Meet the Fellows

Hailing from all across the country and representing the beautiful diversity of our communities, our inaugural Black to the Future Policy Institute fellows are putting in work to create and implement policy that will transform our communities and secure our futures. 

 We’re excited to introduce to you this impressive class of Black, bold, and brilliant changemakers!

Jamileh Ebrahimi

Bay Area, CA 

Organization: RYSE Center 

“We must center Black children, youth and their families – when we vote, pass policy, support or oppose a candidate for office, adopt a budget, speak at a hearing, organize or protest. With doing so, we are a step closer to breaking down systemic racism and building Black political and economic power.”

Tahtianna Fermin

New York

Organization: Bridges 4 Life

“Housing is what’s important to me. Especially Black Trans young people in foster care who face incredibly harsh discrimination in housing. My idea to make my Black people powerful is to work to make sure they have housing, awareness and gain the skills they need to become successful adults.”

Brent R. Hamlet 

Chitown, The south side, the best side. 

Organization: Workers Center for Racial Justice of Chicago 

“I am beyond unapologetic about my Blackness, my love for all Black people  in ways that reaffirm, that celebrate my other identities. I insist on resisting and challenging those who make it their life’s work to leverage respectability politics to tell me otherwise.”

Ashlei Spivey (she)

Nebraska

Organization: Director of I Be Black Girl. Sponsoring organization is ACLU of Nebraska where I serve on board of directors as the equity officer 

“Now more than ever we have resources, the leadership and vision of Black women who have been at the helm of every movement.”

Stephanie R. Strong

Boston, MA

Organization – Faith in Action Alabama

“Building Black political power is the catalyst to creating sustainable and thriving Black communities!”

Jamil Davis

Pensacola, FL by way of Atlanta, GA

Organization: Black Voters Matter

“The power we possess as organizers in this era is amazing. To be able to translate that into hopefully banning the box in the state of Florida would do wonders for Black and Brown people statewide. I’m honored to be a part of creating monumental change in this country.”

Lanese Martin

Born & raised in NY

Organization: The Hood Incubator

“Police departments required increased funding to enforce the new “problem” drug war policy created. The costs of the drug war is what has led us as a Black community to demand defunding of police departments across the country in exchange for investment in our communities. Let’s end the drug war and reverse its impacts, together. “

Courtni Andrews

Metro Atlanta

Organization: Data for Black Lives

“Afrofuturism is possible in this lifetime. Black scientists must practice science fiction behavior, to push against what distorts the truth of who we are as black people, members of the African Diaspora. I believe in a future where science and data is accessible to all black people, so that we can protest and protect themselves no matter who we’re up against using the lens of our lived experiences and the numbers that just confirm that truth. “

Carlton Riley

Jacksonville, FL

Organization: New Florida Majority Education Fund

“Support Transgender and Genderqueer community members. Black communities have so much strength and potential, but we can only access that power when we’re inclusive. Where uniformity constrains, unity strengthens. And we’ll need all the strength we have to transform our democracy.”

Jasmine Rucker

Tucson, Arizona

Organization: Planning and Community Development Director for Ward 1, City of Tucson

“This critical moment presents an opportunity for us to dismantle the historically racist system of law enforcement that has targeted Black and Brown people with police violence and mass incarceration. Now is the time to re-imagine community safety — and to invest in inclusive communities built on equity, human dignity, and community governance. Safe and healthy communities can be realized when we address anti-blackness and racism in our prevailing institutions. I am grateful to be working in collaboration with the visionary Black Futures Lab policy institute cohort to enact bold policy campaigns that will improve the lives of Black people in Southern Arizona and beyond.”

Brianna Michelle Singleton

Southern California

Organization: St James Infirmary

“What is power in a colonial, patriarchal controlled society? I don’t believe that the black community lacks power, per se, but we haven’t matched the same level of violence that has been used to oppress, suppress, and murder us. In my work with people in the sex industry, I have learned that power doesn’t mean controlling what another person does with their body, their resources, their skills, or their time. Power is a full and honest expression of one’s authentic self without pillaging nature or harming other humans.”

Shannon Charles

I am a proud West Indian. I was born in Dominica. My roots are spread across three islands: Dominica, Jamaica, and St. Croix. 

Organization: Catalyst Miami

“I believe we need to create policies that address access to proper education, affordable healthcare, protection of voter rights, and eliminating the racial wealth gap.”

James Burch

Organization: Anti Police-Terror Project

“I am fighting to increase the amount of space that Black people have to stand in their power on an individual and collective basis. Black Power Matters.”

Titilayo Rasaki

Indianapolis by way of Ibadan, Nigeria 

Organization: Essie Justice Group

“Harnessing the power of sisterhood/siblinghood is the ancestral strategy that has brought us this far and is at the core of why we will win. We are stronger together.”

Nchedochukwu Ezeokoli

Oakland, CA | Onitsha, Nigeria

Organization: Data for Black Lives Atlanta Hub

“To live fully, we must center healing. As named by Cara Page and Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective, “healing justice…identifies how we can holistically respond to and intervene on generational trauma and violence, and to bring collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds.”

Andrés A Portela III

Tucson, AZ 

Organization: City of Tucson 

“For me, the future I want centers marginalized communities, specifically the black community, through the use of stories and data.”

Najma Douglas

Oakland, California

Organization: Young Women’s Freedom Center

“What’s one idea you have to make Black communities powerful?: “In order to make black communities powerful, I believe we need to educate our children, employ each other, and own the building that these activities have been established”.

Michelle Wilson

Kansas City, MO

Organization: Data for Black Lives, Atlanta Hub. 

“I am a queer, millennial, Black woman born and raised in Kansas City, MO, who has been a community organizer in the South for over 10 years in the U.S. South. I believe that providing intersectional, queer, political education and pathways for our communities to become leaders is the way to create a better Black Future.”

Marie Francois

Haiti

Organization: Miami Workers Center

One idea you have to create a better Black Future: Black and Brown Immigrants Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

 

    Carde Taylor

    Oakland, California

    Organization: Young Women Freedom Center (YWFC) 

    “I believe we can create strong ties to our communities through the power of our history”

    Nahomi Matos Rondón

    Carrizales, Hatillo, Puerto Rico

    Organization: Florida Immigrant Coalition

    “Being embedded in climate justice, I am aware of how important it is that our communities are aware of the impact that climate change can have in their surroundings. Equally as important, though, is legitimizing the innate knowledge that we have to address these issues and go to the root of these problems. I am highly committed to elevating their voices and making sure that they are addressing these events in their absolute authenticity.”

    Steven Huntley

    Montgomery, Alabama 

    Organization: True Divine Baptist Church

    One idea you have to create a better Black Future: Smart gun and ammunition technology that revolutionizes the gun and ammunition industry and reforms access to illegal guns.

    Eve Woldemikael

    Irvine, California

    Org: Young Women’s Freedom Center

    “To create a better Black Future we need justice that is healing and transformative.”

    Akira Jackson

    “One idea that would build a better Black Future is including us when making decisions that impact society.”

    Tianna Bratcher

    Oakland, California and is affiliated with

    Org:  St. James Infirmary.  

    “An idea I have to create a better Black future is to continue creating spaces for political education work and reconnecting Black people to the power of land whether farming, herbalism or just enjoying nature.”

    Zola Richardson

    Minneapolis, MN

    Org: Reclaim the Block

    “To eradicate all systems that obstruct the presence of a safe and healthy world. A world where Black people are not only held, nourished, housed, but one where joy is centered and neither policing and bad policy exists.

    Khadijah Ameen

    Virginia

    Organization: BLKHLTH

    One idea idea you have to create a better Black Future: Free mental health services for all Black folks

    MacKenzie Marcelin

    Miami-Dade, Florida

    Organization: The New Florida Majority

    “I am a believer in the concept of Just Transition. We currently live in an extractive economic system that relies on fossil fuels that pollute our neighborhoods, exploit our labor, and limit our democratic participation. Black communities are overwhelmingly the ones that are force to bear the burden of this system. That’s why it’s important that we must lead in the effort to transition our communities toward a regenerative economy that centers the well-being of people and our environment, cooperation and a deep democracy that allow Black people to have control in the decisions that affect our lives. My pursuit for my community to commit to 100% affordable, clean, and renewable energy system is a step forward in that direction.”

    Sandy-Asari Hogan

    Atlanta, GA

    Organization: Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI)

    “I envision a future where Black people tell their own stories and disparities as they currently persist are no more. A future where research and practice isn’t used to further perpetuate systems of oppression but rather enhance the power that Black communities have always had.”

    Dominique Morgan

    Omaha, Ne

    Organization: Black and Pink, Inc 

    “My idea to create a better black figure is the center the voices, needs and brilliance of Black Trans Women.”

    Kiana Hughes

    Richton Park, IL

    Organization: Chicago NORML/The Hood Incubator

    “A better Black Future will be created once we have taken REAL steps to repair the harms done to Black communities due to the war on drugs by reinvesting revenues and tax dollars from the legalized cannabis industry.”

    Eric Hall

    Janelle Luster

    April Grayson

    Lisa Davis

    Lisa Clinton

    Larry Dean

    Helina Haile

    Ts Candii