DSC Coordinating Committee & Staff

DSC Coordinating Committee

Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute

Lorie Clark

Lorie Clark is the Blue Ribbon High School Specialist for the nationally recognized Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate Program. In this role she provides support to high school students in preparation for college or a career, ensuring they have access to resources and opportunities while in high school. She advises the Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) program for high school students which focuses on leadership development, student advocacy, servant-leadership, voice and equity. Additional responsibilities include working with MSAN (Multicultural Student Achievement Network) students on the achievement and opportunity gaps and issues related to the school to prison pipeline (suspensions and discipline). Students are working on modifying the student code of conduct using Dignity in School’s model code and the campaign “Solutions Not Suspensions”. Lorie Clark is a graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and resides in Carrboro, NC. She believes working with youth is her life’s work and has been with Blue Ribbon for 16 years.

Lalanii Sangode

Bio Coming Soon

COFI/POWER-PAC

Janet Vargas

Janet Vargas is an organizer and trainer with Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI).  Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Janet has over 10 years of experience in community organizing having previously worked on immigration and worker’s rights, as well as youth organizing with a violence prevention focus while at Enlace Chicago in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.  She currently serves as the lead support staff for the Elementary Justice Campaign with Parents Organized to Win, Educate, Renew – Policy Action Council (POWER-PAC), an Illinois parent policy action council.  The parent-driven and led Elementary Justice Campaign changes policy and practice to end the school to prison pipeline.  Janet is also a skilled trainer in COFI’s Family Focused Organizing model, a leadership development curriculum which provides comprehensive training and organizing support to develop parent leaders and helps them build organizations to take action on the issues that affect their families. COFI’s approach builds leaders over time and is rooted in real-world organizing that the parents themselves define.

Lynn Morton

Karen Lynn Morton is an Evangelist, Psalmist, Teacher, Author, Entrepreneur. In 2002 she launched the Woman of God’s Design, an organization that empowers women through God’s teachings, and held the first “Elect Ladies” conference. From that time on Lynn has been a speaker and/or coordinator of many events to help empower the people of God. Lynn’s love for people has carried over into her professional life as well. Lynn facilitates Parent Leadership Development Workshops in the Chicago Public School System and has founded and coordinates what is now known as The Austin Peace Center. After serving five years as Co-Chair of the citywide parent organization POWER-PAC (Parents Organized to Win Educate and Renew Policy Action Council), Lynn has been granted the position of Co-Chair Emeritus. As an entrepreneur, she is the owner of K. L. Morton Enterprises, which houses her training and coaching practices. Lynn is a Restorative Justice Trainer & Practitioner as well as a John Maxwell certified life coach, speaker and Motivational Teacher. In 2017 Lynn will release her first book, “I Tasted My Tears Today.” Lynn is the proud mother of one son. She is an avid reader and loves to write music and poetry.

Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth

Kevine Boggess

Before joining the Coleman staff team, Kevine worked with Black Youth Vote in Atlanta and led the Morehouse University Amnesty International chapter. While at City College of San Francisco Kevine served as the Student Body President and Coordinator of Students Serving Students (S Cubed), a peer mentoring program at CCSF.

Community Education Project of New Orleans

Ruth Idakula

Ruth is the co-founder/co-coordinator Community Education Project of New Orleans (CEPNO) & co-director of the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal in New Orleans. She brings a deep knowledge about long haul organizing, solidarity work, cultural resistance, anti-racist education and faith-based justice work. Nigerian-born and raised, she has been a proud resident of New Orleans for over 20 years and is also a proud mother of 3 sons.

Education Justice Alliance

Letha Muhammad

Letha Muhammad is the Director of Education Justice Alliance (EJA), based in Raleigh, North Carolina. As Director, Letha is working to advance the organization’s impact in dismantling the School to Prison to Deportation Pipeline in their local school district, Wake County Public Schools, which will ensure that Black and other students of color have access to a quality education. EJA believes that the most effective way to dismantle the school to prison pipeline is to engage parents and families that are directly impacted by the issue. As such, her work includes engagement and training with parents, families and community members to ensure their access to a quality public school education. She is the mother of two school age children and one first year college student.

I Vote For Me

Lorraine Wright

Lorraine Wright is a native New Yorker and the CEO / Executive Director of I Vote For Me, a Richmond-based Non Profit. IVFM focuses on Self-Advocacy in the spaces of Social Justice and the protection of Human Rights. Lorraine earned a Masters Certificate in Project Management from the George Washington University, School of Business in 2005. I Vote For Me sits on the Coordinating Committee of and is an organizational member of the national Dignity in Schools Campaign. Lorraine is a Certified Facilitator with the Virginia Center for Restorative Justice. Lastly, she is the parent of 2 AMAZINGLY AWESOME children, who are conscientious Freedom Fighters just like their mom!

Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Brenda Shum

Brenda Shum is the director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where she oversees litigation, public policy initiatives and programs designed to ensure that all students have equal access to quality educational opportunities in K-12 schools and institutions of higher learning. Her practice focuses on a variety of issues related to education equity including discrimination and segregation, the rights of students with disabilities and English Language Learners, and ending the School to Prison Pipeline. She also oversees the Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP), which promotes parental involvement in education as a means to narrow the racial achievement gap.

National Economic Social Rights Initiative

Liz Sullivan-Yuknis

Liz works with parents and advocates to promote policy change in public education to guarantee students’ right to dignity and a quality education. She has carried out research projects to document human rights violations in U.S. public schools, and has provided trainings to parents, youth and organizers about how to incorporate human rights standards and strategies into their advocacy. She has worked as a consultant with Human Rights Education Associates and as Project Coordinator at the Center for Economic and Social Rights, where she authored the report Civil Society and School Accountability: A Human Rights Approach to Parent and Community Participation in NYC Schools. She holds a B.A. from Brown University and a Masters degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Paterson Education Fund

Linda Reid

Linda Reid, Program Manager at Paterson Education Fund. Our mission is to stimulate community action for change, we build and nourish a constituency for systematic school reform by educating the community on standards and expectations in providing quality education for ALL children. We advocate for the human rights of every young person to get a quality education and to be treated with dignity.

Portland Parent Union

Sheila Warren

Sheila Washington Warren founder and director of People Celebrating People and Portland Parent Union. She started her social justice work after she decided to stay home when her first grandchild was born. When her grandchild started school there were many times she had to advocate for her. She is now 25 years old. People Celebrating People Healing Circles was founded in 2006. The Portland Parent Union was founded in April of 2009. Sheila is a Wife, Mother and Grandmother these are her most accomplished position of her lifetime so far. She likes to keep this in the forefront to let everyone know that parents/families/students are the experts and need to be the leaders of education reform. Her accomplishments are many.

Liz Fouther-Branch

Liz Fouther-Branch is a retired educator that consults to nonprofits on equity, the arts and education. She is also a board member with Playworks NW, volunteer facilitator for Resolutions NW, as liaison with Portland Parent Union and Social Venture Partners of Oregon In her spare time she loves researching family history, crochet, creating skincare products and movement arts.

Racial Justice NOW!

Hashim Jabar

H.A. Jabar is new Executive Director of Racial Justice NOW!, having transitioned from the position of Communications Coordinator in February of 2017. Jabar is a technical professional and brings to the organization a wealth of experience in workforce development, youth organizing and programming, and also campaign development. Jabar helped the West Dayton Youth Task Force achieve its biggest win by successfully organizing around a statewide, #DontFireOHKids, to keep funding for the youth summer employment program which was cut from the Ohio state budget. Racial Justice NOW! is based in Dayton, Ohio, are Co-Chairs of the Dignity is Schools Campaign, and currently have 3 local campaigns, including: #EnoughWith TheCuffs to stop elementary school children from being handcuffed, a campaign to promote culturally relevant curriculum and culturally responsive schools, and a campaign to promote emotional emancipation (in collaboration with the Community Healing Network and the Association of Black Psychologist).

Cameron Walker

Cameron is a Dayton Public School parent and youth advocate. She is a graduate of DPS, Meadowdale High School, and has served in DPS for the last three years as a reserved teacher. As a graduate of Wright State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Cameron served youth and families in Franklin County as a youth specialist in a residential treatment center. While in Columbus, Ohio, Cameron also developed, launched and coordinated programs for Columbus Youth Expression with program focused on youth professional and personal development targeting youth in Columbus City Schools. After coming back to Dayton, Ohio, Cameron transitioned into media working for Cox Media Group. Cameron is passionate about liberating black youth and providing the tools, education and resources to help them thrive and succeed in an oppressive society, including the promotion of culturally relevant curriculum and holistic learning environments.

Solutions Not Suspensions Minnesota

Marika Pfefferkorn

Marika Pfefferkorn has led the Solutions Not Suspensions (SNS) Statewide Coalition and Campaign in Minnesota, as the Co-chair since 2014.  SNS MN has been a member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign since 2012 and has been serving its first term on the Coordinating Committee since 2016.  As the SNS MN representative on the coordinating committee, Marika serves on the Supervision, Finance & Fundraising, Exploratory committee’s, she is on the Week of Action Committee  and is a Federal Liaison for the Midwest.

Professionally and personally, Marika is committed to disrupting the status quo in education and believes real change of this type requires the voice, leadership and collective experiences of those most impacted by the School to Prison Pipeline at the forefront, driving decisions, implementing solutions and monitoring systems of accountability for transparency. 

Marika originally began this work, when she made the connection between negative schooling experiences from her childhood, being repeated in the lives of young people in the education system today. “It’s almost as if no time has passed, teachers and administrators are applying the same types of overly harsh and punitive practices today, as they were 30 years ago—it is the same mindset-only now the consequences of these practices are more harmful than ever”

Texas Appleseed

Morgan Craven

Morgan Craven is an attorney leading Texas Appleseed’s School-to-Prison Pipeline Project. Prior to joining Texas Appleseed, Morgan worked at the Third Court of Appeals in Austin and served as a briefing attorney for Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson at the Supreme Court of Texas. Previously, she represented youth in ticketing, school discipline, and special education cases, as well as indigent individuals and families in housing and public benefits cases, as an attorney for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. Morgan received her B.A. from Stanford University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Rocio Villalobos

Rocío Villalobos is a native Austinite and recently joined the staff of Texas Appleseed as the Community Outreach Coordinator. Prior to Texas Appleseed, Rocío spent four years working at the UT Austin Multicultural Engagement Center as an advisor and as the center’s Social Justice Education Coordinator. She obtained a B.S. in Applied Learning & Development from The University of Texas at Austin in 2006 and graduated with an M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction with a specialization in Cultural Studies in Education from UT Austin in 2011. Rocío has over 10 years of experience in community-based education and social justice efforts and is committed to and inspired by supporting the next generation of changemakers.

Citizens for a Better Greenville (Advisor)

Joyce Parker

Bio Coming Soon

Dianna Freelon-Foster

Bio Coming Soon

Family and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (Advisor)

Gina Womack

Gina Womack is the director and co-founder of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), a statewide membership-based organization dedicated to creating a better life for all of Louisiana’s youth, especially those who are involved, or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. In 2001, Ms. Womack co-founded FFLIC along with other members, became an organizer and began to conduct extensive community outreach efforts, recruiting participants and facilitating meetings. She was lead organizer of FFLIC’s mock Jazz Funeral with parents along with various other direct action events that gave FFLIC a voice within the Louisiana Legislature and has allowed parents to recognize their power. Since its inception, FFLIC has worked with allies to Pass the Juvenile Justice Reform ACT of 2003 which forced Louisiana to close the notorious Tallulah Youth Prison and move to a system based on treatment that keeps families at the center of their children’s treatment. FFLIC is working on a statewide campaign to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline in Louisiana and have educated many lawmakers on the ills of school pushouts.

Antonio Travis

Antonio Travis is from New Orleans Louisiana. He’s 24 years of age and works for Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children. He has also started a movement called Black Man Rising, and he has helped raised close to a million dollars for the National Youth Alliance of Boys and Men of Color where he serves as a youth reprsentative. He believes in true authenticity and doesn’t believe in sugar coating. He’s a bad man!!!

Staff

National Coordinator

Natalie Chap

Natalie joined The Dignity in Schools Campaign as Campaign Coordinator in July of 2012. In her previous roles, she acted as the Campaign Coordinator of New York Neighbors for American Values, a Community Organizer at Voices of Women Organizing Project, and the Education Reform Associate at the New York Immigration Coalition. She received an MSW from the CUNY Hunter School of Social Work-Community Organizing program in 2007, and received a BSW from CUNY Lehman College in 2006. She was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, and has lived in New York since 2004.

Contact: [email protected]

Phone: 212-253-1710 Ext. 312

National Field Organizer

Zakiya Sankara-Jabar

Zakiya came to advocacy, organizing, and policy work as a parent pushing back on the pre-school to prison pipeline. Prior to joining Dignity in Schools Campaign, she co-founded Racial Justice NOW! (RJN!) in Dayton, Ohio and served as Executive Director for 5 years. During her time at RJN! Zakiya organized Black parents to fight back against schools’ overly harsh discipline policies and practices that are ineffective, unfair and detrimental. Through this advocacy, organizing, and policy work-parents were able to win some significant victories; including a moratorium on out of schools suspensions for PK students and the creation of the ‘office of males of color,’ in the Dayton Public Schools. This work was the impetus in the new law passed in 2018 strictly limiting PK-3rd-grade suspensions and expulsions for public and charter schools in the State of Ohio.
 
Zakiya has been featured in media publications such as the Dayton Daily News, The Real News Network, Ohio Education Association (OEA) and presented training’s on race, school climate and culture at the OEA Summer Academy in 2015 & 2016. Additionally, Zakiya was featured in an article on preschool expulsions from the Center for American Progress
 
Zakiya has received the Emerging Leader Award from the Center for Community Change in 2017 and the Community Advocacy Award from Advocates for Basic Legal Equality and Legal Aid of Western Ohio in 2016. Zakiya also received the Drum Major for Justice Award from the Dayton (OH) Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 2015.
 
Finally, Zakiya has the first chapter in the upcoming book: ‘Lift Us Up! Don’t Push Us Out! Voices from the Frontlines of the Educational Justice Movement’  released on Beacon Press in August 2018.

Contact: [email protected]

Phone: 937-558-8712

Administrative Coordinator

Lakita Jackson

Lakita P. Jackson joins DSC as the administrative coordinator, based in our Manhattan office. Lakita has earned her B.F.A. in Musical Theater with a concentration in creative writing from the New School University. Her previous employers include: Harlem Day Charter School, a charter school in East Harlem where she served as a youth development worker for their extended day program, Tremor Video, a digital video technology co. where she was the office manager, and most recently New Visions for Public Schools, working as a program assistant, supporting a network leader and respective children’s first network team in their operational and instructional support of network schools across the five boroughs.

Along with her professional aspirations, Lakita is also a musician who goes by the name, Kita P, performing throughout NYC. She uses her music as a tool for healing, celebration, and to speak truth to power. Music can be heard at kitap.bandcamp.com.

Contant: [email protected]

Phone: 212-253-1710 ext. 308

Communications Coordinator

Tafari Melisizwe

Tafari is a passionate educator, brand strategist, graphic designer & photographer based in Atlanta, GA. He is excited to join the Dignity in Schools Campaign in April 2018 as the Communications Coordinator. Tafari is the owner and operator of The Indigenous Lens, a photography company that works to connect heritage and beauty through the art of visual conversation. Tafari also is a Facilitator-in-Training at AYA Educational Institute, an African-Centered educational and leadership development organization that facilitates a myriad of trainings, workshops and one-on-one sessions designed to heal alienation, heal toxic communication patterns and other wounds born of oppression. Previously, he Co-Directed HABESHA-Baltimore, a Pan-African organization that cultivates leadership in youth and families through practical experiences in cultural education, sustainable agriculture, entrepreneurship, holistic health, and technology.

Contact:

[email protected]

Phone: 612-532-8835