Phenomenal Black Women and Girls: Agenda

Phenomenal Women and Girls symposium

The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
African American Alumni Committee
of the SSA Alumni Association presents

Phenomenal Black Women and Girls: Transcending Disparities and Social and Cultural Violence in Multiple Systems


8:00a.m. - 9:00a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00a.m. - 9:15a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks

Esther Franco-Payne, Chair, African American Alumni Committee

9:15a.m. - 9:45a.m.   Keynote Address:  "Advancing Equity: Balancing Policy, Programs, Partnerships, and Politics"

Dr. Kimberlyn Leary is a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow and Advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls. Within the Council, she leads initiatives for diversity in STEM fields and empowerment for women and girls of color.

9:50a.m. - 10:45a.m.  Panel Discussion/Q&A:

Dr. Leary’s talk will be responded to by a panel of three experts: Kimberly Foxx is a lawyer, former chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and current candidate for the office of Cook County State’s Attorney. Nneka-Jones Tapia, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Cook County Jail and the first clinical psychologist to head a major U.S. jail. Beth Richie, Ph.D. is University of Illinois Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, Criminology, Law and Justice, and Sociology.  She conducts research on racial/ethnic determinants of how women experience violence and incarceration. Moderating the panel will be Mary Mitchell, columnist with the Chicago Sun-Times. The panel will conclude with a question and answer session.

10:45a.m. - 11:00a.m. Break

11:00a.m. - 12:30p.m. Breakout Sessions: Symposium attendees will select one of the following four facilitated breakout sessions to continue discussing the issues raised by the keynote address and panelists. The breakout session objectives are:

Objective One: Participants will become informed about new strategies, effective best practices, and/or practical solutions for addressing the topic.     

Objective Two: Participants will become informed about new resources, ideas, and/or possible ways to collaborate with others.

Behavioral Health   What are the unseen effects of untreated mental health? What are the impacts of untreated trauma? Moderator:  June Price AM ’08

  • Ebony Bradford-Thomas, M.A., works for UCAN as a psychotherapist and provides counseling services at four Chicago Public High Schools. She is also a doctoral candidate in community psychology at National Louis University and has conducted presentations on historical trauma.
  • Christina Lattner, MS.N. Ed, APRN is an advanced practice nurse and nursing doctoral candidate with 14 years of experience in critical care and emergency room nursing.  She is also a clinical professor of nursing at DePaul University.
  • Mignon Pruitt, LCSW, is a social worker with extensive background working with families involved in the child welfare system.  

School, Communities, and Families   What role do community institutions and the family play in fostering the ability of African American women and girls to thrive? Moderator: Monico Eskridge AM ’96

  • Doretha Brown works for Youth Guidance in the Working on Womanhood Program, a school-based counseling, mentoring, character development, and educational enrichment program that promotes social, emotional, and behavioral competencies in at-risk young women.
  • Kelly Fair, M.A. is the founder of Polished Pebbles, a girls mentoring program that helps African American girls resolve conflicts non-violently and that teaches them effective communication, career, and life skills. Ms. Fair worked in the educational publishing industry on literacy initiatives and has a background in speech pathology. 
  • Sherida V. Morrison, M.A. is the founder of Demoiselle2Femme. The mission of D2F is to provide holistic services, education, instruction, and training to assist adolescent girls in a successful transition to womanhood. Sherida is the author of the 3-D P.R.I.D.E. (Power Respect Intelligence Desirable Endurance) curriculum, which uses holistic approaches to teach self-esteem and the avoidance of at-risk behaviors to adolescent females

Criminal Justice   What are the impacts of incarceration and violence on young African American women and girls? Moderator:  Edith Crigler AM ‘92

  • Herschella Conyers, J.D. is a clinical professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School and directs the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic. Prior to joining the clinic, she worked as a Cook County public defender. 
  • Giesela Grumbach, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of social work at Governors State University who has researched incarcerated African American women and their reconnection to parenting post-release. Dr. Grumbach also worked with the public defender’s office as a mitigation specialist for the Murder Task Force.
  • Alexis Mansfield, J.D., is the supervising attorney for CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers), a program of Cabrini Green Legal Aid. Ms. Mansfield is also a former Chicago Public Schools teacher. Colette Payne serves as CLAIM’s Visible Voices Coordinator.

Violence Prevention What strategies for working with young people can organizations and communities use to respond to/prevent violence-related trauma? Moderator: Terri Travis-Davis AM ’99

  • Erica Davis, M.S., M.A. is Program Manager for the Chicago Dating Matters Initiative (CDMI), a CDC-funded initiative addressing teen dating violence. She is also a member of the Chicago Police Department’s Domestic Violence Sub-committees.

12:30p.m. - 1:15p.m. Lunch

1:15p.m. - 2:00p.m.  Youth Keynote Speaker

Ms. Jaquta Box experienced a childhood that included periods of homelessness and involvement in the Illinois foster care system. She graduated from Bowen High School and the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration and Planning.  She is currently pursuing her education to become a nurse practioner, while working as an LPN.

2:00p.m. - 2:20p.m.  Spoken Word Performance

Toiné Houston is an African American Neo Soul lyricist, actress, and model. She has been a professional spoken word artist for over 18 years.

2:20p.m. - 3:00p.m.  Closing Remarks and Networking