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Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), a young adult novel featuring themes of transracial adoption that won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Young Peoples' Literature. Gibney is faculty in English at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where she teaches critical and creative writing, journalism, and African Diasporic topics. Gibney was adopted by a white family in 1975 and writes frequently on topics of transracial adoption.
In order to fully participate in Ms. Gibney's workshop, Adult participants are strongly encouraged to read her book See No Color and bring it with them to UMOJA 2017. The book is widely available from numerous online retailers and also at most public libraries



Melissa Cheslock  was born and raised in Green Bay, WI. Seh was a week old when she was placed in her White foster parents care. Melissa as the 26th and last foster child place in what would later be her parents' home. Melissa will share her insights into  transracial adoption and the challenges our children face in developing a positive identity. Currently, Melissa is an Assistant District Attorney in the Green Bay, WI area.


Dr. Darron Smith returns to Umoja this year. Darron is an African American scholar, author and blogger. His research and writing focuses on injustices impacting African Americans and other marginalized groups. His work includes the study and impact of race on US health care, and the practice of white parents adopting black and biracial children


Mr Brian Heat  With his electrifying words, explosive stage presence and provocative ability to ignite crowds, Brian Heat has become the new face of inspirational speaking and the personal development industry. Driven by an insatiable desire to encourage the discovery of divine purpose, Brian has captivated audiences across the country through powerful keynotes, engaging workshops, and life changing multimedia stage experiences.

Jasmine Babineaux returns to Umoja to work with our teenage girls. Jasmine has the power to inspire young women and help them to see their true worth.

South Shore Drill Team uses the performing arts to engage inner-city youth throughout their critical teenage years, mitigate the dangers of gangs, drugs, and violence, and guide members towards completing their education and becoming responsible citizens.
Founded in 1980 with a handful of neighborhood children, South Shore Drill Team now serves 300 young people ages 8-21 who perform at more than 100 events annually.


What can we expect will happen at the Break-Out Sessions and Activities?

The agenda is still developing, but you can expect these or similar programs:
  • Age appropriate Afrocentric games and activities.
  • Mankala (Ayo), African dancing..., story telling.
  • Interactive activities about history and culture.
  • Family adult based workshops on transracial adoptions.
  • Braiding workshops for children and families.
  • Raising Black sons and daughters: What do I do?
  • Speakers who "walk the talk"..did that, done that, it worked!
  • "I am me" workshops for children
  • Drumming activities
  • Soul food dinner


2017 Itinerary

Friday
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM       Registration and check in
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM       Dinner
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM       Evening Family Activites
Saturday
7:30 AM - 8:30 AM        Breakfast
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM      Break out sessions for children and parents
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM      Lunch
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM        Break out sessions for children and parents
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM        Dinner
6:00 PM - 10:00 PM      Performance by South Shore Drill Team
                                      Dance Party and Silent Auction

Sunday
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM       Closing Celebration
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM     Soul Food Brunch







What can we expect will happen at the Break-Out Sessions and Activities?

The agenda is still developing, but you can expect these or similar programs:
  1. Age appropriate Afrocentric games and activities.
  2. Mankala (Ayo), African dancing..., story telling.
  3. Interactive activities about history and culture.
  4. Family adult based workshops on transracial adoptions.
  5. Braiding workshops for children and families.
  6. Raising Black sons and daughters: What do I do?
  7. Speakers who "walk the talk"..did that, done that, it worked!
  8. "I am me" workshops for children
  9. Drumming activities
  10. Soul food dinner


2017 Speakers & Events


Umoja Inc

November 10-12, 2017 Green Lake Conference Center

W2511 State Highway 23, Green Lake, Wisconsin 54941

Photo: 
Kristine Heykants