Meet Our Speakers

Councilwoman Elizabeth Brown

Columbus City Council

Elizabeth Brown was elected in November 2015 to her first term on Columbus City Council, which began January 1, 2016. 

Previously, Brown served as an economic development manager, where she collaborated with local businesses to add jobs and encouraged new businesses to move to Columbus. As a part of the city’s economic development team, Brown helped pass legislation adding hundreds of jobs in Columbus.

Brown has experience in nonprofit service, as a graduate of the City Year Americorps program. At City Year, she worked with middle school students to improve literacy and implement service-learning projects in public schools. She has a background in state, federal, and issue politics, as well as in journalism, having been published in New York Magazine and National Public Radio affiliate WOSU.

Brown and her husband Patrick Katzenmeyer are active members of the community. Brown is on the board of The Center for Balanced Living, a mental health treatment center that specializes in eating disorders and was formerly on the board of the YWCA Columbus. Katzenmeyer serves as the treasurer to the board of Wild Goose Creative, a local arts organization. They live in Columbus’ Victorian Village neighborhood, along with their daughter Carolyn.

Dr. David Harrison

President, Columbus State Community College

David Harrison became the fifth president of Columbus State Community College in July 2010. With more than 25,000 students, Columbus State is one of the largest and most comprehensive colleges in Ohio. Through its campuses in Columbus and Delaware County and its nine regional learning centers, the college serves students from all 88 counties in Ohio, provides more online learning opportunities than any college in the state, and contributes nearly a billion dollars in regional economic impact.

 

Under Dr. Harrison’s leadership, Columbus State initiated the Preferred Pathway® program, which guarantees admission to Ohio State for Columbus State graduates, and expanded the program to include Capital, CCAD, Franklin, Miami, Ohio University, Ohio Dominican, Ohio Wesleyan, and Otterbein. He led the formation of The Central Ohio Compact, a regional strategy among K-12 and higher education leaders to help more students succeed in college and in the workplace.

Kimberly L. Hall, JD, SPHR, CCEP

Senior Vice President, Columbus State Community College

Kimberly Hall presently serves as Senior Vice President of Administration and General Counsel at Columbus State Community College. Kim joined Columbus State in 2012, and she provides executive guidance on College policy, administration and strategic initiatives.  Kim’s leadership portfolio includes supervision of the Legal Office, Human Resources Department, Equity and Compliance Office, Police Department, Facilities Management Division and the Shared Governance Office. She also serves as liaison to the Board of Trustees for the development and implementation of Board policy.

 

Prior to joining Columbus State, Kim served as Deputy Chief Counsel for Attorney General Mike DeWine. Kim has served as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Ohio Department of Education and, early in her career, she practiced as a labor and employment attorney with the Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease firm and the Littler Mendelson firm. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Columbus School for Girls and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus. She was a member of the Leadership Columbus Class of 2016.

 

Kim is the Founder and President of the Olive Tree Foundation for Girls, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring, enrichment programs and scholarships for young women. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her Juris Doctorate from Fordham University School of Law. She is a 1991 graduate of the Columbus School for Girls. Kim is the proud mother of one son, Vincent.

Zerqa Abid

Founder & President MyProjectUSA

Zerqa Abid is a mother, a social/political activist, a community organizer, a campaign consultant and a small-business owner. In 2009, she helped founding Project Sakinah, a national initiative to address family violence within American Muslim community.

 

Through her tireless work across the country and online, she created several local teams and collaborated with a large number of national and grassroots organizations. She became the first prominent Muslim voice addressing the issue of sex-trafficking of minor Muslim girls within American Muslim community.She is also a founding member and the President of Muslims for Ohio PAC, a political organization of Muslims in Ohio. She is a member of Hilliard Education Advisory Council. She is a member of Hilliard Citizens Police Academy AlumniAssociation as well.

 

In the past, she has worked at NBC News. She was the first General Manager of The City Channel of the ARY Digital Network of Pakistan.Through her overseas business ZAPSnet Consultancies Pvt. Ltd, she organized international trade and consumer shows. Her consumer show, "Expo Juniors," in 2006 was recognized as the first expo and a historic event for Pakistani children. It drew 800,000 people to the Karachi Expo Center in three days.Abid is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of North Carolina State University. She received “Norma & Wally Ausley Merit Scholarship” for being “The Outstanding Student of Mass Communications.” She is also a member of Golden Key International Society.

Tammy Fournier Alsaada

Juvenile Justice Coalition

Tammy is an Author, Advocate and Community Organizer from Columbus, Ohio, whose mission is to be a voice for her community by advocating for criminal justice reform issues important to grassroots community members and their families. Tammy has served on the Franklin Prerelease Citizens Advisory Board and was also an involved member of the Franklin County Reentry Task Force as a founding member, where she chaired the sub­committee Faith, Family and Community. She has been very instrumental in the Juvenile Justice Community Planning Initiative studying Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) as well as a Fall Fellow and Team Leader for the 2011 Obama for America Presidential Campaign in Columbus, Ohio.

Recruited specifically for her outstanding leadership and involvement in a variety of local task forces, collaborative groups, and in the faith community, The Ohio State University chose Tammy as an Outreach Specialist and Chairperson for the OSU Youth Violence Prevention Advisory Board with Dr. Deanna Wilkinson and the Community Safety Institute where she impacted her community as a member of Ceasefire Columbus. She is currently serving as the Community Organizer for the Ohio Juvenile Justice Coalition advocating for Ohio’s youth.

 

Tammy is known for her published works. Her first novel, entitled P.I.E.C.E.S.: A Booster’s Story, was released by national publishing company Kensington Publishing under their Urban Books imprint in October of 2008.

Kimberly Brazwell

Columbus State Community College

Kimberly Brazwell is a diversity practitioner and trained facilitator with experience in designing experiential workshops through the practice of mindfulness and storytelling.  Passionate service through social justice advocacy has opened doors for Brazwell as a highly requested speaker and dialogue facilitator with invitations ranging from training workshops to keynotes as far as Westphalia, Germany. 

 

Brazwell has over 15 years of experience in educational administration, diversity and inclusion efforts, wellness advocacy and community building.  She is an alum of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Interpersonal Communication and a graduate of Ohio State University with a master’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership.   KiMISTRY, Brazwell’s consulting firm, specializes in reshaping “fit” perspective by examining the intersectionality of trauma, cultural code-switching and classroom/workplace engagement.  Outside of social justice work, Brazwell is also a visual practitioner, writer and performing artist.

Rubén Castilla Herrera

Central Ohio Worker Center

Rubén Castilla Herrera is a civil rights leader and organizer/activist for ethnic identity, building community power, civic capacity and growing leadership. He was founding member of several Latino related organizations including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Central Ohio, Ohio Action Circle, Educators in College Concerned with Moving Hispanics Forward and most recently, the Central Ohio Worker Center.Herrera began working on issues of immigrant rights as State Director of Reform Immigration for America, a national organization fighting for comprehensive immigration reform. He spent time in Arizona in 2010 organizing against SB 1070 and in Georgia fighting HB 87, the anti-immigrant legislation passed there. He has been arrested on separate occasions for civil disobedience fighting for immigrant rights in Georgia, Arizona and Washington D.C.Herrera is currently an organizer with the Central Ohio Worker Center, an organization which represents low wage workers and the growing immigrant and refugee community of Central Ohio.  The Worker Center also works on food justice issues, with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a coalition farmworkers that pick 90% of the winter tomatoes for the United States.

Amber Evans

Juvenile Justice Coalition

Presently, Amber serves as the Policy and Community Engagement Director with the Juvenile Justice Coalition, organizing youth, families, and communities to transform the criminal justice system and reallocate funding from incarceration to trauma healing and resiliency services. She has helped to steer the organization’s youth and family pilot, Voices of the Unheard, and continues to lead on JJCs plan for systemic and communal implementation of restorative justice practices locally and statewide.

Amber began student organizing in 2011 with a coalition to Occupy the Ohio State University (OSU),  inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Much of this group evolved into the Ohio Student Association (OSA) and focused on a variety of campaigns from student tuition and debt to calling for divestment from exploitive practices. After earning a BA in Journalism from OSU, Amber was a part of an OSA team that successfully stopped Stand Your Ground from becoming law in Ohio, after the fatal shooting of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. This team also prevented a state takeover of the Columbus City School Board and secured the rights of Columbus families to vote for their elected officials.

 

After numerous off-campus direct actions and campaigns focused on mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline, Amber decided to pursue her Master’s of Library and Information Sciences  degree to further embed herself in communities where access to resources and advocacy were scarce. Communities much like the one she grew up in on the north side of Columbus, Ohio.

 

After working for the public library system, and as an educator with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools, Amber taught English in a rural region of France. Following the emergence of the Movement for Black Lives, she decided to not renew her teaching contract and returned home committed to strengthening her work with families on reducing systemic racial/economic disparities, and de-incarceration.  It is her belief that by securing access to education and basic needs all people may realize the power they possess to self-advocate and organize their communities.


Dominic Mendiola

For Our Future Fund

Dominic Mendiola is currently the Central Ohio Regional Director with the For Our Future Fund, a 501(c4) non-profit and Super PAC working to provide organizing guidance and capacity to grassroots and grassroots organizations to build a more vibrant progressive community. His background is in union, political and community organizing around economic issues like the minimum wage and healthcare access issues. 

Amanda Pritt

US Together

Amanda Pritt is a native of Huntington, West Virginia. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Marshall University and a Masters of Education in Globalization and Educational Change from Lehigh University. Currently she works as a Program Coordinator at US Together, a local refugee resettlement agency in Columbus, Ohio but has also previously worked as a school teacher as well as an educational researcher. 

Adrian Jones

Columbus Urban League

Adrian Jones, affectionately called “Stuff” by family and friends, was born in Columbus Ohio and raised in Lincoln Park housing project. Adrian became involved with trouble early in life being considered what some would label a “Bad Kid.” Adrian started selling drugs in the early 80s and in the early 90s helped to start the Bloods on the south side of Columbus. For his drug dealing and gang banging activities, Adrian has spent over a quarter of his life in prison and more than half of his life in the system. Not only was he affected by his choices, his family and more importantly his children were affected by his unfortunate choices.

 

Realizing his part in the tragedy that plagues the communities in Columbus, Adrian chose to come home from his last prison term a changed man. In his walk of redemption, Adrian has transformed from a high school drop out to a college graduate obtaining an Associate’s degree from Columbus State Community College and is now furthering his education via The Ohio State University.

 

For the past 3 years Adrian has worked as a Violence Intervention Specialist, doing his part to help deter the youth from his self-demeaning ways by mentoring youth in gangs, helping them obtain jobs, tutoring youth to help them become more educated, and most importantly walking the walk he talks in order to be a beacon of hope for those youth who otherwise would not have a positive example in life. In his transition, not only has he become a pillar of the community, he has reconnected with his own children to also become a father.

John Pace

My Sisters' Keeper

John C. Pace Jr. is the visionary behind My Sisters’ Keeper—a global lifestyle movement that
makes it COOL for young men to give all women and girls unconditional respect. Men who join the movement take the My Sisters’ Keeper (MSK) pledge to treat every woman and girl like a dear sister. Men who take the pledge and live by its tenets are called “Keepers.” Women in the movement choose to only date Keepers. John is working to have five million men and male teens take the MSK pledge. 

 

John founded World-Class Events Management when he was 19 years old and led the company for over 25 years. Under John’s leadership World-Class Events Management owned and produced over 20 sports and entertainment properties in conjunction with NFL and NBA franchises. World-Class Events Management became an industry leader in event marketing and product placement, generating millions of dollars in television and stadium adverting sales. 

 

In 2006 World-Class Events Management folded unexpectedly—causing a downward spiral that landed John in the hidden world of the sex industry. During that period, John operated escort services in the suburbs of Cleveland and Detroit, where he worked with 202 escorts.

 

John left the sex industry forever in June of 2009 after several fateful events that would lead him to become a Born Again Christian. Since 2010, John has been committed to reducing the supply and demand for commercial sex in the United Sates. He has written two books and speaks around the country, presenting solutions to prevent young men from exploiting women and to prevent young women from falling into the trap of commercial sex in all of its forms.

Anna Borsick

MY Project USA

A survivor of sex-trafficking and a strong advocate in the fight against Human Trafficking and women and children’s rights, Anna is a Program Coordinator at MY Project USA. With a degree in Human Service Management (non-profit), she is focused on Family and Child safety. She founded the Root of Things a Ministry to empower victims in their transition through resources, trade and skills training for financial stability. She brings her personal experience in human trafficking and gang violence to the table, along with the education to bring the two worlds together in helping the modern day slaves more effectively.

Naeem Muhammad

Native Deen

The story of Native Deen is an inspiring one that began with three Muslim youth possessing unique talents and a passion to spread an uplifting message of Islam.  Originally solo artists and active participants of their communities searching for creative ways to educate and inspire Muslim youth, today Native Deen has become a fusion of Hip-hop and R&B flavors, thrilling fans with their eclectic and unique combinations of lyrics, rhythms and sounds. The trio made up of Joshua Salaam, Abdul-Malik Ahmad and Naeem Muhammadcame together in 2000 and has embarked upon a professional career in the music industry together in order to highlight issues confronting Muslims living in America.

Naeem’s blend of heart-wrenching melodies and thought-provoking Hip-Hop rhymes coupled with his distinctive strong voice have made him stand out as a unique artist. His lyrics are a testament to his artistic and organic heritage as he sings and flows about spirituality, soul-searching, family, humanity, politics, environment, and everything in between.

Pranav Jani

International Socialist Organization

Pranav Jani is part of the International Socialist Organization.  Since the 1990s, he has been part of building movements against racism and Islamophobia, for immigrant rights, for women's rights and LGBTQ solidarity, against war and the occupation of Palestine, and for workers rights.  Pranav's writing and speeches appear on socialistworker.org and wearemany.org.  He is a professor at Ohio State, teaching and researching in US Ethnic Studies and Postcolonial Studies.  And above all, he's a dad. 

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© 2019 by MY Project USA 

Call Us:    614-905-0977

Visit Us: 3036 Sullivant Ave. Columbus, OH 43204

Mail Us:   P.O. Box 1311, Hilliard, OH 43026

Email Us:  info@MYProjectUSA.org

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