United and Strong: UMKC Women of Color Leadership Conference

Angela Rye will serve as keynote speaker at 12th annual conference

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Missouri-Kansas City Division of Diversity and Inclusion has confirmedempowermenteur,” social justice advocate and political strategist Angela Rye as the keynote speaker for its Women of Color Leadership Conference.

The theme of the 12th annual WOCLC is “United and Strong: Rising Through the Struggle.” The conference will be held at the Student Union, 5100 Cherry St., Kansas City, Missouri. Registration is $60 and is open to the public.

The conference begins with an 8 a.m. check-in, with sessions from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Rye is speaking at noon. Four blocks of workshops, a continental breakfast and lunch during the keynote address make up the day. Vendors will also be available throughout the day for attendees to shop their wares.

Angela Rye is Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, an organization that seeks to encourage young professionals in three core areas: economic empowerment, civic engagement, and political involvement. Rye is an NPR political analyst and a prominent political strategist who offers regular on-air commentary for several media outlets including BET, CNN, HBO, HuffPost Live and TV One.”

Previously, Rye served as the Executive Director and General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress. Prior to working for the CBC, she served as Senior Advisor and Counsel to the House Committee on Homeland Security under the leadership of Congressman Bennie G. Thompson.

Along with the keynote speaker, workshop facilitators will lead stimulating and beneficial discussions on topics including:


  • The Real Housewives: Representations of Femininity and Feminine Identity in Reality Television Programming:

This workshop is designed to critically examine the role of this genre of media in depicting feminine identity. Participants will be able to identify themes/patterns in this media representation of femininity, analyze the extent to which these representations are grounded in reality and/or stereotype and develop strategies to combative negative depictions of women and girls in television programming.


  • Kinky or Straight Hair: “It’s All Good”

This workshop will explore the complicated topic of hair texture, skin color and the direct link to self-esteem and self-worth for women of color.  This unique discussion, led by Master hairstylist and salon owner Sharmelle Winsett, will aim to challenge modern day standards of beauty.  This workshop will encourage participants to unite by setting new guidelines by which we judge one another and ourselves.


  • Racism and Feminism: Using Strength to Persist

Women of Color hold two visible identities, therefore creating a distinctive experience for them throughout their lives and specifically in educational settings.  With two visibly marginalized identities, Women of Color are often visibly invisible in issues of injustice and inequity.  The purpose of this session will be to examine the ways Women of Color-focused spaces and initiatives can support the development of Women of Color in educational settings.


  • Overcoming Discrimination in the Workplace

In this workshops participants will be able to identify, acknowledge, and discuss the existence of discrimination in the workplace and how inequity impacts professional women of color. Additionally attendees will learn strategies to call out bias and discrimination in the work environment; and discover methods of coping as well as skills and strategies which may be helpful in building resilience and thriving in professional environments that lack diversity.


A Networking Power Hour follows the workshops from 3:10 – 5 p.m. A complete schedule of breakout sessions is to come on the Diversity and Inclusion website.


The Women of Color Leadership Conference is sponsored annually by the UMKC Division of Diversity & Inclusion. Free parking is available in the Cherry Street Parking Garage, 50th & Cherry Streets, on levels five and six only.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).

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