The Black Youth Guidance Forum (BYGF) provides participants with a unique opportunity to engage in educationally purposeful activities which include featured speakers, four instructional tracks (PreK-5 graders, 6-12 graders, Parent Advocacy, and Leadership), and the Nonprofit Resource & Advocacy fair.
Challenging Blockades to Health and Academic Achievement Among Youth of Color
Racial disparities in school discipline have persisted for over four decades. Black students are disciplined more frequently, and more severely than their non-Black peers, even when cited for the same or similar infractions. While research on the School-to-Prison Pipeline has documented academic and social costs of racially disproportionate discipline for Black students, less is known about the psychosocial impacts. When we routinely subject Black youth to discriminatory environments, microaggressions in their interactions with peers and educators, and macroaggressions in terms of inequitable institutional policies and practices, we place their mental health at risk. In this way, schools can easily become sites of racial stress and trauma. Receiving and implementing discipline can be stressful. Our collective struggle to talk about and examine manifestations of race and racism in our schools only compounds that stress. The talk will explore the implications of inequitable school discipline for Black youth’s interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences at school, and examine the up-close psychosocial costs of racially disproportionate discipline for Black youth and their educators. The talk will also discuss the power schools and educators possess to reimagine their approach to discipline to support positive Black youth development.
Dr. Whitney Polk is a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Human Development and Quantitative Methods division. Dr. Polk's program of research focuses on the impact of school-based inequity and marginalization on adolescent psychosocial and academic adjustment. Dr. Polk earned her Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in Human Development, Learning and Teaching from Harvard University. She received an M.Phil. Ed. in Professional Counseling from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania. Before completing her doctoral study, Dr. Polk worked as a mental health professional with K-12 students and their families in Philadelphia, providing therapy and advocating for improved mental health, educational, and social supports.
Who Should Attend?
Anyone who is interested in the health, well-being, and educational attainment of African American students and other students of color in PreK-12 grades, including but not limited to:
- High School Administrators
- College Administrators
- Support Staff
- All Students, including elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary
- Nonprofit Organizations in Los Angeles County
- Business Community
- Health Advocates
- Religious Institutions
About the Forum
The Black Youth Guidance Forum (BYGF) is a day-long leadership program for CSUN students in the Africana Studies Urban Studies option, credential candidates, and Liberal Studies majors. We will also include African American youth and other youth of color, school stakeholders (e.g. parents, teachers, counselors, administrators, and staff), and nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles County.
The BYGF serves:
- to promote racial uplift, health & wellness, college preparation, and leadership development to our target population
- to provide assistance and training in culturally relevant practices for preparatory students at CSUN and school stakeholders
- to establish a college collaboratory (community partnerships) with nonprofit organizations for understanding and developing clear pathways for African American youth and other youth of color to enter post-secondary education
The BYGF provides participants with a unique opportunity to participate in educationally purposeful activities which include featured speakers, four instructional tracks (PreK-5 graders, 6-12 graders, Parent Advocacy, and Leadership), and the Nonprofit Resource & Advocacy fair.
The BYGF has been designed to accomplish the same educational mission as the DuBois-Hamer Institute for Academic Achievement at California State University, Northridge, which is:
- To promote student success through community and campus partnerships. We cultivate active and collaborative partnerships with faculty, staff and students across the CSUN campus community; work with local groups and organizations in Los Angeles County; and provide service to cultural and educational institutions in the community.
For more information, contact Dr. Cedric Hackett, Director, DuBois Hamer Institute for Academic Achievement at or by phone at 818-677-3311.
Communication services (sign language interpreters, note takers) are available for this event. Requests for services must be submitted at least five (5) working days in advance. Please contact Dr. Cedric Hackett, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (818) 677-3311.
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