The Pan African student leadership conference was held at Minnesota State University, Mankato on March 25 and 26.
The objective of the two-day conference according to their MSU webpage was to “build student leadership and to provide an opportunity for academic scholars, students, professionals and community members to discuss the issues that affect African-American people.”
To name a few of the issues discussed, some of the conferences covered the controversy over Black Lives Matter, the effect of Kanye West on today’s generation, and the importance of self-love for African-American women.
Keeya Allen is the creator of a group creative for black women called “The Love Initiative.” The primary objective of the group is to teach and promote women about how to love themselves, God, and others in a world where so many negative influences are present. Although her presentation was aimed toward African-American women, she was very welcoming toward all of the other diverse cultures in the room.
Allen gave seven love points that she considers to be core principles in her initiative program:
1. Know who you are: “How can everyone else love something that you don’t even know?”
2. Have faith in yourself and God: “Speak it out loud and into existence,” said Allen, who considers herself a religious person.
3. How do you love you? “This means setting boundaries for yourself, pampering yourself and surrounding yourself with a healthy environment.”
4. Have love for others: “People naturally assume that we all already know how to love. They don’t know what kinds of things we’ve experienced in life. Make a decision to love,” Allen said.
5. Talk about it: In Allen’s relatable opinion, “As black people, we don’t talk about what we are going through emotionally and mentally. We need help sometimes too. Own who you are because of what you have been through.”
6. Who are you rollin’ with: Don’t cheat yourself just to keep people in your life who don’t deserve you.
7. Who is loving you? “You should feel like it is a privilege to love you. If it takes from you and makes you feel dark or insecure let it go. If it doesn’t grow you, let it go. If it does not feed you, it is not for you,” Allen said.
In addition to her wonderful tips about self-love, Allen also left some very memorable quotes. She stated that it is important to know that having self-love doesn’t mean being arrogant.
“Society has conditioned us to feel like talking about ourselves is bragging,” Allen said.
She stated that people should be able to talk about themselves and also celebrate all of the things that happen to them throughout their lives. People should feel comfortable celebrating the small things along the way just as much is the big things.
Another quote that stood out because it was relatable was her statement about the angry black woman stereotype.
“You are a queen. You have seen things in life that have upset you. That does not make you an angry black woman.” Amen to that, sister!
At the end of her presentation, she tasked the audience to go out and set two love goals for themselves and revisit them whenever the need to be reminded of what self-love is and why it is important comes forward.
Dr. Michael T. Fagin’s Pan African Conference was a success and it was inspirational to meet so many powerful leaders from Minneapolis!