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The idea of the African American Strategic Partnership (AASP) was born in October 2014 when Dr. Sharon McDaniel of A Second Chance, Inc. (ASCI) recognized the need for a network to support African American leaders in the child welfare arena. Consequently, Dr. McDaniel and Peggy Harris hosted a convening at ASCI.  In 2015, at the Mel Blount Youth Leadership Initiative, the formal foundation was developed. Dr. McDaniel became the founding president and Peggy Harris served as the organization's inaugural Vice President. 


Preparation for these leaders’ collective impact began with the following activities:

  • April 2016 – AASP engaged Joyce James of Texas for a three-day workshop.
    Our objectives:

    • Strengthen relationships within AASP.

    • Increase awareness of the oppressive nature of institutional and structural racism on
      well-meaning African American leaders.

  • September 2016 AASP engaged Natasha Harrison of Georgia to facilitate strategic planning. Our goals:

    • Define norms and strengthen AASP as a collaborative.

    • Strategize the creation of our collaborate voice in the discussion, for African American families in this region. 

  • June 2017 – AASP hosted 10 federal, state and local legislators for a roundtable discussion at the inaugural Legislative Breakfast.

  • June 2017 – AASP hosted the BACW (Black Administrators in Child Welfare) Symposium in Partnership with BACW and Casey Family Programs. Arnold Chandler was the keynote speaker.

  • June 2017 – AASP hosted a youth summit serving 350 youth in Partnership with Mel Blount Leadership Initiative.

  • February 2018 – AASP hosted its first conference, “Game Changers: Changing the Trajectory of Our Lives, Our Communities, Our Nation,” with 105 attendees.

  • March 2018 – AASP held a meeting with Black elected officials in Pittsburgh (i.e., Wheatley, Gainey, Lavelle, Walton, and Burgess).

  • July 2018 – AASP hosted a youth summit serving 400 youth in Partnership with Mel Blount Leadership Initiative.

  • September 2018 – AASP hosts the 2nd Annual Legislative Breakfast.

  • November 2018 – AASP held a call-to-action meeting with Representative Gainey in response to community trauma (Day of Healing, 12/1/18).

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