The 2014 Conference themed Overcoming Stigma Together Changing Lives, Families and Communities welcomed over 275 conference guests at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel-Greenway Plaza in Houston, TX.
The conference highlights included Rev. Dr. Robert Gilmore, Sr., NCC, LPC-S, LCDC of Real Urban Counselors, Consultants & Associates was the conference day moderator. Dr. Rahn Bailey of Meharry Medical College, was the keynote and session presenter. Dr. Bailey opened the conference and highlighted research, trends and practice on the conference theme: Overcoming Stigma Together: Changing Lives, Families and Communities. Marquia Banks of Dionsyus Theater and 3Sisters in Spirit Theater Ministry provided inspiration during the morning plenary. The afternoon plenary opened with inspiration from Sylvia Bolling of Aldine Youth & Transformation Center. A proclamation from Texas House Representative Sylvester Turner of District 139 was read to commence the 2014 Conference.
The Flame of Inspiration Awards highlighted the afternoon plenary. Awards were conferred to six outstanding community stakeholders for inspiring and strengthening others with and without disabilities. Dr. Jinneh Dyson of National Alliance on Mental Illness received the Self-Advocate Award, Bonnie Session received the Parent Award, Eddie Jessie of Mental Health & Mental Retardation of Harris County, received the Service Professional Award, Pastor John Ogletree of First Metropolitan Church received the Faith-Based Award, Kyia Driskell of Wellness and Recovery Resources received the Young Adult Award and Walgreens Pharmacy received the 2014 Corporate Award.
Our afternoon keynote speaker, Ms. Bern Nadette Stanis, “Thelma Evans” from 70’s TV show, “Good Times”, culminated the afternoon plenary by sharing her personal journey on being a caregiver for her mother. Stanis captivated the audience on her mother’s fight with Alzheimer’s and the emotional implications of coping as a caregiver. Ms. Stanis shared about the need to break the ties of stigma and the “suffering in silence” through education and awareness.
The final hour of the conference day concluded with the Four-11 Exhibition Hour. The Four-11 Exhibition was a dynamic and informative time for conference guests to visit 25 Information Exhibitors, including book signings with several of the conference speakers/authors: Bern Nadette Stanis, Dr. Rahn Bailey, Dr. Jinneh Dyson and Justina Page.
Thank you to the conference sponsors and contributors for making the 2014 conference a success!
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Conference Program Session Recaps
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