August 15-16, 2019



Why The Need?

It is imperative that educators regularly engage in professional development opportunities that train and equip them to understand Black student development and improve their responsiveness to systemic inequalities that impact their everyday learning. Therefore, the mission of State of Black Learning – Pittsburgh (SBL) is to foster dialogue and provide practical tools for all educators (teachers, specialists, principals, administrative assistants, coaches and more) to incorporate sustainable resources into the work they do. Further aiming to cultivate personal and professional development among educators who value knowledge and the enhancement of students’ lives.

About State of Black
Learning Pittsburgh

Historically, education has been seen as a ‘one size fits all’ system for students. Research shows this is not the case with Black students. Whether considering a child’s home life or integrating a learning strategy to enhance student engagement, it is essential to hone in on the ways in which educators interact with and teach Black students. SBL is designed to increase educator effectiveness and provide the tools necessary to help participants address all of the factors that improve student outcomes and help Black children learn in the greater Pittsburgh region.

SBL is a two-day conference which will gather thought leaders, learning stakeholders, and educators across Pittsburgh who teach through various platforms. The aim is to use insightful analysis, commentary, and facilitated dialogue on best practices to help participants critically discuss how systemic inequities in race, gender, and socioeconomic status continue to shape and impact learning for Black children. At the conclusion of the conference, all participants will be charged to constantly seek and implement proven and innovative solutions that take action against the systemic inequalities facing black students.

If you consider yourself or organization an educator or stakeholder in the education of black boys and girls:


For the purpose of SBL an EDUCATOR is defined as any person who provides positive instruction or education to students in the areas of academics, citizenship, sports and/or social/family support.


For the purpose of SBL a STAKEHOLDER is defined as any person, community and/or organization who will benefit directly from improving student outcomes and helping Black children learn in the greater Pittsburgh region.



Friday Keynote Speaker

Dr. Bettina L. Love

Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. Dr. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education. Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities to create new and sustaining ways of thinking about urban education and intersectional social justice. Her work is also concerned with how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in intersectional social justice for the goal of equitable classrooms.

For her work in the field, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is also the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE. In April of 2017, Dr. Love participated in a one-on-one public lecture with bell hooks focused on the liberatory education practices of Black and Brown children. In 2018, Georgia’s House of Representatives presented Dr. Love with a resolution for her impact on the field of education.

Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including: antiblackness in schools, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity and inclusion. In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls to discuss her work focused on the lives of Black girls. In addition, she is the inaugural recipient of the Michael F. Adams award (2014) from the University of Georgia. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

She is the author of We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including the English JournalUrban EducationThe Urban Review, andJournal of LGBT Youth. In 2017, Dr. Love edited a special issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies focused on the identities, gender performances, and pedagogical practices of Black and Brown lesbian educators.


State of Black Learning Pittsburgh

Love. Liberation. Freedom


2018 Conference Recap


Bringing Educators to the Community

The State of Black Learning committee has selected the Homewood Community to host the 2019 Conference. In collaboration with our partners at the Homewood Brushton-YMCA,Carnegie, Library of Pittsburgh-Homewood, University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center-Homewood, and CCAC Homewood-Brushton


Homewood Brushton

7140 Bennett St
Pittsburgh, PA 15208

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

7101 Hamilton Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15208

University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center

622 N Homewood Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15208

CCAC Homewood Brushton Center

701 N Homewood Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15208

Public Parking

Looking for somewhere to park? Homewood offers several public parking options in the community. Street parking is readily available.

Public Transportation

Need to take Public Transportation to the conference or just plain ole looking to avoid parking in the city? No problem! Port Authority is a great option to travel to Homewood.


Looking for a place to stay?

Pittsburgh awaits you. Here is all the information you need to reserve lodging at the State of Black Learning Conference hotels and get to the conference quickly. State of Black Learning has arranged discounts at four hotels in Pittsburgh. Discounted rates are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so book your room early!


Hyatt House Pittsburgh-Bloomfield


Reservation Cut-Off:July 14

Group Code:</br/>G-UAGP

(*SBL 2019 will appear w\room selection)

Springhill Suites by  Marriott Bakery Sq


Reservation Cut-Off:July 15

Group Code:
SBL 2019


Hotel Indigo Pittsburgh-East Liberty


Reservation Cut-Off: July 18

Group Code:


Shadyside Inn All Suites Hotel


Reservation Cut-Off: July 23

Group Code:
SBL 2019



Register for the 2019 Conference


Our Sponsors & Partners

We wouldn’t be able to host our conference without help from these amazing companies. A huge thanks to all our sponsors and partners!


Are you interested in becoming a sponsor?

About State of Black Learning Pittsburgh Conference

SBL is a two-day conference which will gather thought leaders, learning stakeholders, and educators across Pittsburgh to help participants critically discuss how systemic inequities in race, gender, and socioeconomic status continue to shape and impact learning for Black children.

Contact Us

  • 412.361.1008 x 231

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