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First Youth Summit: Breaking Barriers!

Empowering Minds, Creating Networks and Communities of Support

On Saturday November 4th, The Miles Hall Foundation held its first ever Youth Summit. Exclusively for Black high school aged young men in the East Bay, the summit was held on the campus of Diablo Valley College and was a gathering of minds, a convergence of ideas, and a celebration of empowerment.

Feedback from the young men and the mentors was so positive!

"I learned a lot...thank you." ...."I didn't know about the criminalization of mental illness and that needs to stop"...."you turned something awful that happened to your son, into something that helps us"... "I didn't know what to expect, but today was fun"...

What was equally important to us was the commitments made by the presenters and facilitators to continue to support these young men and building a resilient and impactful communities. Our first Youth Summit will not be "one and done"! We're planning the follow ups with this first cohort and our next Youth Summit early in 2024.

A special word of gratitude to our funding partner, Kaiser Permanente, for their support of this and our upcoming Youth Summit events in 2024 and beyond.

Here's the recap of 2023 Youth Summit: Breaking Barriers Achieving Black Excellence

Meet the mentors and inspired presenters!

Welcome from James Noel, Dean of English and Equity Pedagogy at Diablo Valley College

James grew up in South-East London and now lives in Northern California. He earned his PhD from Goldsmith’s (University of London) and maintains a deep interest in trauma studies, cultural memory, and nineteenth-century literature, but his recent work focuses on classroom techniques and pedagogy. In a former life, James played professional basketball in Europe. Currently, when James is not being a Dean at Diablo Valley College, he enjoys spending time at Oakland Zoo with his young daughter.


Keynote: Tyson Amir

Tyson Amir is not just an author and speaker; he is a force of nature. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tyson wears many hats - author, musician, educator, and community organizer.

As the founder of the Black Literary Collective and Freedom Soul Media Education Initiatives, Tyson has left an indelible mark on revolutionary education and is a tremendous resource to those shaping the minds of our youth.


Dr. Ammar Saheli CEO of Saheli7 Educational Consulting, Director of Student Support Services for the San Lorenzo Unified School District, pastor of the West Oakland Church of Christ, and author of, Eerie Silence: Race/Racism Explored Across Educational, Theological, and Justice Continuums Amidst America and Beyond. guided participants through the intricacies of life as a young Black man. An expert in psycho-educational approaches, racial equity, and social justice, Dr. Saheli's insights were a compass for navigating life's challenges.


Barry "BJ" Victor Jr.

Hip Hop Artist, Social Entrepreneur, Educator and Humanitarian

BJ is from Oakland, California and centers his creative and entrepreneurial ventures around social and economic justice. Focused on building systems and platforms that help individuals own and benefit from their ideas and creative works.

Beyond being a hip-hop artist and social entrepreneur, Barry uses his platform to connect the past to the present, teaching the importance of using one's voice for representation. His session on Emotional Intelligence was a transformative exploration of self-awareness and connection.


More Youth Summit Presenters

Jonathan Jackson

Risk Manager at META & Founder of Weekendr Blog

Phillip Redmon

Basketball Coach & Entrepreneur

Yang Brand Clothing Fashionable Motivation



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