The African American Policy Forum's Fellowship Program provides meaningful research and skills-based opportunities to dedicated individuals interested in community organizing, policy analysis, nonprofit operations, and the law. This highly competitive program yields fellows from around the world with a diverse range of backgrounds and professions who bring their skills and experience to AAPF’s work.

2021 Summer Fellows

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Alethia Russell

Alethia Russell completed her M.A. in Higher Education Administration at The University of Alabama, and also received a B.A. in Journalism from Auburn University. Currently, she is a doctoral student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program at Indiana University where she serves as a Project Associate for the Center for Postsecondary Research, and a graduate intern with Undergraduate Admissions.

Alex van Biema

Alex van Biema is a rising senior at Vassar College, where he is an Africana Studies Major. At Vassar, Alex is a member of the Asian American Studies Working Group, which organized a conference in April 2021 focused on Critical Ethnic Studies with speakers from a variety of fields, and which successfully advocated for Vassar to hire a professor on a tenure-track line in Asian-American Studies. Alex is passionate about Black, Jewish and Indigenous critical theory and poetics, and is writing a senior thesis on the survivance of the Afro-Jewish diaspora in the Caribbean through an analysis of the novels of Michelle Cliff.

Ashley Julien

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.  Through her design education, Ashley developed her activism into a design practice supporting radical collective imagining through conversational formats. Most recently, she presented in a group exhibition titled Architecture Projects: Brunnsparken at The Röhsska Museum, which showcased eight speculative conceptualizations for how one debated public space in Gothenburg might one day look.

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Cécile Yézou

Cécile Yézou is a doctoral candidate in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass-Amherst. Her dissertation analyzes sexual violence against Black women as a weapon of white supremacy at the turn of the 20th century in the U.S. South. Her interdisciplinary research involves Oral History, Black Feminist Thought, and Trauma Studies.  She is also involved in archiving, as she sees archives as important to the historicization of Black women's trailblazing activist and theoretical work.

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Endiya Griffin

Endiya Griffin is a second-year Bachelor's student studying visual anthropology and journalism at the University of Southern California and earned an Associate's Degree in sociology at the age of 17. She is an educator, artivist, curriculum developer, and published journalist who has previously worked with organizations such as TED, March for Our Lives, and Teen Vogue. Griffin holds an abolitionist politic and is interested in researching how Black women within US prisons utilize rival geographies and spatial reclamation to resist incarceration. Within AAPF, she serves as a liaison between the Black Girls Matter report fellows and the Young Scholars Program.

E. Gale Greenlee

E. Gale Greenlee, Ph.D. is an AAPF Summer Fellow working on the Black Girls Matter project.
A native North Carolinian, Gale is a writer, Black feminist legacy keeper, and a children’s literature and Black Girlhood Studies scholar. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master's in Africana Women’s Studies from Clark Atlanta University, and a doctorate in African American literature from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Gale has taught at Berea College, and she recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Ohio State University where she curated courses in Black & Latinx Girlhood Studies and Women of Color: Art, Justice and Joy.

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Geanina Riley

Geanina Riley holds a B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Art & Social Practice from Pace University. She is a multi-disciplinary mixed media queer artist, facilitator, and student committed to social justice and community healing. She was the Art & Media Fellow in the 2021 summer cohort.

Layla West

Layla West (she/her) is a dedicated student and a creative scholar whose work combines bright-eyed curiosity with a fierce spirit of advocacy. During her undergrad career at Howard University, her English major inspired a departure from studying Latin and Ancient Greek and Layla began translating Egyptian Hieroglyphs. This interest in literature, language, and power gained new dimension with a 2017 Fulbright fellowship in South Africa, after which she sought to make a scholarly contribution to the struggle by pursuing a Masters in Africana Studies at NYU. Layla hopes that advocacy through social/intellectual networks along with cutting-edge interdisciplinary scholarship will positively address the humanitarian issues facing Black queer women specifically and society writ large.

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Dr. Leila Kamali

Dr. Leila Kamali’s research focuses on African American and Black British literature, diaspora, cultural memory and aesthetics. Prior to coming to AAPF she held research and lecturing roles at the University of Liverpool, Goldsmiths University of London, and King’s College London. Her book The Cultural Memory of Africa in African American and Black British Fiction, 1970-2000 (Palgrave 2016), was named “boldly progressive” and “entirely original and provocative” by Professor Michelle M. Wright and Professor Paul Gilroy respectively. Her articles have been published in Callaloo, Obsidian, Kalfou, and Atlantic Studies, and she has chapters on ‘Diaspora’ in the volume Twenty-First Century Literary Fiction (Routledge 2019), and on Black Queer Poetry in With Fists Raised (Liverpool UP 2021).

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Nadia Ncube

Nadia Ncube's doctoral dissertation “Menstrual Matters: (De)constructing menstrual preparation as reproductive labour-work in rural Zimbabwe” is under examination at the University of Cape Town. Nadia is a menstrual activist and interdisciplinary sociology scholar who focuses on the sociology of health and illness, specifically female reproduction and narrative studies. In 2015, Nadia founded a non-profit organization in Zimbabwe which provides free sanitary wear to rural girls. She conducts intersectionality research that debunks the notion of a monolithic black girlhood. She has an article that portrays the protracted refugeeism of refugee migrants in the Tongogara camp Refugee Camp.

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Neonu Jewell

Neonu Jewell is committed to creating positive transformation in the world. My mission is to engage, educate, and empower people through academic scholarship and practical approaches for equity, inclusion, social justice, and interreligious engagement. I have a multi-disciplinary background with over 20 years of legal, corporate, academic, and diversity and inclusion experience. As a Ph.D. student at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University, my research focuses on the role and relationship of race, law, equity, and interfaith engagement in African American social movements.

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Carl "CJ" Greer

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Carl “CJ” Greer is a second-year doctoral student in the Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, he completed a dual degree in Social Work and Educational Leadership & Policy at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He wishes to assist communities by establishing social reform in the education sector through community organizing, youth empowerment, and identity development. His research interest lies at the intersection of school-centric spaces and community-centric spaces working collaboratively with one another to uplift our young people.

Tanishia Williams

Tanishia Lavette Williams a current Ph.D. candidate in Public Urban Policy at The New School, Tanishia has spent the last twenty-two years as an educator in New York City, Washington, DC, and Newark, as a teacher, principal, executive director, and instructional superintendent. Williams is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice at the Rutgers University School of Education and Researcher with the Center for New York City Affairs.