A Hand Up! Educational Forum-Free Event

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Janette Kennedy Gallery @ South Side on Lamar

1409 South Lamar Street

Dallas, TX 75215

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Join us for a collaborative conversation with complimentary bites and drinks at our first annual A Hand Up! Educational Forum, a free event that highlights the importance of influential people supporting, giving, and providing guidance for African-American students in underserved communities. We believe that socio-economic status should never hinder any child’s access to a high-quality public education. If you’re a community advocate, an administrator in the field of education, or an elected official, you won’t want to miss A Hand Up! Educational Forum.


The panel discussion will be led by African-American thought leaders and experts in education and technology. They’ll focus on how entrepreneurship and technological innovation have influenced — and will continue to influence — learning. We’ll also talk about how education is evolving to include educational accountability, community partnering and collaboration, and educational equity.

Since the forum is set up to encourage forthright conversation and dialog among all who attend, you’re encouraged to engage in a constructive Q&A session following the panel discussion. With this gathering, we’re identifying true challenges, creating realistic, workable solutions, and mapping out a strategic plan to move forward.


Van Stripling is a community leader and strong advocate in the area of education. For the last seven years he has been instrumental in enhancing the quality of education across the DeSoto Independent School District. He believes in identifying problems in school systems in underserved communities, providing solutions, and operating active plans that enhance the quality of education around the globe.


Keff Johnson, Executive Director of IT Solutions, has been a dynamic, innovative leader and technology consultant in the banking and finance industry for 15 years. Through the DFW chapter of the National Cares organization (founded by Susan L. Taylor, Essence magazine’s former editor-in-chief), Keff mentors young women and men on how to increase their economic value by exploring opportunities in technology.

Leonard Medlock is the CEO of Playback Worldwide, a design and technology firm that creates informal learning apps and opportunities related to popular culture. Leonard has built products and services that help K-12 administrators find and select education technology.

Jamila Thomas is Dallas Independent School District’s Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations. Her role focuses specifically on programming relative to racial equity. Jamila has also served as Coordinator for Dallas ISD’s African-American Success Initiative, which exposes students to a variety of culturally-relevant, academically-focused opportunities aimed at closing the achievement gap.

Come and join the conversation and see how we as a community can be an integral part of the future of public education in this country.


A very special thank-you to our Corporate Partners BBVA Compass, Lexus and Park Place!



Is parking available for the event? Yes, free parking is available on-site, and complimentary valet service will also be provided.

Who can I contact if I have questions? Please contact Cheryl Roseborough at

Do I have to bring my ticket to the event? Yes; please bring either a printed copy or download the Eventbrite app to show your e-ticket.

Is my ticket transferable? Yes, your ticket is fully transferable. Please contact the Blyss Agency at to change the name on your ticket.

Can my company or I sponsor this event? Yes; please click here to get complete sponsorship details, or contact Cheryl Roseborough at

What's the attire for this event? Business or business casual attire is appropriate.

Is reserved seating available? Seating is first-come-first-served.

Are children allowed? No.

Is daycare available? Daycare is not available for this event.

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Janette Kennedy Gallery @ South Side on Lamar

1409 South Lamar Street

Dallas, TX 75215

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