Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Iowa Wesleyan University will host the annual MLK Celebration on January 17, 2022, at 7:00 pm in University Chapel.
This year’s speaker is Abena Sankofa Imhotep, Director of the Sankofa Literary & Empowerment Group located in Des Moines, Iowa
Abena Sankofa Imhotep is the Director of the Sankofa Literary & Empowerment Group located in Des Moines, Iowa.
She is a writer, public speaker, and active advocate with more than a decade of experience educating on cultural competency and cultivating authentic community inclusion. She has published numerous articles on society ills, curator of counter-storytelling projects and performance art, and facilitator of public conversations on racism and intersectionality.
Ms. Imhotep is a member of the inaugural class of the John Dee Bright College at Drake University and is currently working towards her BA in International Relations with a minor in Sociology.
She is presently a moderator and facilitator for the Department of Equity and Human Rights for the City of Iowa City where she moderated the 60th-anniversary commemoration of the Freedom Rides of 1961 and facilitated a quarterly book club around African American literature. She is also an instructor at the Gateway Dance Theatre in Des Moines as a Humanities expert for multicultural community programs; vocal music instructor for the SASI Wind Camp; and virtual instructor for poetry and spoken word. She is also a facilitator with the Broadlawns Medical Center TEACH/TECH Program in Des Moines giving empowerment seminars to numerous cohorts of certified nursing students and providing mentorship, professional references, and literary resources.
She has presented at numerous conferences, including: “Space and Place: A Conversation on Engagement and Social Progress,” “Iowa Nice Interrupted: Road Work Ahead,” “History of Juneteenth,” “Diverse Engagement in Third-Party Politics,” “Racism is a Pandemic. Is There a Cure?” and “Kwanzaa as a Cultural Tradition.”
Her past honors and awards include the 2021 Pacesetter Award, American Red Cross of Central Iowa; 2021 Academic Scholarship, Urban Dreams Drake University; 2019 Community Connector Award, African American Leadership Academy; and 2016 Outstanding Actress in a Main Stage Play, Des Moines Playhouse.
She has also served on the Dean’s Advisory Council at Drake University Bright College and on the Donald V. Adams Leadership Institute at Drake University.
Ms. Sankofa Imhotep’s TEDx Talk can be found at: https://www.tedxdesmoines.org/speakers/abena-imhotep.html