The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Black Student Union will host the 18th annual Ebony Weekend Conference Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17-18.
"Ebony Weekend is one of Black Student Union's biggest events and every year we look to make it bigger and more exciting than the last,” said Sydney Byas, BSU president who is serving her third year on the board. “This year is very special as we are celebrating Black Student Union's 55th anniversary on campus.”
Byas noted that when it came to choosing the theme, she wanted it to be something that would not only make attendees dive into deep conversation, but would also be something that could be celebrated.
The theme this year is "The Skin I'm In," based on the book by Sharon G. Flake, about a young girl that is bullied for the color of her skin and the journey she takes to ultimately love her skin and everything that comes with it.
“I believe that this theme is something that a lot of people can not only relate to but can also learn from,” said Byas, a senior music major with an emphasis in vocal performance and minor in business administration.
When it came to picking speakers for this event, Byas said they wanted speakers that would cover a wide variety of topics. This year’s keynote speakers will discuss topics pertaining to the African American community in politics, in the LGBTQ community, in sports and in everyday life. Keynote speakers include Ajamou Butler, a motivational speaker, community activist and educator; Lea V. Hortman, a writer who serves her community by creating spaces for individuals to self-reflect; Harvie Herrington, a former professional football player; and Bruce Teague, an entrepreneur who currently serves as mayor of Iowa City, Iowa.
“I truly believe that every speaker will bring a different energy to the conference and a different message that everyone should hear,” said Byas, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin native.
The conference will offer different breakout sessions to help people dive deeper into history, appreciation of self and the life of current UW-Platteville students on campus. This year, they are bringing back the Ebony Ball to end the conference.
The Ebony Weekend Conference is open to students, faculty and staff and the community. Registration for the conference is still open, and the BSU will be posting updates on its social media until the conference.