Engage, Educate, Empower: Men of Color Conference


Featured Keynote Speaker

Dr. Molefi Kete Asante

Professor, Department of Africology, Temple University
President, Molefi Kete Asante Institute for Afrocentric Studies
Professor, University of South Africa


Call for Proposals

If you or someone you know may be interested in presenting an in-person session at the conference, please submit a proposal by May 19. Proposals should relate to one or more of three program topics, including: communities, schools and workplaces; politics; and home life.

Proposals are due May 19, 2023.

About the Conference

Far too often, society's discussions relative to Black and LatinE males takes on a deficit-based approach. In Philadelphia, where the Black and LatinE male segments jointly account for more than a quarter of the city's population, it is essential that we focus on their strengths and the empowering opportunities that exist within and around these communities. True transformative empowerment requires engagement and education, and this conference aims to do all three.

The goal of this free conference is to create a meaningful dialogue around expanding the pipeline of college admission and success among men of color in Philadelphia. Emphasis will be placed on conversations that engage, educate and empower through a lens of care and equity, while acting to advance education at local, regional and national levels.

The conference’s theme, There Must Come a Change, is in honor of Octavius V. Catto. Born in 1839, Catto was a pioneer and the greatest civil rights leader in post-Civil War Philadelphia. He pledged that Black men would be able to freely vote and worked tirelessly to get Pennsylvania to ratify the 15th Amendment, which was accomplished in October 1870. Tragically, Catto was gunned down in 1871 as he cast his own vote on election day. Today Octavius V. Catto is remembered for progressively leading generations of leaders to fight for and create change. Through the Catto Education Project, there are many schools named in his honor, teachings and workshop classes, and scholarship programs, including Community College of Philadelphia’s Octavius Catto Scholarship. Combining last-dollar funding with special wrap-around support services, the scholarship addresses obstacles like tuition and fees, as well as burdens that hit many Philadelphians particularly hard, including costs associated with food, transportation and books.

In remembering his legacy, this conference will serve as a call to action to make education more accessible, affordable, equitable and inclusive for everyone. It is a call to rise up against the inequitable structures that continue to exist in our educational system.


“There must come a change which shall force upon this nation that course which providence seems wisely to be directing for the mutual benefit of peoples.”

—Octavius V. Catto


Community College of Philadelphia welcomes participants with disabilities. If you require an accommodation related to disability to participate in this event, please contact Erica Harrison at 215.751.8941 or eharrison@ccp.edu as soon as possible to allow the College to make appropriate arrangements.