Frequently asked Questions
Do I need to register for the summit?
YES. ALL ATTENDEES, BOTH STUDENTS AND ADULT CHAPERONES, MUST REGISTER TO ATTEND
When I tried to register, it said that registration had closed. Is there a waitlist I can get on?
Unfortunately, we are unable to have a waitlist for the summit. Registration is capped at our capacity plus 30 percent, which takes into account the substantial number of no-show attendees on the day of the summit.
I forgot to register/registration is closed. Can I just show up to the summit?
Only registered students will be guaranteed admittance to the summit. If an unregistered student shows up on the day of the summit, they will be required to wait in the will call area until all registered students have been processed. In the event that there is still space available after all the registered students have been admitted, unregistered students will be admitted in the order that they arrived. After we have reached capacity, any remaining unregistered students are required to leave the campus for liability purposes.
Why can’t middle school aged students attend?
Although we have allowed 8th grade students to attend in previous years, the summit is now reserved for high school students only for the following reasons:
Maturity level: The planning committee strives to bring presenters and topics to the summit that speak to current events and issues important to young students of color. As many of the topics discussed revolve around the dense and multi-faceted issue of social justice, many middle school students do not have the comprehension level needed to both engage in, and respect, this dialogue.
Behavior: Attending the summit requires students to have the strong personal responsibility and critical listening skills that are more common in older students; we simply do not have the staff or the ability to continuously monitor individuals who need to be reminded consistently to behave appropriately.
How long is the summit?
The summit is an all-day event, from approximately 8:00am to 4:00pm.
What if I arrive late?
We cannot facilitate late arrivals. Our registration and check-in tables open at 8:00 am sharp and close promptly at 9:15 am when the keynote speaker begins. IF YOU ARRIVE AFTER 9:15 AM, EVEN IF YOU HAVE REGISTERED, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND THE SUMMIT.
Cost, Location, and Programming
How much does it cost to attend?
The summit is FREE to attend.
Where is the summit?
The student summit is located in the Student Union Building (Bldg 8) on the Highline College campus, with adult chaperone programming located in Building 7. Individual student workshops are held in various classrooms on campus; students are escorted by summit volunteers to and from these classrooms.
Do I need to bring my own food?
No. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided for you.
What workshops will I be attending?
Workshops will be assigned as students are processed through the registration table the day of the summit.
I want to see a particular workshop presenter. How can I ensure a seat in her specific workshop?
To ensure equal workshop sizes, students are assigned a workshop. Students are not able to choose their workshops. However, workshop presentations are thoroughly screened by the Y.E.L.L. Planning Committee to ensure each workshop is equally informative, engaging, and impactful.
For Adult Chaperones
I’m an adult chaperone for a school/organization but I don’t know which students I’m bringing yet. Can I just hold some spots?
No. All attendees (both students and adults) must be registered individually to attend. We can NOT hold spots under any circumstances.
I’m a chaperone and some of the registered students I was supposed to bring can’t come. Can I substitute different students in their place?
No. If a student or adult has registered but is unable to attend, they cannot substitute another individual.
As a chaperone, will I stay with my student throughout the day?
No. Adult chaperones/attendees and students are on different activity tracks in different buildings. The summit is for the students and part of the impact of the summit comes from being able to have real, open dialogue. Please respect this space and understand that you will be reconnected with your students at the close of the summit.
I’m a chaperone who is bringing multiple students. Can I send you a list of the students attending instead of registering them all?
We greatly appreciate attendees or adult chaperones registering themselves and/or their students. Having attendees or chaperones directly enter their information increases accuracy, so we politely ask that you register attendees individually.
I want to see a particular workshop presenter. How can I ensure a seat in her specific workshop?
As the summit is geared focused and created for high school aged females, chaperones are not permitted to sit in on these workshops; adult chaperones are able to view the keynote speeches remotely but have a fixed adult chaperone agenda in an adjacent building.
This is a valuable, transformative event that I want to be a part of. How can I get involved?
If you would like to volunteer at this year’s or a future Summit, please contact Rashad Norris or Rickitia Reid.
My students received a t-shirt/lanyard/giveaway item. Do adult chaperones also receive giveaway items?
Unfortunately, adult chaperones are ineligible to receive giveaways. As Highline absorbs the entire cost of the summit, we decided to limit giveaways to students to increase the quality and quantity of items they receive.
Will all my students stay together if I bring a group of students?
One of the values of the summit is to encourage meaningful conversations and create new friendships. In order to facilitate this, students are assigned to workshops by individual rather than by school. Some students in you group may end up in the same workshop by chance, but it is highly unlikely that you student group will stay together for the entirety of the summit.
Debrena Jackson Gandy: Master of Ceremonies
Debrena Jackson Gandy is a nationally published author of three books, a speaker, success coach, and TV Show Host. She’s been seen on TV on CNN, CNN Live, Good Day New York, Good Morning Texas, Good Day D. C., C-Span, the Wisdom Channel, and a host of regional news talk shows, including King 5 TV’s New Day. She’s also been seen in magazines such as Essence, Ebony, Heart & Soul and Woman’s Day. A guest on over 50 radio shows, she’s also a popular guest blogger.
Veronica Very is a Seattle native with more than twenty years of local, national and international professional experience designing and directing events and programs. Veronica has established an impressive career that intersects hospitality, politics, entertainment and beauty. Corporations such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts; Nordstrom, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, MAC Cosmetics and Stellar International Networks have all benefited from her creative project, branding and business management expertise. Veronica has been seen organizing global women leadership conferences for Stellar International Networks; managing special VIP brand relations at W Los Angeles Hotel; arranging high level logistics for various celebrities and political figures; growing and positioning small companies into large and managing million dollar cosmetic businesses in Seattle, Los Angeles and Washington, DC area markets. Highlighted events include key organizer for President Barack Obama's Re-election Luncheon at the Seattle Paramount Theater in 2011; Stellar Women Leadership Delegations to China for 2006, 2008, 2011; organizing C200’s Pacific Northwest Conference in 2010 and Seattle Sweden Week featuring Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria. In March 2016, Veronica organized and launched a global movement called Wonder of Women to inspire women and girls to find their voice; stand in their truth and celebrate their wonder by telling their story. Wonder of Women events have been held in Seattle, Washington DC and Johannesburg, South Africa. Veronica’s dedication to excellence and enthusiasm is infectious. She embraces the beauty of diversity and leads through collaboration with both head and heart.
Kathei McCoy, affectionately known as Coach Kathei, is an ordained minister and Certified Life Coach on a mission to write stories, speak messages and teach principles that empower women and girls to live in the fierceness of truth and freedom. When God’s private message “its time to deal with your insecurities” became public during an altar call at a women’s retreat, Kathei stopped hiding from the truth of her own struggle with jealousy and envy that secretly led to depression and pain nursing addictions. Kathei intentionally engaged life-work through counseling, coaching, reading and writing that has helped her claim and embrace her fierceness within. Coach Kathei is committed to teaching the powerful principles and beliefs that helped her find her own fierceness of self love, truth and confidence through coaching, leading workshops, speaking at retreats and publishing writings that boldly address issues blocking women and girls from their own freedom. Kathei has been speaking, teaching and facilitating workshops for over 10 years. In December 2014, she left a 20 year career in county government to pursue her passion to serve and support women in their journey to freedom full time. Kathei believes the real tragedy of any painful loss is when we get get stuck and never discover the meaning and purpose of our pain. She will encourage you to boldly face your tragedy by answering the burning question, “What will I do with my pain?” After grieving the painful murder of her one and only son, K'Breyan Clark, she is turning his tragic death into a movement for women called “Save Our Sons.” An original story teller and brand ambassador of the globally recognized movement for women and girls Wonder of Women International; founding member of the first Christian Sorority in Washington State Gamma Pi and the loving wife of 17 years to her husband Raymond McCoy.
Faith Kebekol is the College Access Program Coordinator at Highline College facilitating student engagement activities related to college readiness with local middle school and high schools students. Before working at Highline College she worked as an academic coach at Pacific Middle School in Des Moines, WA supporting students in academic, attendance and behaviour improvement. Faith became the first in her family to finish college when she graduated from Willamette University in Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in sociology. She has also previously worked at Willamette Academy, a college access program where she mentored first generation students of color on their path to higher education. Faith serves as an advisor and board of director of MIC, a non profit in Oregon that coordinates community awareness projects related to Pacific Islander social issues.
Born and raised in Sacramento, California Tiffany Chan is an educator in Seattle Public schools, inspiring 5th grade students in her language arts classes and using her teaching expertise to combine social-emotional learning with reading/writing skills for her students. Before coming to Seattle, Tiffany Chan studied ethnic studies, anthropology, and music while she earned her bachelor’s degree at Willamette University in Oregon. Tiffany has also co-coordinated student support groups for LGBTQ people of colour. As a leader of the Asian Coalition for Equality, Tiffany fostered a space for Asian American students to have critical conversations around topics such as race, immigration, and identity. Tiffany is currently working on becoming an elementary school teacher for reading and writing.
Born in Sunnyside, Washington, and raised in a small town in Northern California, Iesha earned her bachelor’s degree in Child Development from California State University, Chico, in 2006. While in college, she was involved in her Latina-based sorority, Lambda Theta Nu. Giving back to her community in meaningful ways has always been very important to her and pursuing a higher education was the best way she knew how to give back while cultivating a career. Having a passion for working with students who are the first in their family to go to college Iesha earned her M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of Vermont and has since worked with college students at the University of Vermont, Seattle University and now Highline College. Iesha is currently the Director for the Center for Leadership & Service.
Laura Yañez is a LatinX woman immigrant part of the LGBTQ community; she was born and raised in Colombia. Former Student Body President 2014-2015 at Highline College. Currently, she is a senior of the BA Social Welfare program at UW Tacoma. Laura also works on campus as a Leadership Development Coordinator, where she has created support programs for first generation students at UW Tacoma to help them achieve greater success both personally, and professionally. She also serves as the Social Work Senator, in which she serves on various committees on campus. Laura is an activist, who advocates for underrepresented communities, most recently undocumented students and survivors of domestic violence. In her free time, Laura encourages students to become leaders on their campuses, pursue higher education and develop their multiple identities while navigating college. Laura plans to dedicate her life to fight for social justice, human rights and to reducing barriers in higher education for students of color, and other underrepresented communities.
My name is Rocío Carrión and I have found that my purpose in life is to serve and inspire students. I have lived in this country for 24 years and I am still undocumented. However, I was one of the “lucky” ones to receive a work authorization permit through the DACA program. As an undocumented Latinx woman I struggled and I failed in some areas but I have learned to embrace every challenge, leading me to a happier life and becoming a stronger individual. My dream is to travel the world and take my organization to inspire youth wherever I go. I am the Director and Co-Founder of I AM Empowerment LLC. I have worked with a diverse student population over seven years. I have worked with elementary students to university students including special education students, first-generation college students and homeless youth in after-school programs, bilingual leadership programs, and college-readiness programs. I graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 2010. Today I own my own business and continue to work hard to fulfill my dream of traveling the world through I AM Empowerment by touching the lives of youth. I would not have made it this far in life without my mentors and family role-models.
Diana Mena is a first generation Nicaraguan American. Diana has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Seattle University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington. Diana has over 7 years experience working with nonprofit agencies and community mental health clinics providing case management and therapy for low income, marginalized populations, and communities of color. She most recently served as Clinical Director of a non-profit which provided mental health services to Undocumented Immigrants. She is the proud owner of Esperanza Counseling & Consulting where she primarily serves women of color and focuses on interpersonal violence and trauma, cross-cultural issues of identity, and the psychological consequences of oppression. She provides consultation on issues of race and social justice with the hope of leaving a better world for the next seven generations.
Natalie Hart hails from Tacoma, Washington where she was a graduate of Henry Foss High School. Natalie was involved in A.F.J.R.O.T.C, Volleyball, Wrestling, Track and Field, ASB, worked part time at a restaurant, and was a Girl Scout from Kindergarten until 12th grade. Natalie completed the International Baccalaureate Program at Foss and graduated with a 3.98 G.P.A. At Foss, Natalie received the College Success Foundation Achievers scholarship, the G.E.A.R. U.P scholarship, the Tacoma Elks Club Most Valuable Scholar award, and the Elizabeth Wesley Youth Merit Award. Upon her acceptance to college, Natalie also received the Costco Diversity Scholarship. Totaling all of her award money up, Natalie had nearly $150,000 in scholarship money. This money allowed her to graduate debt free with her degrees. Natalie is the first in her family to go to college and is the first in her family to attain a Master’s degree in Education Policy as of August 2015. Natalie attended the University of Washington, directly after high school, where she completed a triple major and double minor and graduated with TWO bachelor’s degrees in 2011. Natalie also became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and has been a member for ten years. While at UW, Natalie became the first in her family to own a passport, and go international. Natalie has visited 13 different countries and will be visiting her 14th this summer, South Africa. Natalie is currently working at Stadium High School in the Tacoma School District as a College and Career Counselor. Natalie plans to earn her Doctorates degree in Educational Leadership by the time she turns 35. Natalie’s ultimate goal is to become a U.S Ambassador to a foreign country or become the first woman of color to hold the position of Secretary of Education at the White House. Natalie enjoys inspiring others and believes equitable education for all students is the civil rights issue of our generation.
Roxana Pardo Garcia
Roxana Pardo Garcia is a self-identifying Xicana Mujerista that was born and raised in Burien, Wa. Roxana was raised by a xingona single mother who is a displaced indigenous mujer from Michoacan, Mexico. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2013 with a BA in American Ethnic Studies and Diversity - was involved in MEChA and part of the cohort that passed the Diversity Credit Requirement for Undergrads, pushed to move the construction of the new UWPD station away from the front of Ethnic Cultural Center, and worked alongside alumni, community, and students to preserve the physical historical murals of the ECC for their new home. Recently she has been involved in grass roots movements in Burien to pass a Sanctuary City Ordinance and mobilize community and a part of the South King Collective that is working on rolling out education efforts across the region. Roxana uses indigenous knowledge and her genetic memories to do work that allows people to live with dignity, respect, self and collective determination - because we know, nothing will liberate the hood, but the hood itself.
Kiana Fuega is a Hawaii-born Samoan from the villages of Olosega, Manu'a and Leone in Amerika Samoa by way of Tacoma, Washington. Much of her work is focused on relationship and community building, of which she credits her cultural upbringing for instilling. Kiana currently serves as the Director of Outreach and Recruitment at Green River College. She also works as a community advocate within Washington’s greater Pacific Islander community, implementing culturally relevant leadership building and mentorship with youth. Kiana is a spoken word artist, fellow of the Native and Pacific American Leadership Institute (NAPALI), and mother to Hinevai-Mele Fuega. She is a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle with a BA in Anthropology where her studies included a focus in applied & indigenous anthropology and decolonization.
Gabriela Raisl identifies as an Afro- Latina; born in Brooklyn N.Y. to Dominican and Puerto Rican parents. She is a senior at the University of Washington Tacoma graduating with a B.A in Psychology and a minor in Nonprofit Management. Gabriela works at the Center for Service and Leadership (CSL), were she creates leadership workshops as well as teaches leadership 101. As program assistant at CSL she also works to help students get involved in volunteerism within the community and receive recognition for their service on graduation. Last quarter she was asked to sit on the Race and Equity Committee on campus; the committee works to isolate inequity on campus and ways of making UWT a safer more equitable campus for all of it’s students. Gabriela plans on working for organizations that promote social justice, equity and intersectionality, she plans on furthering her education by attending graduate school in Ethnic Studies or attending Law school.
Our Dj: DJ Roza
Since 1999, DJ Roza (Roza Do) began frequenting her friends' club and mobile gigs in LA to later filling her own crates in 2001. Influenced by local pioneers such as the Beat Junkies and Triple Threat DJs, she has built a diverse musical repertoire and versatile style blending classic to current grooves spanning hip-hop to house, r&b to reggae, and dusty funk to disco. Currently residing in Oakland, Roza has held numerous residencies from LA to the Bay and is most known for performing 3-mixer and 4-turntable (3x4) sets with RRS Feed—DJs Shred One and Raichous—and currently backing hip-hop emcee Rocky Rivera. The Rock & Roz mixtape series has become a signature collaboration with volumes 1-7 along with select Rocky remixes available for download on SoundCloud.
Kamrica Ary-Turner, is an Assistant Principal at Ferrucci Junior High School in the Puyallup School District. This powerful educator has worked in education for nine years and much of this time at the High School level, in the capacity of a Discipline Specialist, Dean of Students, Counselor, and Assistant Administrator. Kamrica is an athlete, scholar and trailblazer that graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelors of Ars in Strategic Communications that played on the Women’s Basketball team. Kamrica received her Masters of Educations in Guidance and Counseling and her Educational Leadership Certification at City University. This is Kamrica’s fifth Y.E.L.L. Conference contributing and providing access for students to participate. Her passion for young people and young people of color is endless. After attending the Black and Brown Summit in 2013, she was inspired to create a support group for young men and women of color. As a young student athlete, she struggled in school but through basketball and the right support she learned hard work, confidence, teamwork, risk taking, compassion and leadership. As an insightful and skillful educator, she continues to provide opportunity for students to attend community events which support their social, emotional, and academic aspirations.
Melba Ayco is the Founder and Artistic Director of Northwest Tap Connection Studio, a Race and Social Justice oriented studio located in south Seattle. The mission is to "Close the Gap" within the Arts for underserved Youth with an emphasis on Youth of Color in Washington State through training, education and enrichment opportunities; and to provide a space of support and respect for Artist of Color to create artistic works relevant to our past, present and future. Mrs. Ayco has worked for Seattle Police Department for 30 plus years and has strived to be a voice from the Community in regards to policies and procedures that directly affect People of Color. Her personal goal is to never see the name of a child involved in Northwest Tap Connection cross her desk. Mrs. Ayco grew up in a small close-knit community in Louisiana (family, church and school) that modeled the African Proverb, “It takes an entire village to raise a child”. Understanding the “true” meaning of mentorship and village is her life’s work. Mrs. Ayco was the recipient of the 2009 Mayor’s Art Award for outstanding leadership, recognized as a sponsor of a major “Hub of Blackness” within the city of Seattle in 2016 and a Community Builder “Celebrating Our Queens” from Africatown in 2017. Mrs. Ayco has choreographed for Seattle Theatre Group, Northwest Folk-life Festival, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, SEED, Seattle Children Museum, and Experience Music Project. Her original production of African American Odyssey has been presented in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Washington. Founder of Odyssey Tours – a cultural exchange for youth that explores the common threads of Cultural, inclusive of Dance, Music, Arts, Food and Traditions of the people of the African Diaspora. Mrs. Ayco is a Tap Dance Historian, Gullah-Geehee Story Teller and Public Speaker.