Meet the Fellows

The Black to the Future Action Fund is pleased to introduce the 2021-22 Black to the Future Public Policy Institute Fellows. The new class is diverse in experience and background and represents 9 organizations working across Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. The group includes social entrepreneurs, educators, healthcare workers, organizers, and more. Fellows will work together in teams to transform Black communities into constituencies that wield independent, Black political power. We are excited to introduce this cohort of brilliant changemakers!

This year, we asked fellows to reflect upon the following question:

“If your policy passed, how would it shape your Black future?”

Hear their answers and learn more about the fellows, below.

*Illustrations by Alixa García. Follow Alixa García here.

Safe Space Montgomery

Alabama

Amerika Blair

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

Evan Milligan

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

The Hood Incubator

California

Eliana Green

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

Chaney Turner

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

Kika Keith

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

Angel Pittman

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

Full Citizens Coalition

Connecticut

James Jeter

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

Patrice Collins

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

Mike Braham

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

Clyde Meikel

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

Florida Rising

Florida

Shakhea Hinton

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

Dialencia Cadette

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

HOPE Policy Institute

Mississippi

Calandra Davis

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

Kiyadh Burt

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

Renata Ousby-Stephen

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

Hudson Catskill Housing Coalition

New York

Cedric Fulton

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

Quintin Cross

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

Claire Cousin

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

Mercedes Brantley

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

Pennsylvania Voice

Pennsylvania

Steve Paul

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

Olyvia Armstrong

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

Chi Bornfree, Inc.

Washington D.C.

Chioma Oruh

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

Renee Davis

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

Fari Ghamina Tumpe

“The school to prison pipeline would be eradicated.”

Herb and Temple

Washington D.C.

Shakirah Hill-Taylor

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

Jackie Mason

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