A cross-university collaboration celebrates Black and Native spaces, futures and dreams

By

Alex Loda

“We are in a time where solidarity work is needed more than ever. If we can create lasting change in education and society, it's going to take collective efforts,” says Amanda Tachine, assistant professor at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and co-founder of the Cultivating Black and Native Futures in Education Conference. 

The virtual conference, held over three-and-a-half days in June, was organized and hosted by Tachine and a colleague, author and assistant professor at University of Chicago Eve L. Ewing. Along with a team of doctoral students, they sought to “create a space for Black and Native communities to co-create, imagine and dream, as well as build relationships and uplift and celebrate each other," says Ewing. 

The event featured a robust lineup of speakers and sessions. Day one featured a music sharing session, Crushing Colonialism through Black, Indigenous and (QT)POC Punk and Heavy Metal, and a live discussion on Black and Native Dreams of Liberation and Love with ASU Associate Professor Natalie Diaz and her wife, poet and creative writing teacher Saretta Morgan

Highlights from days two and three included a powerful “sermon,” as one attendee put it, from author and featured speaker Bettina Love on the power of living in joy amidst daily struggles, and a panel discussion on Black and Indigenous Imaginations in Comics and Beyond, led by Ewing.

The first-year conference wrapped on day three with over 900 participants from 26 countries. Tachine and Ewing expressed similar positive sentiments regarding the global and virtual nature of the event. “We were able  to bring people together from around the world and that is incredible,” Tachine said. “This event embodied the best of what virtual can be," added Ewing. 

Learn more about the Cultivating Black and Native Futures in Education Conference and view highlights.