Helena is a keynote speaker for the NEA, the nation’s largest labor union with over three million members. Helena spoke in a plenary session on the topic of Disability Justice.
“NEA's annual National Leadership Summit helps to develop activist leaders and prepare them with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to lead relevant, thriving associations and to lead in their professions. Our unified, strategic, and interdisciplinary approach to leadership development reinforces and supports key leadership competencies in seven strategic areas.
Each year, the NEA National Leadership Summit features educators, activists, and partners who challenge, inspire, and motivate participants to lead beyond the training.”
A phrase poem is a way of presenting your impressions and observations when you hear a speaker or read a piece of text. It is not a complete sentence, but a phrase that captures a certain emotion or that grabs the reader’s attention.
Conference Presentation. Helena delivered a breathtaking presentation on her chapter Black Girl Magic is a Glorious Gift in a symposium titled Strong Black Girls: Reclaiming Schools in Their Own Image and received a standing ovation at The American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference in San Diego, CA, April 21-26, 2022. Her presentation as a 12 year-old Black Girl Scholar was electric and unforgettable.
“Strong Black Girls is reminiscent of our foremother, Anna Julia Cooper, who declared that only the Black woman can say ‘when and where I enter,’ and of Queen Latifah, who declared, ‘Ladies first.’ Much of our scholarship has been focused on the (legitimate) plight of Black boys. However, this does not mean that our girls are not worthy of attention and care. This volume underscores that they are simultaneously strong and vulnerable—and that is something we need to consider as they navigate society and its institutions..”
— Gloria Ladson-Billings, professor emerita, University of Wisconsin
“Danielle Apugo, Lynnette Mawhinney, and Afiya Mbilishaka have gathered together the voices of several powerful Black women—and one strong Black girl—to lead the conversation about their lives in schools, and to imagine what an education that celebrated and nurtured their magic might look like. The stories collected in Strong Black Girls are unflinchingly remembered and richly narrated, spanning generational and geographic distance to bring readers to an understanding of Black girls’ experience in the classroom.”
— Isabel Nuñez, professor and director of the School of Education, College of Professional Studies, Purdue University Fort Wayne
Paper Publication (in review). In October 2021, Helena presented on her journey as a young academic at the Locating the Geographies of Black Girlhoods in Education Conference, sponsored by The Black Girlhood in Education Research Collective (BGERC) and The American Educational Research Association (AERA). The paper entitled “Brick-by-brick: The building of a 12-year-old Black girl scholar” is currently in review.
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