Oct 4, 2007    #149
Contact: Wandra Brooks Green
(816) 235-1601

Campus summit set to empower African-American and Latino males

“How do you ‘do you’ in academia successfully?” If you’re unsure of the question or need help figuring out how to do you in academia, your attendance is mandatory at the first UMKC African-American Male/Latino Empowerment Summit. The summit will take place on Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6 at University Center, Pierson Auditorium, 5000 Holmes Road.

One way to engage young males is to bring in a speaker to whom they can relate and who can relate to them: Welcome, Michael Eric Dyson. Author of “Know What I Mean: Reflections on Hip Hop,” Dyson, Ph.D., is the keynote speaker on Friday at 7 p.m. and is considered by the Philadelphia Weekly as the man who “is reshaping what it means to be a public intellectual.” Hear him address hip hop on The Today Show at

Dyson, also a minister, is currently professor of theology, English and African-American studies. For the past four years, he was the Avalon Professor of Humanities at University of Pennsylvania, and, until February of this year, he was host of a daily syndicated talk radio program, The Michael Eric Dyson Show.

Dyson is author of 14 books, including “Debating Race”; “Come Hell or High Water”; “Is Bill Cosby Right?”; and “Holler If You Hear Me”.

Joe Hernandez-Kolski, actor, writer and spoken word poet, is the keynote speaker on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Hernandez-Kolski creates works that challenge and entertain his audiences. As a spoken word poet, he recently performed on the sixth season of HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry. Also, he hosts “DownBeat 720,” an open mic for high school youth sponsored by the City of Santa Monica.

Hernandez-Kolski’s work is unique and, according to Cornel West, Ph.D., professor at Princeton University, “… offers a fresh perspective that is both honest and insightful.”

“We are thrilled to host this event on our campus. One of the major objectives of the Summit is to get young men excited about education,” said Kimberly Baker-Flowers, Program Director, Multicultural Student Success. “If they leave more academically engaged and interested, then we have been successful.”

AALo was created to address the six-year graduation rates for African-American and Latino males at UMKC which, according to the U.S. Department of Education, are 17.2% for African-Americans and 12.5% for Latinos. The graduation rates are significantly higher for females in both groups. The goal of the summit is to help eliminate this discrepancy through information-sharing, fostering networking opportunities between students, and providing mentoring prospects between graduate/undergraduate and high school/college males.

Co-sponsors of the summit are the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Office of Academic Affairs, Diversity, Access & Equity, Student Affairs and Jo Tyler Lecture Fund, UMKC Alumni Committee on Multicultural and Community Affairs, Bank Midwest and Kansas City Hispanic News.

Attendance at the summit is free and parents/guardians are encouraged to attend. For registration and additional information, visit

UMKC is one of four University of Missouri campuses. It is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences, and urban engagement.


This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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