Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director, Blackroots Alliance: Katelyn has nearly two decades of valuable outreach experience including leadership development, civic engagement, and community organizing. She is a graduate of North Park University and participated in community organizing initiatives on and off-campus, focusing on racial reconciliation and student leadership development. Katelyn has overseen a range of social justice initiatives in and around Chicago, including six years as the executive director of Action Now, a community-based organization focused on engaging low-income communities of color. Katelyn’s work has informed and organized campaigns related to affordable housing, public education reform, public safety, criminal justice reform, and drug policy reform. Katelyn has also completed academic studies in Diversity and Inclusion at Cornell University, furthering her commitment to building a system that works for everyone. When she is not out working towards justice, she is practicing her own Black liberation which includes riding her bike along Lake Michigan from her neighborhood in South Shore, Chicago.
Kavon Ward, CEO and Founder of Where Is My Land: Kavon is an award-winning spoken word artist and activist. Within the past decade, Kavon has won 1st place at the historic Apollo Theater and has shared the stage with gospel artists Hezekiah Walker, Patti LaBelle, Fantasia and activists like Joe Madison and Dick Gregory, to perform her piece, “I Am Trayvon Martin”. Kavon is the founder of Justice for Bruce’s Beach, now Where is My Land. She initially learned about Bruce’s Beach online, when someone shared a link to a blog post that was written about it in May of 2016. She started her advocacy around Bruce’s Beach on Juneteenth, 2020 when she and other co-founders of a group in the South Bay put together a picnic at Bruce’s Beach to shed light on Black history in Manhattan Beach, specifically the land stolen from Black landowners Willa and Charles Bruce. Kavon has since been quoted in the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker and a host of other articles. She has interviewed with NPR, 94.7 The WAVE, and a number of other radio stations, to discuss what justice for the Bruce family means and what reparations for Black Americans look like. Kavon has partnered with Patrisse Cullors, of Black Lives Matter, to create a petition through Color of Change calling for restitution and restoration for the Bruce family. Kavon is a reparative justice consultant and CEO/Founder of Where Is My Land, an organization focused on getting Black land back nationally. She is a former Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) fellow and public policy lobbyist. Kavon holds a BA in Communications and a Masters of Public Administration.
Lisa Holder, Esq. is a nationally recognized, award-winning trial attorney who has been identified as a “Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine for four consecutive years. She has dedicated her career to racial and social justice and systems change. The Open Society Foundation, recognizing her commitment, awarded her a Soros Justice Fellowship. Holder currently operates a civil rights practice that focuses on a wide array of legal services including police misconduct, workplace discrimination, public school equity, and wage and hour litigation, severance package and workplace accommodations negotiations, criminal trials and appeals, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consulting.
Additionally, Holder is a recognized racial justice scholar and equity consultant. She periodically teaches the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Clinic at UCLA Law School. She serves as a legislative consultant on institutional bias elimination, drafting California bias elimination laws and testifying as a subject matter expert in the California Assembly/Senate. In 2019, Holder drafted AB 241 and 242, the laws that now require all judges, attorneys, court staff and health professionals to undertake continuing education on bias-elimination. In 2020, she co-steered the Proposition 16 campaign to repeal California’s ban on Affirmative Action. In 2021, she was appointed by the Governor to serve on the nation’s first Congressional Reparations Task Force to analyze the case for African American reparations. Holder has designed and implemented diversity solutions and implicit bias trainings for non-profits, government entities, private equity, Hollywood film and television companies, and Public Defender offices across the country. She recently designed equity programming for the City of Oakland, Stanford University, the American Bar Association, the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association and the London School of Economics Alumni Association.
Sheena Brown serves as the Director of Resource Mobilization, ensuring strong relationships and vibrant and fulfilling experiences for the Liberated Capital member community. Additionally, Sheena helps develop grantmaking strategies and strengthens our grantee partners’ ability to do their work and connect to other resources. Sheena is an advisor to the Native Organizers Alliance, a national organization dedicated to building the organizing capacity of Indigenous organizers, tribes, and community groups fighting for transformational policy change. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Resource Generation, a multi-racial membership community of young people (18-35) with wealth and/or class privilege committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land, and power. She is the Chair of the Organizational Development Committee. Sheena is also a member of the Narragansett Tribe of Rhode Island.
Edgar Villanueva is a globally-recognized author, activist and expert on social justice philanthropy. Edgar is author of the best selling book, Decolonizing Wealth, and is founder and principal of Decolonizing Wealth Project and Liberated Capital. Edgar advises organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to global and national philanthropies and nonprofits on advancing racial equity inside of their institutions and through their community investment strategies. He holds two degrees from the Gillings Global School of Public Health at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. and is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.
Will Cordery is a Senior Advisor for Liberated Capital. He has held several roles in the field of philanthropy – from working at large national private grantmaking institutions to managing fundraising efforts for large, international nonprofit organizations. Over his career, Will has developed and implemented multi-million dollar grantmaking and fundraising portfolios. Will received his B.S.B.A. in Business Finance from Xavier University and his M.P.A. from New York University. He formerly worked with Marguerite Casey Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. His philanthropic board leadership includes the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Hill-Snowdon Foundation. Greater New Orleans Funders Network, Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing, and Grantmakers for Southern Progress. Additionally, Will is an Advisor for the Global Engagement Lab at the EDGE Funders Alliance, and is an alum of the Association of Black Foundation Executives’ Connecting Leaders Fellowship.