Over 400 fourth through seventh grade girls who identify as Black, Multiracial, or African American in the Madison School District will come together this Friday, May 24 for the 2nd annual Black Girl Magic Conference, this year held at Madison College.


The conference’s goal is to create an environment where Black Girl Excellence is celebrated, and inspired. It also creates an opportunity for Black girls to connect with each other and with mentors in our community. 


The conference is founded and organized by Hawthorne Elementary School teacher and Black Educator Network member Rosa Thompson.  Rosa has expanded this opportunity for our Black Girls since the Conference’s inception of one hundred attendees. Rosa’s dream and dedication supports MMSD’s strategic framework’s Black Excellence initiative.

“I want this day to be a special day that the girls will remember when they think back to their elementary and middle school years. When they look around the conference, they will have a chance to be in the presence Black Girl Excellence in Madison. I am just so grateful that other people saw value in my vision and supported the Black Girl Magic Conference.”

Presenters for the conference include:

Tekema Balentine, Miss Black Wisconsin (Welcome)

Nancy Hanks, Chief of Schools-Elementary (Greetings from MMSD)

Adrian Jones, Black Girl Magic Committee Member (Introduction of Guest Speaker)

Dr. Jazmine Zapata, Author and Pediatrician (Opening Speaker)

Debie Evans, Black Girl Magic Committee Member (Introduction of Guest Speaker)

Vanessa McDowell, CEO of YWCA Madison and DJ ACE (Closing Speaker)

Yolanda Tolson (The Magic of Pharmaceuticals)

Christina Outlay (The Magic of Coding)

Venus Washington (The Magic of Fitness)

Kynala Phillips (The Magic of Self-Image, The Media Isn’t Right About You)

Jordan Gaines (The Magic of Self-Image, The Media Isn’t Right About You)

Wekeana Lassiter (The Magic of Architecture)

Pearl Lawson (The Magic of Construction)

Tanisha Harbert (The Magic of Hair)

Takeyla Benton (The Magic of Money)

India Anderson-Carter (The Magic of Medicine)

Tekema Balentine (The Magic of Nursing)

Melody Sain (The Magic of Botany)

American Family (The Magic of Dreaming)

Gail Ford (The Magic of Gratitude)


The conference is sponsored by:

American Family Insurance

American Girl

Edgewood College

Franklin/Randall PTO

Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin

Hamilton Middle School PTO

Hawthorne Community Schools


Madison Metropolitan School District

Madison Teachers Inc

Marcus Collins Family


Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin

Stroud, Willink & Howard LLC

Tracy Wood and Associates

UW Health

UnityPoint Health Meriter

Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health


The conference is organized by the 2019 Black Girl Magic Committee:

Rosa Thompson, Founder

Maria Loy

Debie Evans

Alissa Punwar

Gail Ford

Hannah Renfro

April Kumapayi

Sonia Spencer

Mya Johnson

Chelsey Tubbs

Adrian Jones


Media interested in talking with organizers or visiting the conference should contact Rachel Strauch-Nelson at (608) 444-1129.