District 88 students attend BLACKtopia Conference, designed to support and inspire Black teens

On Oct. 28, Addison Trail and Willowbrook students participated in an event designed for Black teens, with a focus on empowerment, education and community.

The event, called the BLACKtopia Conference, took place at Addison Trail and was coordinated by Addison Trail’s BEYOND Club (which provides mentorship and academic support for Black students to enable them to thrive holistically in high school and BEYOND), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s Chi Sigma Omega Chapter and DuPage County Branch of the NAACP. The theme was “It’s our Jordan year (’23),” playing off of basketball great Michael Jordan’s number (23).

To view photos from the event, click on the image above, or go to www.dupage88.net/BLACKtopiaConference2023

About 250 people attended the event, including students from 29 middle schools and high schools. Participants were able to engage in four sessions that discussed financial literacy, relationship standards, cultural empowerment (which featured hip-hop performances by Hinsdale South students), and mental health and wellness of African American children.

The conference also featured 30 vendors/businesses, and more than 2,000 books were donated to SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education) to help establish libraries in local laundromats for families to have books at home.

VaLarie Humphrey, Addison Trail Student Success Coordinator and BEYOND Club adviser, founded and organized the conference.

“The goal was to provide a supportive and inspiring environment for African American teens to explore their potential, unlock their talents and embrace their unique identity,” Humphrey said. “The event was packed with motivational speakers, engaging workshops and opportunities for personal growth, academic excellence and leadership development. The primary mission was to nurture a sense of pride, resilience and unity within the African American community, while fostering a commitment to academic achievement and personal success.”