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A Journey Beyond: Black Muslim Freedom Dreams

Art...makes us take a journey beyond price, beyond cost, into bearing witness to the world as it is and as it should be... Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it, summon it, from even the most tragic of circumstances.”

-Toni Morrison


“... the conditions of daily life, of everyday oppressions, of survival, not to mention the temporary pleasures accessible to most of us, render much of our imagination inert.”

-Robin D.G. Kelley


This year’s Black Muslim Psychology Conference (BMPC) explores the Black Muslim Imagination as a site of what scholar Robin D.G. Kelley has called “freedom dreams”: those imaginative spaces of creativity and cultural expression that create “maps of the future, of the world not yet born.” Islam has long been a source of liberation and healing for Black people, an expression of our freedom dreams. We will celebrate the incredible creative ingenuity of Black/African Muslims in the United States, and consider how these creative processes allow us to develop expressions of identity, faith, knowing, and resilience. We understand creativity as a force in all aspects of Black Islam, and invite participants to share their Black Muslim freedom dreams, whether expressed through art, poetry, film, or literature; education; entrepreneurship; health and wellness; community development; marriage and family relations; and the everyday inventiveness of Black Muslim life.


This year’s conference is informed by the model of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), which is premised on the underlying assumption that people and organizations are full of assets, capabilities, resources, and strengths that can be located, affirmed, leveraged, and encouraged. The Appreciative Inquiry model is structured on four stages or processes: 1) Discovery, 2) Dream, 3) Design, and 4) Destiny. With these principles in mind, ask yourself: 

"It is now the year 2040. Imagine yourself living and thriving in a Black Muslim community in which every believer is valued and appreciated.  What do you love most about this community? What are you most proud of? What brings you joy?” 


Together, we will explore the following questions:

  • How is the Black Muslim imagination a site of hope and healing?

  • How does the creative process serve as fertile ground from which to develop new ways of connecting with identity and faith?

  • In what ways do Black Muslims summon beauty from the most tragic of circumstances?

  • How do we harness the power of this brilliance? And what does this unmatched genius tell us about our past, present, and future?


This is a CALL FOR PROPOSALS for scholarly presentations, interactive workshops, panel discussions, posters, or artistic/creative performances and posters that focus on the positive, life-giving forces in Black Muslim communities and find innovative ways to create our collective future. 

Please note: At BMPC, we use and understand the term “psychology” in a broad sense—a term that includes overall mental health, emotional wellness, and spiritual soundness. Therefore, we welcome and encourage submissions from participants with a range of backgrounds: psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and other mental health clinicians, but also artists, writers, historians, sociologists, Imams, chaplains, and spiritual leaders, community workers and activists. While all ideas are welcome, we in particular seek proposals on topics guided by AI principles, that might include, but are not limited to:



What are Black Muslim communities doing well? What’s working? 

  • Histories of innovation and genius in Black Muslim communities

  • Black Muslim Creative Expressions (Arts, Fashion, Cuisine, etc.)

  • Identifying the role of creativity and imagination in everyday Black Muslim life, (e.g. How Black Muslim women produced new forms of mothering & community engagement based on Islamic teachings and principles).

  • In what ways have our religious teachings and spiritual practices inspired movement towards freedom and justice in our communities?



What could be the vision for the future of Black Muslim communities? In this exciting future, how are believers engaged in community life?  

  • Calls for liberation and freedom dreams in Black Muslim communities

  • Black Islam as liberation theology

  • Visionary forms of art, music, literature and poetry, film, etc.

  • How can the inheritance and legacies of our Black/Muslim predecessors inspire positive change? 

  • Entrepreneurship, opportunity, and economic justice 

  • Inclusive models of community building and change



What are our plans to realize the vision for our communities based on the most innovative practices?

  • Spotlighting existing artistic expressions, organizations, communities, and individuals who are engaged in “freedom dreams” and identifying their paths for success

  • Organizational models that encourage creativity and imagination

  • Exploring the role of technology in realizing aspirations for individual and communal uplift

  • Each one, teach one: crafting systems of mentorship, apprenticeship, and intergenerational growth 



What will make this vision sustainable? What changes can we make now to produce the future we want to achieve?

  • Creating sanctuary in our religious spaces

  • Leadership development and succession planning

  • Cultivating healthy families

  • Confronting climate change and the development of environmentally sound spiritual practices

Proposals must include include a 500-word abstract or summary of the content you would like to present, and must directly address at least one aspect of the conference theme in order to be eligible for inclusion in the program. Please review the PROPOSAL SUBMISSION GUIDE for detailed suggestions on how to submit a winning proposal. Questions, requests for additional information, and other inquiries should be sent to


  • MAY 15, 2020 – abstract/proposal deadline

    • Please complete the required information on the submission form and submit no later than May 15, 2020 | 11:59PM EST, to be considered for this year’s conference. Abstracts will be reviewed on a rolling basis so we encourage you to submit your proposal as early as possible. You will be notified via email if your proposal has been accepted or not. Please make sure the email address you provide is correct and up-to-date.

  • JUNE 15, 2020 - presenter registration

    • *Please note: honoraria or stipends are not offered for selected presenters; all presenters must pay for registration and will be responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses. All presenters must register and pay to attend conference by this date and will be offered a 10% discount on registration.

  • JULY 17-19, 2020 - 6th Annual Black Muslim Psychology Conference | Desmond Hotel & Conference Center, Malvern, PA



Proposals must include a 500-word abstract or summary of the content you would like to present, and must directly address at least one aspect of the conference theme in order to be eligible for inclusion in the program. Questions, requests for additional information, and other inquiries should be sent to



Submission form:


The following tips and recommendations are designed to provide information which will enable you to submit the most effective, winning proposal. Download the pdf version of this guide HERE.


Four types of proposals may be submitted for BMPC2019: workshops, panels, posters and artistic performance.

  • Workshop sessions feature 1-3 individuals offering specific skills, research or training on a particular conference theme.

    • Workshop Structure: All workshops are 75 minutes long and must be interactive and provide attendees with new knowledge, tools, resources, and strategies related to the conference theme.

  • Panel sessions feature a maximum of three (3) presenters engaged in an open discussion with the audience of attendees

    • Panel Structure: All panels are 75 minutes minutes long. We recommend presenters allow at least 20 minutes for question and answer session.

  • Poster sessions provides the opportunity for viewers and presenters to engage in discussion and to have one-on-one interactions with one another. Posters should be eye-catching and include graphics, images, charts, tables, and/or text.

    • If your poster is accepted, you are required to be present by your poster at this time. You will be required to submit an electronic proof of your poster for review prior to printing and a final electronic version of the final poster 3 days before the conference (July 17, 2018).

  • Performance/Artistic expression: Zora Neale Hurston, renown anthropologist and novelist famously remarked: "If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it." Poets, writers and artist will be offered an opportunity to facilitate a conversation on the value of art, creativity and spoken word to create space for healing. Presenters may do this through poetry, song, or other artistic expression.


Room Setup: 

  • By default, workshop rooms will be arranged in a theatre or classroom-style setting. If you anticipate needing a different room setup, please indicate so on the submission form under “additional information”. We will do our best to accommodate requests, but we cannot guarantee them.


Standard AV: 

  • An LCD projector, speakers, podium (in rooms with adequate space), and microphone (in rooms large enough to warrant one) are provided in each room. Laptops are NOT provided to presenters. You must bring a laptop if you intend to display a presentation on the projection screen. Those presenters using Apple computers must use their own adapter to connect to the LCD projector.



An abstract is a brief summary of the presentation you would like to offer at BMPC2020. It is designed to inform the BMPC Programming Committee about your presentation in a concise manner. Abstracts must be 500 words or less and provide a brief description of what to expect in your presentation and should indicate how it relates to the theme of conference (A Journey Beyond: Black Muslim Freedom Dreams). This abstract should also include at least two (2) learning objectives (see below for a definition of learning objectives).



The following guidelines are provided to assist in the development of appropriate learning objectives for a proposed presentation. In order to develop appropriate Learning Objectives you MUST follow the format shown in the Example of Learning Objectives below.

Step 1. Describe the information, skills, behaviors, or perspectives participants in the presentation will acquire through attendance and participation.

Step 2. Clearly identify the outcomes or actions participants can expect to demonstrate as a result of attending your presentation. See the action words below.

Step 3. Write the learning objectives that relate to these outcomes and that reflect the content of the session. Objectives describe the behavior of the participant, and:

  • are stated clearly

  • define or describe an action

  • are measurable, in terms of time, space, amount, and/or frequency

Example of Action Words:

Explain     Demonstrate     Analyze      Formulate     Discuss      Compare      Describe      Name        Assess       Evaluate       Identify         Define         List



All abstracts are reviewed by at least 3 members of the BMPC Planning & Programming Committees. They will be considered for workshop, panel, poster or performance sessions. Abstracts are evaluated for their quality

and the degree to which their content is consistent with the theme of the conference. If your abstract is accepted for presentation, you are REQUIRED to present material as stated in your proposal; in other words, you are not allowed to present material that you have not submitted for review by BMPC.


When writing your proposal, keep these points in mind:

  • The description should be concise and coherent

  • Use a clear and direct style with an active voice

  • Include a statement on how you plan to engage the audience

  • Describe who will benefit from attending this session

  • Include a clear statement of what attendees will learn

  • Write so that conference reviewers and attendees will become instantly engaged in your presentation, knowing it will be valuable, interesting, relevant and unique

  • Make sure your proposed presentation will fit within the allotted time (75minutes for workshop, panel and 15minutes for performance/artistic expression)


Each proposal will be rated on a scale of 1-5 for:

  • Does the abstract capture the interest of a potential attendee/participant of the presentation?

  • Is the abstract well written in terms of language, grammar, etc.?

  • Does the abstract engage the reader by telling him or her what the paper is about and why they should read it?

  • How well do the title, abstract, and learning objectives align with each other? 

  • How likely is it that the format and delivery methods selected will allow participants to achieve the stated learning objectives, including audience engagement appropriate to the objectives? 

  • Are the presenter(s) knowledgeable in the topic area? 

  • Given the limited number of slots available for sessions and the high volume of proposals received, how likely would you be to attend or recommend someone attend this session if placed on the program?



The following proposal was selected for inclusion in the 2019 Black Muslim Psychology Conference. It is an example of an excellent proposal, which met the above-mentioned review criteria.


The Duafe Sisterhood and The Akoben Brotherhood: Developing Traditional Rites of Passage for Black Muslim Youth

submitted by Angelica Lindsey-Ali, The Village Auntie

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the implementation of an initiatory rites of passage program specifically created to prepare Black Muslim youth, ages 11 to 17, for a successful transition into adulthood. The goal of the workshop is to highlight the importance of training programs for Muslim youth as a reclamation of ancestral folkways and traditional life skills education. Focus will be placed on the importance of gendered age-grade societies and peer-modeling as critical components of life skills programming for Black Muslim youth.


The Duafe Sisterhood (TDS) and The Akoben Brotherhood (TAB) are experiential adulthood and leadership development programs created by The Village Auntie, Angelica Lindsey-Ali with co-creation and direct facilitation of the male cohort by Imam Dr. Quaiser Abdullah.  Both programs place an emphasis on cultural, mental, emotional, and spiritual development; they center the development of a rooted and culturally evolved Black Muslim identity within Western society.  The rites the young people undergo are founded in the ancestral traditions of Muslim communities in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal.  All activities and exercises emphasize the centrality of deen in the development of healthy masculine and feminine identity.


The program encourages critical thinking, development of emotional intelligence, refinement of natural skills and talents, and access to tools and resources necessary to navigate the journey to the next stage of human development. TDS and TAB are focused squarely on creating a consciously alternative view of adulthood from an Islamic perspective, rooted in the traditions of our ancestral cultures.  The young people are instructed in matters of deen, including fiqh and hadith; foundations of brotherhood/sisterhood; emotional wellness; conflict resolution; holistic relationship building; healthy spouse selection; sacred body care; sexuality from an Islamic perspective; goal setting; career planning; and African history. 

Learning objectives include:

Inform participants on the historical role and function of initiatory rites of passage programs in West African societies.

Discuss findings related to the pilot cohorts of The Duafe Sisterhood and The Akoben Brotherhood.

Facilitate dialogue on expanded areas of need and focus for rites of passage programs for Black Muslim youth ages 11-17.



  • 500 word abstract submitted via submission form

  • Be sure to include the following supplemental materials:

    • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

    • Headshot - High resolution, professional picture

    • Biography (limit 500 words)


More info:

T: @BlackMuslimPsyc | @MWFNational

FB: @BlackMuslimPsychology | @MuslimWellness

FB Event Page:



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