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An Evening of Learning: Practical Solutions for Positive Change
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FOCUS alumni, members and friends are invited to join us for an Evening of Learning, with community conversations centered around Education, Community Development and Civic Engagement.

When: Monday, Nov. 17, 2014
5-9 p.m.
Where: Missouri History Museum
5700 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, Missouri  63112
United States
Contact: Yemi Akande-Bartsch

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An Evening of Learning: Practical Solutions for Positive Change

Monday, Nov. 17, 2014

5-9 p.m.

Missouri History Museum

Online registration is now closed.  On-site registration will open at 4:30 p.m.

In 2001, a FOCUS St. Louis task force of 30 citizens studied the state of racial equality in the St. Louis region over the course of an 18-month period. The task force's report found that while individual attitudes toward race have improved substantially, there had only been marginal institutional progress. In addition, the group looked at the intersection of race and education, economic development, housing and civic engagement. We believe the report is just as relevant today, in the aftermath of Ferguson, as it was more than a decade ago. To this end, FOCUS invites you to An Evening of Learning, a symposium centered on these issues. The original report remains our road map, and we will use it to guide us for a dialogue that is solution focused.


Schedule of Events

4:30-5:00 p.m. - Check-in/Networking


5:00 p.m. - Welcome - Yemi Akande-Bartsch, Ph.D., Executive Director of FOCUS St. Louis, and Frances Levin, Ph.D., President, Missouri History Museum


5:15-6:15 p.m. - Opening Address: Why This Matters?

Speakers: Rev. Starsky Wilson, CEO, Deaconess Foundation; Dr. Terry Jones, Professor of Political Science, University of Missouri-St. Louis; Rev. Traci Blackmon, Pastor, Christ the King


6:30-7:30 p.m. - Breakout Sessions


Role of Education in Promoting the Social & Economic Vitality of Our Community

Moderator: Rebeccah Bennett, Founder & Principal, Emerging Wisdom LLC and InPower Institute

Panelists: Charli Cooksey, Executive Director, InspireSTL; Rev. Starsky Wilson, CEO, Deaconess Foundation; Roderick Nunn Ph.D., Interim President, St. Louis Community College - Forest Park; Scott Hippert, CEO, Parents as Teachers

  • How can we address the basic needs of families in our communities?
  • What are the barriers to overcome in accessing quality education and providing quality services?

Community Development: Getting To Scale

Moderator: Julianne Stone, Director Local Government Partnership, East-West Gateway and UMSL

Panelists: Malik Ahmed, CEO, Better Family Life; Chris Krehmeyer, CEO, Beyond Housing; Rebecca Zoll, Executive Director, North County Incorporated


  • What makes a community accessible to all?
  • What problems are we trying to solve?
  • What are purpose-built communities?
  • What role does public safety play in community development?

Civic and Community Engagement

Moderator: JB Kwon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Webster University

Panelists: Pat Cox, Co-founder, Women's Group on Race Relations; Robin Hattori, Assistant Director, Gephardt Institute for Public Service, Washington University; Frances Levine, Ph.D., Missouri History Museum; Maida Coleman, Director of Civic Engagement, St. Louis; Karen Aroesty, Regional Director, MO/IL Anti-Defamation League

  • Why is it important to engage citizens with community groups?
  • What can be done to get more people in our region connected and engaged?
  • What role should parents, schools, religious organizations and other entities play in nurturing our civic health?
  • What does a civically health and thriving city and region look like to you?
  • How do we get there?

7:45-8:45 p.m. - Reflections from the evening: Recap of breakout sessions


8:45 p.m. - Concluding Remarks - Yemi Akande-Bartsch, Ph.D., Executive Director, FOCUS St. Louis


9:00 p.m. - Adjourn


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