September 24, 2022

9:00am – 2:00pm

Tampa Florida

About AAFI Life Symposium

The African American Family Institute (AAFI) “Life Symposium” is an annual convening of African American families, academics, practitioners, thought leaders, and multidisciplinary knowledge experts, assembled to address critical challenges facing African American communities nationally.

The AAFI delivers relevant information, evidence informed research, shared life experiences from African American families and communities, proven interventions, and best practices designed to cultivate faith and build capacities among African American change agents; enabling them to transform their lives and environments.

The AAFI offers a holistic faith-centered framework that serves as the foundation for all community development empowerment strategies and innovations. The AAFS empowers and mobilizes community groups to engage, participate, and govern policy and change efforts affecting their local communities.

AAFI Objectives

The AAFI looks to gather data, cultivate faith, conduct research and develop policy and action plans surrounding these objectives:

  • Value the African American family in the context of the historical experience in the U.S.
  • Identify, acknowledge and assess the indicators of destabilization in African American households and communities, as well as when and how they affect African American households and communities.
  • Develop assets and empowerment strategies to foster resilient African American households and communities.
  • Build capacity and make available training in African American households and communities to effectively utilize assets and implement empowerment strategies individually and collectively.
  • Distinguish the forum from the Hampton University conference and other conferences with similar objectives.

Community Problem

The African American community has been the subject of exhaustive research, most of it deeply theoretical and in the abstract. Too little of the research gives value to the experiences, perspectives and views of African American citizens themselves. Dry data observations in institutional research of African American communities rarely factor the impact of historical trauma which has affected African American communities, or the incredible, sometimes miraculous victories over these obstacles in many African American households and communities. Instead, research, sometimes exclusively focuses on the factors of destabilization so present, some of which are:

  1. Increased death rates among African American youth
  2. Disproportionate drop-out rates in comparison to other ethnicities
  3. Dis-representation of African American males and females attending college
  4. Absence of social capital within the urban community
  5. Sub-standard living conditions (Blight) for African American children
  6. Parental absenteeism
  7. African American teen pregnancy
  8. Sexuality within the urban community
  9. Poverty
  10. Mental health issues/Practicing Healthy Nutrition

AAFI Activities

Panel Discussion

Panelist include Professors and Clinicians in African American Culture and History, Faith leaders, Community Members, Families, and Community Activist.

Forums (Breakout Sessions)

Educating Identity, Doing it
ourselves/Empowering ourselves, Family First, The Power of Faith, Where we live, is where we learn, Role identity/getting the job done.

Fact Finding

Facts about the history, legacy, and journey of the African American experience.


African American Culture, Youth culture, Poetry, Films: short story, Race/Gender Inclusiveness, Music, Life stories and testimonials, reconciling and forgiving.