Niagara University Youth Conference

Youth, Race and Equality ConferenceCall for Participation!

April 10, 2019 | Niagara University

The Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equality, and Mission is proud to host our second annual Sacred Conversations: Youth, Race, and Equality Conference for high school students on our campus in Lewiston, NY. This conference will be held on April 10, 2019 from 8:30 am to 1:45 pm.

Our goal for this conference is to address local and national issues of race while encouraging dialogue among youth on equality and mission. We are inviting college and graduate students to lead workshops for high school students about what role race plays in future goal-setting, how race sometimes creates an unequal playing field, and how justice movements can help overcome marginalization and oppression in our communities. We invite college students to submit interactive, fun, engaging, and thought-provoking workshops that will build high school students’ skills.

This conference is free to all workshop leaders and participants. College students are encouraged to be visible, informal mentors to create a learning partnership between college and high school students. We welcome members of campus organizations concerned about racial justice and equality, students committed to making change, and community leaders with an array of knowledge. In order to foster dialogue on race and equality, we encourage students, faculty, and community leaders from various academic disciplines and backgrounds to submit workshop proposals.

The Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equality, and Mission establishes critical interdependencies both on and off campus, working together with faculty and students across colleges and disciplines of study to leverage change in the academy and across sectors of education, business, government and the community. As such, the Center serves as a resource to the community on issues of racial equity.

Niagara University's Ostapenko Center is named in honor of Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko, a native of Germany who immigrated to the United States in the 1930s before becoming a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. Utilizing her talents as a clothing designer, Ostapenko opened The Sewing Shop in Washington, D.C., the precursor to The House of Fine Fabrics, a 17-store corporation. She sold the fabric store chain in 1978 to Fabri-Center of America.The Center  also celebrates the living memory of St. Justin de Jacobis, a Vincentian priest and a loyal son of St. Vincent de Paul who ministered in Ethiopia and is considered an apostle to Africa.​

Propose a 30-minute workshop

Any related set of presentations addressing institutional racism, connections between higher education and community organizations, the Black Lives Matter! Movement, or other issues involving racial justice are welcome. You can propose a workshop with a fellow college/graduate student or with a faculty member. Workshops must be interactive. We want to keep the students connected to the conversation.              

Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Student Perspectives of Racism in Schools
  • Activism and Change
  • Human Rights and Social Justice
  • Anti-Racism Coalition Building and Roles of Allies
  • Environmental Racism and Justice
  • Social Media and Activism
  • Racial Injustice and Conflict Resolution
  • From the Classroom to the Community
  • Cultural Competency and humility
  • Bullying
  • Mental Health

What should you include in your one-page proposal?

  1. Workshop title
  2. Workshop Abstract (50 words)
  3. Why is this workshop important for youth?
  4. Workshop Learning Objectives (3 Objectives)
  5. Workshop Activity (1 interactive activity)
  6. Workshop timeline (remember, you only have 30 minutes)
  7. Presenter 1: First and Last name, school, telephone, and email
  8. If applicable: Present 2 and 3: First and Last name, school, telephone, and email

When is the proposal due?

March 1, 2019

Presenters must confirm participation on March 15, 2019. We ask when accepting our invitation to present that you please lock in the date of the conference in your schedule, so not to disappoint youth with a late conference withdrawal.

How do you submit your proposal?

Please email your complete proposal to We look forward to hearing from you!