Our Children is a series of programs and events aimed at educating families about the realities and injustices their children may experience in societal interactions. This series addresses topics that are important for all parents, family members and community members. The goal of this series is to learn from parents who are willing to share their experiences and to offer other parents tools they need to successfully communicate about and navigate through these difficult societal dynamics. Our children deserve nothing less.
30mar7:00 pm8:30 pmRepresentation Matters: Black Creators Beyond the Barriers in Art and Science7:00 – 8:30 pm
Representation Matters: Black Creators Beyond the Barriers in Art and Science We often tell children the sky’s the limit when they dream of who they want to be. But what happens
We often tell children the sky’s the limit when they dream of who they want to be. But what happens when children of color encounter barriers to access, realize the door of endless possibility isn’t open to everyone or endure challenges along the way because their dream doesn’t embrace inclusivity? Join Our Children for a webinar with Black creators who are artists, scientists, and parents, for life lessons in perseverance, self-confidence, identity, and challenging inequity to change the conversation and create a seat at the table.
Bioncé Foxx is a household name when it comes to radio. Beginning her career in Chicago more than 20 years ago, she currently hosts the “Bioncé Foxx Experience” on V103 (WVAZ-FM) in Chicago. In addition, Bioncé is the Midday host on iHeart Media’s 98.5 WYLD in New Orleans, and hosts afternoons on the weekend at “Milwaukee’s Only Hip Hop and R&B,” V100.7 (WKKV-FM). You can also hear Bioncé’s vivacious personality rock the airwaves during the Midday in 18 other markets across the country on iHeart stations. When Bioncé is not on the air, she serves the community as a volunteer for various non-profit organizations and mentors youth, teaching them the importance of education and self-respect. Bioncé also teaches academics in different areas of communication, from broadcasting to journalism to digital media and image branding.
The daughter of an Air Force veteran, Bioncé has traveled the world extensively and enjoys the fine arts and public speaking. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Science in Global Strategic Communication, and aims to enlighten, encourage and empower everyone she meets.
Robin Edwards began her stint in the arts during her childhood as a student at Jack and Jill acting school, Mayfair Academy, and The American Conservatory of Music under Grace Tichy. After being featured in television commercials and multiple productions, specifically “Oliver Twist”, in which she portrayed Oliver, Robin found her niche in performance, continuing to participate in school productions and music concerts. She also began, at this time, to show abilities in songwriting. Her study of music continued at the Dorolyn Academy with music later being the door to several opportunities, including travel, which included destinations such as Riga, Latvia, and Puerto Rico, leading workshops based on songs she had composed. Robin has worked in the Chicago Public School and Parochial school systems, developing after school music and performance programs for students. Later on, Robin returned to the dance studio as a tap dance instructor and performing arts director at the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre. At Sammy Dyer, Robin wrote and presented four productions on the main stage, all comprised of student performers.
In conjunction with the arts, Robin worked at Southwest Airlines as a Call Center Team Leader for six years later retiring as a Flight Attendant. It was there that she learned the components and importance of servant leadership.
Currently, Robin sits on the Board of Directors at the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre, The Chicago Multicultural Dance Center, and Shoot For The Stars non profit organizations, and is the Executive Director for The Chicago Multicultural Dance Center & Hiplet Ballerinas, overseeing the organizational structure and day to day operations. In this capacity, Robin is also able to bring together her arts, performance and leadership skills to ensure children in communities, especially African American children, have exposure to and opportunities in the Arts.
Chicago Native, Taylor Edwards, is a graduate of the University of Missouri Kansas City with a BFA in Dance. She received her training in dance from The Sammy Dyer School of Theater, Chicago Multicultural Dance Center, and The Chicago High School for the Arts, and has also trained with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. She is fluent in many styles of dance including Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, Contemporary, Jazz Funk, and Improvisation; and has worked and performed with companies such as Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Owen Cox Dance Group, and Wylliams Henry Dance Company. Taylor has choreographed and danced for many different artists including Chicago’s very own Kanye West, Tink, & Chance The Rapper.
Paul Branton was influenced at an early age by the sights & sounds of Chicago South Side’s urban environment. Writing short stories & putting on plays with his sister quickly became a passion and a means of expressing himself. It was this passion that guided his education, which ultimately guided his career.
Choosing visual art as his main focus, he entered Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, majoring in Commercial Art with a strong emphasis in painting. It was at Millikin where he also discovered a love for poetry, a strong desire for painting, eventually putting on a one-man art exhibit displaying his works. During these same years, he also helped his college buddy Skee Skinner with several student film projects, opening up another doorway from which to express himself. Not only taking on writing & production credits, Paul spent much of his time on both sides of the camera playing supporting and lead roles.
He combined the two art forms by creating a series of paintings for the feature film Pieces of a Dream, in which he also portrayed a main character. Also merging visual art and poetry, Paul put together the upcoming coffee table book To Dream In Colour.
The art of Paul Branton is/has been exhibited throughout Illinois, including Millikin University, South Side Community Art Center, Gallery Guichard, University of Illinois at Chicago, Gallery D’Estee, Phoenix Gallery, NYCH Gallery, Chicago Truborn, Legendary Gallery, Galleryna 19, Art Basel Miami and Hyde Park Art Center. Paul served as a Juror for the 50th anniversary of Black Creativity (Museum of Science and Industry / Chicago) in 2020. His art hangs in the homes of private owners from New York to Los Angeles.
Dr. Tahirah Heath is a Principal Scientist in Process Development at Milliporesigma in Madison Wisconsin. In 2010 Dr. Heath received her BS in Chemistry at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) which is an HBCU located in Atlanta, Georgia. During her undergraduate education she performed research funded by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) where she worked using inorganic catalysts to turn algae into biofuel. She later obtained her PhD with Honors in Synthetic Organic and Medicinal Chemistry from Loyola University Chicago in 2018. At Loyola University she studied the inhibition of the bacterial enzyme DapE for the development of new classes of antibiotics for treatment of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Dr. Heath has gained several publications and patents through that work and is known for developing an enzymatic assay to test other potential new antibiotics. Her patents center around the synthesis of a group of compounds known as sulfonamide indolines. After lecturing briefly at Loyola University Chicago, Dr. Heath entered in the pharmaceutical industry as a process development scientist where she has worked for the last 4.5 years developing the processes used to manufacture highly potent anticancer drugs on large scale. As a Principal Scientist, Dr. Heath serves as both a project lead scientist and technical lead on different projects. She is currently part of the Leaders of Color and Black Leadership Network at her parent company Merck KGaA.
Morgan Rucker, pilot and aviation enthusiast, started her aviation career as a Delta flight attendant in 2014. She graduated from Georgia State University as a psychology major with dreams of becoming an industrial psychologist, but her path was altered after falling in love with aviation during her “temporary” career as a flight attendant. After years of experience, Morgan was inspired to become a pilot and started flight school in Atlanta, Georgia. She trained to become a pilot while simultaneously working as a flight attendant for almost two years. In May of 2022, Morgan was accepted into Delta’s Propel Program. Through this program, Morgan received a job offer as a First Officer and was awarded time away from her current position to continue her training and return to Delta as a pilot. Morgan is currently a Pipeline Pilot, observing pipelines in the southeast region of the country at 200′ above ground to keep communities safe. She is also training to become a certified flight instructor. Morgan will hold these positions until the summer of 2023 and advance to a regional airline as a final stepping stone to her dream job as a First Officer at Delta Air Lines.
Takeaways from this online panel discussion:
* Illinois and Indiana Residents: Each of the webinars in this series is eligible for 1.5 CEUs in Cultural Competency for live attendees.
(Thursday) 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
These webinars are now available on-demand through our Adoption Learning Partners website:
Many thanks to our education and outreach sponsors for supporting the Our Children webinar series.
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