Empowered Communities Conference 10.5.17-10.6.17

DeVos Convention Center

303 Monroe Ave SW. Grand Rapids


           CALL NOW TO GET YOUR TICKETS: (616) 451-9140

The conference is based on LINC Up's holistic approach to neighborhood revitalization which focuses on expanding opportunities around, Who you know, What you know, Where you live, and What you make. LINC Up is founded on the premise that neighborhoods matter and we must link various community organization efforts together for sustainable change. Attendees of the conference will learn more about local policy, best practices, instructional resources and strategies to best help their communities thrive.


-Learn more about Guest Speakers

-View Conference Schedule

-Read Conference Workshop Descriptions


-Ticket Purchase Info

-View Sponsors


Special Guests

Featuring Conference Keynote Speaker - Shaun King

[Shaun King | Senior Justice Writer for New York Daily News | Commentator for The Young Turks]

Shaun King has written extensively about the Black Lives Matter movement, covering discrimination, police brutality, the prison industrial complex, and social justice in the wake of violence in New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Ferguson, Missouri, Charleston, South Carolina, and other cities. He is Senior Justice Writer at the New York Daily News, a regular political commentator for The Young Turks and on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and was Justice Writer for Daily Kos.

As a social entrepreneur, King worked as the CEO and founder of both TwitChange (which won the Mashable Award for the Most Creative Social Good Campaign) and HopeMob, whose social media footprint grew to become one of the 10 largest of any charity. King is the author of The Power of 100!, and has spent much of the past 15 years raising nearly $10 million for charities and causes across the globe. King is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Epoch Humanitarian Award and the Hometown Hero Award from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He was also included in MSNBC’s The Grio Top 100 History Makers. Onstage, he draws from his oratorical skills developed, in part, from the fifteen years he spent as a local pastor.

Featuring Conference Opening Speaker - Monica Andrade, JD

[Lawyer (Skadden Legal Fellow - ACLU of MI) and National Immigration Activist]

Monica Andrade, J.D.  has been actively involved in advocating for immigrants’ rights and the DREAMers movement for over ten years. In doing so, she has advocated for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children, brought to the U.S. by their parents.  Monica is currently a Skadden Legal Fellow with the ACLU of Michigan, where she advocates for and protects the civil rights of the immigrant community harmed by the Flint water crisis.

During law school, Monica interned for Justice Bridget Mary McCormack of the Michigan Supreme Court. She was also a summer fellow at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau where she represented indigent clients who were being evicted from public, subsidized, and private housing, and worked with tenant unions and other progressive organizations to ensure the availability of affordable housing in the Greater Boston area. She is also the former National Vice President of the Hispanic National Bar Association Law Student Division.

Prior to law school and joining the ACLU, Monica worked in Arizona as a social worker for the Exodus program, an inmate substance abuse treatment center.  She was also a Board Member of the Northern Arizona Dream Fund, as well as a mentor in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Northern Arizona.

Monica is a graduate of Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s in social work and a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law.


About the Conference

Check out the Empowered Communities Conference workshop descriptions and full day workshop schedule here!


Police and Community Relations

The conference will provide participants with opportunities to hear from legal experts and social justice advocates with historical knowledge of the root causes of the troubled relationship between police officers and people of color. These individuals also possess a comprehensive understanding of the systemic issues of racism and racial inequity within the American justice system that perpetuate the implementation of misguided criminal justice policy.

Environmental Justice

The conference will allow participants to connect with organizations and individuals to strengthen the impact of their Environmental Justice work by identifying best practices and building on the strength of successful environmental campaigns. Local and regional environmentalists (and advocates) will facilitate workshops on Vapor Intrusion, Lead Poisoning, Water Pollution, and more. The facilitators will also discuss how low-income individuals and communities of color are disproportionately bearing the burden of harmful environmental policies that are not written within an equity driven framework.

Economic Development

During the conference participants will have the opportunity to learn from local, regional, and statewide organizations on topics of workforce development, capacity building programming, and fostering entrepreneurship. Additionally, representatives from banking institutions will facilitate workshops developed to teach community members the importance of investing, building credit, home ownership, and saving to build a financially stable future.

Community Development and Advocacy

During the conference attendees will engage in workshops designed to enhance their awareness of the connectivity between policy and activism. Participants will learn about the legal framework within which they can safely navigate through political and social advocacy campaigns, and they will receive information that will help them think systematically about policy solutions. Participants will walk away with useful tools and concrete steps that will help them raise awareness of issues.

Housing Strategies (and Affordable Housing)

During the conference participants will learn about the necessity to develop a multi-pronged approach to development – one that includes collaboration among non-profit and for-profit developers, municipal participation and leadership, civic engagement, and increased wages – to stabilize housing costs and expand housing opportunities for all.


Event Schedule

Conference - Friday October 06, 2017 @ 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM 

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM Registration

8:30 AM – 9:15 AM Welcome Plenary Session

9:30 AM – 10:45 AM Session 1

11:00 AM – 12:15 PM Session 2

12:15 PM – 12:45 PM LUNCH

12:45 PM – 1:30 PM Plenary Session – featuring Shaun King

1:45 PM – 3:00 PM Session 3

3:15 PM – 4:30 PM Session 4

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM Closing Session

***Registration Deadline is Friday, September 29, 2017***

Scholarships available for current Southtown residents, contact Sharonda@lincrev.org for details.


Parking is available in the parking lot located underneath DeVos Place - entrance located on Michigan Street ($1.50 per half hour, $15 daily maximum) or the Government Parking lot at 300 Monroe Ave NW ($1.25 per half hour, $12 daily maximum).

Street/Metered (enforcement: M - F, 8 AM - 5 PM) parking is available in the surrounding area.

See Map for details regarding other parking options or call The City of Grand Rapids Parking Services at 616-456-3290.

Visit the DASH website for information on the Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) which is a “FREE bus service that provides Downtown workers and visitors with a convenient way to travel throughout the Downtown Grand Rapids area. Download the DASH Services Map (PDF).”

Learn more about the Empowered Communities Conference Workshops and Schedule here!


→Back to top

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Spectrum Health Logo              Steelcase


No automatic alt text available.


Start Garden              Huntington, Welcome


1167 Madison Ave SE Grand Rapids, MI 49507
p: 616.451.9140 f: 616.451.0615 e: info@lincrev.org

©2015 LINC UP - a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization 


LINC Complaint Policy