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C-U Black & African Arts Festival is a non-profit organization with a mission to expose and give a culturally diverse experience to the Champaign-Urbana and Central Illinois community by expressing both the Black and African heritage.























Co-Founder: Cindy Ogwal

Cindy is a first generation Nigerian- Ghanaian born and raised in the Uptown, Chicago community. She received her Master’s in Human Resource Development for Higher Ed. & Industry from Indiana State University and her Bachelors in Health Studies from Eastern Illinois University. As a College and Career Readiness Specialist, Cindy works to empower youth in achieving long standing academic goals in preparation of a bright future. Cindy has a heart to see young people develop into globally competent citizens. Through the performing arts, history and other culturally exciting avenues, Cindy aims to assist families and youth to develop a love for artful inquiry and exposure to Africa. Cindy is creative and passionate about implementing events that brings entertainment and joy to people. Her goal is to always make an impact on others. In 2014, Cindy had a vision to bring the C-U Black & African Arts festival to life and the rest became history after speaking to her sister in-law who also had the same vision. When not working, or engaging in festival activities, Cindy enjoys her time traveling, shopping, cooking, watching reality shows, hanging with friends and family, and being a wife and a new mom. 

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Co-Founders: Dr. Susan Ogwal, Ph.D


Dr. Susan Ogwal, a native of Uganda, resettled in Illinois with her family many years ago.  While growing up in Central Illinois,  she's learned to navigate many spaces within the local, regional and international community.A three time alumni of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign,  she's obtained her a B.A. in Sociology, a Masters in Education and Ph.D. in  Education Policy, Organization &  Leadership.  Professionally, Dr. Ogwal brings to the table 15+ years of experience in social services, teaching, training, and collaboration of published research.   After many early discussions and focused assistance to the international community, Susan joined Cindy as a  co- founder of C-U Black and African Arts Festival. She is a champion of cultural  programming with a strong social justice ethic and has done countless workshops and educational programs, in addition to service on boards and organizations. Outside of studies and community engagement, she enjoys traveling, good food, music and spending time with family and friends."


Youth Coordinator: Kellie R. Blanden 

Volunteer Coordinator: Alissa Irvin

Coordinator: Nimot Ogunfemi

Social Media Directors: Storm and Kendra Booker

Coordinator: RoShema Dixon

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