Panelists

Season One

Episode One | What is Race? Unpacking Racism in Our Structures & Institutions

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Headshot of Michael McClanahan

Michael McClanahan, Ph.D., Moderator
President, NAACP Louisiana State Conference

Michael McClanahan is best known for his political astuteness. Over the last 30+ years he has successfully worked on several campaigns. That experience was beneficial in him being elected then as the NAACP Baton Rouge Branch President. Michael now serves in the capacity of NAACP Louisiana State Conference President. As State President, Mike oversees the coordination of over 40 adult branches

and 18 youth and college chapters all over the great state of Louisiana. As State Conference President, Mike travels the length of this state advocating for the voiceless, hopeless, jobless, fighting bigotry, hatred and discrimination. His opening greeting is “there is no rest for the weary.” Of all his many accomplishments, he is most noted for his service and countless efforts to the community as the Director of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. And in initiating and organizing the peaceful press conference and protest after the killing of Alton Sterling by the BRPD. Michael is a 1983 graduate of Zwolle High School, a 1986 and 1987 graduate of The Southern University and a 1990 graduate of The Southern University Law Center.

 

Laura Adderley headshot

Laura Adderley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Tulane University, Department of History

Laura Rosanne Adderley is Associate Professor of History at Tulane University. Her research focuses on the study of black experience during the years of racial slavery around the Americas, with particular interest the nineteenth century and the era of emancipation. She teaches courses on African-American history, Caribbean history and comparative African diaspora history. Adderley is author of "New Negroes from Africa”: Slave Trade Abolition and Free African Settlement in the Nineteenth-Century Caribbean (2006). At Tulane she is affiliated with the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies, and the Africana Studies Program which she directed for seven years.

 

Cassandra Chaney headshot

Cassandra Chaney, Ph.D. 
Professor Louisiana State University School of Social Work

Dr. Chaney is broadly interested in the multifaceted lives of African-Americans, yet under this umbrella she examines the narratives of African-Americans in dating, cohabiting, and married relationships as well as how religiosity and spirituality support African-Americans. In addition, Dr. Chaney examines the representation of African- American couples and families (e.g., structural and functional dynamics) in popular forms of mass media (i.e., television shows, movies, music videos, and song lyrics). Given the increasing number of African Americans murdered by members of law enforcement, her work critically examines how racism demonstrates and solidifies via individuals and institutions in America. Given the unique sociohistorical challenges of Black families, her research provides recommendations regarding how policy can better meet the needs of Black families who experience heightened rates of incarceration, unemployment, weakened family structures, and racism. Most important, her scholarship roots in a strengths-based perspective and emphasizes the many ways Black families remain resilient in the face of these challenges. In additional to publishing over 80 manuscripts in various journals in the United States and abroad, she has presented her scholarship during many local, state, and national conferences and was a Visiting Professor at the University of Gondar in Gondar, Ethiopia during Fall 2019. During Fall 2020, Professor Chaney was appointed by LSU Interim President Tom Galligan to serve on the Louisiana Police Training, Screening, and De-escalation Task Force. Dr. Chaney is a member of the Community Relations and Internal Relations Subcommittee. They are charged with all matters related to: (1) Community Policing; (b) Police unions and collective bargaining agreements; (c) Cultural norms; (d) Law enforcement Bill of Rights; (e) Community Complaints.

 

Albert Samuels headshot

Albert Samuels, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Southern University Political Science Department

Dr. Albert L. Samuels is a native of Shreveport, LA. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a M.A. in Social Sciences (both from Southern University) and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Louisiana State University. He has taught political science at Southern University since 1999 and is the Chair of the Department of Political Science and History. During the Spring Semester of 2014, he was elected by his faculty colleagues to the office of Vice President of the Southern University Faculty Center. In the Spring Semester of 2018, he was elected by faculty colleagues to be President of the Faculty Senate. His research interests include American politics, black politics, Louisiana politics, educational policy, and voting rights.

 

Andrew Jolivette headshot

Andrew Jolivétte, Ph.D.
Professor, UC San Diego Department of Ethnic Studies & Director Native American and Indigenous Studies

Andrew Jolivétte (Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Louisiana [Tsikip/Opelousa/Heron Clan]) is an accomplished, internationally-recognized researcher, educator, author, poet, speaker, socio-cultural critic, and an aspiring chef. He is professor and Department Chair of Ethnic Studies as well as the inaugural founding Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He was previously a professor and department chair of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University (2001-2019) Jolivétte received his Ph.D in Sociology from the University of California Santa Cruz (and is listed as a notable alumni) with specializations in the sociology of race and ethnicity, the sociology of education, the sociology of Latin America, and in the sociology of family. He also holds an MA in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, an MA in Ethnic Studies with a concentration in American Indian Studies from San Francisco State University, and BA in Sociology with a minor in English Literature and a Certificate in Ethnic Studies from the University of San Francisco. 

 

Episode Two | The Black Press: Advocating from the Beginning to Today

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Sheryl Kennedy Haydel Headshot

Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in Public Relations, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication

Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D., APR, is an assistant professor of public relations at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication. She earned a doctorate in Mass Communication with a concentration in public relations from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, an MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a focus in marketing, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. Haydel has worked as a journalist and is recognized as an award-winning public relations executive. Twice she has received the Individual Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America’s New Orleans Chapter. She also serves as the director of the National Association of Black Journalist’s High School Program (NABJ JSHOP). Haydel has held both academic and administrative positions at several institutions. Her research examines the role of the Black collegiate press in the pursuit for civil rights and the use of social media today for both branding and activism.

 

Crystal deGregory headshot

Crystal deGregory, Ph.D.
Research Fellow, Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Historic Preservation

A historian and storyteller whose research interests include black higher education and college student activism, Dr. Crystal A. deGregory is a research fellow at Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Historic Preservation in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She offers a wide range of expertise on multiple topics including race, women and girls, history, culture, education, and of course, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Hailed “young sister leader” by Spelman College and Bennett College President Emerita Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Dr. deGregory’s most recent publishing includes the op-eds “Here in the Bahamas, Every Generation Has Its Storm Stories. The Tale of Hurricane Dorian Is Still Being Written” and “How the Black Colleges Beyoncé Honors in Homecoming Have Played a Vital Role in American History” for TIME, and a film review of Stanley Nelson’s Tell Them We Are Rising in the American Historical Review. A gifted orator and sought-after commentator, her words have appeared in The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, USA Today, The Tennessean, and the Wall Street Journal. She has presented widely to audiences at TEDx, SXSWedu, the Southern Festival of Books, Nashville Public Television, as well as at multiple academic and corporate spaces across the United States.

 

Anitra Brown headshot

Anitra Brown
Managing Editor, The New Orleans Tribune

The New Orleans Tribune is a trusted voice committed to speaking to, for, and about the African-American community and the issues that impact it. Anitra Brown joined its staff as managing editor in March of 2004, immediately bringing fresh ideas, talent, and skills to the publication while embracing the long-standing tradition of The Tribune to offer its readers news and information from a perspective not found in the city’s mainstream media—unfettered and unapologetically Black. A native of the New Orleans metropolitan area, Anitra is a graduate of Dillard University, where she majored in mass communication, earning a bachelor’s degree in humanities. She then attended the J-School at the University of Missouri–Columbia, where she earned her master’s degree in journalism, with an emphasis on public affairs reporting. Her early experiences in journalism include stints as a government beat reporter at The Myrtle Beach Sun News and the Thibodaux Daily Comet. She also worked as a freelance writer and full-time reporter for The Houston Chronicle. In the area of public relations, she served as the coordinator of communications and community relations for the North Forest Independent School in northeast Houston for several years. Anitra has taught journalism at several colleges and universities, including Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., the Lone Star Community College System in Harris County (Houston) Texas, Delgado Community College and Dillard University, both in New Orleans. For as long as she can remember, she has wanted to work with and for the Black press. Her professional knowledge, passion for, and commitment to the practice of journalism have made her a vital part of The Tribune’s staff, where she has overseen the expansion of its digital presence.

 

Renette Dejoie Hall headshot

Renette Dejoie-Hall
President and Publisher, The Louisiana Weekly

Renette Dejoie-Hall has spent her professional life building on her incredible family legacy. In 1925, her grandfather, Constant Charles Dejoie, founded The Louisiana Weekly – a newspaper created to fight racial injustice and inform and connect New Orleans’ African-American community. For more than 30 years, she has helped further that mission. Today, she is the paper’s publisher and president. Dejoie-Hall is the past president of the Louisiana Press Association.

 

Cheryl Smith headshot.

Cheryl Smith
Publisher of I Messenger News Group and Secretary of National Association of Black Journalists

When people talk about Cheryl Smith, they describe a woman who is passionate, committed and no-nonsense. You may remember her as a long-time talk show host on Soul 73 KKDA. In addition to being the editor-publisher of I Messenger Media, the umbrella organization for Texas Metro News, Garland Journal and I Messenger, Cheryl has an extensive career across media platforms and as a journalism professor. An award-winning journalist, Cheryl is the Secretary of the National Association of Black Journalists and president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists. She’s the former president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Florida A&M University (FAMU) National Alumni Association and the Dallas Metroplex Council of Black Alumni Associations. A graduate of FAMU with a degree in Journalism, Cheryl received her masters degree in Human Relations and Business. She has worked for several publications and she also served as executive aide to Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. Cheryl's Don't Believe the Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-thon, has raised thousands in scholarships and grants for area youth, as well as established a healthy living expo that services thousands annually; providing health screenings, seminars and programming. She’s the recipient of numerous awards for journalistic excellence, leadership and community service. A Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a life member of the FAMU Alumni Association, Cheryl is the mother to her nephew and three nieces: Andre, Alayna, Annya and Ayanna; who have blessed her with several brilliant grandchildren!

 

Episode Three | Justice For Us All: Black Journalists and Their Continued Fight for Accuracy, Representation and a Seat at the Table

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Sheryl Kennedy Haydel

Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in Public Relations, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication

Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D., APR, is an assistant professor of public relations at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication. She earned a doctorate in Mass Communication with a concentration in public relations from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, an MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a focus in marketing, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. Haydel has worked as a journalist and is recognized as an award-winning public relations executive. Twice she has received the Individual Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America’s New Orleans Chapter. She also serves as the director of the National Association of Black Journalist’s High School Program (NABJ JSHOP). Haydel has held both academic and administrative positions at several institutions. Her research examines the role of the Black collegiate press in the pursuit for civil rights and the use of social media today for both branding and activism.

 

Angel Jennings

Angel Jennings
Assistant Managing Editor for Culture and Talent, Los Angeles Times

Angel Jennings is the Los Angeles Time’s first assistant managing editor for culture and talent. In this role, she will oversee recruiting efforts and staff development initiatives. She will help guide coverage and also be in charge of internships and The Times’ Metpro diversity fellowship. For almost a decade, she was a reporter covering the communities that made up Black Los Angeles – South L.A., Inglewood, and Compton.

 

Marc Spears

Marc Spears
Senior NBA Writer, The Undefeated 

Veteran NBA reporter Marc Spears joined ESPN as senior NBA writer for The Undefeated, ESPN’s content initiative focusing on the intersections of sports, race and culture, in March 2016. His role with the company expanded in February 2019 when he signed an extension that includes reporting and creating content for a myriad of ESPN platforms. At The Undefeated, Spears regularly breaks NBA news and some of his most notable long-form work includes, an examination of how black NBA players have embraced playing for the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics, NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki on his interracial marriage, and a multimedia profile on how former NBA player Stephon Marbury found stardom in China. Spears also reported Marbury’s story for a SC Featured segment. A former chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) Sports Task Force, Spears is a graduate of San Jose State University. He completed a graduate program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, earning a master’s degree in sports business management in May 2019. Spears has won numerous national and regional awards for journalism, including Top 10 listing in the 2019 APSE (Associated Press Sports Editors) contest for beat reporting for Category A outlets.

 

Gerron Jordan

Gerron Jordan
Adjunct Instructor, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication; Anchor, WVLA-TV; Vice President, BRAABJ

Gerron Jordan is an award-winning journalist who joined the NBC 33 team in October 2017 as co-anchor of the morning news.  You can watch him alongside Carly Laing and Meteorologist Kevan Smith Monday-Friday from 5:00- 7:00 a.m. Before joining NBC 33, Gerron worked as a general assignment reporter at KTVI/KPLR, the Fox and CW affiliate in St. Louis, Missouri.  While in St. Louis, Gerron covered everything from the 2016 Presidential Debate between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, to the historic World Series win by the Chicago Cubs. Gerron is an adjunct instructor at the Manship School of Mass Communication and currently serves as Vice President of the Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists. A native of the great city of Chicago, Illinois, Gerron spent his college years in Washington, DC where he attended Howard University.  Gerron graduated, with honors, from Howard University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.

 

Jarvis DeBarry

Jarvis DeBerry
Editor, Louisiana Illuminator

Jarvis DeBerry, editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later NOLA.com) as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns.

 

Brandi Harris

Brandi Harris
Morning Anchor, WBRZ News 2

Brandi B. Harris is Morning Anchor and Multimedia Journalist for WBRZ News 2. Brandi joined WBRZ in January 2018. She’s a graduate of Southern University with a B.A in Broadcast Journalism. Her parents are also Southern graduates, making her a third generation Jaguar. Before joining WBRZ, Brandi worked as as a Morning Anchor/Reporter at 10/11 News in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is happy to be home in South Louisiana, after growing up in Baton Rouge, Thibodaux, and Gonzales. As a young girl, Harris became fascinated with TV News while watching Hoda Kotb when Hoda was a local reporter in New Orleans. Her love for storytelling continued to grow and blossom as she grew older and went to college. Harris is married to her college sweetheart, Aris Harris. When Brandi isn’t reporting the news, she loves to binge watch TV shows and spending time with her husband and family.

Episode Four | New Media, New Rules: How Social Media and Digital Media Outlets Help Expand the Black Narrative and March Toward Real Systemic Change

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 Shery Kennedy Haydel

Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor in Public Relations, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication

Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D., APR, is an assistant professor of public relations at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication. She earned a doctorate in Mass Communication with a concentration in public relations from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, an MBA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a focus in marketing, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. Haydel has worked as a journalist and is recognized as an award-winning public relations executive. Twice she has received the Individual Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America’s New Orleans Chapter. She also serves as the director of the National Association of Black Journalist’s High School Program (NABJ JSHOP). Haydel has held both academic and administrative positions at several institutions. Her research examines the role of the Black collegiate press in the pursuit for civil rights and the use of social media today for both branding and activism.

 

Jarret Carter

Jarret L. Carter Sr.
Founding Editor and Podcast Host HBCU Digest

Jarrett L. Carter Sr. is the Founding Editor of HBCUDigest.com, an online daily news blog dedicated to coverage of historically black colleges and universities throughout the United States. He is also the host of HBCU Digest Radio, a podcast covering societal, cultural and institutional issues at HBCUs. A native of Seat Pleasant, MD., Carter graduated from Morgan State University in 2003 with a Bachelor's degree in English with a journalism concentration. 

 

Tashara Parker

Tashara Parker
Anchor and Reporter WFAA News 8

Tashara Parker is an anchor and reporter at WFAA News 8 in Dallas, Texas covering traffic, breaking news and inspirational stories. Featured as one of WFAA's preeminent voices, the Daybreak anchor brings experience, vibrancy and authenticity -- capturing the attention of DFW viewers in an engaging and informative way, all the while creating loyalty. Coined as a "community-focused storyteller", Tashara is the go-to source for all things "community", as she blends her passion for underserved people and organizations with an unwavering spirit of empathy. As one of Dallas' influential voices, Tashara utilizes her platform to volunteer hundreds of hours to many organizations, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. With a dedicated following both on and off the air, the journalist is described by viewers as "someone who truly cares about people and this community." And with this mantra lighting her path, Tashara continues to carve her slate within the industry -- bringing both DFW and the best in community storytelling to the forefront. 

 

Justin Walters

Justin Walters 
Sports Multi-Media Journalist WPIX-11

Justin Walters is a Sports Multi-Media Journalist at WPIX-11 in New York. As a native New Yorker, he accomplished a career goal in the Fall of 2019 by joining the sports team in the No. 1 market. This platform will allow him to cover some of the most storied sports franchises, where his passion for writing and storytelling will serve him well. Along with those responsibilities, Justin is also a sideline reporter for CBS Sports. His contributions are for both college football and college basketball. In 2016 he was presented with an offer he couldn’t refuse; he accepted the roles of Sports Director and Anchor for WRNN-TV/FiOS1 News in the Greater New York City area. There he covered all of the New York sports teams until Fall of 2019. Prior to those roles, Justin took a leap of faith in 2013 and moved to Jackson, TN for his first on-air job with WBBJ-TV. As Sports Director and Reporter, he covered everything from high school football to the Memphis Grizzlies as an MMJ. It was the experience he gained while working for NBC as an Affiliate Producer during the 2012 London Olympics and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia that prepared him for WBBJ-TV. Walters graduated from La Salle University with a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism. He is an active member of The National Association of Black Journalists and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

 

Charisse Gibson

Charisse Gibson
Anchor and Host WWL-TV

Charisse Gibson is an Emmy-nominated journalist, anchor and host born and raised in New Orleans. She began her television career at WWL-TV in 2010 as a morning desk assistant. During her time in the newsroom she wrote for the WWL morning show, which encouraged her to pursue a full-time producer position along the Mississippi Gulf Coast at WLOX-TV. After two-years on the Gulf Coast, Charisse returned to her home state and was named Morning News Anchor at KSLA News 12 This Morning in Shreveport, La.

 

Episode Five | Liberty and Justice for All: Fighting Voter Suppression Then & Now

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Charlie Stephens

Charlie Stephens, Moderator 
Political Communication Student, Manship School of Mass Communication
Director, Louisiana Vote-By-Mail

Stephens is a political communication student from Baton Rouge, LA. He is the campaign manager for It's Time 2021, a student government campaign, as well as being the director of Louisiana Vote-By-Mail.

 

Jay Dardenne

Jay Dardenne
Commissioner of Administration, State of Louisiana 

Dardenne was appointed commissioner of the Division of Administration in January 2016 by Gov. John Bel Edwards. In this capacity, he serves as the state's chief administrative officer. Dardenne was twice elected as Louisiana's lieutenant governor. Previously, he served four years as secretary of state, 15 years as a state senator as well as three years as a Baton Rouge Metro Councilman. He chaired the Senate Finance Committee and, in 2003, was named National Republican Legislator of the Year.

Dardenne is an attorney and graduate of Louisiana State University and the LSU Law Center. He is a member of the Baton Rouge High School Hall of Fame, the Manship School Hall of Fame, the LSU Hall of Distinction and the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame. 

 

Brad Jenkins

Brad Jenkins
Co-Founder, RUN AAPI
CEO, Enfranchisement Production

In 2021, Jenkins launched #TheNew voting campaign with RUN AAPI to engage and inspire Asian American voters. Before joining Will Ferrell's Funny or Die an managing director and executive producer, Jenkins spent four years serving as President Obama's Associate Director in The White House Office of Public Engagement. From The White House, Jenkins worked on the Emmy-award winning "Between Two Ferns" interview on the Affordable Care Act. At Funny Or Die and Enfranchisement, Jenkins produced over 50 social impact campaigns with PACs, organizations, IEs, and foundations including UNICED, Rock The Vote, and the Democratic National Convention. Through these partnerships, Jenkins has engaged more than 100 million voters. For his work with Funny Or Die and Enfranchisement, Brad was featured on CNN's History of Comedy, MSNBC's Story of Cool and has won numerous awards. In 2016, Jenkins served on the AAPI Board of Advisors for the Bernie Sanders campaign. 

 

Ashley Shelton

Ashley Shelton
Executive Director, Power Coalition

Shelton serves as the executive director of the Power Coalition. The Power Coalition uses a broad-based strategy that combines community organizing, issue advocacy, and civic action all while increasing the capacity of community organizations throughout the state to sustain and hold the work. The Coalition's integrated voter engagement approach has changed policy at the municipal and state level as well as move infrequent voters of color to vote at the same levels as chronic voters in the communities. 

Shelton was the former Vice President of Programs at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, now the Foundation for Louisiana. In her role at the Foundation, Shelton managed a system of integrated, value-added programs in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Furthermore, she designed, initiated and coordinated a comprehensive policy strategy, which led to a systemic, multi-pronged approach to equitable policy development on a local, state and national level. 

 

Victoria Wenger

Victoria Wenger, J.D.
Skadden Fellow, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. 

Wenger's work centers primarily on civic participation and voting rights. In 2020, she was on the legal team of Harding v. Edwards which led to the successful expansion of absentee-by-mail and early voting opportunities in Louisiana during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2019, Wenger graduated from New York University School of Law where she was a Furman Public Policy Scholar and the recipient of the Vanderbilt Medal for outstanding contributions to the law school community. During law school, Wenger participated in NYU's Civil Rights Clinic as well as clinics with the Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the ACLU. She was awarded the Ann Petluck Poses Memorial Prize for outstanding clinical work.  

Prior to law school, Wenger worked as a communications association at the national office of Advancement Project where she focused on voting rights and police accountability. In 2014, She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a joint degree in African American Studies and Government. 

 

Allie Young

Allie Young
Co-Founder, Protect the Sacred

Allie Young is a citizen of the Diné Navajo Nation from the Northern Agency of the reservation in northern New Mexico. She is a storyteller on a mission to increase the authentic representation of Native Americans in TV, film and mainstream media by sharing the stories and traditions of her people that helped them persevere in a world where they are largely invisible, underrepresented and misrepresented. 

Young founded Protect the Sacred, a grassroots organization that focuses on educating and empowering the next generation of Navajo and Indian Country leaders, including powerful initiatives like Ride to the Polls ahead of the 2020 election. Through Protect the Sacred, she makes certain the Native voice is at the table and in every conversation, especially the voices of Indigenous youth and women. It is her objective to ensure that the stories of her people are no longer the fabricated American narrative perpetuated in textbooks and Hollywood Westerns. Instead, they will be authentic and from the original people, the original storytellers of this land. 

 

Season 2

Episode One | HBCU's and PWI's: The Importance of Both

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Albert Samuels

Albert L. Samuels, Moderator, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Southern University Political Science Department

A native of Shreveport, Dr. Samuels is the Jewel L. Prestage-Kellogg Professor of Political Science and the Chair of the Department of Political Science and History. Since joining Southern in 1999, Dr. Samuels has taught courses in American government, state and local government, constitutional law, civil liberties, the American presidency, race relations, Louisiana politics, black politics, politics and religion, international relations and comparative government. 

Dr. Samuels is the author of Is Separate Unequal: Black Colleges and the Challenge to Desegregation, which received the Best Book Award from the Race and Ethnicity Section of the American Political Science Association. He is a frequent commentator on national, state and local politics and has served as an elections analyst for local radio and television stations.

Dr. Samuels holds a B.A. in political science and M.A. in social sciences, both from Southern University. In 1998, he earned a Ph.D. in political science from Louisiana State University. 

 

Jelani Favors

Jelani Favors, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Clayton State University, Department of Humanities 

Dr. Favors is an associate professor of history at Clayton State University. He has received major fellowships in support of his research that includes an appointment as a Humanities Writ Large Fellow at Duke University as well as being an inaugural recipient of the Mellon HBCU Fellowship at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke. His essay entitled "Race Women: New Negro Politics and the Flowing of Radicalism at Bennett College, 1900-1945," won the R.D.W. Connor Award as the best article published in the North Carolina Historical Review for that year. 

In 2019, Dr. Favors released his first book entitled Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism, published by the University of North Carolina Press. Shelter in a Time of Storm was the recipient of the 2020 Stone Book Award presented annually by the Museum of African American History in Boston, the. 2020 Lillian Smith Book Award and was one of five finalists for the 2020 Pauli Murray Book Prize.

 

Monica Leach

Monica T. Leach, Ph.D.
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor
North Carolina Central University, Enrollment Management & Academic Affairs

In 2014, Dr. Leach joined North Carolina Central University (NCCU) as the first leader in the division of enrollment management after it was structurally realigned within the Department of Academic Affairs. Before arriving at NCCU, Dr. Leach served at N.C. State University for almost 20 years in a variety of leadership roles, including assistant dean for academic affairs, tenured associate professor and assistant vice provost for enrollment management. 

Dr. Leach is a 2016 participant of the Harvard Graduate School of Education Women in Education Leadership program. She earned a B.S. from Louisiana State University as well as a M.A. and Ph.D. in education from N.C. State. 

 

Dereck Rovaris

Dereck Rovaris, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Diversity
Chief Diversity Officer, LSU Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

On top of being Vice Provost for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer at LSU, Dr. Rovaris serves as a member of the Provost's Executive Staff and serves as a principal advisor to the President as well as the campus community on matters involving equity, diversity and inclusion. He also has supervisory responsibilities for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Women's Center and the African American Cultural Center. 

Dr. Rovaris earned a B.A. from the University of Kansas with a triple major in Psychology; Human Development and Family Life; and Crime and Delinquency Studies. He earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Xavier University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Illinois. Dr. Rovaris has served as an educational consultant, conducted workshops, and has been a featured speaker on the local, national and international level.

 

Episode Two | Race, Religion, and the Moment We're In: The Religion of White Rage

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Danae Faulk Headshot

Danae Faulk, Moderator
Ph.D. Candidate, Critique, Image & Politics
Syracuse University, Religion

Originally from Baton Rouge, Faulk earned her M.A. in Religious Studies with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Missouri in 2015 with her thesis "Specter of Otherness: Essays at the Intersection of Religious Studies, Feminist Theories, and Alterity." She earned a B.A. in Anthropology and Religious Studies from Louisiana State University in 2012. With interests in affect, embodiment, race and transnational feminist critique, her current research examines the relationship between misogynoir, religion, and excess that animate fat oppression, health moralism, and theories of materiality in the 20th and 21st century U.S.

 

Stephen Finley

Stephen C. Finley, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and African & African American Studies
Louisiana State University

Dr. Finley received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Rice University in 2009 shortly after joining the faculty at Louisiana State University in 2008. He has a joint appointment to the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and the Program in African & African American Studies.

Dr. Finley specializes in African American religion. His courses revolve around African American religious cultures, African American religious thought, and theory and method in the study of religion. His research expands upon these themes with an emphasis on African American religion and embodiment.

His ongoing research for book projects is in three primary areas: 1) African American Latter-day Saints; 2) Malcolm X and Gender; 3) African American Religion, Esotericism, and UFOs.

 

Biko Grey

Biko Mandela Gray, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Religion
Syracuse University

Dr. Gray received his B.A. from Xavier University as well as his M.A. and Ph.D. from Rice University in the Department of Religion. Prior to Syracuse, he was a lecturer at the University of Houston. Dr. Gray's work operates at the nexus and interplay between continental philosophy of religion and theories as well as methods in African American religion.

His research is primarily on the connection between race, subjectivity, religion and embodiment. Exploring how these four categories play on one another in the concrete space of human experience. He is also interested in the religious implications of social justice movements. 

Dr. Gray is currently working on a book project that explores how contemporary racial justice movements, like Black Lives Matter, demonstrate new ways of theorizing the connection between embodiment, religion, and subjectivity.

 

Lori Martin

Lori Latrice Martin, Ph.D.
Professor of African & African American Studies and Sociology
Louisiana State University

Dr. Martin earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Albany, a M.A. in Applied Public Affairs from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York and a B.A. in Sociology from Fordham University. 

At Louisiana State University, Dr. Martin has served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Sociology and Director of African & African American Studies. She is a member of the Roger Ogden Honors College Faculty Advisory Board and the Communicating Across Curriculum Advisory Board. 

She was honored with the Africana Service Award, Black Girls Rock Certificate of Achievement, LSU Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award, African American Culture Center Umoja Award, and multiple Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization awards. She is the author of more than 15 books and published a host of articles and book chapters on racial wealth inequality, race and education, and race and sports.

 

Episode Three | The Opportunity Gap: Healthcare, Economic & Housing Disparities in Communities of Color Part I

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Roxanne Lorio

Roxanne Franklin Lorio, Moderator
Managing Director of Programs
E Pluribus Unum

Lorio is the managing director of programs for E Pluribus Unum including overseeing the organization's signature leadership program, UNUM Fellows. She previously served as a Leadership in Government Fellow at the Open Society Foundations, a senior project manager and advisor on criminal justice, economic and equity strategies for the city of New Orleans, and a strategic equity & research consultant both in the Unites States and United Kingdom. A licensed social worker and attorney, Lorio lives in New York City with her husband. 

 

Cashauna Hill

Cashauna Hill
Executive Director
Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center

Since 2015, Hill has served as the executive director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center. She leads a team working to fulfill the organization's mission to end discriminatory housing policies and practices through litigation and policy advocacy, along with fair housing trainings and foreclosure prevention counseling. Hill's background includes successful resolution of fair housing and lending claims through administrative and court processes. Hill has written extensively about housing segregation and civil rights, and has testified before the United States Congress as a fair housing expert.

Hill is a graduate of Spelman College and Tulane Law School. In 2017, she was the inaugural recipient of the Tulane Law School Public Interest Law School. 

 

Davante Lewis

Davante Lewis
Director of Public Affairs and Outreach
Louisiana Budget Project

As director of public affairs and outreach for Louisiana Budget Project (LBP), Lewis focuses on higher education policy, monitoring legislative developments and working with advocacy groups and coalitions partners in forging a common agenda and action plan to advance LBP's policy agenda. 

Prior to joining LBP, Lewis was an elementary school teacher in the Coweta County School System in suburban Atlanta. He is a graduate of McNeese State University with a B.A. in political science and a minor in communications. While there, he served as a two-term Student Body President, the Chair of the Louisiana Council of Student Presidents and a Board Member of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.

 

Denese Shervington

Denese Shervington, Ph.D. 
President and CEO, Institute for Women and Ethnic Studies;
Professor of Psychiatry, Tulane University School of Medicine

Dr. Shervington has an intersectional career in psychiatry and public mental health. As President and CEO of the Institute for Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES), Dr. Shervington directs a federally funded trauma-informed Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program as well as the community-based post-disaster mental health recovery division she created after Hurricane Katrina. At Tulane, she provides psychotherapy supervision for psychiatry residents. She has an illustrious career in public mental health, with posts at the national, state and local level. She also has extensive clinical expertise in PTSD and trauma-informed response.

 

Episode Four | The Opportunity Gap: Healthcare, Economic & Housing Disparities in Communities of Color Part II

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Priska Neely

Priska Neely
Managing Editor, Gulf States Newsroom

Priska Neely is the managing editor for the Gulf States Newsroom, a collaboration between NPR and member stations in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Previously she worked at Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and KPCC in Los Angeles, where she reported extensively on maternal and infant mortality in the Black community. Before that, she worked at NPR in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

 

Kamolika Das

Kamolika Das
State Policy Analyst, ITEP

Kamolika joined ITEP in February 2020 as a State Policy Analyst. Kamolika monitors trends in state tax policy and provides analysis to advance policies that help achieve equitable state tax systems. Before joining the team, Kamolika worked at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, where she primarily focused on local affordable housing policies but also supported efforts to scale back ineffective tax incentives. She also spent nearly three years at Prosperity Now tracking legislation, synthesizing policy research, and organizing webinars to highlight advocacy strategies. Kamolika earned a BA from Vassar College and an MPP from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.

 

Cashauna Hill

Cashauna Hill
Executive Director, Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center

Cashauna Hill has served as Executive Director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center (formerly the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center) since 2015. Cashauna leads a team working to fulfill the organization’s mission to end discriminatory housing policies and practices through litigation and policy advocacy, along with fair housing training and foreclosure prevention counseling. Cashauna’s background includes successful resolution of fair housing and lending claims through administrative and court processes. She has been interviewed by CNN, NPR, and countless other national and local media outlets. Additionally, Cashauna has written extensively about housing segregation and civil rights, and has testified before the United States Congress as a fair housing expert.

In 2017, she was the inaugural recipient of the Tulane Law School Public Interest Law Foundation’s Practitioner Service Award. Cashauna is a graduate of Spelman College and Tulane Law School, and an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

 

Tiffany Jeanminette

Tiffany Jeanminette
Policy & Equity Director, Louisiana Public Health Institute

Tiffany Jeanminette is the new Policy & Equity Director for the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). Looking over her resume and job experience, one can notice a theme – Louisiana is part of the title of most of the organizations that she has worked at. She has a purpose and passion for serving her state and has found herself most interested in capacity building focused on leadership and community empowerment. She has most recently served as the Executive Director for 504HealthNet, a non-profit established in 2008, post-Katrina, to improve access to community-based primary care and behavioral health care services across the Greater New Orleans (GNO) Region for everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

She also serves as a part-time organizational development consultant for the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control Office of Smoking and Health. Previously, Jeanminette served as the Director of Health Policy and Governmental Affairs for the Louisiana Primary Care Association. From 2012 – 2016, she served as the Gulf Region Health Outreach Program - Primary Care Capacity Project Manager with the Louisiana Public Health Institute where she led the design and implementation of the program and provided tailored technical assistance to FQHCs in Mississippi and Florida. Jeanminette is a certified Project Management Professional with over 13 years of experience in Public Health programming that includes strategic partnership management, health equity and healthcare system transformation. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Louisiana State University and a Master of Public Administration, concentrating in Nonprofit Organizational Development, from Louisiana State University’s E.J. Ourso College of Business.