Activists, Advocates, Educational Leaders Attend Arcadia University’s CASAA Community Advisory Council Soulful Brunch

By Dan DiPrinzio | February 22, 2023
Dr. Kevin Revier, assistant professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arcadia; Dr. Christopher Varlack, assistant professor of English, executive director of CASAA, director of the Pan African Studies program; Dr. Holly Link, director of Educational Programming and Research at the Centro de Cultura, Arte, Trafajo y Educacion (CCATE); Deja Edwards ’18, ’21 MA, MFA, adjunct faculty member and CASAA administrative assistant; Aliyah M. Abraham ’17, recent graduate trustee on the Board of Arcadia; Reverend Naomi Washington-Leaphart, adjunct professor of Religious Studies and director for Faith-Based and Interfair Affairs for the City of Philadelphia; Andrea Lawful Sanders, journalist, advocate, WURD on-air personality and leadership advisor with the Lenfest Foundation; Adam Waterbear DePaul, Tribal Council member of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania; Dr. Bernadine E. Ahonkhai, founder and CEO of Coalition4Justice; Dr. Doreen Loury, founding executive director of CASAA and Coordinator for the CASAA Community Advisory Council; Koh Chiba, senior advisor in Community Engagement in the office of U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean ’20H; Dr. Angela McNeil, assistant vice president of Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Dr. Favian Martin, associate director of CASAA, associate professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, director of the Criminal Justice program; Ann Marie Kirk, director and co-founder of Art for Justice.

The Center for Antiracist Scholarship, Advocacy, and Action at Arcadia (CASAA)–established in Nov. 2021–hosted members of its esteemed Community Advisory Council for a Soulful Brunch on Saturday, Feb. 18. The Advisory Council was welcomed by Arcadia President Ajay Nair, who addressed the group and stressed the importance of having community involvement with CASAA. 

Council members also heard from Arcadia faculty, staff, students, and alumni on CASAA’s programming; recipients of the CASAA microgrants program presented on their work; and Dr. Varlack presented an update on CASAA’s strategic initiatives, including the CASAA Scholar-Advocates Program and plans for a CASAA Emerging Scholars Program. 

Perhaps most importantly, the brunch provided an opportunity for the extraordinarily talented group to come together to discuss how to further CASAA’s mission, provide maximum impact to the local and global communities, and raise awareness of and support for CASAA and Arcadia’s combating anti-Black racism (CABR) work.

“When we put this advisory council together, it was important for us to reach out to the community and bring people to the table who have expertise in certain areas and who can help and advise us,” said Dr. Loury. “These people are doing phenomenal work. We have built and will continue to build this community network of people who can assist in advising CASAA.”

Other CASAA Council Advisory members participated over Zoom:

  • Thomas Butler, executive director of Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable 
  • LeAnn Ayers, senior program officer of the Philadelphia Foundation
  • Dr. Matthew Cronje, lecturer at the University of the Free State in South Africa 
  • David Miller, Ph.D candidate at Morgan State University, Department of Social Work, and author and researcher  
  • Nyamal Tutdeal, 2018 graduate of the IPCR program and adjunct professor at Webster University Ghana Campus