PULLMAN, Wash. — African-American high school and college students are registering for the Visionaries Inspiring Black Empowered Students Conference at Washington State University March 2-4.

Sponsored by the WSU Black Women’s Caucus and the university’s chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., the conference theme is “You Reap What You Sow: Planting the Seeds of Black Excellence.”

Kim Proctor, VIBES co-chair, said conference attendees will gain leadership skills, receive tips to improve access to higher education and jobs, gain insights into the historical perspectives of African-American culture, learn of health issues affecting African-Americans and enhance their self-esteem.

Keynote speakers will be JeVon Thompson of Seattle and Meshelle Foreman-Shields, Philadelphia. Thompson’s March 3 luncheon address, “Leadership Begins With You.” Foreman-Shields’ March 3 dinner speech will address self-esteem and positive images.

A motivational speaker who has appeared on television, including “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “ABC World News Tonight,” Thompson seeks to empower audience members to make healthy changes in their lifestyle. Foreman-Shields is a Temple University doctoral student in psychology. Using comedic and actress talents in churches, concerts and comedy clubs from Chicago to Barbados, she promotes positive self-images in her presentations.

VIBES also will feature a live presentation — “African Son, RISE!” — presented by James Chapmyn and Donny Monaco, both with Chapmyn’s Spoken Word Theater in Columbus, Ohio. Called a “choreopoem,” the presentation will deal with the influences of money, power, hip-hop and sex on African-American men.

Other VIBES presenters include Damon Arnold, WSU African-American Student Center counselor; James Bledsoe, WSU African-American student recruitment coordinator; Bernice Buchanan, Spokane School District 81 diversity educator; Herb Delaney, WSU Office of Multicultural Student Services community relations assistant director; Spokane City Council member Roberta Greene and Nate Greene, owners of Empire Ford in Spokane; Milton Lang, WSU College of Education director of recruitment and retention; Lamarr Shields, youth advocate; Bernadette Williams, CEO and new media specialist with i-strategy.com of Beverly Hills, Calif.; and Charles Wilson, community health education specialist with People of Color Against AIDS Network, Seattle.

On-campus, university housing for college and high school student participants and high school chaperones will be available.

For conference and registration information, visit the Web site at http://www.wsu.edu/~wrc/vibes.htm. For more information, contact the WSU Women’s Resource Center, 509/335-6849.

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