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‘Thinking, Learning & Doing in the New Normal’

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Things are not normal, but they’ve never been normal for Black people in America. Throughout our history in this country we have worked together cooperatively to resist and build economy and community.

On May 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., we will discuss this history and visions for the future with Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard, the keynote speaker of the first-ever “Thinking, Learning & Doing in the New Normal Summit.” 

The summit is a free online conference organized by a collective of Black community economic development practitioners in partnership with the Kheprw Institute and the Indianapolis Recorder.  

Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard is best known by her most popular work “Collective Courage,”which gives a historical overview of how Black communities have come together using a cooperative approach to economic development and building community from the times of enslavement to today. 

Nembhard will share the importance of a collective courage approach to economic development particularly during this time of pandemic, which has totally disrupted the economy. This disruption gives us the opportunity to rethink old patterns and work together to build more resilient local economies and communities. 

Additional special guests will help to facilitate the breakout sessions, including Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Aleesia Johnson; Barato Britt, executive director of Edna Martin Christian Center; and Emil Ekiyor of Innopower and many more.

The conference will also include two interactive breakout sessions where participants will be able to engage in creative thinking about the opportunities and challenges in four areas:

  • Building local economy
  • Educating and empowering our children
  • Affordable and accessible housing
  • Creativity and resilience

Our goal is to come out of the conference with fresh ideas to face the challenges of these times and leverage opportunities for a better future for the African American community. 

The conference will take place 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 30 online through Zoom. If you want to engage in the interactive sessions you will need to register and join through Zoom. We will also broadcast the conference on Facebook Live to the Indianapolis Recorder and Kheprw Institute Facebook pages. 

To see the full conference schedule and register, visit newnormal.kheprw.org.

About the Collective

The collective organizing the conference formed a little over two years ago when the Kheprw Institute along with other Black community economic development professionals began to meet monthly to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the Black community. We are grateful to the Central Indiana Community Foundation which provided support to convene these ongoing conversations.

One of the goals of these gatherings was for us to look at the specific economic development challenges facing the African-American Community in various communities with the intentionality of developing a city-wide plan to support Black economic development. 

This initiative included but was not limited to: Imhotep Adisa, Keith Broadnax, Gina Lewis Alexander, Amina Pierson, Leigh Evans, Paulette Fair, Robert Hawthorne, George Okantey, Stacia Murphy, Jeru Qadar and Pambana Uishi.

Imhotep Adisa is the executive director and co-founder of the Kheprw Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on empowering youth and building community wealth in Indianapolis.


Imhotep Adisa

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