the student population identifies as African American.
The African American Student Leadership Conference is open to youth in Grades 7-12 who live or attend school in Yolo County. There is no cost for students to participate. Event organizers expect an estimated 100-150 students to participate in the conference. The event is considered a field trip for most school districts in Yolo County.
The conference will feature a variety of speakers and community leaders designed to motivate and engage students.
Roshaun Davis, the co-founder of Unseen Heroes, a Sacramento-based events marketing and management company, will serve as the keynote speaker. In 2022, Davis was named as one of the ‘Top 25 Black Change Makers’ in the Sacramento region by the Sacramento Bee. He was also named a ‘40 Under 40’ honoree by the Sacramento Business Journal in 2020.
Marcus Smith, Black Communities Reporter with the Sacramento Bee’s Equity Lab, will serve as the conference emcee. Sandy Holman, director and founder of the Culture C.O.-O.P., will host and facilitate a libation ceremony, a Black ritual ceremony to honor and celebrate one’s heritage and ancestors.
During the conference, workshops will be led by representatives from Sacramento Area Youth Speakers (SAYS), Improve Your Tomorrow, Club Stride and the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center. The conference will include separate programming for junior high and high school students.
Led by the National College Resources Foundation, the conference will also feature a college panel with current students and recent graduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
During each annual conference, event organizers also seek to recognize individuals who have provided leadership or outstanding service to the Black community. This year, the conference will honor and recognize Kandice Richardson-Fowler, Woodland Joint Unified School District Trustee, and Dr. Carl C. Mack Jr., former Superintendent of the Del Paso Heights School District and former director of African American Studies at UC Davis.
To participate, youth are asked to register in advance at yolocoe.k12oms.org/216849. The first 100 youth who register for the conference will receive a swag box during the event.
For more information about the conference or to view the complete conference schedule, visit the conference website at www.yoloslc.org.