Raising Black Boys 2020 Webinar Panelists

Raising Black Boys Revisited 2020 Webinar
Meet Our Panelists:


Dr. Kimberly N. Jackson, Author and Middle School Principal

Dr. Kimberly Jackson has spent her career working with young people from all walks of life. As a lifelong educator from Illinois, she has had the privilege of working with youth from a variety of ages, races, demographics and socio-economic conditions. Dr. Jackson is currently the Principal of a diverse middle school in the largest district in the state of Nebraska. Prior to her current position, she served as a Middle School Principal in the St. Louis Metropolitan area for 8 years. She was also a K-8 Principal in Rockford Public Schools and an Assistant Principal in her hometown high school in Edwardsville during the early days of her career.

Prior to becoming a Principal, Dr. Jackson worked as a guidance counselor where the development of her understanding and insight into child development began to mature. The combination of training as a counselor and her love for kids created a natural path. Dr. Jackson has developed a unique way of looking at child development and reaching the young people within today’s society. Her focus on the individual and helping every child discover their purpose is the foundation of her work and writing.

Dr. Jackson has brought light to the struggle that exists in the communication between generations. She has coined the phrase ‘bridge generation’, describing the generation of individuals, herself included, that fall between the current generation of young people and the older 60+ generation. She has embraced the belief that it is the responsibility of this bridge generation to hold the hands of both groups and help create an understanding that brings the ideas and energy of our youth together with the wisdom and experiences of the elders for the best solutions possible.

Dr. Jackson’s passion for writing has developed over the years and in preparation for the release of her first book, The MLK Image, the natural draw developed towards blogging as well.

Mr. Evan J. Roberts, Educator and Children’s Book Author

Evan J. Roberts is a children's picture book author and educator. He also writes fiction and non-fiction for teens. Mr. Roberts' interest in writing was influenced by his early experiences as a classroom teacher. He has mentored youth for more than a decade emphasizing the importance of self-education, literacy, developing clarity of purpose, and pursuing excellence in life.

In 2013, Mr. Roberts published, How to Become Influential and Highly Successful: The Young Adult Success Manual. In 2016, Mr. Roberts created the Khahari Discovers series, which is a children's picture book series inspired by his son. This series was designed to positively impact all children, especially Black boys and girls. It is also Mr. Roberts' way of encouraging early literacy and contributing to the positive portrayal of African American families in literature. Mr. Roberts received his Bachelor’s degree from Chicago State University and his Master’s degree from National-Louis University. He currently resides in the greater Chicagoland area with his beautiful wife Leslie and son Gavin. Mr. Roberts provides professional workshops for businesses, schools, churches and youth organizations. Contact him at evanroberts@ejrbooks.com or visit www.ejrbooks.com for booking requests.

Mr. Robert Griggs, Host of The Supa Dupa Podcast

Robert Griggs is the proud father of triplets and his greatest joy is making sure they know he loves them, they come first, and that he will always keep their playlist up to date. He’s a proud Chicagoan and spends much of his time being the best version of himself so he can make his parents and family proud.  He currently works in Metra Rail’s Marketing department and has years of experience in Sales, Advertising, Marketing and Account Management. He’s a graduate of the Kellogg School of Management and Williams College in Massachusetts. Robert is also a Board Member and alum of Link Unlimited Scholars, which is a program that connects high potential African American high school students with mentors, resources and foundational skills for success to and through college.

Robert is the host of the newly launched Supa Dupa Podcast, which can be found on Apple, Google and Spotify and is part of HP53 Productions. He also part owner of an accessories company, RobReynolds Collections, where they sell custom pocket squares, ties and face coverings. 

In his spare time, Robert loves playing the drums at his church, cultivating his new love of grilling and golfing horribly.

Mr. Andale Gross, Race and Ethnicity News Editor, Associated Press

Since December, he has led a team of journalists that covers news in all formats on race and ethnicity and their intersection with politics, health, criminal justice and other topics.

Before that, Gross worked as an editor on AP’s regional editing desk in Chicago for 10 years. He helped lead police shooting coverage and was dispatched to Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 to cover the unrest after a grand jury decided not to indict the white police officer who killed Michael Brown, a Black teenager.

While working on the regional editing desk, Gross pitched in with the Race and Ethnicity team and guided several multiformat projects that won awards, including ones on the Little Rock Nine and Red Summer. The Little Rock Nine project examined race 60 years after nine Black students tested the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1957 by enrolling at a Little Rock, Arkansas, high school that had been all White. The Red Summer project looked at attacks during 1919 in which hundreds of Black people died at the hands of White people and the impact on the communities where the violence occurred.

Gross was a mentor from 2012 to 2017 with the National Association of Black Journalists’ Student Multimedia Project, where he helped oversee a newsroom restructuring that emphasized multiformat training for students.

He joined the AP in 2006 as a reporter in Kansas City, Missouri. Earlier in his career, he was a newspaper reporter at the Waterloo Courier in Iowa, The Kansas City Star and the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio.

Gross, a native of Moberly, Missouri has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He resides in Chicago with his wife and two sons.