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The Race Project KC Student Symposium is a day-long event that provides high school students with the opportunity to explore racism – it’s effects and potential solutions - using their minds, their hearts and their feet. Students from diverse schools and experiences will come together to reflect on Kansas City’s racial history, discuss racial equity and explore their own agency as they interact with local community change agents.
The 2019 event features best-selling authors:
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me, The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power) is the distinguished writer in residence at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and winner of the 2015 National Book Award.
  • Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming, Harbor Me, Each Kindness, and more) is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and winner of many awards including the 2014 National Book Award and the Coretta Scott King Award.
  • Tanner Colby’s book, Some of My Best Friends Are Black, The Strange Story of Integration in America was nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Non-fiction. He has been working with Race Project KC since its inception and his book is an important part of the students’ education about the history of race in Kansas City, and in America, since the Civil Rights Movement.

Session Registration
Please register for sessions you would like to attend by Sunday, April 21 and avoid signing up for the same session twice in a row. If you are not registered on that date, you will be randomly assigned workshops for the day. (So pick them yourself and have way more fun!)


Photo Disclaimer: The Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center is a public building, by attending this event you agree that your image may be used for promotional purposes by Johnson County Library, Johnson County Parks and Recreation and their partners.

Johnson County Library and its board members, officers and employees may disclaim any responsibility for the content of workshops offered by third party facilitators; they are not an expression of Library policy.

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Thursday, April 25
 

8:00am

Check-In
Attendees will check in as they arrive and enjoy breakfast snacks and conversation as we prepare for our day.


Thursday April 25, 2019 8:00am - 8:40am

8:45am

Welcome
Join us for a welcoming activity that will help you meet others from different schools, and discover what you already have in common. 

Thursday April 25, 2019 8:45am - 9:20am
Event Space 1

9:30am

Johnson County Museum Tour
Limited Capacity filling up

The tour will highlight Johnson County history, from Thomas Johnson’s Shawnee Indian Mission, through Ten Years of Terror in pre-civil war times, JC Nichols’ housing restrictions, and the local Klan presence in 1920s. The tour culminates in the 1950s All-Electric House, with a look at redlining, deed restrictions, and stories of Johnson County residents who made an impact in our local story.

Speakers
avatar for Johnson County Museum

Johnson County Museum

The Johnson County Museum offers innovative, engaging exhibitions and programs that inspire learners of all ages to discover a sense of place and spark excitement about history.Explore the museum's signature exhibition to gain a deeper understanding of the county's history and growth... Read More →

Sponsors
avatar for Johnson County Museum

Johnson County Museum

The Johnson County Museum offers innovative, engaging exhibitions and programs that inspire learners of all ages to discover a sense of place and spark excitement about history.Explore the museum's signature exhibition to gain a deeper understanding of the county's history and growth... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 9:30am - 10:20am
Museum

9:30am

The Heart Exam: a writing workshop
Limited Capacity filling up

In this workshop students will engage in a process that will guide them toward courageous self-interrogation regarding the state of their hearts and the importance of positive self-identity. They will participate in a group activity designed to explore empathy as a precursor to the pursuit of social justice and civic engagement. Afterwards, students will be encouraged to craft poems that speak to the issues surrounding equity that most deeply concern and affect them. The desired result is to move beyond so-called political correctness and the hollow use of catch phrases such as "diversity and inclusion" toward an authentic sense of self-worth and the inherent value of all humanity.... even those who don't look like us.

Speakers
avatar for Glenn North

Glenn North

Glenn North is the author of City of Song, a collection of poems inspired by Kansas City’s rich jazz tradition and the triumphs and tragedies of the African American experience. He is a Cave Canem fellow, a Callaloo creative writing fellow and a recipient of the Charlotte Street... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 9:30am - 10:20am
Rehearsal Studio B

9:30am

The Science of Unconscious Bias
Limited Capacity filling up

Participants will:
  • Learn about unconscious bias
  • Discuss implications for judgment and the environment climate/culture
  • Review strategies and resources to further identify unconscious biases and reduce their impact
Goal: Participants will have an increased capacity to recognize biases and prevent or reduce unintended consequences in order to create a more inclusive campus and climate.

Speakers
avatar for UMKC Diversity Ambassadors

UMKC Diversity Ambassadors

The Diversity Ambassadors are UMKC students trained in diversity peer education looking to work with student organizations to meet the needs of our community by holding diversity dialogue sessions.


Thursday April 25, 2019 9:30am - 10:20am
Event Space 2

9:30am

Believe the Hype, Now What?
Limited Capacity filling up

Here’s the description: Adults tend to marginalize the power of young people especially when they say, “You are the future.” As young people demonstrate over and over again, they have the ability to enact change right now. In this workshop, we’ll explore how young people can be a present force for good in our communities only if they are willing to organize themselves to be the change they want to see and organize others to follow their lead. This is not for the faint of spirit. Come only if you’re ready to be the change and lead the change.

Speakers
avatar for Deth Im

Deth Im

Rev Deth Im is Director of Training for Faith in Action, a network that supports faith-based community organizing which enables people of faith to build power to reshape their lives and their communities. Faith in Action believes in the power of people to transform systems (people... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 9:30am - 10:20am
Event Space 1

9:30am

LGBTQ Youth & Student Organizing
Limited Capacity seats available

Students will explore the types of common experiences LGBTQ youth face in schools. Students will learn some common language to understand sexuality and gender identities. This workshop will also explore and share effective organizing and safety-planning strategies for building fierce LGBTQ youth movements in your communities.

Speakers
avatar for Merrique Jenson

Merrique Jenson

Merrique Jenson (she/her) is a queer and trans, multiracial anti-violence advocate and artist of color. For the past 17 years, she has worked closely with street-based youth, communities of color, and LGBTQ people in the fields of youth programming, anti-violence advocacy and community... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 9:30am - 10:20am
Black Box Theater

9:30am

Youth & Community Activism
Limited Capacity full

As students, it’s easy to get frustrated with the challenges of high school. Beyond just studying for the next test or handling the social pressures. I am referring to when you’re sitting there thinking... what does this have to do with my life and what I want to do for a profession. When your concerned that your school is not preparing you for “the real world”, or doesn’t seem to talk about the issues you see on your feed on a day to day basis. This is meant to be a session to empower you to think about the how to collectively organize as a student body to create changes not just in your high school, but in your city, state and across this country.

Speakers
avatar for Nico Wiggins

Nico Wiggins

Nico Wiggins is an educator turned media producer focused on cultivating conscious content and driving conversations around next generation social issues. Wiggins created Nico Giles Media to amplify the narrative around the challenges of our time. In his previous role at Kansas State... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 9:30am - 10:20am
Dance Studio

9:30am

Educator Workshop
Limited Capacity full

Our morning educator workshop features two amazing speakers:

9:30-9:50 
Ok, So You're NOT A Racist! Now What?: Examining the realities of systemic racism in education with David Muhammad

9:50-11:20
Operationalizing Equity: The Power of Cultural Reciprocity with Stephenie Smith and Dr. Rodney Smith
Cultural Reciprocity and Responsiveness Training asks learners to focus on the exchange that must take place among and between individuals who are coming from different cultural backgrounds. Cultural reciprocity and responsiveness calls for constant introspection that promotes a willingness to reflect upon the often unquestioned aspects of our dominant culture in juxtaposition to the culture and customs of individuals outside of dominant cultural norms. Central to the tenets of cultural reciprocity and responsiveness is an examination of the culturally-based biases that many individuals harbor, unknowingly. For educators, it requires an examination of school culture, specifically, aspects of school culture that educators take for granted, but aspects that are not so common to individuals unfamiliar with school culture. We invite participants to become curious about how educational outcomes might be better for all if cultural responsiveness increases.

Speakers
avatar for David Muhammad

David Muhammad

David Muhammad was born and raised in greater Kansas City. He graduated from Emporia State University in 2008, with a Bachelors degree in Secondary Education. In 2012, he received his Masters Degree in Education from Baker University. He currently works as a high school social studies... Read More →
avatar for Stephenie Smith, MSW

Stephenie Smith, MSW

As co-founder and managing partner, Stephenie is Sophic's lead authority on executive project management, organizational structure & design and operations improvement. She has led a number of efforts to align not-for-profit policy with community investments, with a special emphasis... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Rodney Smith

Dr. Rodney Smith

As co-founder and managing partner, Rodney is Sophic’s lead authority on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. His expertise is in African American student achievement, urban education and culturally responsive pedagogy.  Rodney is also a Group and Collaborative Learning... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 9:30am - 11:20am
Museum Classroom

10:30am

Johnson County Museum Tour
Limited Capacity seats available

The tour will highlight Johnson County history, from Thomas Johnson’s Shawnee Indian Mission, through Ten Years of Terror in pre-civil war times, JC Nichols’ housing restrictions, and the local Klan presence in 1920s. The tour culminates in the 1950s All-Electric House, with a look at redlining, deed restrictions, and stories of Johnson County residents who made an impact in our local story.

Speakers
avatar for Johnson County Museum

Johnson County Museum

The Johnson County Museum offers innovative, engaging exhibitions and programs that inspire learners of all ages to discover a sense of place and spark excitement about history.Explore the museum's signature exhibition to gain a deeper understanding of the county's history and growth... Read More →

Sponsors
avatar for Johnson County Museum

Johnson County Museum

The Johnson County Museum offers innovative, engaging exhibitions and programs that inspire learners of all ages to discover a sense of place and spark excitement about history.Explore the museum's signature exhibition to gain a deeper understanding of the county's history and growth... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 10:30am - 11:20am
Museum

10:30am

The Heart Exam: a writing workshop
Limited Capacity filling up

In this workshop students will engage in a process that will guide them toward courageous self-interrogation regarding the state of their hearts and the importance of positive self-identity. They will participate in a group activity designed to explore empathy as a precursor to the pursuit of social justice and civic engagement. Afterwards, students will be encouraged to craft poems that speak to the issues surrounding equity that most deeply concern and affect them. The desired result is to move beyond so-called political correctness and the hollow use of catch phrases such as "diversity and inclusion" toward an authentic sense of self-worth and the inherent value of all humanity.... even those who don't look like us.

Speakers
avatar for Glenn North

Glenn North

Glenn North is the author of City of Song, a collection of poems inspired by Kansas City’s rich jazz tradition and the triumphs and tragedies of the African American experience. He is a Cave Canem fellow, a Callaloo creative writing fellow and a recipient of the Charlotte Street... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 10:30am - 11:20am
Rehearsal Studio B

10:30am

The Science of Unconscious Bias
Limited Capacity full

Participants will:
  • Learn about unconscious bias
  • Discuss implications for judgment and the environment climate/culture
  • Review strategies and resources to further identify unconscious biases and reduce their impact
Goal: Participants will have an increased capacity to recognize biases and prevent or reduce unintended consequences in order to create a more inclusive campus and climate.

Speakers
avatar for UMKC Diversity Ambassadors

UMKC Diversity Ambassadors

The Diversity Ambassadors are UMKC students trained in diversity peer education looking to work with student organizations to meet the needs of our community by holding diversity dialogue sessions.


Thursday April 25, 2019 10:30am - 11:20am
Event Space 2

10:30am

Believe the Hype, Now What?
Limited Capacity full

Adults tend to marginalize the power of young people especially when they say, “You are the future.” As young people demonstrate over and over again, they have the ability to enact change right now. In this workshop, we’ll explore how young people can be a present force for good in our communities only if they are willing to organize themselves to be the change they want to see and organize others to follow their lead. This is not for the faint of spirit. Come only if you’re ready to be the change and lead the change.

Speakers
avatar for Deth Im

Deth Im

Rev Deth Im is Director of Training for Faith in Action, a network that supports faith-based community organizing which enables people of faith to build power to reshape their lives and their communities. Faith in Action believes in the power of people to transform systems (people... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 10:30am - 11:20am
Event Space 1

10:30am

LGBTQ Youth & Student Organizing
Limited Capacity seats available

Students will explore the types of common experiences LGBTQ youth face in schools. Students will learn some common language to understand sexuality and gender identities. This workshop will also explore and share effective organizing and safety-planning strategies for building fierce LGBTQ youth movements in your communities.

Speakers
avatar for Merrique Jenson

Merrique Jenson

Merrique Jenson (she/her) is a queer and trans, multiracial anti-violence advocate and artist of color. For the past 17 years, she has worked closely with street-based youth, communities of color, and LGBTQ people in the fields of youth programming, anti-violence advocacy and community... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 10:30am - 11:20am
Black Box Theater

10:30am

Youth & Community Activism
Limited Capacity filling up

As students, it’s easy to get frustrated with the challenges of high school. Beyond just studying for the next test or handling the social pressures, I am referring to when you’re sitting there thinking... what does this have to do with my life and what do I want to do for a profession. When your concerned that your school is not preparing you for “the real world”, or doesn’t seem to talk about the issues you see on your feed on a day to day basis. This is meant to be a session to empower you to think about the how to collectively organize as a student body to create changes not just in your high school, but in your city, state and across this country.

Speakers
avatar for Nico Wiggins

Nico Wiggins

Nico Wiggins is an educator turned media producer focused on cultivating conscious content and driving conversations around next generation social issues. Wiggins created Nico Giles Media to amplify the narrative around the challenges of our time. In his previous role at Kansas State... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 10:30am - 11:20am
Dance Studio

11:20am

Lunch
Food and drinks with friends!
Please notify jcl-raceproject@jocogov.org if you have a dietary restriction we should know about as we place our order for lunch.

Thursday April 25, 2019 11:20am - 11:50am
Event Space 1

12:00pm

Author Panel: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jacqueline Woodson and Tanner Colby
Join National Book Award winners, Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me, 2015) and Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming, 2014), as they discuss race and diversity inclusion in America.  This discussion will be moderated by author Tanner Colby whose book Some of My Best Friends are Black takes an in depth look at the history of segregation in Kansas City.  Be prepared to ask questions surrounding the topic.

Moderators
avatar for Tanner Colby

Tanner Colby

After writing a biography of Chris Farley and a biography of John Belushi, Tanner Colby knew that if he didn't want to be known only as the guy who writes about dead fat comedians, his next project had better be very different. At the same time, he and his friends were watching the... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates grew up in Baltimore and attended Howard University. He is the distinguished writer in residence at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and a winner of the National Book Award. Coates' book Between the World and Me began as a letter to his teenage son about... Read More →
avatar for Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson, the award winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming, is currently serving as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Her platform is, "Reading = Hope x Change - what's your equation? She once said, " I think young people should not be judged by the level... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 12:00pm - 1:15pm
Black Box Theater

1:30pm

Educator Reflection
Limited Capacity full

Reflect on what you have seen and heard throughout the day and discuss how you want to move forward.

Speakers
avatar for Stephenie Smith, MSW

Stephenie Smith, MSW

As co-founder and managing partner, Stephenie is Sophic's lead authority on executive project management, organizational structure & design and operations improvement. She has led a number of efforts to align not-for-profit policy with community investments, with a special emphasis... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Rodney Smith

Dr. Rodney Smith

As co-founder and managing partner, Rodney is Sophic’s lead authority on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. His expertise is in African American student achievement, urban education and culturally responsive pedagogy.  Rodney is also a Group and Collaborative Learning... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Black Box Theater

1:30pm

Connect
Limited Capacity full

Playing games can be incredible experiences to help people connect. Great games can teach you about cultures, relationships, and the world around you. Games can even help you learn to problem-solve and communicate better. In this afternoon session, you'll have fun, work together, and talk about the day’s symposium.

Thursday April 25, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Event Space 2

1:30pm

Discuss
Limited Capacity filling up

Want to talk about what you have learned today? Share your thoughts in a small group discussion.

Thursday April 25, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Event Space 1

1:30pm

Meditate
Limited Capacity filling up

Stine will be leading participants through a yoga practice as an avenue for reflection.  In this session, participants will have an opportunity to stretch, balance and breathe to help process the weight of the day.

Speakers
avatar for Celestine Muhammad

Celestine Muhammad

Celestine “Stine” Muhammad is a seasoned yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience. Stine is a proud native of St. Louis and currently serves as a yoga instructor through her practice, “A Peace of Yoga”, which she co-founded with her daughter Amanda. Stine found the... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Dance Studio

1:30pm

Read
Limited Capacity seats available

The publishing industry is finally keying in to the fact that people want to read books about different races, classes, families, situations, etc... which is fantastic! But it’s adults who are deciding what is published and who can write these stories – and sometimes these adults are getting books cancelled or postponed because they don’t meet the Internet standards. I’m tired of hearing what the adults think about diverse literature and want to know - what are you reading? What genres would you like to be reading? And what is annoying you about Twitter call out culture, in regards to books?

Speakers
avatar for Elena McVicar

Elena McVicar

Elena McVicar is the Youth Collections Specialist for the Johnson County Library, responsible for purchasing and maintaining the youth collections for all 14 branches. She is a gigantic kids lit nerd – and even has an MA in Children’s and Adolescent Literature from Simmons College... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Museum Classroom

1:30pm

Write
Limited Capacity seats available

Poet Glenn North leads a writing reflection workshop on what you have heard today.

Speakers
avatar for Glenn North

Glenn North

Glenn North is the author of City of Song, a collection of poems inspired by Kansas City’s rich jazz tradition and the triumphs and tragedies of the African American experience. He is a Cave Canem fellow, a Callaloo creative writing fellow and a recipient of the Charlotte Street... Read More →


Thursday April 25, 2019 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Rehearsal Studio B

2:10pm

Closing
Come together one last time as we close out our day. 

Thursday April 25, 2019 2:10pm - 2:30pm
Black Box Theater