El Camino College Hosts Black Caucus Leadership Conference

February 1, 2008

Two hundred-fifty community college students of African descent from throughout California expected to attend

Hundreds of community college students of African Descent are expected to attend the 10th Annual Black Caucus Leadership Conference being held at El Camino College in Torrance Feb. 15-16, 2008.

This year's conference theme is "Sankofa: Honoring our past, celebrating the present, building our future," commemorating the organization's history and growing legacy. The first two conferences were held at El Camino College in 1999 and 2000 and over 1500 students have attended since.

"When you look at all of the past conferences and the development of our organization, the historical significance of this conference is amazing," said Black Caucus President Marlene C. Hurd, who was elected at last year's conference at Laney College in Oakland. "It is as if we are revisiting all our past struggles, accomplishments, and conference themes, and are in the future now, but we still have work to do."

The conference features a weekend filled with inspiring keynote speakers, enlightening entertainment and empowering presentations.

California Assembly Member Mervyn Dymally (D–Compton) will be the keynote speaker at dinner Friday evening. It is expected he will address the 2006 takeover of Compton College by El Camino College.

California Community Colleges Board of Governor’s Member Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith of Oakland will be the keynote speaker Saturday morning at the Soulful Breakfast. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D–Los Angeles) will be the keynote speaker during lunch on Saturday afternoon. She previously spoke at the 5th annual conference in Compton.

Workshops, or "Education sessions" empower student leaders of African ancestry; feature successful models and practices that build community on campus; foster community outreach and involvement; and address development issues of Afro-centric organizations at community colleges.

"The conference occurs each year during Black History Month and is scheduled during the Presidents Day weekend so students can have a substantive leadership and cultural experience without missing classes," said Black Caucus Advisor Don Dorsey, dean of students at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.

"It is an amazing opportunity for our students to gain knowledge about their history and culture," said Hurd, "And it is so powerful that they will go back to their campuses to get involved."

For more information, contact Conference Chair Marlene C. Hurd at mchurd@sbcglobal.net.

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