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  • Vermont Family Network: Youth Summit

    “You have a gift of the ability to share your story and possess the courage to open up about your journey to help others.” Hasan acted as the keynote speaker as well as a workshop leader for youth at the Vermont Family Network’s youth summit aimed at helping youth with disabilities by advising them on prominent issues with solutions he himself has had to use. As someone who grew up with learning disabilities and having faced large obstacles due to them, Hasan used his own experiences to aid and guide over issues like self advocating and resilience as well as strategies for success. During the keynote speech, Hasan shared his experiences with various systems and issues that face youth and addressed how the attendees should navigate helping their students in a way that not only helps them get by but more importantly succeed. During the workshop Hasan addressed important data unknown to many of the youth that it affected, informing youth of the statistics that they would probably never be shown including elevated reprimand rates, suspension numbers, and drop out rates of students with disabilities as opposed to students without and how they could avoid those pitfalls and tactics to succeed in the face of that adversity. A video of his Keynote presentation and workshop can be found below. Keynote ( Workshop (

  • Hasan featured on a National Park Service webinar

    Speaking from his home in Berea, Kentucky last Thursday, Hasan was featured on a National Park Service webinar called “Hasan Davis: A Conversation About York, Equity, Race and the Lewis and Clark Story.” He spoke and answered questions about York and how his story makes a good conversation started in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement. By examining the injustices done to York on the Lewis and Clark Trail, “we can see the injustice and recognize that this is just one story of millions where people work hard their entire lives and receive no benefit,” Davis said. “Slavery is a mom and dad working seven days a week, no days off, no vacation, they don’t get a pension or a 401(k). They do what other people tell them to do, and the other people get the benefits.” “The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are tragic reminders that discussions of racial justice must continue,” Karla Sigala, interpretive specialist for the the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail, said. “We’ve been having this conversation for years, but the thing is we need to keep having it over and over again,” Sigala said. “Black history is American history. American Indian history is American history.” Read the full story from the Missoulian.

  • EKU Learning Community: Written Off Book Study

    by Chris Davis “Hasan’s warmth, humor, and dedication made the group feel included in the war against failure and letting our kids fall through the cracks – he made us feel that we are all part of the solution!” Over the course of four weeks, Hasan addressed a very important group in the education field which is administrators and educators in schools that actively serve students from group homes, detention centers, and other alternative settings in order to generate positive ideas of how to handle theses students and the best way to provide them the support that they may need differently than the average students. In order for the present practitioners to understand the situation in a more first-hand nature, Hasan had the participants read chapters of his book every day as a case study to highlight the issues that have happened to him in his life and how they could correspond to students in similar situations. Attendees’ responses were very positive with one example being. “I loved this PLC. Written Off was an amazing book and I couldn’t put it down. I thought Hasan’s book and PLC were very inspiring. I really needed it.” Contact us to find out how you can bring a book study group to your school or organization.

  • Hasan as guest on The Resilience Breakthrough Podcast: Harnessing the Wind

    by Chris Davis “You throw the sails up and they catch the wind, once you catch the wind you can make it take you wherever you want to go” On May 14th Hasan joined his friend Cristian Moore on “The Resilience Breakthrough Podcast” which is a podcast built around resilience and used to share stories and strategies of resilience to inspire listeners. Christian Moore is a long time friend of Hasan and a fellow hope dealer. Like Hasan Christian uses his past life experiences to inspire and instill hope in people around him. “Hasan Davis knows about hope. It’s the only thing that kept him going through the loss of his cousin, as a soldier, and as the Commissioner of Juvenile Justice for the State of Kentucky.” Hasan told stories from his past about how hope and resilience are what allowed him to accomplish the things he’s done. He stressed the concept of “Harnessing the wind” of life in order to create opportunity and use hope to reach higher places. To listen to Hasan and the rest of the podcast you can find it on Apple Podcasts under the Resilience Breakthrough Podcast, Episode 7.

  • Interview with Hasan and Malcolm Davis on All Things Grinnell podcast

    I recently visited Grinnell College (where my son Malcolm attends) to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I shared my story and performed as York, and I was also blessed to record a podcast with Malcolm. You can hear it on the All Things Grinnell podcast page, and it is also available to listen to on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify. From their site: Hasan Davis shares his story of becoming a “hope dealer,” overcoming challenging circumstances, learning disabilities, and numerous setbacks to find his path. Along the way, various people inspired him to see a version of himself that he could not, and now he brings that message of hope to people, especially youth, through work in schools and the criminal justice system. Davis wields the power of stories to engage in difficult discussions about the history of slavery and racism in this country, and help people reflect on their own stories. Then, Gabriel Shubert ’20 talks with Davis’ son, Malcolm Davis ’21, playwright, poet, and musician, about his music, growing up in Berea, Kentucky, and how he brings his personal life and activism into his music. Davis discusses the musical community here at Grinnell, where he has found helpful friends and developed his voice.

  • Pivotal Presences: African Americans in American History

    If you have never had the opportunity to imagine yourself as an important part of your nation’s past, how can you ever imagine that you could be valuable to its future? Following is an article Hasan wrote that was published in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of the AC&E Journal. You can find a copy of the entire journal at this link. Throughout American history, there have been defining moments, patriots and heroes. From the revolution to present, average citizens have sacrificed and served. Yet, the stories students learn today are incomplete, a disservice to the true legacy of America. Since 1997, I have worked to bring history alive for students across the nation. As a young boy I spent hours and hours trying to imagine myself as the hero, the explorer and the adventurer of America’s greatest stories. I found it very difficult because I was never introduced to examples of African Americans as courageous contributors to the great story of America. In elementary school I received my first social studies book and my teacher explained with great enthusiasm that this book contained the stories of people who made America great. I tore through the book searching chapter after chapter for a story that would finally affirm my place, my presence, in America’s great story. I was disappointed chapter after chapter as I finally reached a heading titled “American slavery.” Below the heading was an image of an African American man sitting slumped forward, seemingly broken, with layer upon layer of scars across his back. The caption simply read: The American Negro, Slave. In that moment, the message to this nine-year-old mind was clear: I was not the hero, these were not my adventures, and my courage did not make America great. I was just the raw resource — blood, sweat and tears extracted like coal to fuel the greatness of America. It might not surprise you that by middle school I stopped standing to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. I began to fight and to disrupt class. Fortunately, my self-destructive spiral was interrupted by my mother and father who went out of their way to ensure that I was exposed to powerful true stories that debunked the popular myths of homogenous heroes of America. Stories that affirmed that African Americans were a constant heroic presence throughout America’s history. The gift of those counter-narratives allowed me to find myself in America’s story and I forged a commitment to share those stories. Theater and performance are important components in my life and work. After graduating law school I began researching little-known African Americans who had profoundly impacted American history. While working in education and juvenile justice, I began translating these powerful and empowering stories into living history presentations. If you have never had the opportunity to imagine yourself as an important part of your nation’s past, how can you ever imagine that you could be valuable to its future? My goal is to ensure that African American students have the ability to recognize them- selves as full participants in our American story. I also want to ensure that white students have the opportunity to experience stories that affirm African Americans’ persistent and powerful presence at every pivotal moment in America’s great history. While I began this work to ensure that African American young men would see themselves in history, I have come to realize that all young people need to hear these stories. If I could not find myself buried in the story of our nation, what must all of the white children in the class think of me? Did they see me as never contributing but always receiving? I have developed a series of programs appropriate for middle and high school students. Research tells us that the transition from middle school to high school is difficult for most young people. I know from my own personal experience and from my years as Commissioner of Juvenile Justice in Kentucky that for African American males this transition is often the beginning of their slide out of school and into the prison pipeline. I designed my programs to be educational and entertaining. They follow the format of Chautauqua which President Teddy Roosevelt called “the most American thing in America.” The presentations begin with first person portrayal blended with Q&A and lectures. For example, my Chautauqua on York of the Lewis and Clark expedition includes a first person historical interpretation where I present a 45 minute monologue as York, sharing the triumphs and tragedies of the mission. At the conclusion of the first-person historical interpretation, while still in character, I enter into a Q & A session with the students, allowing them to engage with history more personally. Finally, I step out of character and do a second Q & A that allows me to provide additional details on the character and historical context connecting the struggle of the character to the struggles faced by African Americans today. I supplement the living history presentation with lectures to support the learning. My Chautauqua series currently includes the stories of three African American men: ANGUS AUGUSTUS BURLEIGH: The Long Climb to Freedom from slave to Civil War soldier to scholar YORK: Black explorer with the Lewis and Clark Expedition JOE LEWIS: World heavyweight boxing champ and World War II veteran These are the stories of America from different points in our great history. I bring them to students to ensure that all voices are heard. I know that I cannot reach all young people via these programs. So, in 2018, I took the time to write and publish York’s story. I intentionally wrote York’s story as narrative non-fiction for grades 3rd to 6th to reach a younger audience. It is imperative that these stories be foundational to a students’ learning. I also provide professional development to teachers across the country. It is critical that all teachers work to ensure the success of all students. I ENCOURAGE TEACHERS TO: Expand their own knowledge of the contributions of diverse individuals and capture their stories; Include stories of diverse individuals throughout the curriculum; and, Create opportunities for the stories of each student and their families to live within the classroom. Teachers can provide the opportunity for each child to see themselves as an important part of our nation’s history. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Calling himself a “dealer in hope for all students,” Hasan Davis has committed himself to improving the lives of children and youth across the nation and around the world. A G.E.D. recipient, Hasan earned a bachelor’s degree from Berea College and a law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Hasan’s work has focused on youth violence prevention, juvenile justice reform, and education inclusion. He lives in Berea, Kentucky with his wife and their two sons.

  • Journey of York featured in The Brown Bookshelf’s 28 Days Later Campaign

    I am so happy to have been selected for a spotlight during The Brown Bookshelf’s annual 28 Days Later campaign. Since 2007, The Brown Bookshelf has been pushing awareness of outstanding Black children’s book creators. They have become a resource for teachers, parents, and librarians looking for suggestions of books for African-American children and teens. Their signature campaign, 28 Days Later, celebrates pioneering and established Black children’s book authors and illustrators as well as new voices who may be flying “under-the-radar” of teachers, librarians, and parents. Each day of Black History Month, they shine a spotlight on an outstanding author or illustrator, and we are on Day 5 this year! Head on over to The Brown Bookshelf’s website to read my full post: #28DaysLater #BlackHistoryMonth #JourneyofYork #TheBrownBookshelf

  • Journey of York Featured on #19PBbios

    We are thrilled to be featured as one of the 19 new diverse picture book biographies released in 2019 on #19PBbios. These diverse PB bios are gorgeous and important and already on the shelves! See our listing and the other 18 amazing books at People in children’s publishing have called this moment “the golden age of picture book biographies.” These past few years have brought a fresh, new spin on the old view of picture book biographies (PB bios). No longer dry, birth-to-death, lists of facts, PB bios are now creative, colorful, and innovative in how they present real people’s lives. They draw kids in. They focus on moments, themes, or little-known people or places. They excite librarians, educators and parents. They’re works of art. –Meg Pincus of #19PBbios, #JourneyofYorkBookReview

  • Journey of York Reviewed on Macsbooks

    I am feeling humbled and blessed by the sincere and powerful feedback from readers or THE JOURNEY OF YORK. Thank you Macsbooks for your thoughtful reflections! I think this is an absolute must-read for all young American readers, for teachers of young students, parents, and perhaps even adults who are clueless regarding the real heroes of the expedition. I love Lewis and Clark but I know, without a doubt, where the credit for their expedition’s success truly lies. Read the full review here. #JourneyofYorkBookReview

  • Hasan Davis as Keynote Speaker at Vermont Family Network 2019 Annual Conference

    Vermont Family Network has chosen Hasan Davis as their Keynote Speaker for their Annual Conference on April 3, 2019. Vermont Family Network empowers and supports all Vermont families of children with special needs so that all children reach their potential. Their vision is that all Vermont families help their children reach their potential, which makes Hasan’s message perfect for their event. Read the full announcement on VFN’s website. #AnnualConference #VermontFamilyNetwork

  • Visiting Lots of Kentucky Schools in November

    I’m having a great week of Hope Dealing close to home. Friday I’m at Floyd Central High School in Kentucky and the Narrative 4 story exchange with students from the Bronx NY. Yesterday was Knox Central High School in Barbourville, KY with a whole school assembly, a breakout session for student leaders and mentors and then a great conversation with some of the ROTC Cadets! Today I had a couple of hours with Pre-service teachers at Eastern Kentucky University exploring equality/equity/justice and the commitment to provide ALL children quality educational opportunities… Still up this week, a day with the students at Corbin High School, then closing the week keynoting the Annual GLIMPSE Diversity Leadership Conference which will take place this year at Berea College. The Berea Black Cultural Center wants to make sure I include other supporters like Partners for Education at Berea College, Mary Margaret Slone, Ann Lyttle-Burns in all of this….. WHEW #HopeDealers #BereaCollege #EasternKentuckyUniversity #Kentucky #GLIMPSEDiversityLeadershipConference #FloydCentralHighSchool #CorbinHighSchoolKentucky #KnoxCentralHighSchoolBarbourvilleKY

  • Actor Hasan Davis to portray York at Western Carolina University

    Hasan Davis, an author, actor and youth advocate, will visit Western Carolina University as part of the 2018-19 interdisciplinary learning theme “Defining America,” with two public presentations. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, Davis will tell his life story of a troubled youth who overcame obstacles to become commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice in a 6 p.m. presentation Blue Ridge conference room. The program is part of WCU’s Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity Education conversation sessions. Read full article on #DepartmentofInterculturalAffairs #WesternCarolinaUniversity

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