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AAPF STAFF

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Kimberlé Crenshaw
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.

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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.

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Shermena Nelson
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.  

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Sumi Cho
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.
 

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Glenda Smiley
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. 

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Kevin Minofu
Senior Research and Writing Fellow

Kevin Minofu serves as the AAPF Senior Research and Writing 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.

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Emily Carroll
Interim Editor-in-Chief, The Forum

Emily Carroll is interim editor in chief of The Forum, AAPF's new online publication focusing on the anti-CRT backlash and the rightwing threat to U.S. democracy. Emily has edited for a number of leftist political and cultural magazines and was previously the managing editor of The Baffler. 

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Lindsay Ballant
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.

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Heather Malveaux
#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. 

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Ashley Julien
Arts & Media Production Manager

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.

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Nicole Edwards
Senior Audio Producer

Nicole Edwards is a storyteller whose work focuses on health, technology, and social justice. She has an undergraduate degree in Diaspora and Transnational Studies from the University of Toronto, and a Masters degree in journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University, where she specialized in podcast production. Before joining the team at AAPF as Senior Producer of Intersectionality Matters! with Kimberlé Crenshaw, Nicole worked as a producer of the Munk Debates podcast, contributed to the Undark Podcast, and was producer and host of TVO's Screen Time podcast. She is honored to be entrusted with uplifting stories that further the mission of AAPF and its partners.

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Kristin Penner
Senior Research Analyst

Kristin Penner is a Senior Research Analyst at AAPF. Her work centers on visual mapping of the networks and infrastructure behind right-wing campaigns, including those against affirmative action, Critical Race Theory, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, immigrant rights, and environmental protections. Kristin speaks and writes nationally about how these campaigns are linked, their funders and proliferation of misinformation, as well as the role of media in obscuring their interconnectedness. 

Kristin graduated magna cum laude in History and Literature from Harvard College, holds an MA in History from the University of California at Berkeley, where her work focused on race, gender and colonialism, and an MA in Feminist Clinical Psychology from New College of California. She is also a co-founder and board member of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, an independent non-profit fighting for diversity, equity and racial justice in higher education.

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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. She is also a Visiting Professor of Education at The Ohio State University. Her areas of research are educational policy analysis, Black girls’ and women’s onto-epistemologies, and critical race feminist methodologies. She 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 and co-author of Introduction to Intersectional Qualitative Research. 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. Dr. Evans-Winters is also a clinical psychotherapist in private practice and the founder of Planet Venus Institute.

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Myles Olmsted
Program Coordinator

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. Outside of AAPF work, Myles is also an actor. He is proud to be counted among the dedicated and caring AAPF staff.

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Rebecca Scheckman
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.

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Awoye Timpo
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.

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Yvonne Davenport-Perkins
Operations Associate

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.

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Tanishia Williams
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.

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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. 

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Samuel Hoadley-Brill
#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. 

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Aniah Francis
Research and Writing Fellow

Aniah Francis is a Afro-Trinidadian advocate for Black girls across the African Diaspora. She currently serves as Research and Writing Fellow at AAPF. Prior to being a research and writing fellow, Aniah was a Young Scholar, Young Scholar Ambassador and a Race and Gender Fellow at AAPF. She is a recent graduate of the University of San Francisco where she studied Sociology with a concentration in Criminology, Law and Society and minored in African American Studies, Legal Studies, and Public Service and Community Engagement. Her research interests focus on the experiences of Black girls across the diaspora as it relates to structural failing around their gender, race and sexuality. She hopes to continue deepening her knowledge and developing her research and advocacy skills at AAPF and by pursuing a Phd in sociology. 

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Destiny Spruill
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.

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Alex van Biema
Research Assistant

Alex van Biema recently graduated from Vassar College where he majored in Africana Studies. Alex wrote a senior thesis on the survivance of the entangled African and Jewish diasporas in the Caribbean through an analysis of the novels of Michelle Cliff. Currently, Alex is applying to PhD programs in History and Africana Studies where he hopes to elaborate and extend the work he did in his undergraduate thesis in graduate school. In particular, he is deeply invested in plumbing the depth and breadth of the trans-oceanic nature of histories of Afro-Jewish encounters which encompasses the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean Ocean Worlds. Alex always loves talking with others who are interested in learning more about his work! 

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Ariana Thorpe
Program Assistant

Ariana Thorpe is a Program Assistant at AAPF. She graduated from Boston University, where she double majored in Linguistics and International Relations with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. During her time at university, Ariana was passionate about human rights, race, and gender, pursuing research centered on the intersection of nuclear policy and race. In addition to academic research she also built upon her skills in non-profit research, administration, and program support as a research intern for Shaping Her Earth which focused on community building, mentorship, and wellness for Black women and girls, and other women of color. At AAPF, she supports the development and implementation of program protocols and administrative support to AAPF programs and advocacy projects. 

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Tina Meeks
Administrative Assistant

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.

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Alisha Grech
Arts & Media Assistant

Alisha Grech is a settler-Canadian interdisciplinary researcher and digital artist based out of Tkaronto, Canada. In addition to writing and designing at a freelance capacity, Alisha is also completing her PhD at the University of Toronto. Presently, Alisha's research focuses on the ways in which intersectionality is employed by WOC-led organizations as a practice, in combatting the epidemic of gender-based violence in North America. Previously, Alisha has worked with several social-justice research organizations, such as the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies and the Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (CDHI). Upon completion of AAPF's summer fellowship in 2022, Alisha has joined full-time as an Arts and Media Assistant, where she works with her peers to craft the imagery behind some of AAPF's most impactful campaigns

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Dr. Gina Loring
Artist-in-Residence and Poet Laureate

Dr. Gina Loring is an artist who alchemizes sociopolitical issues into art. As guest artist of the American Embassy under the Obama administration, she has performed her poetry and music in over ten countries. She was featured on two De La Soul albums, two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry, and has been commissioned to write poems honoring Quincy Jones and Prince. With a BA from Spelman College, an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles and a doctorate degree for which she studied at USC and Clark Atlanta University she is a professor in the Los Angeles Community College district. Additionally, she teaches poetry workshops with incarcerated teens and youth transitioning out of trafficking.

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Abby Dobson
Artist-in-Residence

Abby Dobson is one of 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.

www.abbydobsonsings.com

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Dina Wright-Joseph
Artist-in-Residence

Dina is a creative activist and a director of the African American Policy Forum’s Young Scholars Program. As a trained professional dancer, she has toured nationally and internationally as a principal dancer and dance captain with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre. Her performance work has been archived in the PBS documentary “Free to Dance,” and was featured in the Smithsonian Museum’s centennial installation titled “Black Dance in the 20th Century.

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