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Dr. AK Sterling delivers a series of signature workshops and keynotes addressing mental health challenges for men of color, exploring alternative visions for Black History Month, empowering students through innovative teaching practices, and promoting linguistic expression through melanated metaphor workshops. These programs center Blackness and delve into societal expectations, cultural norms, toxic masculinity, student engagement, and the preservation of cultural traditions. Dr. Sterling also offers custom workshops and keynotes tailored to client requirements and expectations, as demonstrated by the Juneteenth keynote.

"A Melanated Metaphor Workshop" with Dr. AK Sterling focuses on the significance of metaphor in poetry, specifically in relation to Blackness, Black language, and linguistic innovation. Participants learn about metaphor differentiation, various types of metaphors, and creating their own original metaphors. The workshop explores how metaphors can express the complexity of Black experiences and expand language boundaries. By engaging with Audre Lorde's theory and writings in "Poetry is Not a Luxury," it aims to inspire participants to not only incorporate metaphors into their poetry, receive constructive feedback, and experiment with metaphor as a tool for poetic expression and linguistic innovation but also to highlight the importance of not remaining silent.

Workshop 1

"The Cost of Your Smile" workshop and keynote by Dr. AK Sterling addresses the unique challenges faced by men of color in addressing their mental health concerns, challenging toxic masculinity and promoting supportive spaces for expression. It explores topics such as parenting, racial frustrations, job-related stressors, substance abuse, and trust issues, aiming to foster a more inclusive society that values mental health and wellness. Centered around a conversation between novelist James Baldwin and poet Nikki Giovanni, the session delves into Black life in America, the struggle for racial justice, and evolving gender roles while offering insights into the artistic process of two literary icons.

Workshop 2

"Stranger Things: The UPSIDE DOWN" workshop & keynote introduces Umoja practices and the concept of live learning to empower students. It encourages instructors to change their approach, emphasizing trust, listening, and flipping the traditional student/teacher dynamic. The session showcases student voices, perspectives, participation, and group work, aiming to improve equity gaps and recognize student greatness by creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Workshop 3

Offered as a keynote or a workshop "I Am Black History" features Dr. AK Sterling discussing an alternative vision for Black History Month. Instead of focusing solely on well-known stories and figures, it explores the history of identification, accomplishments, innovation, and excellence within the Black culture. The session encourages a more connected, personal engagement with Black history that respects the past while envisioning a future not tied to torment. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing everyday people who contribute to Black culture, expanding definitions of history, and embracing the potential for deep roots and bright futures.

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"Juneteenth: Protecting Our Joy!" keynote discusses the importance of preserving the meaning and purpose of Juneteenth amidst commercialization risks. It highlights the historical significance of Juneteenth, explores lesser-known aspects of African-Americans' experiences, and addresses health disparities, legal and political challenges, and emotional well-being. The keynote emphasizes not losing joy in the face of persecution, offers suggestions to maintain cultural significance, and encourages meaningful traditions, support for black-owned businesses, and community outreach. It aims to celebrate Juneteenth, honor the ongoing journey towards equality and freedom, and reflect on its significance.

Keynote 1

In this workshop or keynote, tailored for college-age men, we delve into the intricacies of rejection, emphasizing emotional maturity as essential for healthy interactions. Gain insights into gracefully navigating rejection and its role in personal growth. Shining a spotlight on the negative effects of harassment on women within the campus community, foster empathy, and explore strategies for a safer, more inclusive environment. Addressing the demonization of Black men and men of color, we emphasize responsible reporting and community involvement. Equip yourself with tools to challenge stereotypes and contribute to a campus culture celebrating diversity with justice and fairness. Join us on this transformative journey, cultivating a campus environment where respect, understanding, and collaboration thrive.

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Who told you you couldn’t be great? "Uncovering Capacity: The Impact of Self-Perception on Achievement" examines how one shifts from a fixed mindset of “It is what it is” to an imaginative mindset of “It could be what it ain’t” by embracing one’s unique complexity using self-imagery. One’s actions, feelings, behaviors, and even abilities are always consistent with their self-image, causing behaviors to align with the mental image. But what if you were capable of more? This keynote urges listeners to challenge comfort, self-doubt, and external negativity, and to take inventory in order to recognize their inherent abilities and uncover their capacity by altering their self-image. Continuous growth is possible. You are wildly more capable than you know! This talk is ideal for graduation speeches, keynotes, and workshops.

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