While normally the end of September would bring an opportunity for the ImpactTulsa team to join together with StriveTogether partners from across the country at a physical conference, the new digital format debuted in 2020 allowed more ImpactTulsa community partners than ever to join in the week of learning and empowerment.
The StriveTogether 2020 Cradle to Career Convening, which took place online over the final week of September, offered participants an opportunity to learn from fellow network participants, network, and for the first time ever, for organizations like ImpactTulsa to invite our community partners to the digital table with us for the week.
The themed days of workshops, kicked off with opening remarks from StriveTogether CEO Jennifer Blatz and Geoffrey Canada, the president of the Harlem Children’s Zone, which has been described by the New York Times as “one of the most ambitious social-policy experiments of our time.” His keynote followed remarks by Jennifer Blatz, president and CEO of StriveTogether, and a spoken word performance by Christian Paige, an Emmy-nominated poet, educator and community advocate.
Each day offered an opportunity for partners to gather with peers, take part in critical conversations and end the week with the resources, ideas and partners to advance our work. From the personal tools offered on “Mindfulness Monday” to “Workshop Wednesday,” which offered ideas and resources to put into practice in the community, there was something for each partner to take away. ImpactTulsa’s team was able able to share learnings from the community during a few presentations and panels that shared our organization’s work.
One participant from the community who was able to join some of the convening sessions was Vanessa Portillo, Director of District Strategy and Implementation at Tulsa Public Schools. She was able to share the way TPS has worked with and alongside ImpactTulsa to use our data-driven approach to creating equitable opportunities for students. ImpactTulsa Director of Research and Analysis Dr. Delia Kimbrel, who is a member of the StriveTogether Racial Equity Action Team, hosted a session on “Charting the Path Toward System’s Transformation” and was also one of the leaders in the Black Affinity Group. Jessica Smith, ImpactTulsa Senior Director of Education and Collaborative Action, also co-hosted a session on “Disrupting Myths and Mindsets in Supporting Community-Led Work,” alongside network partners to showcase the work ImpactTulsa does.
Nikole Hannah-Jones ended the 2020 Cradle to Career Network Convening with a powerful message for the audience of more than 1,400 community changemakers: Keep pushing and bring along allies to reconstruct the architecture of racial apartheid. Hannah-Jones is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project,” which shares the history and lasting legacy of American slavery. The Root named that she “is changing how history is taught, and this year, after helping to reignite the discussion about reparations and racial justice for Black Americans, she’s reframing what the future looks like, too.”
At the conclusion of the Friday keynote, StriveTogether announced that ImpactTulsa Director of Research and Data Analysis Dr. Delia Kimbrel has been named the 2020 Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award winner.
“ I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor or anyone who more exemplifies the tenacity, genius, and fortitude of a true cradle to career leader, StriveTogether CEO Jennifer Blatz said. “[Delia’s] leadership has encouraged me, inspired me, and impressed me.”
StriveTogether awards the Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award to an individual who embodies passion, commitment and persistence. In her work, Dr. Kimbrel pushes the community to dig into data and call out systemic inequities while co-developing solutions with youth and families.
“We know that COVID-19 has exacerbated inequities in our community, and Delia was right in the center of wanting to be the change,” shared Carlisha Williams Bradley, executive director of ImpactTulsa. “She has the heart, she has the drive, she has the tenacity to change this city, and ultimately, I know that the work and the legacy of Dr. Delia Kimbrel will change this world.”
Missed the Cradle to Career Convening? See insights on social media at #convenec2c or recaps from the plenaries on the StriveTogether blog.Nikole Hannah-Jones: https://www.strivetogether.org/insights/truth-and-power-nikole-hannah-jones-closes-convening/
Jennifer Blatz: https://www.strivetogether.org/insights/the-time-is-now/
Akia S. Callum: https://www.strivetogether.org/insights/take-up-space-one-leaders-advice-on-shifting-power/