The Baton Rouge Community College Foundation has partnered with the Bayou Soul Youth Literary Conference to host the 7th annual conference with keynote address by actor, philanthropist Lamman Rucker of OWN Network’s television series, “Greenleaf”. The conference will be held on Tuesday, July 3 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Magnolia Theatre on BRCC’s Mid City Campus, 201 Community College Drive. The event is free and open to high school and college students (must show I.D.), but parents of high school students can attend the conference with their children. All attendees must register at WWW.BSWLITERARYCONFERENCE.COM.
During the day-long conference, Louisiana high school and college students will get the opportunity to engage with bestselling authors, poets, athletes and motivational speakers from around the country. There will also be a Maya Angelou Oratorical Contest in which Rucker will be a celebrity judge. Other judges include Sabunmi Woods, niece of the late Maya Angelou; Baton Rouge Mayor President Sharon Weston Broome; and NFL football player and author Don Carey of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Winners of the contest will receive scholarships to assist with school.
The Bayou Soul Youth Conference, which debuted in New Orleans during the 2011 Essence
Festival, was founded by Clarence Nero after the murder of his younger brother. Nero
is a professor at Baton Rouge Community College and a published author. He has published
several novels with Random House, as well as narratives from his students called,
Voices from the Bayou: Baton Rouge Students Confront Racism, Police Brutality and
a Historic Flood. Additionally, Nero utilizes the conference to expose students to
the literary world as he believes a strong literary background and education are the
foundation to success.
“Reading books and writing saved my life growing up because books allowed me to escape from the violent world of my community to go other places and to meet different people who didn’t look like me,” Nero said. “Reading also allowed me to imagine and visualize my life somewhere better than my harsh circumstances.”