Co-Founder & Executive Director
Kimberlé Crenshaw is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum, and the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School. She is the Promise Institute Professor at UCLA Law School and the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor at Columbia Law School.
She is popularly known for her development of “intersectionality,” “Critical Race Theory,” and the #SayHerName Campaign, and is the host of the podcast Intersectionality Matters!. She also is a columnist for The New Republic, and the moderator of the widely impactful webinar series Under The Blacklight: The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that the Twin Pandemics Lay Bare. She is one of the most cited scholars in legal history and has been recognized as Ms. magazine’s “No. 1 Most Inspiring Feminist;” one of Prospect Magazine’s ten most important thinkers in the world; and even listed in Ebony’s “Power 100" issue.
Dr. Luke Charles Harris
Co-Founder & Deputy Director
Dr. Luke Charles Harris is a former Chair of the Department of Political Science at Vassar College, 2002-2005, and the Co-founder and Deputy Director of the African American Policy Forum. He teaches American Politics, Black Feminist Legal Theory, Constitutional Interpretation and Critical Race Theory. An expert in the field of Critical Race Theory, Harris has authored a series of influential articles on questions of racial and gender equality in the U.S.
Recently, he completed Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness Across the Disciplines, a co-authored edited volume released for publication in March 2019 by the University of California Press (Editors: Kimberlé Crenshaw, Luke Charles Harris, Daniel Martinez HoSang, and George Lipsitz). Currently Luke is working on two book projects: Notes from A Child of Apartheid: The Meaning of Equality in Post-Apartheid America, and The Race Track: Understanding and Challenging Structural Racism, co-authored with Kimberlé Crenshaw and George Lipsitz.
Editor in Chief/Editorial Director
Chris Lehmann is editor-at-large for The New Republic and The Baffler, and the former editor of both publications. He is the author of The Money Cult: Christianity, Capitalism, and the Unmaking of the American Dream (Melville House, 2016) and Rich People Things: Real Life Secrets of the Predator Class (Haymarket, 2011). He's a former books columnist for In These Times (which he also formerly edited), and Washington correspondent for the New York Observer (before it was pillaged by Jared Kushner). He wrote three columns during his longtime affiliation with the Baffler: the Dollar Debauch, the Jaundiced Eyeball, and the Blessed and the Brightest, and contributed the Rich People Things column to the Awl.com. He currently is a regular books contributor at The New Republic. Past day-job gigs include co-editing BookForum, editing Yahoo News, senior editor duty at New York magazine, deputy editor for the Washington Post Book World, and Sunday opinion editor for Newsday. He is also a recovering graduate student in American history from the University of Rochester.
Chief of Staff & Director of Community Engagement
Shermena Nelson serves as AAPF's Chief of Staff/Director of Programs and Community Engagement. Shermena is an Afro-Cuban macro social worker and attorney who focuses on interventions in larger systems, such as communities and organizations, in order to effect change that will enhance the lives of individuals. A native New Yorker, Shermena holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (minor in African American Studies) from Howard University, a Juris Doctor from the University of the District of Columbia, and a Masters of Social Work from New York University. Shermena’s areas of practice include Program Development and Management, Legal Advocacy, Trauma, Loss and Bereavement.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Sumi Cho came out of retirement to serve as the Director of Strategic Initiatives leading the #TruthBeTold campaign. Prior to joining AAPF, she taught Critical Race Theory and Race, Racism & U.S. Law for twenty-five years along with other traditional law classes at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. In 2017, she was awarded the university’s highest excellence in teaching award. She was also the inaugural recipient of the Derrick A. Bell Distinguished Service Award from the Association of American Law Schools’ Minority Section.
She speaks nationally on issues of affirmative action, sexual harassment, intersectionality, multiracial politics and coalitions and critical theory. She holds a Ph.D.in Ethnic Studies as well as a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Professor Cho is cited extensively for her scholarship on critical race theory and intersectionality.
Arts & Media Director
Julia Sharpe-Levine is a writer, activist and theatre-maker living in Brooklyn. After serving as the Associate Director for 2 years, she now serves as AAPF's Arts and Education Program Director. She has led workshops on theatre and social engagement, and has written articles on politics and intersectionality for publications such as the Huffington Post and Rewire Magazine. She has a Master's degree in Applied Theatre from CUNY's School of Professional Studies and a Bachelor's degree in drama and Chinese from Vassar College, where she graduated with honors. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society.
Director of Programs & Advocacy
Glenda Smiley is the Director of Programs and Advocacy at AAPF. Her career meets at the intersection of youth-work and culture-work with a focus on creating community-based programs at nonprofits and content for education, empowerment, and entertainment institutions/solopreneurs. A native of Philadelphia, she studied at St. Peter's and Germantown Friends Schools. She later received a BA in English with a concentration in secondary education from Barnard College at Columbia University and a Masters of Science in Education from Bank Street College of Education where she received the Shapiro Scholarship and studied Leadership in Community-based Learning.
Smiley previously worked for Girls, Inc. NYC, Harlem Educational Activities Fund, Harlem Village Academy, Harlem Children’s Zone, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc., BLACK GIRLS LEAD and other youth programs. Smiley is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. and mother of a tenacious toddler, Zora.
Senior Research Fellow
Kevin Minofu serves as the AAPF Senior Research Fellow. A former law clerk to Justice Sisi Khampepe of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, he graduated from Columbia Law School with his LLM as a James Kent Scholar in 2018 where he had research interests in civil rights, legal philosophy and comparative constitutional law. He holds both an undergraduate degree in economics and a law degree from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He also spent several years practicing as an associate at a large commercial law firm in Johannesburg and is an admitted attorney of the South African bar.
Art Director, The Forum
Lindsay Ballant is an art director and designer based in Baltimore, and is honored to join the team as the art director for AAPF’s recently launched editorial project, The Forum. Prior to joining AAPF, Lindsay headed up art departments at publications such as The New Republic, and The Baffler, and (in what feels like a previous life) Foreign Policy and Newsweek. Her work has received numerous awards from organizations such as The Society of Publication Designers and the American Society of Magazine Editors, and she has served on juries for various design and illustration competitions. Lindsay has written and lectured on the intersection of politics, activism, design, and visual culture, and has been interviewed by AIGA, Fast Company, CNN, Vox, Eye on Design, Communication Arts, the Columbia Journalism Review, and 99U. Lindsay is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, an adjunct professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Dr. Venus E. Evans-Winters
Black Girls Initiatives Research Coordinator
Venus E. Evans-Winters, Ph. D. is the Black Girls Initiatives Research Coordinator at the African American Policy Forum. Her areas of research are educational policy analysis, Black girls’ and women’s onto-epistemologies, and critical race feminist methodologies. The former Professor of Education, Women & Gender Studies, and African American Studies is the author of Black Feminism in Qualitative Inquiry: A Mosaic for Writing Our Daughter’s Body and Teaching Black Girls: Resilience in Urban Schools. She is co-editor of the books, Black Feminism in Education: Black Women Speak Up, Back, & Out and Celebrating Twenty Years of Black Girlhood: The Lauryn Hill Reader. Her forthcoming co-authored text is Introduction to Intersectional Qualitative Research. Dr. Evans-Winters is also a clinical psychotherapist in private practice and founder of Planet Venus Institute.
#TruthBeTold Campaign Manager
Heather Malveaux is the #TruthBeTold Campaign Manager at AAPF pursuing her Juris Doctor from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science, a master's degree in Public Health, and a master's degree in Public Service. As a passionate racial justice advocate and educator she uses her combined expertise of public health, public service, and legal studies to educate on racial and ethnic health disparities, the political and social standing of Black women in the United States, the Black Lives Matter Movement, critical race theory, intersectional feminism, and anti-racism. She has over 8 years of experience as a facilitator of interracial dialogue on race, racism, and privilege in university settings and development of diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings.
Originally from Massachusetts, Myles Olmsted is a graduate of Vassar College, where he majored in political science with a correlate sequence in Hispanic studies. At Vassar, Myles was the Sports Editor of the Miscellany News and worked in the Office of Admissions. In 2018, he was a Summer Democracy Fellow through the Foundation for Civic Leadership, interning at an electoral reform and anti-corruption nonprofit. At AAPF, Myles serves as a Program Coordinator, assisting with organizational operations, development, and communications, alongside work on AAPF's major programs and initiatives. When the world allows, Myles is also an actor. He is proud to be counted among the dedicated and caring AAPF staff.
Shandrea Murphy-Washington is an Arkansas based youth development activist. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a certification in Nonprofit Management. She received her Master of Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service where her work focused on the career and social-emotional development of African American youth in the Central Arkansas region. She is a published poet and essayist, with pieces featured in Misguided Magazine for Millenials, Rise Up Review, and IO Literary Journal. She serves AAPF as a Program Assistant.
Media Arts Specialist
Rebecca Scheckman is a Visual Storyteller who creates art to engage and intervene. Mediums include video, drawing, graphic design, photography, and set design–multimedia savvy as a result of a career that was cultivated during a recession and the disruptive move to online and digital technology. She has supported The Laura Flanders Show, and worked with the Media Studies department at the New School. Rebecca has filmed 500+ interviews, edited two dozen short documentaries, and supported fundraiser videos for various non-profits and campaigns. She currently freelances regularly with several clients such as Brooklyn-based production company, Dakoit Pictures as an Editor and Artistic Director. Toho Publishing, a Philadelphia- based company, as an illustrator.
Creative Arts Administrator
Awoye Timpo is a New York-based performing arts director and producer. Her work with AAPF includes development of the play Say Her Name: The Lives That Should Have Been. Awoye’s New York credits include work at New York Theatre Workshop, The Vineyard Theatre, The Playwrights Realm, Atlantic Theater Company, the National Black Theater and the Public Theater. Regionally she has directed at Studio Theatre (DC), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven) and Berkeley Rep. Her work has also been seen in Edinburgh and Johannesburg. Awoye works as a Creative Director for music events and is a Producer of CLASSIX, a series exploring classic plays by Black playwrights.
A Brooklyn native, Yvonne Davenport-Perkins has worked in the education, health & wellness, and DEI industries over the past 15+ years. Her experience and expertise focuses on project management, human resource administration, strategic planning, and workforce development. As a coach and consultant, Yvonne’s work centers on creating authentic, inclusive, and equitable environments both in and out of the workplace. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Psychology from Bernard N. Baruch College (CUNY). As the operations associate at AAPF, Yvonne provides high-level administrative support across a wide range of areas, working to streamline processes and maximize efficiency throughout the organization. She is honored to be part of such a talented, dedicated, and knowledgeable team and looks forward to further spreading AAPF's message.
Critical Race Theory Research Associate
A teacher, leader, researcher, and advocate for children, Tanishia Williams has worked to redesign education for the past twenty-two years. Tanishia has reformed schools and districts to achieve increased student achievement through creative practices, innovative approaches, and reimagined solutions. Rich in experiences with marginalized students from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, Tanishia has consistently demonstrated skills in creating, cultivating, and managing programs customized to meet the needs of students with disparate achievement outcomes in roles as teacher, principal, executive director, instructional superintendent and scholar. Tanishia is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Public Urban Policy with a focus on the intersection of race and education.
Research and Writing Fellow
Alanna Kane is an intersectional activist, queer Trinidadian, and aspiring legal scholar aiming to disempower the entanglements of race, racism, and the law. She is a second-year student at the University of California, at Los Angeles School of Law, where she specializes in Critical Race Studies. Prior to law school, she worked as a paralegal in the Competition section of White & Case LLP. She graduated Dartmouth College in 2017 cum laude with a Bachelor or Arts in Government and double minor in International Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her interested research areas include suspect classification doctrine, tiers of scrutiny, and equal protection. As a former intern at AAPF in 2016, she is humbled, energized, and excited to return to the team as Research and Writing Fellow!
Dr. Nadia Ncube
Black Girls Matter Research Fellow
Dr. Nadia Ncube, familiarly known as "Dr. N," is AAPF’s Black Girls Matter Research Fellow. She is a reproductive sociologist with a special focus on menstruation. Her PhD in Sociology from the University of Cape Town, titled: "Menstruation Matters: (De)constructing menstrual preparation as reproductive labour-work in rural Zimbabwe," was inspired by her development work with her charity Save the Girl Child Movement. Dr. N has a heart for Black girls and Black girlhood is one of her areas of research expertise. She advises in the Young Scholars Program and is an artivist who uses her vocal talent and creativity to de-stigmatise menstruation and reproductive conditions like endometriosis.
#TruthBeTold Research and Writing Fellow
Samuel Hoadley-Brill is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Research & Writing Fellow at AAPF. Passionate about media literacy and integrity, he has published articles debunking popular anti-intellectual propaganda in The Washington Post, Flux, and Liberal Currents, as well as his Substack. His academic interests are in moral, social, and political philosophy, with particular focus on questions surrounding race; his current research navigates debates about the metaphysics of race, competing conceptions of racism and antiracism, and the conditions of racial justice and injustice. He received his B.A. with high honors in Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2019.
Sol A. Kersey (they/them/theirs)
Sol A. Kersey, MA, JD, is AAPF’s Legal Fellow for the #TruthBeTold campaign. They earned their JD from the University of Cincinnati College of Law where they were a Social Justice Fellow at the Nathaniel R. Jones Center for Race, Gender, & Social Justice. Mx. Kersey earned their MA from the University of Cincinnati where they completed capstone research, titled “Complicating the Margins: Demonstrating the Need for a Complex Understanding of Voter Disenfranchisement,” focusing on Shelby County v. Holder as the apex of the disenfranchisement of Black women in the United States. Their graduate and legal study used critical race theory as the foundational tool of inquiry. Prior to joining AAPF, Mx. Kersey assisted in providing direct legal services to low-income individuals, working on matters involving civil rights, education, and housing.
Arts & Media Assistant
Destiny Spruill serves as an Arts & Media Assistant at AAPF. She is a musician and graduate of Columbia University, where she studied Political Science with a focus on Public Policy. She is passionate about finding ways to build community through the arts. Previously, Destiny has worked as a production intern at Yahoo! News, and as the graduate assistant for the Transnational Black Feminisms Working Group at Columbia University. She is humbled for this opportunity to work with the team on highlighting the experiences of Black women, girls, and femmes.
Arts & Media Production Assistant
Ashley Julien received a studio arts B.F.A. (2013) from Vassar College and a design M.A. (2020) from The University of Gothenburg in Sweden. She began her work as a community organizer in 2013, campaigning with several NYC coalitions fighting anti-Black police brutality. Heavily inspired by this experience, Ashley developed a design practice of supporting radical collective imagining via conversational formats. Summer 2021, her research on conversation informed a group exhibition she presented in, titled Architecture Projects: Brunnsparken at The Röhsska Museum, that showcased eight speculative conceptualizations for a notoriously debated public space in Gothenburg. At AAPF, she uses her design practice while co-producing the Intersectionality Matters! podcast and when working on other initiatives that explore the mediation and distribution of AAPF's work to multiple publics.
A Southern transplant originally from Lousiville, Kentucky, Margot Demus serves as an Administrative Assistant at AAPF. She is a graduate of Temple University, where she earned a
Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English Literature, concentrating on areas of Black Feminist
Thought while developing her Master’s thesis. Currently, Margot is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Columbia University, continuing to center Black feminist arcs in her writing. Previously, Margot worked for State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta and Senator Bob Casey, Jr. Margot looks forward to expanding her knowledge about Intersectionality and Critical Race Theory, too, by way of working at the bedrock of both praxes— AAPF!
Tina Meeks is a graduate of University of Southern California who has balanced a career in business as well as the arts. She is also committed to helping individuals establish financial stability and works in the financial industry as an educator and licensed insurance agent. Her passion for the arts and entertainment has driven her work as a record producer, songwriter, singer and actress. Giving value to others is a key component to all of her endeavors and is the fuel for the work she does with AAPF.
Abby Dobson is AAPF's Artist-In-Residence. A Sonic Conceptualist Artist, Dobson’s sound is the alchemy of R&B/Soul, jazz, classic pop, gospel, and folk, forging a gem that erases musical boundaries. Abby has performed at venues such as S.O.B's, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Apollo Theater, Blue Note Jazz Club, and The Tonight Show (Jay Leno). Her debut CD, "Sleeping Beauty: You Are the One You Have Been Waiting On” was released in 2010 to glowing reviews. Abby received a Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor’s degree from Williams College in Political Science and History. An independent scholar, Abby’s research interests focus on the intersection of race and gender in the imagination, creation, consumption, and distribution of music. Passionate about using music as a tool for empathy cultivation, Abby creates music to privilege black female voices and highlight the human condition. She is committed to shining her artistic light - volunteering with the African American Policy Forum and the National Organization for Women, NYC Chapter. www.abbydobsonsings.com