Tarana has worked in social justice and arts and culture for more than twenty years. As apart of the staff of the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement she helped to develop hundreds of youth leaders using 21C's leadership, academics, culture, economics and spirituality (L.A.C.E.S.) training. While living in Selma, AL, Tarana worked at the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute as a curatorial consultant and special projects coordinator helping to organize the annual commemoration and celebration of the Selma Voting Rights Struggle known as the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. She also served as Executive Director of Black Belt Arts and Cultural Center where she created and oversaw cultural community programs designed for underserved youth. In 2003 she turned her focus to young women of color by co-founding Jendayi Aza an African centered Rites of Passage program for girls. That program eventually evolved into the creation of Just Be, Inc. Tarana has a life long committment to serving the causes of people of color, with a particular focus on young women and girls. She resides in Philadelphia, PA with her teenaged daughter, who is made of magic. 

Our Team

Tarana Burke

Founder & Director

Advisory Board

Lecturer, Researcher, Educator.

Camika earned her Ph.D. in Urban Education from Temple University. Her doctoral research focused on the experiences of Black educators within the political landscape within the School District of Philadelphia. Currently, she teaches Foundations of Education courses at Arcadia University, she is a frequent contributor on the web show Huff Post Live, and she is writing a book about Black education in Philadelphia. 

www.camikaroyal.com

Organizer, Philanthropist, Vocalist.

LaTosha Brown has been an award-winning community organizer and cultural artist for more than 15 years, but her life’s path was set long before it became her official job title. In addition to being a soul-stirring singer she is also a community activist in the deep  south. Recently, she received the “Champion of Change” award from the White House for her work in New Orleans as the director of the Gulf Coast Fund. Latosha is committed to using her art for social change and travels the world spreading her message of healing through love and culture. 

Lumumba Bandele

Educator, Activist, Father.

Lumumba Akinwole-Bandeleis a community organizer and educator from Central Brooklyn. He is the Senior Organizer at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's Criminal Justice Project.  As a long time member and organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Lumumba helped establish its campaign to counter police abuse and misconduct.  He also co-founded the world renowned Black August Hip Hop Project which raises awareness and support for political prisoners in the United States.   Lumumba currently serves as an adjunct lecturer teaching Community Organizing at Lehman College/CUNY. Lumumba continues to reside in Brooklyn with his wife, fellow activist Monifa Bandele and two amazing daughters. He is know locally as a the Hip-Hop Huxtable. 

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Writer, Editor, Feminist.

Jamilah Lemieux is the News & Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com, a title that cleverly covers many hats. A Chicago native and graduate of Howard University, Jamilah started the popular blog, The Beautiful Struggler in 2005, and for more than six years, she galvanized a broad national audience with her meditations on race, relationships and her own less-than-ordinary life.
A three-time Black Weblog Award winner, Jamilah has contributed to a host of publications including Essence, JET, Clutch, The Loop, Madame Noire, Black Enterprise Online and Jezebel. Jamilah recently gave birth to "mini-milah" who is current title holder of hippest baby on the planet. 


 

Norma (Iyabode) Jackson

Educator, Activist, Community Leader.

Norma (Iyabode) Jackson has been the coordinator of the Tuskegee, AL chapter of the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement for almost two decades. She is an educator in the city of Tuskegee, both formally and informally and she is a well respected community leaders. Mrs. Jackson (or Mama Jackson as she is affectionately called) is very active with several community agencies and is deeply committed to holistic health and healing practices. 

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Writer, Editor, Blogger.

Denene Millner is an author, journalist and editor of the award winning blog she founded in 2010, MyBrownBaby.com. She has written 18 books of fiction and non-ficiton including co-authoring two #1 New York Times bestsellers, Straight Talk, No Chaser and Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, both with Steve Harvey. She was also an editor at both Honey and Parenting magazines, where she is still a columnist. Denene is mother to two perfectly baked girlpies and the wife of equally talented author and journalist, Nick Chiles, with whom she has penned several of her best selling books. 

 

Professor, Producer, Publisher.

As a researcher and ethnographer, Dr. Yaba Blay uses personal and social narratives to disrupt fundamental assumptions about cultures and identities. As a cultural worker and producer, she uses images to inform consciousness, incite dialogue, and inspire others into action and transformation. While her broader research interests are related to Africana cultural aesthetics and aesthetic practices, and global Black popular culture, Dr. Blay’s specific research interests lie within global Black identities and the politics of embodiment, with particular attention given to hair and skin color politics. Dr. Blay's One Drop project recieved critical acclaim and was the subject of the 2013 Black in America series on CNN. Her first book entitled, One Drop: Shifiting the Lens on Race, was recently published by Dr. Blays own publising company called BlackPrint. 

Engineer, Environmentalist, Civic Leader.

Chancee` Lundy is a community conscious environmental engineer who is the co-owner of Nspiregreen LLC a sustainability consulting firm based in Washington, DC. A native of Selma, Alabama she uses her technical proficiency and community-organizing background to ensure communities are represented in environmental and transportation projects that affect them. Chancee was recognized as one of Ebony Magazine’s 30 Leaders of the Future and one of the Top 100 Most Important Blacks in Technology by US Black Engineer magazine. She is a writer for a devotional blog EmpowerMoments and frequent speaker on increasing underrepresented minorities and women in STEM fields.

Editor, Author, Women's Advocate.

Akiba Solomon is the managing editor of Colorlines.com and often writes about the intersection between race and gender. She is also the co editor of the critically acclaimed book of essays Naked:Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips and Other Parts.

Dr. Imani Perry

Scholar, Educator, Author.

Imani Perry is a Professor in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar who studies race and African American culture using the tools provided by various disciplines including: law, literary and cultural studies, music, and the social sciences. She is the author of More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the U.S as well as 2004's Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop and has published numerous articles in the areas of law, cultural studies, and African American studies. Perry holds degrees from Yale, Harvard, and Georgetown universities and is the mother of two sweet little boys, who will eventually take over the world. 

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