CASAA Community Advisory Council
The second tier of the CASAA Advisory Council includes members of the community, organizational leaders, and more who help to build community engagement for the Center, expanding the reach of CASAA beyond Arcadia University. The group will focus on regional, national, and international collaborations.
Dr. Doreen E. Loury (Community Council Coordinator)
Dr. Doreen Loury, Retired Assistant Professor of Sociology, is the former Director of Pan-African Studies and the Founding Executive Director of the Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action.
Some of Dr. Loury’s accomplishments during her 30-year tenure at Arcadia include the development of the University’s first African American Studies curriculum and the minor in Pan African Studies in addition to serving on the University's JEDI Commission, ABRI, and Faculty Senate’s Work and Welfare Committee. She has worked with Arcadia’s Communities of Practice, the LOVE Pilot Program, and ABRI Learning Partners Program; is a Faculty Senate Liaison to ABRI; and is a member of the historical Land Acknowledgement Task Force and the ABRI-AUC Task Force. She has been a faculty advisor to several student organizations (POWER, IMPACT, BAS, and MIA) and is one of the original architects of Arcadia’s Black Alumni Association. Dr. Loury received the 2010 Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, the first African American to receive the award at Arcadia. She also received the University’s Cultural Ally Award for validating the lived experiences of all Arcadia students and was the first African American to serve on the University's Faculty Senate upon its development. Dr. Loury is Founder/Executive Director of the nationally recognized Black Male Development Symposium, an inter-generational symposium (the only one of its kind for Black Males) that was hosted annually on Arcadia’s campus and offered workshops to over 7,500 students, parents, educators, community leaders, and practitioners in the Tri-State area and beyond.
Dr. Loury received her doctorate from the esteemed Department of African American Studies at Temple University and an Advanced Certificate in Culturally Competent Human Services Training from Temple’s Multicultural Training and Research Institute. Dr. Loury was appointed to the National Advisory Council of the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education and Chaired their Chief Diversity Officers & Executive Leadership Committee. She was the first Vice President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association of Black Women in Higher Education and was recently appointed to The Philadelphia’s Defenders Association Board of Directors. She is the first Vice President of the newly created Delaware Valley Section of the National Council of Negro Women and can now add Commissioner to her accomplishments as a mayoral appointee to the Philadelphia Women’s Commission. Dr. Loury is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force Reserves and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Phi Beta Omega Chapter.
Elected as a Recent Graduate Trustee, Abraham works in the U.S. Department of Commerce as a Management & Program Analyst/Human Capital Business Partner, where she conducts analyses related to the effectiveness of programs and the efficiency of management operations for Human Capital matters, specializing in Human Capital data analytics. Her contributions in this role include the development of several data visualization personnel reporting systems that assist agency leadership with strategic planning and personnel oversight, the creation of new organizational tools for tracking of congressionally funded positions, and most recently spearheading transformational recruitment efforts to obtain potential candidates from diverse backgrounds. She previously served as Equal Employment Opportunity specialist at the Department of the Navy, NAVSEA Philadelphia Division.
Abraham earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Arcadia University in 2017. At Arcadia, Abraham was active in several activities, demonstrating leadership and initiative as the founding president of Melanin in Action, the organizer of the Knights for Nutrition Food Pantry Task Force, and the organizer of the Day of Silence Part 1 & 2. Abraham was a finalist for the 2018 Arcadia University Senior Golden Disc award. In 2018, Abraham received the Arcadia University Alumni Association Student Impact Award.
In 2018, Abraham founded the Black Alumni Association of Arcadia University (BAAAU), serving as its president through 2021. In this capacity, she launched the Preview Travel Fund to increase the participation rates of Black students in Arcadia’s flagship Preview Program field study courses. Abraham was awarded the 2021 Arcadia University Black Alumni Association’s Sankofa Award. In addition, she serves as a representative-at-large on Arcadia’s alumni council and as an advisory board member for Arcadia’s Gateway to Success/Act 101 Program.
Dr. Bernadine E. Ahonkhai
Dr. Bernadine E. Ahonkhai is a long-time community advocate and activist for justice and equity, founded Coalition for Racial Equity and Social Justice (Coalition4Justice) in 2020 in response to the horrific killing of George Floyd. As a result of its immediate impact in the community and beyond in illuminating the societal issues of racism and injustice, Coalition4Justice was recognized in 2020 by the Biden-Harris Inaugural team. Coalition4Justice provides a safe space for people to engage in meaningful conversations about racial equity and social justice. Ahonkhai is an education policy influencer, a seasoned educator with expertise in Multicultural and Early Childhood Education, and the recipient of several awards and recognitions, including the Pennsylvania Governor’s Family Engagement Recognition & Human, and the Human Rights Award from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She obtained her advanced degrees in Educational Policy, Administration and Leadership from Columbia University, New York. She has taught Multi-cultural and Early Education courses at the university and college levels in Pennsylvania. After several years of teaching, including owning and successfully operating an Early Education program, Ahonkhai went on to serve as the Higher Education Director at the Pennsylvania Key, Office of Child Development and Early Learning in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As the Higher Education Director, Dr. Ahonkhai provided leadership in the revision of the curriculum for the teacher training program in Pennsylvania to better prepare educators to work with students from ethnic, multicultural, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Dr. Ahonkhai, born and raised in Nigeria, now resides in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania with her husband, Vincent I. Ahonkhai, MD. The Coalition aims, through its twice monthly educational programming and training, and youth diversity education to create awareness about racism and discrimination as a catalyst for transforming attitudes and behaviors and consequently resulting in safe and healthy communities and schools for all people.
The Coalition is collaborating with the Montgomery School Districts to bring a Diversity Ambassador Educational program to students in grades 6 through 9. It is also collaborating with the Hispanic Heritage Association in creating a training curriculum on the history of Latin American countries. And the Coalition is working with the BucksMontCollaborative in developing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) framework that organizations and institutions can use to help make their workplaces more welcoming and embracing of our diverse population. Coalition4justice also partners with the H.O.P.E. Alliance, which comprises a dozen African American organizations that provide various services to the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania residents.
Melissa Ash, known to her colleagues and friends as Mash, started her journey with the IIRP in 2014 when she enrolled in the graduate school. Previously enrolled in a master’s program for school counseling, she realized she longed for a field more focused on community connection and decided to redirect her future. Following the completion of her Master of Science in Restorative Practices, she primarily applied her knowledge in the fields of higher education and civic engagement.
As the Associate Dean of Administration for the IIRP, Melissa supports the organization through planning and implementing institutional processes, guiding long-range strategic and operational plans, and by addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to continually enhance organizational culture.
Leann Ayers has a record of accomplishment as both a social entrepreneur and a policy advocate. One of the skills for which she is most noted is the ability to see both ‘the forest and the trees’ and to help organizations and collaborative navigate between the two. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College and a Masters of Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.
In the early 90s, she was the first director of a children’s health insurance access partnership in Philadelphia, which resulted in local enrollment saturation of the projected eligible population for Medicaid and CHIP. This project was studied by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a model in creating their Covering Kids initiative. In the mid-90s, she was the first Executive Director of Philadelphia’s multi-system Family Centers initiative and later named Executive Director of the Mayor’s Children and Families Cabinet. In this capacity, she was responsible for all fund development for the Family Centers (this division had a budget of $9 million at the end of her tenure and grew into the Department of Community-Based Prevention with a budget of $40 million) including approximately 30 subcontractors; all administration, budget and personnel functions.
Subsequent to completing the Annie E. Casey Foundation Fellowship in 2000, she directed or consulted to multiple start-ups nationally including directing one of the first replications of the Harlem Children’s Zone, KidZone Philadelphia, and serving as the founding Director of The Benefit Bank of Texas. The Benefit Bank uses an integrated online eligibility system in partnership with churches and community organizations to enroll families with little or no income in the many federal programs for which they are eligible. She currently serves as Director of Partnerships for the Southwest Region of the United States on behalf of The Wyman Center’s evidence-based best practice: Teen Outreach Program.
Leann is an openly lesbian, adoptive mother and resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with a daughter and a son, bright and spirited teenagers.
Dr. Matthew Cronje
Dr. Matthew Cronje is a postgraduate supervisor and lecturer in Advanced Victimology and Research Methodology in the Department of Criminology at the University of the Free State (UFS). Additionally, he serves on the UFS Social Sciences scientific and ethical review committees and is a Programme Director for the Social Sciences Programme in the Faculty of the Humanities. He holds a doctoral degree in Criminology specializing in the psycho-social understanding of recidivism in South Africa. Matthew has also worked as a research consultant, developing and conducting research projects within both the governmental and non-governmental sectors. He has developed numerous evaluation tools for crime prevention initiatives at Khulisa Social Solutions as well as a general programme evaluation tool for the South African National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA). Furthermore, Matthew has conducted research for the South African Department of Social Development on the effectiveness of both youth and adult diversion services, the latter of which contributed towards the development of the minimum norms and standards for adult diversion. His overarching interests lie in the development, monitoring and evaluation of interventions that aim to address social challenges on both a micro and macro level.
Congresswoman Madeleine Dean
Adam “Waterbear" DePaul
Adam DePaul is a Tribal Council Member of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, where he also holds the positions of Storykeeper and Coordinator of the Rising Nation River Journey.
He co-curates the Lenape Cultural Center in Easton PA and the exhibit Existing Artistry, Enduring Presence: The Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania at Temple University.
DePaul is a PhD candidate and instructor at Temple with a primary research area in Cultural and Mythological Studies and the co-founder and president of NAISAT (Native American and Indigenous Studies at Temple). He currently serves as the CASAA Scholar-In-Residence, 2022-2024.
Sharif El-Mekki became the Director of the Center for Black Educator Development (CBED) in 2019. Under the umbrella of the Fellowship-Black Male Educators for Social Justice, a group Sharif helped create in 2014, CBED will expand on efforts to recruit and maintain Black male and female educators both locally and nationally.
During his Neubauer Fellowship experience in 2015, El-Mekki served as the principal of Mastery Shoemaker beginning in 2008. Under his leadership, Mastery Shoemaker received the 2016 bronze medal on the U.S. News & World Report high school rankings, 2015 Schools That Can School award, and two Effective Practice Incentive Community (EPIC) awards (Silver, 2011; Gold, 2009). In addition, Mastery Shoemaker ranked as the 7th-best high school for Black student achievement in PennCAN’s Top 10 Schools Report Card.
El-Mekki is the second prize winner of TheBestSchools.org’s 2017 Escalante-Gradillas Prize for Best in Education. In 2014, Sharif co-founded The Black Male Educators for Social Justice Fellowship to inspire new generations of Black men to work for social justice through teaching. During his career, Sharif has served as a 2013 U.S. Department of Education Principal Ambassador Fellow and America Achieves Fellow. In addition, he received citations from the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives.
El-Mekki has been an educator since 1993. Prior to becoming a director, Sharif served as principal, assistant principal, lead teacher for Art & Music Academy, Gifted spanish teacher, 6th grade science teacher, and 8th grade literature/social studies teacher. Sharif grew up in Philadelphia and attended Overbrook High School.
Renee Chenault Fattah
Renée Chenault Fattah is a lawyer, broadcast journalist and filmmaker having recently made the documentary, In Our Right Mind: Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias’ Impact on Communities of Color. Her film led to advocacy roles at the legal non-profit, SeniorLAW Center.
Chenault Fattah is currently the Executive Director of Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. She is also one of Philadelphia’s best known journalists, having served as the evening and weekday news co-anchor for NBC10 for close to 25 years. She earned her BA in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University and began her career in law, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, working at Hughes Hubbard & Reed in New York City, and clerking for the late Judge Damon Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Chenault Fattah also earned a Masters of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri. Notable stories she covered in her broadcast career include the O.J. Simpson trials, political conventions, and the school shooting massacre in Littleton, Colorado, her hometown. In 2009, Chenault Fattah was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame.
An active member of the community, she speaks at local schools, church congregations and civic organizations about law, health disparities and ethics. Chenault Fattah currently serves as a trustee of Johns Hopkins University and is a former trustee of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. She is currently a member of the advisory council to The Hastings Center, a bioethics research center and is a member of the PennTowne Links, Inc.
James A. Felton III
James Felton III is the inaugural Vice President for Inclusive Excellence at The College of New Jersey. Previously, he was the Chief Diversity Officer at State University of New York at Cortland, and he served as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD. He also served as the inaugural Director of Intercultural Affairs at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC.
Recognized as a national leader and scholar-practitioner in the field of diversity in higher education, Felton has contributed to the development of several diversity and strategic plans including the University of Wisconsin’s Plan 2008 (Green Bay campus). He has managed several scholarship and mentoring programs for underrepresented students at a number of selective private liberal arts colleges and state-system universities across the country; and he has collaborated with corporate, nonprofit and federal agencies and NGOs to promote international programs and initiatives on diversity and social justice. He is the co-author of the book Inclusive Directions: The Role of the Chief Diversity Officer in Community College Leadership.
Felton is a founding member of the Pennsylvania Association of Liaisons and Officers for Multicultural Affairs (PALOMA), a statewide organization that provides advocacy, support, best practices, and continual renewal for diversity professionals in the field. Recently, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE).
A frequent conference and workshop presenter, Felton has been a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity since 2014. From 2015-2017, he served as the project team leader on behalf of Anne Arundel Community College’s participation in the Committing to Equity and Inclusive Excellence: Campus-Based Strategies for Student Success project sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). In 2016, Felton participated in the White House Convening on Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, sponsored by the White House Domestic Policy Council in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education.
The Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development (PHENND) is a consortium of over 25 institutions of higher education in the Greater Philadelphia region that seeks to help campuses connect to their communities through mutually beneficial service and service-learning partnerships. Since Ms. Kane joined PHENND in 1999, the organization has increased its membership, developed new multi-university programs and partnerships, and become a leader in the field of service-learning. Under her leadership, PHENND has developed particular expertise in K-16 Partnerships, with an emphasis on college readiness and success. PHENND has partnered with the School District of Philadelphia for over 15 years on all of its GEAR UP grants as well as the K-16 VISTA project which places 20 full-time AmeriCorps VISTAs in public schools and District offices. PHENND also manages the Next Steps AmeriCorps program, which enrolls low-income college students as part-time AmeriCorps members. Last year, PHENND acquired PHENND Fellows, another full-time VISTA project that places members at nonprofit organizations for a variety of capacity-building projects.
Hillary is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies. She is also a member of the Greater Philadelphia Corporate Volunteer Council, is active in local politics, and is a proud School District parent.
Ann Marie Kirk
Ann Marie Kirk is the Co-Founder and Director of Art for Justice. She co-founded Art for Justice with Charles Lawson who is serving a sentence of life without parole at Graterford Prison, PA. Ann Marie has 35 years of experience as a teacher, social worker and advocate for social justice. In 2008, Ms. Kirk received the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award (for her poetry and photography) which is given to women artists who have worked for social change. Through her work with Art for Justice she has brought inspirational prisoner art to over 46 venues in diverse locations in the Philadelphia area. Art for Justice works are currently on view at the “Inside/Outside” exhibit at Philadelphia City Hall. Ms. Kirk co-created and presents the Road Map for Life Workshops©. The Workshops use the art and statements of prison artists to stimulate dialogue with high risk youth, inspiring them to revise their life path and break the cycle of poverty and crime that lead to incarceration. The paintings and poetry of incarcerated individuals serve as a cautionary tale to youth, many of whom exclaim that their participation in the Workshops has been a life changing experience for them. Ms. Kirk is determined to bring people together to change the nation’s obsessive, misguided policies that address so many social problems and wrongdoings with incarceration. She sees her work with Art for Justice along a continuum of family involvement in the struggle for social justice - in the 1800’s her Quaker relatives were active in the Underground Railroad. Dr. Alan K. Chalmers, her Great Uncle, was the Chairman of the Scottsboro Defense in the 1940’s and later Treasurer for the NAACP.
Dr. Holly Link
Baltimore native, David Miller, has received international acclaim for Dare to Be King: What If the Prince Lives. A Survival Workbook for African American Males, a thought-provoking, 52-week curriculum teaching adolescent males how to survive and thrive in toxic environments.
Armed with a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Baltimore and a Master’s degree from Goucher College, Miller frequently leads intergenerational conversations with men and boys focused on, boyhood, fatherhood, parenting, mental health, managing anger, decision making, healthy relationships and alternatives to violence. Miller has provided extensive training for youth development and mentoring organizations in the U.S. and Canada.
Currently, a Ph.D. student in the School of Social Work at Morgan State University with a concentration on Black fathers, Miller has written several children’s books, including Khalil’s Way, The Green Family Farm, Gabe & His Green Thumb & They Look Like Me (coloring book). Other books he’s written include Lessons We Learned from Our Fathers, Raising Him Alone (Strategies for Single Mothers Raising a Male Child), and Healing the Healer: Self-Care Manual for Professionals in the Field (in press Fall 2020). Miller is a 2020 Study Abroad Fulbright Scholar focused on Ghana (West Africa). An effort through the U.S. State Department and the University of Ghana.
Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.
Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. has pursued and achieved success in academia, business, diversity, leadership and community service. In 1996, he started America & MOORE, LLC to provide comprehensive diversity, privilege and leadership training/workshops. Dr. Moore is recognized as one of the nation’s top speakers and educators. He is featured in the film “I’m not Racist….Am I?” Dr. Moore is the Founder/Program Director for the White Privilege Conference (WPC). In 2014 Dr. Moore founded The Privilege Institute (TPI) which engages people in research, education, action and leadership through workshops, conferences, publications and strategic partnerships and relationships. He is co-founder of the online journal Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, co-editor of Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice: 15 Stories, The Guide for White Women who Teach Black Boys, The Diversity Consultant Cookbook: Preparing for the Challenge, Teaching Beautiful Brilliant Black Girls, and Lil’ e: The Big Misunderstanding. For 10-years, he served as Director of Diversity at Brooklyn Friends School (Brooklyn, NY) and The Bush School (Seattle, WA). Dr. Moore received his PhD from the University of Iowa in Education Leadership. His PhD research is on Black Football Players at Division III Schools in the Midwest.
NuRodney T. Prad
Founded in 1979, the Mazzoni Center was originally known as the Lavender Health Project, a volunteer health subcommittee at the Gay Community Center (now known as the William Way LGBT Community Center). The Center’s mission is to provide quality comprehensive health and wellness services in an LGBT-focused environment, while preserving the dignity and improving the quality of life of the individuals we serve.
The group was formed just two years before the HIV/AIDS epidemic was first recognized. Its areas of original focus included clinical services for gay men & lesbians, health education, and advocacy work; however, responding to the AIDS epidemic became the health agency's primary concern during the 80's and early 90's.
In 1981, when the group became incorporated, it changed its name to the Philadelphia Community Health Alternatives (PCHA). The PCHA quickly organized the Philadelphia AIDS Task Force (PATF), which became the first AIDS service organization in Pennsylvania.
In 2003, the organization renamed itself to the Mazzoni Center, after Dr. Peter Mazzoni, a volunteer physician and board member. Dr. Mazzoni had served as the clinic's medical director, was an openly gay and HIV-positive physician, and died in 1990 at age 31.
Today, the Mazzoni Center is the oldest HIV service provider in the state.
Andrea Lawful Sanders
Andrea Lawful-Trainer is an extraordinary educational consultant who has made broad impact on closing academic achievement gaps across the Delaware Valley. Mrs. Trainer conducts tailored workshops and delivers motivational speeches in a way that engages and empowers. Demand for services of the organization she founded in 2003, Children And Parental Enrichment Services (C.A.P.E.S) has sky rocketed due to the success of her work.
The mother of two young boys in Abington, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Trainer became involved in the daily lives of children served by the Abington School District upon learning of patterns of inequity. Having been taught from childhood that education is powerful, she embarked on a journey to learn the educational system in a twenty week program called Parents As Leaders that teaches the importance of being able to advocate for children. She was so empowered by what she learned that she became a trainer for the program and began taking that knowledge to parents in other districts including Cheltenham, Springfield Township and North Penn school districts as well as the Mastery Charter in the Delaware Valley. She carries the torch for the program originators.
Andrea created the Committed Advocates Leading Many (C.A.L.M.) Society an organization of adults that ensures all children have access to a quality education while empowering parents to work with school districts to provide an environment that leads to the best possible outcome for all children.
Andrea’s active involvement as a Student Advocate led to a successful run for the Abington School Board in 2007 where she currently serves as one of nine members of the Board of Directors. She is the past President of Abington School District’s Parent Council and has served on several community organizations including; the Abington Community Taskforce, Citizens and Police together, Abington Human Relations Advisory Council, Local Tax Study Commission, State Parent Advisory Council, The Governor’s Institute for Parental Involvement and a Policy writing committee in Harrisburg. She is a current Board member of the Abington YMCA and a Centers For Progressive Leaders 2009 Fellow. She is also working with Dr. Bob Jarvis from the Delaware Valley Minority Student Achievement Consortium on the creation of a Parent
Nyamal “Mal’’ Tutdeal, also known as Mal (which means peace in the Nuer language), is a former refugee from South Sudan who resettled in the United States with her family. She has worked with various immigrants, migrants, refugees, indigenous communities, and women groups, both domestically and internationally. She is a notable international speaker and an advocate for displaced communities. Her advocacy work took her to the White House during President Obama’s term in office. She has hosted cultural events and facilitates dialogue on conflict resolution, antiracist/race relations and peacebuilding. She is also a certified mediator and teaches mediation and conflict coaching.
Nyamal is the former Director of Equity and Inclusion for CORA, a Nonprofit in Pennsylvania, and an Adjunct Professor at Arcadia University. She previously served as policy director for Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalitions, a Nonprofit working on immigrants and refugees issues, and currently sits on the board. She holds a B.A. in Human Relations, an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution at Nova Southeastern University. She is currently working in Ghana teaching conflict resolution.
Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart
Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, a daughter of Detroit, is the Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the city of Philadelphia. In this role, she serves as a public facing leader, liaison and subject matter expert for the Mayor’s Office on local and national matters that impact diverse communities of faith. She also manages the Mayor’s Commission on Interfaith Affairs.
Naomi is also an adjunct professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University, with joint affiliations with the University’s Center for Peace and Justice Education and Africana Studies program. She is also an adjunct at Arcadia University in the Religious Program. In 2019, Naomi received the Pohlhaus-Stracciolini Award for Teaching Excellence, which recognizes an adjunct faculty member at Villanova who demonstrates a commitment to the life of the mind and to the well-being of students through teaching that is intellectually stimulating, challenging, and accessible, with efforts extending beyond the classroom.
Naomi was most recently the Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, the country's oldest national LGBTQ justice and equality group. In that role, she coordinated the Task Force's public faith messaging and advocacy and leadership development work in faith communities.
Before joining the Task Force, Naomi was a faith organizer for POWER, a multi-faith, multi-racial network of congregations in Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania. She also served as Co-Pastor and Minister of Music at the Wisdom's Table at St. Peter's United Church of Christ. An ordained minister, she earned the Master of Divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary in 2016 and is proudly affiliated with the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
Naomi delights in singing with the Philadelphia Threshold Singers, an all-volunteer choir whose mission is to bring audible comfort and kindness to the bedsides of people living in hospice care. Since 2016, she has been a member of the Faith and Spiritual Affairs Advisory Board of the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services. From 2017 to 2019, she served as a mayoral appointee to the city’s Commission on LGBT Affairs.
Naomi's work is included in the volume, From Generation to Generation: A Commemorative Collection of African American Millennial Sermons from the Festival of Preachers 2010-2015 (Chalice Press, 2015). Her writing can also be seen on Medium, Religion Dispatches, and Rewire.News. She regularly preaches and teaches in diverse congregations around the country and has presented and lectured at national conferences and religious and academic institutions, including Vanderbilt University School of Divinity, Swarthmore College, Harvard University, Ithaca College, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Chicago Theological Seminary, the American Academy of Religion, the United Church of Christ, and the International Council of Community Churches.
In 2019, Naomi was named one of 9 LGBTQ Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress and was included in The Root 100, an annual list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans, ages 25-45.
Naomi shares her life with her wife and their curious, energetic, future-Oscar-winning teenager.
Timothy Welbeck is the Director for the Center of Anti-Racism Research and an Assistant Professor of Instruction at Temple University. A Civil Rights Attorney by training, Timothy is a scholar of law, race, and cultural studies. He earned his J.D. from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law and his B.A. from Morehouse College.
Timothy's scholarly work focuses on contemporary issues of racial identity in America, the intersection of racial classifications and the law in the American context, contemporary African and African American cultural transmissions, retentions, expressions and evolutions, hip-hop as a microcosm of the Black experience, etc. Timothy's forthcoming book “No City for Young Men: Hip-Hop and the Narrative of Marginalization,” explores how hip-hop communicates the lived experience of persons who live in urban centers across the nation, particularly Black men living in major cities. Timothy has also written several peer-reviewed journal articles including “Specter of Reform: The late Sen. Arlen Specter’s Criminal Justice Reform, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, and its Role in Expanding the Modern Prison Industrial Complex,” explores the impact of the infamous 1994 Crime Bill in providing the infrastructure for mass incarceration within the United States. The research, funded by the Arlen Specter Center fellowship, examines how the federalization of criminal law, pursuant to the Commerce Clause, has led to expansive growth in federal law enforcement, imprisonment, and thus setting the foundation for the modern carceral state. Timothy's article “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths to Rhythms: Hip-Hop’s Continuation of the Enduring Tradition of African and African-American Rhetorical Forms and Tropes,” examines hip-hop’s continuation of centuries-old African cultural norms and aesthetic values. It also adopted an Africological approach to provide a foundation for establishing hip-hop’s African origins and its manifestation of African cultural transmissions.
Timothy's work has appeared in various media outlets, such as the BBC Radio 4, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR, The Huffington Post, The North Star, REVOLT TV, et al.
Debra Powell-Wright serves as lead strategist of social justice artist advocacy entity, SistahWrites!. She is the founder of the multi-genre performance ensemble, For Women Collective, and a founding member of Philly’s first female spoken word ensemble, In The Company of Poets.
In addition to being a spoken word artist, having performed for numerous social justice and community-based organizations in Philadelphia’s tri-state area, Debra is a published essayist whose work can be found in Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets & Emcees; Imagining the Black Female Body: Reconciling Image in Print and Visual Culture; Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin & Marissa Alexander; and The Pierian: Albany State University Literary Journal. Debra also self-published "Philly Jawns: For Women Revisited" a 2020 anthology featuring forty women of color in tribute to Nina Simone.