African American Leadership Forum

2015 Participants

 

Abdul Wright 

Abdul is a master teacher at Best Academy. In 2013, Best Academy was recognized by the Coalition of Schools for Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) as one of the Top 5 schools in the country for boys of color. One day he wants to be CEO of his own school! 

Alidas Temporary PhotoAlida Abdullah 

Alida earned her BS degree from Georgia Tech University in Atlanta, and her Master’s in Education from Walden University. She created her own organization called Bridge 2 Life tin her hometown of Columbus, GA. to meet the needs of youth in her community.

Amber JonesAmber Jones 

Amber is a High Honor’s student at the University of Minnesota, who will be graduating in May 2015. She was President of the Black Student Union; and, headed a group of university students that went to Malawi, African to study comparative education. 

Kidane BannaBanna Kidane 

Banna will graduate from Augsburg College in May 2015 with Honors, with a degree in Computer Science. He is the first African American President of the Augsburg student body in the 146 year history of the school, while also having served as President of the Pan African Student Association. 

Billy Charvez RussellBilly C. Russell 

Billy is an Ass’t Pastor at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis; and is a Math, Science and Language Arts teacher at Friendship Academy of the Arts. Billy graduated from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, has an MBA degree from the University of Phoenix and is working on his PhD. 

Brandon JonesBrandon Jones 

Brandon is a Mental Health Practitioner with a Master’s degree in Psychology from Metropolitan State University, and a Masters in Adlerian Counseling and Psychology from Adler University, He is a 2013 Bush Fellow, hand as collaborated on the Black Men Healing Conference. 

Cedrick FrazierCedrick Frazier 

Cedrick is Assistant General Counsel for Minneapolis Public Schools. He has a Master’s degree in Urban Studies from Mankato State, and a Law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. He has served on the boards of KMOJ Radio, North Side YMCA, and Minn. Assoc of Black Lawyers and was College Chapter President of the NAACP.  

Danielle Jackson 

Danielle is a 2014 graduate of Augsburg College with a degree in Education. She is a Mentor in the Jewels girls’ ministry program at New Salem Baptist Church, and has provided residential, out of home placement, and public school counseling to girls since 2008. 

DeVonna PittmanDe’Vonna Bentley-Pittman

Is an author of two books, “My Pretty and Its Ugly Truth” and “Lyrical Freedoms from the Heart,” she is a respected advocate of social justice issues, a  journalist, and blogger. She recently founded “The Haven Publishing Company” to enable others to write and publish.    

Jamez Staples

Jamez is President of Renewable NRG Partners, focused on clean power renewable and environmentally safer energy sources.  He is a graduate of Concordia University, with a degree in Marketing and Innovation, and is the 2015 recipient of #Green for All’s Climate Champion Award.

Jason Sole 

Jason is a former drug dealer, gang leader and convicted felon. Following his release from prison he married, earned his B.S. and Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice, and is currently completing his PhD. He is a 2013 Bush Fellow, and author of From Prison to PhD.  

Keith Brooks 

Keith grew up in South Central Los Angeles, and graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans. He is a tenured Associate Professor of Education at Bethel University in St. Paul, and is working on a documentary of why Minnesota has some of the widest racial disparities.  

FitchettKriystauhl Fitchett 

Kriystauhl has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Hamline University. She has worked as a legislative assistant, judicial clerk, and school administration manager.  

Lamar Hylton 

Lamar obtained his BA degree from Morgan State University in Vocal Music Performance, and a PhD in Higher Education Administration at the age of 30. He is Assistant Vice Provost for Student Life at the University of Minnesota.

Maher AbduselamMaher Abduselam 

Maher obtained his undergraduate degree in Finance and Accounting from Augsburg College at the age of 19. He is currently a third year law student at William Mitchell College of Law, and at the age of 20, he obtained his Certified Public Accountants (CPA) license.

Maya Buckner 

Maya earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota, and is a Social Worker for the Harvest Network of Schools. She has volunteered her time and service to the Family Partnership, People Serving People, Mary’s Place/Caring and Sharing Hands, and Twin Cities Urban Young Life.  

Mike Hestick 

Mike is a Video Specialist in the Office of Telecommunications and Media for the City of Minneapolis, was a Production Assistant and News Editor for KSTP TV for 14 years. He is a military veteran, and board member on the Council on Black Minnesotans, and member of the AALF Education Work Group. 

Nicholas StylesNicholas Styles 

Nicholas is a PhD candidate at the University of St. Thomas, completing his doctoral work in Education. He has two Master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs; and, served as a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines. 

Nikki McCombNikki McComb 

Nikki has 15 years experience, working in community and parent organizing for families and children. She is the Parent Engagement Specialist at PUC Oak Park Youth & Family Center; and, has worked in direct deliv-ery systems involving pregnancy prevention and juvenile detention. 

Tabota Seyon 

Tabota is an Employment Development and Life Skills Trainer; and, is employed as the Economic Development Manager for the Minneapolis Urban League. She operates her own business called Right on Thyme Catering.  

Tawakal Hire 

Tawakal is a 2013 graduate of Augsburg College, with a combined degree in Public Accounting, Business Administration and Economics. After graduation, he taught English at United International College, in Zhuhai, China, before returning to Minnesota to become an Internal Audit Analyst for United Health Group. 

Toni NewbornToni Newborn 

Toni is Director of the Complaint Investigation at the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department. She attended Birmingham Southern College, in Alabama, and was President of the Black Student Union for two years; and, William Mitchell College of Law, where she was President of the Black Law Students Association.  

Zeinab Jeylani 

Zeinab holds a B.S. degree from the University of Minnesota, and is pursuing her Master’s degree in Health & Human Services Administration from St. Mary’s University. She is a certified Personal Care Assistant and continues to care for the elderly and disabled while attending school.