ACPA 17 Transformational Keynote Speakers

major-convention-speakers-updatedDerreck Kayongo, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, and Daisy Hernández will be the ACPA 17 opening and closing keynote speakers! We are excited that each speaker is dynamic, inspiring, and a global transformational leader. As activists, they have fought for human and civil rights, environmental sustainability, access to education, and health disparities in North America, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa. They have and are currently serving as humanitarians, educators, writers, and thinkers who have improved and enhanced the lives of their constituents. This year’s speakers have motivated and excited us and we know without a doubt they will do the same for our association as we embark on our convention.

Derreck Kayongo’s activism began as a youth who experienced violence first-hand in an unstable Uganda. After witnessing the murders of local community members in his village at the age of 10, Derreck and his family fled to Kenya as refugees. In Kenya he lived in extreme poverty and had to forgo basic essentials before his family relocated to the U.S. In the U.S., Derreck embarked on his journey towards changing the lives of refugees, especially those across east African countries. In 2009, Derreck, along with his wife Sarah, launched the Global Soap Project, where bar soap from hotels in the U.S. is recycled and redistributed to over 32 peripheral countries around the globe. Derreck has spent his life ensuring that children and families have access to sustainable and healthy hygiene conditions. In his 2014 TEDx Talk, titled “Simple Solutions to Colossal Problems,” Derrick stated “I see the power of soap…it gives you the power of hope and transformation.” This essential innovation has empowered hundreds of thousands and is a leading transnational project towards cleanliness and disease control.

Dr. Freeman Hrabowski learned about activism at the young age of 12 when he participated in peaceful protest in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. After being arrested and spending time in jail, Freeman met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who inspired him to pursue a lifelong career as an educator and leader for social change. Today, as one of the longest-serving college presidents in the country, Freeman has been extremely successful in improving the educational outcomes of all students, specifically Black, Latino, low-income, and first-generation learners. His four pillars of college success in science are detailed in Freeman’s 2013 TED Talk, from where he challenges us to change the conditions in college where students can be successful. His four pillars include, setting high expectations for students, building strong learning communities, allowing researchers to produce researchers, and assuring faculty are involved and connected with their students. Freeman believes these four tips have made his tenure at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County such a success for students over the past two decades. He continues to serve as president, alongside his post as chair of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, appointed by President Obama himself.

Daisy’s award winning article, “Becoming a Black Man,” speaks critically about the social and political conditions in which trans people of color experience every day. Centering the body as a site of analysis, Daisy elucidates the stories of FTM trans* men of color as they learn how racism is situated differently on their transitioning male bodies. The men share their experiences in the workplace, in their communities, and with their families during a time where queer and trans* identities are becoming less of an anomaly. Daisy highlights the ways in which trans* men of color survive and thrive in the U.S., despite the violences they experience as gender and racial minorities. Daisy’s eloquent writing in Colorlines magazine went viral on social media and gained her the 2009 GLAAD Media Award. Daisy’s writing has also focused on the lives of Latina women and bisexual people of color. She continues to write and organize around issues affecting intersectional identities.  A Cup of Water Under My Bed, her coming-of-age memoir, chronicles what she learned as a queer Colombian-Cuban woman about race, love, and money, bringing great storytelling and voice to all her readers.

This year’s speakers have collectively worked to improve and transform the outcomes of disempowered people both in the U.S. and abroad. They have connected potential with action in meaningful and groundbreaking ways.  They will incite dialogue for our association members to reflect on throughout and beyond our time at convention. We hope you will connect with these speakers as much as we have. We are pleased to have these individuals as 2017 ACPA convention speakers, and we hope you take time to learn more about Derreck Kayongo, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, and Daisy Hernández!


jordane-squareJordan Edelman is an Academic Advisor within the Exploratory Advising Center at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.  He serves as co-coordinator of Keynotes and Featured Speakers for the ACPA 17 Convention Planning Team.  Prior to joining the 2017 Convention Team, Jordan was the ACPA Ambassadors Liaison for the ACPA 16 Convention Planning Team and served in multiple leadership roles with the Coalition for Graduate Students and New Professionals.

rblockettphoto-squareReginald Blockett is a Ph.D. candidate in the higher education program and works as a research associate with the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) project at Indiana University, Bloomington. He serves as co-coordinator of keynotes and featured speakers for the ACPA 17’ Convention Planning Team, and has held membership and leadership positions on the Commission for Social Justice Educators as well as the Pan African Network. Reginald has received several honors from ACPA’s Coalition for LGBT Awareness, Commission for Professional Preparation, and is a past recipient of the Annuit Coeptis Emerging Professional award.

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