Meet the Planning Committee

Dr. Shemariah J. Arki​


Founder + Program Director 

Professor of Pan African Studies 

Kent State University

"If we are going to heal, then let it be glorious." - Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter


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Dr. Heather E. Burton


Chair, Board of Directors, Ellipsis Institue for Womxn of Color in the Academy 

Interim Co-Director, African and African American Studies Minor 

Senior Director for Faculty and Institutional Diversity, Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity 

Adjunct Faculty, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences 

Case Western Reserve University 

“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right-side up again.” - Sojourner Truth


Dr. Sherrae M. Mack


Conference Operations Strategist

Visiting Campus & Community Lecturer - Black Studies

Cleveland State University

“We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” - Angela Davis


Shaina Muñoz, MSSA, MNO


Community Impact Strategist 

Strategic Advisor - State Infrastructure Project

“To survive the Borderlands you must live sin fronteras be a crossroads" - Gloria E. Anzaldúa

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Colette Ngana, MA


Chair, Partnerships and Fundraising

Doctoral Candidate

Department of Sociology 

Case Western Reserve University 

" person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended." - Alice Walker


Erin K. Phelps, MA

Campus Co-Chair 

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Pierce College 

Doctoral Candidate, Case Western Reserve University 

Yoga Instructor, 200 Hour RYT 

"Black folks have been struggling and resisting on this land for at least 400 years. Our ancestors already started the work. Catch up." - Charlene A. Carruthers


Selina M. Pagán


Community Co-Chair 

President of the Young Latino Network

Economic Development Coordinator, Metro West CDC

"Yo soy la vida, la fuerza, la mujer (I am life, I am strength, I am woman).- Julia de Burgos


Katarina Smiley, BS


Community Ambassador, DigitalC

"When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid." - Audre Lorde