board of directors
shanequa Levinis an award-winning social justice leader, motivational speaker, and author who believes that it is important to step up and advocate for those that need one's strength and voice. She is also a registered ordained wedding officiant. Shanequa founded the Long Island chapter of Mocha Mom's a support group for mothers of color, and served as chapter president, regional director, and the National Parent Nation Coordinator. She is the former director of Every Child Matters in NY, an advocacy and electoral engagement organization on behalf of kids. Currently, she is a Community Advisor for the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, a Co-Chair for the Long Island Million Women Community, a Community Advisor for Hofstra University's Healthcare Entrepreneurship Community Challenge, a member of The State of Black Long Island Equity Council through the Urban League of Long Island, Jack & Jill of America Suffolk County Chapter where she served as the chapters Legislative Chair, and the creator of culturally relevant Facebook groups. In the past, she has been involved in organizations like Girl Scouts, where she was a troop leader for 6 years; the Huntington Station Enrichment Center, where she was a board member; and the National Association of Mothers' Center, where she was a facilitator.
Shanequa gives her all to campaigns that focus on marginalized community members. She has spoken at various events across the country, facilitated countless workshops on advocacy and voter engagement in early learning centers, community groups, training programs, and colleges. She meets with community members one-on-one to provide them with guidance during their journey to become lifelong advocates. She works alongside prominent politicians, organizers, and individuals impelling change. Creating and getting involved with grassroots justice campaigns, participating in speaking circuits, and lobbying in Albany and Washington, DC led her to be instrumental in grassroots advocacy for legislative changes to Early Care and Learning, Raise The Age, Paid Family Leave Insurance, Bail Reform, and policies that protect safety net programs which allow every child to thrive. Along with other leaders, her contributions helped give more access to affordable and quality child care; sixteen and seventeen-year old's the right to be tried and housed with youth instead of adults in the criminal justice system; moms, dads, military, adoptive parents, and caretakers the right to have their job secured while taking care of a loved one; and allowed people to not have bail as a barrier while trying to prove their innocence.
After working for over a decade in the non-profit sector to advocate for mothers and children, Shanequa noticed the lack of diversity in non-profit social movements. She felt these movements themselves were segregated; everyone was working to do good with people from their own ethnicity only. To build cultural bridges, educate people on issues that affect them, celebrate diversity, unite women, and create unified advocacy opportunities, she founded the 501(c)(3) Women's Diversity Network, aka WDN, where she serves as the Chief Executive Officer. WDN has become a social movement organization practicing transformative justice processes based on group leadership where marginalized lives are centered. The mission of the WDN is to connect and mobilize women of different backgrounds to create positive change through collective work and a unified sisterhood. Through WDN, she has created the Health Equity Task Force, which focuses on addressing Maternal Mortality. She's also created a yearly summit that brings diverse people together to learn about social justice issues and celebrate cultures.
Shanequa also convenes a Black-led, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational coalition of organizations, activists, and community members who are working to ensure genuine public safety for all Long Island communities called LI United to Transform Policing & Community Safety. LI United's mission is to transform public safety by divesting from policing and investing in our communities.
After surviving childhood poverty, dealing with drug-addicted parents, an incarcerated father, and having a teen mom, she understands the importance of using her voice to help others break negative generational cycles. She values loyalty, collaboration, justice, optimism, and honesty. Shanequa has written a book titled Poverty's Phoenix, which sheds light on the child's perspective of growing up in suburban poverty.
Shanequa attended Lincoln & Hofstra universities in pursuit of a bachelor's degree. She has certificates from Adelphi University for Organizational and Community Leadership; Social Movement Technologies for Digital Organizing; the University of Connecticut for Workplace Empowerment Leadership & Skills; Rockwood Institute for The Art of Leadership; and the National Association of Mothers' Centers for Group Facilitation. She currently resides on Long Island with her supportive husband and two courageous children.
Erika Deansis a Licensed Social Worker, studying for her doctorate in Education at LIU. Erika has a strong commitment in servicing the needs of disadvantaged youth and their families. Her professional expertise includes networking, collaboration, written and oral communication, engaging diverse populations, policy, juvenile justice reform and facilitation, while displaying immense strength in staff support, management, organizational skills, coordinating and cultural diversity. Her experience began working in disenfranchised neighborhoods coordinating the Street Outreach Project, where she assisted adolescents who ran-a-way and/or were homeless; reaching out to them on the streets, in schools and at the local correctional facility. Following that, she began working as a Substance Abuse Therapist providing treatment to adolescents and adults who were also diagnosed with mental health disorders. She has also worked part-time in a local alternative high school providing individual and group counseling.
Currently, Erika works for Nassau County Government under the direction of the Probation Department as the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Coordinator (JDAI). Erika works diligently on a macro level advancing Juvenile Justice Reform on a national, state and local level utilizing the research methodology to evaluate policies and inform direct practice. She assesses the efficacy of existing policies, programs and practices, identifying gaps to decrease disproportionate minority contact; oversees and assist in creating alternatives to detention to lessen the need for incarceration in Nassau County’s Juvenile Justice System. Erika facilitates the JDAI Collaborative and co-chairs many of the JDAI subcommittees. She also researches how to decrease Racial and Ethnic Disparities, oversees the efficacy for the Conditions of Confinement in the Juvenile Detention Center, and provides stakeholders with evidence-based alternatives to detention while utilizing data to drive change within the County. Erika continues to enhance her career with professional development trainings such as Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Crossover Youth Practice Model facilitator training and the Racial and Ethnic Disparities Certificate Program, becoming a fellow of the University; Moral Recognition Facilitator Therapy (MRT), an Evidence Based Programming (EBP) provided by Correctional Counseling; Unraveling Racism provided by Erase Racism and EBP Thinking for a Change (T4C) provided by the US Department of Corrections, just to name a few. For the past four years, Erika has supervised social work undergraduate and graduate students in the field while they complete their recommended hours for graduation. She has taken a keen interest in mentoring up and coming students in the field so much that she pursued another avenue recently, becoming an adjunct professor at Nassau Community College teaching Intro to Social Work in the Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work Department.
In Erika’s professional and personal life she is also involved in several projects which included the Village of Hempstead Mayors Anti-violence Taskforce, current member of Hands Across Hempstead Collaborative hosted by Hempstead High School, Village of Hempstead Community Land Trust Board Member; The NYS Partnership for Youth Justice, Community Coalition against Youth and Gang Violence, Nassau County Police Department District 2 Commissioner’s Community Council Member; Community Leader, former Board Member and Planning Committee for 3’s for Kay Foundation, Nassau/Suffolk Association for Black Social Workers (NABSW), the Urban League of LI, State of Black Long Island Equity Council (SOBLI) and the Village of Hempstead Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPIRI) Justice Planning Committee, which led to the opportunity of becoming a community liaison at the Community Empowerment. Erika is currently earning her doctorate degree in Interdisciplinary Educational Studies from LIU.
Kathryn Abbatiellohas dedicated her life’s work to championing the needs of children with disabilities and their families. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education N-6 with a minor in Sociology and her M.S. in Early Childhood Special Education, Summa Cum Laude, from Adelphi University. Previously employed by the NYC Board of Education, Kathryn has spent the past 12 years working as an independent contractor within the NYS Early Intervention Program. As an Applied Behavior Analyst, she provides in home therapy to young children with Autism. In this capacity, she leads teams of related professionals in their mission of identifying and fulfilling the needs of the children and families they serve. In conjunction with local school districts, she also provides direct service to students and behavior consultation to classroom teachers, ensuring the successful inclusion of preschoolers with disabilities across a diverse array of early educational settings.
In her personal life, Kathryn continues the work of educating and empowering families to advocate for themselves and their children, helping to connect them with community resources to support their needs. She is steadfastly committed to increasing diversity and equity in access to educational opportunities and healthcare, especially among the most marginalized. Within her own community, she has successfully lobbied for increased fairness and transparency in educational practices, resulting in the implementation of more comprehensive, formative assessments.
Kathryn volunteers her skills and time, working alongside organizers and community leaders, in support of candidates for elected office, who support progressive policy changes. She actively campaigned in support of Autism Action NY and continues to publicly promote the passage of the New York Health Act. Kathryn is a founding member of NY02 Indivisible and a professional member of The Council for Exceptional Children and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Kathryn enjoys traveling to new places, discovering new cuisines, and spending her free time with her husband of 25 years, her two adult daughters, and her three fun-loving dogs.
Charlie Rogers,Esq is the Founder of Partners in Possibility an organization devoted to the personal development of girls and women by coaching them to tell their lived experiences to effect change, increase understanding, and promote healing. Charlie was an NYPD Police Officer prior to becoming an attorney, and along the journey spent many years as an educator on the college level. She draws upon each of her professional experiences in her work as an activist.
In 2011, Charlie co-created the public affairs radio talk show Tender Talk Tough Topics, a unique broadcast focusing on the tough topics that so many people refuse to talk about, but so desperately need to talk about such as domestic abuse/gender violence, police brutality, racism, bullying, and income inequality, to name a few. Additionally, in 2012, Charlie created the “Inside/Out" approach to confident communication which is a tried and proven method of combining the lived experience and the art of public speaking which in effect allows individuals to build the skills necessary for confident communication while simultaneously breaking through self-limiting beliefs. The Inside/Out approach focuses on the inner self-imposed obstacles which preclude many individuals from delivering a powerful speech, the individual is then free to speak without limitation, learn about herself, deliver a powerful speech, and more importantly live a powerful life.
Charlie's lifelong mission is to speak to as many people, in as many places, in order to raise the level of consciousness around intimate partner abuse and the overall disparate treatment of women, so that no one has to suffer in silence and we all live life experiencing equality and respect..
Favorite quote: “To Thine Own Self Be True.” Favorite word: AUTHENTIC
Aisha Alexis specializes in art therapy with a passion to teach and empower youth and families to move in the direction they truly desire. She is a driven leader with a focus on coaching, motivating, and mentoring youth towards a better future. With a Masters in social work and 5+ years of experience, she has pioneered continuous educational, personal, and social adjustment methods while counseling youth and families. In affiliation with many social workers associations, she is a strong advocate for policy change and cultural awareness for society. Aisha is also connected with pivotal urban community organizations; her collaboration with community leaders play an instrumental role in developing and implementing initiatives for improving the lives of families.
Aisha’s extensive professional work includes many years of mentoring adolescents within the judicial system. She counsels troubled youth through psychotherapy sessions to bring about positive change in their behavior. She is also a voice for the youth, acting as their legal representation in the court system. Aisha is a proven innovator in her field. She has built and spearheaded many programs for numerous clients; customizing each plan, based on individual client assessments. She demonstrates, daily, what it means to be a trailblazer of holistic wellbeing through her focus on youth and family mental health. She builds up the community by empowering the people in it. Aisha knows how to create healthy therapeutic alliances while maintaining her professionalism. This critical skill allows her to understand families and guide them towards a more productive way of life. No matter what role she has, her goal is to foster positive development, cultivate unity and encourage lifelong success among the community.
Donna Raphael has a Masters in clinical psychology and 20+ years of managing high impact youth development and empowerment programs. She inspires positive social and community impact in the areas of private and public partnerships and relationships in support of youth and at-risk populations. Donna is a successful, results focused strategist, networker and influencer, cultivating relationships internally and externally that amplify positive impact. Transparent and high integrity leader with 20+ years of progressive and extensive experience in managing high impact youth development and empowerment programs. Solid, hands on budget management skills. Inspires and coaches a diverse team to champion positive social and community impact in the areas of private and public partnerships and relationships in support of youth and at-risk populations. Exceptional verbal and written communication skills with a professional and ethical approach to managing people and projects. Compliance and Cultural Competency Certification.
El Schneideris a proud member representative of the Women's Diversity Network Board. As a social worker, they firmly embody the values of social justice, action, community, and service that guide both their profession and the WDN. El received their Masters of Social Work from Stony Brook University in 2018 and a bachelors of arts from Hunter College in 2016. Through their educational and professional life, El has worked for Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Stony Brook LGBTQ* Services, the LGBT Social Science and Public Policy Center, and Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell. Their breadth of experiences has prepared them to be an effective agent if change in their community.
Farrah mozawallahas a proven track record of dedication to creating a more inclusive Nassau County. She is the Executive Director of The Office of Asian American Affairs of Nassau County, the first Muslim to be appointed as a department head in Nassau County. This department elevates the social, political, and economic issues of the Asian community by strengthening how government addresses those concerns. She spearheads community building through the various cultural events she organizes for the county such as: Ramadan Iftar, Independence Day Celebrations, Diwali, and Lunar New Year. She organizes forums and MWBE events to help build bridges between government and residents. She is also a member of the County Executive’s Task Force on Domestic Violence and on the County’s Census Count Committee.
Prior to this, she was a teacher at Lynbrook High School and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Science and a master’s degree in Education. In addition to her accomplishments as a teacher and government liaison, she is committed to serving the community. She was instrumental in Eid being recognized as a school holiday in Valley Stream. Farrah is a member of Salam Sholom and a school board member for Hamza Academy, a private school located in Valley Stream. Her most important accomplishment is that she is a proud mother of 6 children.
irma solisis the Suffolk Chapter Director for the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she organizes legal, educational, and community outreach in Suffolk County on issues ranging from police accountability to education reform. Solis has more than 15 years of experience leading campaigns to address issues affecting communities in upstate New York, Brooklyn and Long Island. These include racially targeted housing code enforcement activities in the Town of Brookhaven, wage theft by unscrupulous employers, violations of the Fair Housing Act, day laborers right to seek work in public spaces, Latino students’ right to public education and discriminatory practices by the Suffolk County police.
Solis has worked for New York State Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds Bureau, Central American Legal Assistance, Workplace Project and Long Island Housing Services. She has consulted for Latino Justice and other social justice organizations as community organizer and trainer with a focus on social and racial justice, leadership and organizational development. Solis received her law degree from University at Buffalo School of Law and her BA from Binghamton University.
Jazmyne Archeris a Client Services Manager at SEO Career where she helps Black, LatinX, and Native American students secure internships with fortune companies, and corporate and banking partners. She graduated the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors in Communication & Behavior and a double minor in Consumer Psychology and Spanish. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, she worked in a boutique sales and marketing agency managing the Beauty Supply Sales, Field Marketing & Brand Ambassador Programs for Sundial Brands. She currently does consulting for Black Girl Digital, a premiere black female digital marketing and influencer agency, where she connects black female influencers with brands. She is a mother to an adorable 3 year old and currently resides in Long Island, NY.
Monique Powell received her B.S. degree in Business Management at SUNY Old Westbury and her Master’s in Business Administration and Master’s in Public Administration from Long Island University- Brooklyn Campus. She has a School Building Leader license and Career and Technical Education Business Teacher Certification grades 7-12. She is currently working as a Consultant assisting organizations with building their capacity, working closely with non-profits, community-based organizations, and educational institutions.
Monique takes pride being born and raised in Nassau County, Long Island and spends most of her time raising her children and improving the surrounding communities of which she resides. She is a strong advocate for youth development in her community, economic equality, and quality education. She has served as a high school business teacher, middle school history teacher, middle school ELA teacher, adjunct professor, operations coordinator, and Director of Operations (Principal) in the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. There she consistently worked with “keeping the main thing the main thing!”. In addition to, creating a learning environment that meets all learners where they are and provide them with the tools and resources needed for their success in college, in a career, and in life. Her professional interests focus on developing organizations that treats education/ services as a product in order to optimize their resources and maximize their efforts to build capacity.
In addition to her 10+ years in education, she has worked for the Nassau County Youth Board, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, U.S. Census Bureau, Briarcliff College, and AKA Daycare, Inc to name a few. She has extensive knowledge in non-profit management, educational leadership, grant writing/ administration, operations, and program development, new school start-up and business formation and coaching.
Currently she has started her own consulting firm called the Business Garden working with individuals, organizations, and businesses to improve their inputs, resources, outputs, and outcomes. A nonprofit called To Bring More, Inc. in Freeport, N.Y. dedicated “to bringing more” to the communities of Long Island providing workforce development, community development, and economic development programs. This year, Monique opened The CLOUD Center in Roosevelt, N.Y. a community center offering childcare services, event space rental and community programs.
When not working on the community, her businesses, her educational gains, she loves to spend time with her children and family.
Pascale Jean-Noel is the Director of Training for the ACT Institute at the Center for Evidence-Based Practices. Working with the New York State Office of Mental Health, she helps design coordinate and facilitate extensive training curricula in treatment planning, cultural Humility and awareness, engagement, working with mandated clients, and ACT core daily principles based on person centered recovery-oriented principles. The training curricula are used by 108 ACT teams, consisting of over eight-hundred people collectively, throughout the state. Pascale is also an adjunct lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work and Fordham University School of Social Work. At Columbia University, she teaches Adult Psychopathology and Wellness in a residential and on-line setting. At Fordham University, she teaches Assessment and Diagnosis and Clinical Seminar.
Pascale Jean-Noel received her BSW and master’s degree from Adelphi University School of Social work, Garden City, NY. She holds a Clinical License in Social Work and has over twenty years’ experience in social-service settings. Prior to her current position Mrs. Jean-Noel worked in managerial as well as direct-care roles in Foster Care, Outpatient Substance abuse, Inpatient Psychiatric Hospital and on ACT.
Mrs. Jean-Noel currently serves as a member of the Statewide Multicultural advisory committee who advises the Commissioner of Mental Health on policy, programs and activities related to fostering recovery and resiliency among individuals from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds who are diagnosed with mental illness and their families. She also serves as an executive board member on the Haitian- American Family of Long Island Inc., a not-for- profit organization that provides family support services and promotes community development to facilitate the acculturation process for people of Haitian decent. Pascale is also an executive board member of the Cazale Community Cultural Center, Inc., a not-for- profit organization that aims to improve lives of the youth living in Haiti by providing year-round educational support services.
Pascale Jean-Noel presents yearly at multiple conferences nationally and statewide. Her topics include, Positionality through leadership and service delivery, Person centered treatment and Supervision, Strategies to Improve Mental health Outcomes in the Black Community and Supervision in a Data Driven Environment. Her Interest are to push through barriers by influencing cultural shifts within the organizations to hire and deliver services that are inclusive, equitable and reflect the diversity of the people that are being served!
Serena liguori serves as executive director of New Hour for Women and Children—Long Island, a
nonprofit dedicated to supporting women and children impacted by incarceration. New Hour provides direct-service programming in the Suffolk County jails and reentry support to women across the state returning to Long Island.
Prior to leading New Hour, she was the executive director of Herstory Writers Workshop, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing marginalized voices into the public arena. Serena served as associate director of policy at the Correctional Association of New York’s Women in Prison Project, where she spearheaded legislative initiatives and policy advocacy addressing prison reform. She was the key organizer of a successful effort to create the Adoption and Safe Families Act Expanded Discretion Law, which works to secure parental rights for incarcerated parents as well as the Anti-Shackling Law, which prohibits the shackling of incarcerated mothers during labor. Serena is a survivor of isolated confinement, received her associate’s degree in the College Bound Program at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and her bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University. Serena co-chairs the United Nations Association of the USA National Council. She enjoys preparing her family’s favorite traditional Puerto Rican meals for her husband Greg and her seven-year-old son James.