We have been so honored to welcome the following speakers, performers & professionals in recent years past. Please check out their websites as valuable information for the adoptive family.
- Robert O’Connor – We are best known for our innovations in increasing organizational cultural awareness and tying its relationship to worker performance and client outcomes. We see cultural competency and diversity as business and practice imperatives that make all the difference in the world whether it’s addressing racial disparities in child welfare, the achievement gap in education or managing high performance teams in a Fortune 500 corporation.
- Michelle K. Johnson is a highly energetic goal oriented person who has an optimistic outlook on life. Serving families and children in crisis is her passion. As a cross-culturally adopted adult from foster care, she has a special skill set in anti-racism and diversity work, multi-ethnic families and communities. She is the cofounder of the MN Chapter of the Adopted and Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora, which brings together adult adoptees and fosters care alums from across the global African diaspora, believing that providing connections for and creating space to make visible the adoption and foster community in Black/ African diasporic cultures worldwide will give support to those who otherwise remain isolated in their experiences. She also has been a CASA/Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Coordinator for the State of Minnesota- 4th Judicial District Court for the past 9 years. She trains, retains, supports and celebrates 230+ volunteer child advocates who represents abused and neglected children in Minneapolis Juvenile Court (Hennepin County).
- Angela Tucker – Angela Tucker is a nationally-recognized thought leader on transracial adoption and is an advocate for adoptee rights. In 2013, at the age of 26, Angela’s own story of adoption and search for her birth parents was featured in the groundbreaking documentary, CLOSURE, which is available on Netflix. Angela has traveled the nation as an advocate for open relationships within adoption, transparency for adoptee stories and education for adoptive parents about the impacts of transracial adoption particularly in regards to African-American children adopted by Caucasian parents. Angela earned a B.A. in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University and is a program coordinator for Disability Support Services at her alma mater.
- Keith L Brown, Mr. I’m Possible – Early in life, Keith L. Brown, “Mr. I’M POSSIBLE,” was identified as a “Special Ed” and “At Risk” student, primarily because he talked too much, was too hyper, and wanted to give “all the answers;” ironically, these are a few of the same traits that made him a hit on the legendary “Showtime at theApollo,” and contestant on the Popular Game Show, “Family Feud,” and make him one of the most sought after Professional Speakers, Consultants, Change Agents and Award Winning Authors on the planet.
- Dr. Darron T. Smith – Darron T. Smith, Ph.D., received his doctoral degree from the University of Utah in the Department of Education, Culture and Society. His research focus includes inequalities that pertain to African Americans and other Americans of color — mainly the impact of race and discrimination in areas of health care, popular culture, religion, family, sports and politics. Dr. Smith is co-editor of Black and Mormon (University of Illinois Press, 2004) and author of White Parents, Black Children: Experiencing Transracial Adoption (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011). Dr. Smith has appeared on various TV and radio shows including Religion and Ethics, NPR and ESPN, among others. His published works have been included in Adoption Today, Religion Dispatches, Deadspin and Your Black World, and he has also published op-eds in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
- Dominic Warren is a registered barber, barber instructor and co-owner of Final Cut Sports Barbershop, Twin Cities barbershop chain. Dominic has had a passion for barbering and helping people look their best since he was a young boy watching his mom support her family as a barber. Dominic’s barbering career has also allowed him to fulfill his desire to help people, in a variety of ways. He often says “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. http://www.finalcutshop.com/
- Universal Dance Destiny is a dance performance and entertainment company offering a variety of dance educational presentations, master classes, workshops, residencies in primarily traditional west African dance with live drumming accompaniment and modern African dance to upbeat African music. Our mission is to connect people of all communities through the history, meaning, and movement of dance. We believe demonstrating the value of various dance forms foster respect for different cultural groups. We strive to inspire individuals – especially youth – to discover their inner talent, confidence and style. Edna Stevens will be joining us for UMOJA and is the artistic director, instructing various classes, workshops, and residencies at various locations year round. She promotes having individual style in dance and believe creativity is limitless.