Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Black Student Leadership Summit

black student leadership summit logo

Black Excellence Starts Here!

2022 Black Student Leadership Summit

This 1-day conference recognizes the extraordinary power that exists when black students identify and develop their leadership goals. Through workshops and panel discussions, student leaders will come
together to support one another and will be empowered to make positive change on campus and in their communities.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

10:00 am - 7:30 pm

AACC Gallery...Addams Hall Room 209

Presentations by Campus, Community, and Student Leaders, including: 

Keith Lewis

Dr. Belva Miles

Marlon Chamberlain

Alexis Grant


Workshops, Panel Discussions, Lunch, and Dinner Included


Click HERE to view live-stream

BSLS Registration Heading link

  • Name
    Select which session(s) you will be attending

Presenters and Panelists Heading link

Prevail Bonga

Prevail Bonga is a native of Lisle, Illinois, and is a rising activist and community organizer. She is currently a senior currently attending the University of Illinois at Chicago, majoring in Criminology, Law and Justice and Black Studies with a minor in Political Science on the Pre-Law track. A first-generation college student and an aspiring lawyer, Prevail Bonga plans to use her studies to go into civil rights law or human international rights law. She aspires to use her law degree to further advocate for people who continue to be oppressed and subjugated by different institutions. She has a passion and commitment to social justice, and tries to positively impact the student experience for Black students attending UIC, and she hopes to impact her community and others in numerous ways.

Marlon J. Chamberlain

Marlon J. Chamberlain is an advocate for people directly impacted by the justice system. Marlon brings over 20 years of lived and professional experience to his work at Heart Alliance. Marlon has an established track record of creating effective coalitions. Previously, he served as the Englewood Project Manager with the READI Chicago Program at Heartland Alliance. Prior to that, he was a Community Organizer with the FORCE (Fighting to Overcome Records and Create Equality) Initiative. Marlon developed FORCE to become one of the strongest organizations led by people with records to advance issues, policies and legislation at the state level – including passing the largest sealing expansion law in the United States and leading a voter registration campaign which registered over 1,000 people with records to vote.  Marlon is very active in the community. He is a founding member of the RROCI coalition (Restoring Rights & Opportunities Coalition of IL); He Chairs the Live Free Decarceration advisory committee; he is an Alumni of JustLeadership USA – a national organization with a mission to reduce the U.S. prison population in half by 2030. In 2013, he received the Purdy Award from the Community Renewal Society in recognition of his outstanding leadership in organizing and policy work.  And in 2017, he received the CARRE Visionary Award from Safer Foundation.  Marlon lives on the south side of Chicago with his wife and five children.

Alexis Grant

Alexis Grant is a PhD candidate in Community Health Sciences at the UIC School of Public Health. She came to UIC as the first in her family to pursue a PhD. Her research focuses on collaboration for community health and sharing power to dismantle systemic racism, including within academic institutions. Her first year at UIC, she co-founded the Black Graduate Student Association with like-minded students, to create a space tailored to the needs of Black Graduate students at UIC. During the summer of 2020, she joined with groups of other students to form the Good Trouble Coalition and advocate for change at the university level. As a soon-to-be doctor, Grant plans to bring her passion for systems change and accountability wherever she goes.

Keith Lewis

Keith Lewis is the Sr. Director of Community Collaboration at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is an experienced facilitator and trainer and has led workshops on diversity/cultural competency, leadership development, community engagement, as well as, college and career access.  He has worked on violence prevention issues and initiatives focused on Black men academic and personal development.  Keith is a 2021 Fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, an alum of Latino Policy Forum’s Multicultural Leadership Academy and Public Allies Chicago.

Essence McDowell

Essence McDowell is a communications strategist, organizer and co-author of Lifting As They Climbed: Mapping a History of Black Women on Chicago’s South Side. She is currently the Director of Communications at UIC’s Social Justice Initiative. In addition to her role at the Social Justice Initiative, Essence is a communications consultant for educational institutions and non-profit organizations in throughout Chicago.  Essence utilizes media, digital design and communications technologies to amplify the work of community institutions and justice-based organizations. She has worked with numerous national and local entities including the Illinois Humanities Council, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, INCITE! Color of Violence, and Gallery 400. She creates digital platforms, organizing tools, and impact strategies to facilitate social change.

dr. Belva Miles

Dr. Belva Miles is the Assistant Director for Mind-Body Programming and Staff Psychologist at the UIC Counseling Center. As the Coordinator for Mind-Body Programming and a Staff Psychologist, Dr. Miles provides initial consultations, individual and group therapies, and facilitate workshops, co-facilitate What’s Going On? a monthly drop-in space focused on Black student mental health and wellness along with the African American Cultural Center, provides supervision to psychology students that are part of the counseling center training program, provide outreaches on a variety of topics and consultation to staff and faculty, and has served on a variety of committees at UIC, many of these with a social justice focus. Her areas of special interest are anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, anger management, life transitions, multicultural counseling, diversity and social justice, and student persistence and retention.