Our Black to the Future Policy Institute has been able to engage, train, and support some incredible minds since we launched this program. We want to highlight all of the fellows who have gone through our program and thank them for bringing their ideas, their passion, and their hard work to this experience. We look forward to many more years of fellowships that will produce generations of legislative wins for Black communities!

Meet the 2021-2022 Fellows

 *Illustrations by Alixa García. Follow Alixa García here.

Amerika Blair

Safe Space Montgomery, AL 

“Black people will be empowered to resolve conflicts informally and peacefully, uprooting trauma from generations of violence.”

Evan Milligan

Safe Space Montgomery, AL 

“Our Black children and grandchildren would have more space to practice celebrating each other’s creativity and adventures.”

Shakhea Hinton

Florida Rising, FL

“If my policy passed within the state of Florida , it would ensure that black, brown, and indigenous communities would have fair representation in court and stable housing.”

Dialencia Cadette

Florida Rising, FL

“My policy will not only give renters the rights that they deserve, but it will also give them a fighting chance against landlords and corporations.”

Eliana Green

The Hood Incubator, CA

“Reducing financial barriers to entry to the cannabis industry and creating a community oversight committee that’s inclusive of our voices will put us one step closer to being able to leverage the legal cannabis industry to create wealth, health and prosperity for every Black person.”

Chaney Turner

The Hood Incubator, CA

“Cannabis intersects with many social justice issues that directly affect Black communities. Our policy will lead to ending criminalization & incarceration for cannabis and eventually ALL drugs. Community reinvestment must be led by impacted people, not politicians.”

Kika Keith

The Hood Incubator, CA

“Social equity and social justice policy is the key to securing generational wealth for our Black children’s children. Defining these terms in legislation lays the foundation for our FUTURE fight for reparative justice.”

Angel Pittman

The Hood Incubator, CA

“Reducing barriers to entry & creating a state-wide definition for “social equity” will create a clearer path for Black ownership in the California cannabis industry.”

James Jeter

Full Citizens Coalition, CT

“If our policy passes, we will have begun the dismantling of the 13th amendment, complete enfranchisement of the incarcerated, and the ability to create equity.”

Patrice Collins

Full Citizens Coalition, CT

“We will increase political power to advance social change that is focused on dismantling the multigenerational incarceration of Black children and their families.”

Mike Braham

Full Citizens Coalition, CT

“My people, who are held in a carceral slave state, will become agents of change in their families and communities abroad though civics.”

Clyde Meikel

Full Citizens Coalition, CT

“Rather than policy designing black life, black life would design policies that make black people citizens in democratic and political decision-making”

Shakirah Hill-Taylor

Herb and Temple. D.C.

“Giving birth with complete agency will be a right and not a privilege.”

Jackie Mason

Herb and Temple. D.C.

“When we can make the maternal health of black women important to America, we can shape a better future for black America.”

Steve Paul

Pennsylvania Voice, PA

“Black and brown communities face structural problems; the solutions to those problems require mass movements in the streets and political power that allows us to change policy and elect candidates who share our values. Unfortunately, a lot of people have been arrested and even died working toward black political power. Our campaign to protect our right to vote is part of a long history of fighting for our right to exist in America and, ultimately, a fight to secure self-determination.”

Olyvia Armstrong

Pennsylvania Voice, PA

“Our campaign will create Black voting power by eliminating deliberate barriers that have been placed, and making our elections convenient, accessible, and secure for Black voters across Pennsylvania.”

Cedric Fulton

Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition, NY

“The Clean Slate New York Act would give real people their lives back, where we can realistically envision our journey towards life-changing opportunities that lead to generational healing and success.”

Quintin Cross

Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition, NY

“The passing of the Clean Slate bill will knock down barriers preventing our people from enjoying quality of life. New York is an integral player in changing the national narrative. Passing this legislation will align with my fight for black liberation.”

Claire Cousin

Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition, NY

“The passing of the Clean Slate bill will shape black future in Hudson because it will eliminate an ominous barrier that has kept our people feeling stuck for far too long. It will create a road to empowerment that is necessary to find success and real liberation.”

Mercedes Brantley

Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition, NY

“The Clean Slate bill will shape not only my future, but millions of Black futures, by allowing a piece of systemic bias to be removed and allowing our people a chance at a real economic change. The bill will enable our people to get good paying jobs with good health benefits and make generational wealth more of a possibility.”

Calandra Davis

Hope Policy Institute, MS

“It will be a step towards abolishing debt for those impacted by the Mississippi carceral system and it will plant the seed to create a transformative system that doesn’t punish the poor.”

Kiyadh Burt

Hope Policy Institute, MS

“If achieved, incarceral systems in Mississippi will have fewer mechanisms to extract critical resources from incarcerated persons and the communities that support them.”

Renata Ousby-Stephen

Hope Policy Institute, MS

“The financial burdens imposed by the criminal system will be eliminated, affording incarcerated persons better opportunities to substantiate themselves upon release.”

Chioma Oruh

Chi Bornfree, Inc., D.C.

“Prescribe more than police trainings and explore bold, emotionally intelligent, person-centered and family-centered interventions that truly reimagine public safety.”

Renee Davis

Chi Bornfree, Inc., D.C.

“By having better screening and early intervention to continue into middle and high school, we will be able to provide people with the healthcare resources they need, sooner.”

Fari Ghamina Tumpe

Chi Bornfree, Inc., D.C.

“The school to prison pipeline would be eradicated.”

Meet the 2020-2021 Fellows

 *Illustrations by Alixa García. Follow Alixa García here.

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


Organization: Director of I Be Black Girl. Sponsoring organization is ACLU of Nebraska where she serves on the 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 ourselves 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

“In order to make Black communities powerful, I believe we need to educate our children, employ each other, and own the buildings that these activities have been established in.”

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. 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


Organization: Miami Workers Center

What’s 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

“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

What’s 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

Organization: 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

Organization:  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

Organization: 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


Organization: BLKHLTH

What’s one 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 forced 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 systems is a step forward in that direction.”

Sandy-Asari Hogan

Atlanta, GA

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

“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 future is to 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


Organization: Chicago Torture Justice Center

“I envision a future for Black communities where individual and communal healing is a critically central component to achieving human flourishing. It’s essential to have policies and laws that pursue justice as healing in order to build black political power that is transformational and liberatory.” 

Ts Candii