Pauli Murray Project Programming Committee
Updated September 2015
Principal, Sojourner Group
Cynthia Brown is the principal consultant of The Sojourner Group, a business she founded to help non-profit groups strengthen their leadership and address their organizational development issues. She is a grassroots organizer/leader and former Durham City Councilwoman. Brown’s many organizational affiliations include the N.C. Coalition on Black and Brown Civic Participation, of which she is a founding member, the Latino Community Development Center, the N.C. Conservation Network, Democracy NC and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Brother Ray is a Durham native, a Vietnam US Air Force veteran, the secretary of the Southside Neighborhood Association and a community advisor to local development efforts in his neighborhoods. Eurquhart is committed to improving the quality of life, living and working conditions of the poor and working people of Durham and the South. He is a retired mechanic with Durham’s Department of Water Management where he also served as Secretary Treasurer/Chief Shop Steward for UE Local 150.
Duke Divinity School
Mary McClintock Fulkerson is a professor in the Duke University Divinity School whose primary teaching interests are feminist theologies, theology and culture theories, authority in theology, and the theological interpretation of scripture. Her book, Changing the Subject: Women’s Discourses and Feminist Theology, examines the liberating practices of feminist academics and non-feminist church women. She has written articles challenging theologies that make heterosexuality normative Christianity. Her next book, Traces of Redemption: Theology for a Worldly Church, interprets the doctrine of the church in light of racial diversity and the differently abled. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Professor McClintock Fulkerson has been involved in national ecclesiastical bodies and chaired New Hope Presbytery’s Task Force on Human Sexuality.
Independent Media Producer
Lana Garland is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, director, scriptwriter, and brander. She has worked for HBO, BET, TV2 Danmark, and currently works as the executive producer at Insibah films, a production company she self-launched, specializing in corporate films and online commercials. Her current documentary project is called Living Off the Line: Stories from the Clothesline Muse, in which Jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon mounts a play about the waning culture of women’s work around the clothesline, unearthing washerwomen wisdom along the way.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Broken Beautiful Press/Mobile Homecoming Project
Alexis Pauline Gumbs earned a Ph.D. in English at Duke University, earning certificates in African and African American Studies and Women’s Studies. Her work emphasizes the poetic and narrative dynamics of gender and resistance in the African Diaspora with an emphasis on activist publishing. Alexis has published 3 volumes of poetry, an interactive poetry game, a coloring book, a youth activism workbook, a small anthology and a broadside. She has also curated four visual art installations, and is the founder of a not-for-profit creation space called brokenbeautiful press (www.brokenbeautifulpress.blogspot.com). Alexis has been leading creative empowerment workshops with children, young people and adults since she was 14 years old.
Director, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
Wesley Hogan is the Director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. She works on the history of youth social movements, African-American history, women’s history and oral history. Her book on SNCC, Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC and the Dream for a New America (2007), won the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Scott-Bills Memorial Prize for best work in peace history, and the Library of Virginia nonfiction literary award. She was the co-director of the Institute for the Study of Race Relations from 2006-2009, whose mission is to bring together community organizers, researchers, and young leaders to promote healthy communities. Between 2004-2008, she worked with the Algebra Project, the Young People’s Project and the Petersburg City Public Schools, and coordinated an oral history project of the civil rights movement in Petersburg. She is currently working on two oral histories of youth in twentieth-century freedom struggles.
Faculty Co-Chair, Duke Human Rights Center
Robin Kirk is the Faculty Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Duke Human Rights Center and is a founding member of the Pauli Murray Project. An author and human rights advocate, Kirk directs the Belfast program for DukeEngage, in partnership with Healing Through Remembering, an extensive cross-community project dealing with the legacy of past conflict and human rights. She directs Undergraduate Studies for Duke’s International Comparative Studies major, where she teaches, and is a lecturer in the Department of Cultural Anthropology. An author, essayist, and award-winning poet, she has published widely on issues as diverse as the Andes, torture, the politics of memory, family life, and pop culture. Kirk authored, co-authored and edited over twelve reports for Human Rights Watch, all available on-line. In the 1980s, Kirk reported for U.S. media from Peru, where she covered the war between the government and the Shining Path. She continues to write for US media, and has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Sojourners, The American Scholar, the Raleigh News and Observer, the Boston Globe and other newspapers.
Director, Pauli Murray Project
Barbara Lau is director of the Pauli Murray Project at the Duke Human Rights Center/Franklin Humanities Institute where she connects her commitment to justice with her belief in the power of community organizing. She is also the lead developer of the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, a newly formed non-profit organization focused on transforming Murray’s childhood home into a center for history, education, the arts and social mobilization. Lau’s 20 years experience as a folklorist, curator, radio producer, and author includes producing To Buy the Sun, an original play about Pauli Murray; directing the Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life community mural project; and curating two major exhibitions about Cambodian American traditions.
Community Organizer, NC Warn
Connie Leeper serves as the current lead organizer at NC WARN – a nonprofit organization working for climate protection through clean, efficient, affordable energy. Leeper is a native North Carolinian as she was born and raised in Kannapolis, NC where she cultivated her passion for social justice activism. Leeper attended Barber-Scotia College where she received her B.A. in Sociology and has also undergone community-organizing training with the Southern Empowerment Project. She has a strong background in southern grassroots organizing and has worked for prominent organizations such as Highlander Research & Education Center, as well as the Southeast Regional Economic Justice Network.
Undergraduate, Duke University
Eliza Meredith expects to graduate from Duke in 2016 with a Program II major titled Activating the Past: Narratives and Social Justice in the South. She is from Durham, North Carolina and is also involved with the Coalition for Preserving Memory, Jewish Life at Duke, Latent Image Magazine, and Duke Democrats.
Tema Okun has spent many years working in the social justice movement. An experienced teacher, she facilitates anti-racism, anti-oppression work as a member of the DRworks collaborative. She is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership Department at National Louis University in Chicago and is also active in Middle East peace and justice work with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA. She is currently touring with her new book The Emperor Has No Clothes: Teaching About Race and Racism to People Who Don’t Want to Know. The book offers theoretical grounding and practical approaches for leaders and teachers interested in effectively addressing racism and other oppressive constructs. The book draws both on the author’s extensive experience teaching about race and racism in classroom and community settings and from the theory and practice of a wide range of educators, activists, and researchers committed to social justice.
Victoria Phillips was born in Southwest Central Durham and has over thirty years experience as a public administrator, community organizer, trainer, and counselor with agencies that serve low-income communities. Victoria served as the Housing Director of one of the nation’s largest public housing authorities in Atlanta, GA. She has broad experience in working with grass roots organizations as well as experience as a consultant for a nationally recognized firm that specialized in working with private and non-profit organizations and governmental agencies addressing urban and community revitalization. Since returning to Durham in 2002, Victoria has volunteered with the Southwest Central Durham Quality of Life Committee and serves on the Housing Committee, the Allocations Committee, and the Steering Committee.
Courtney Reid-Eaton, Co-Chair
Exhibitions Director at Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
Courtney Reid-Eaton has served as Exhibitions Director at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University since 2001. She oversees the selection, curation, scheduling, and installation of exhibits in all four of the Center’s galleries and organizes related public programs. A photographer, book and mixed media artist, wife and mother, Reid-Eaton was Photo Editor of Guideposts magazine for nine years, and director of the Vis-à-vis Gallery at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, NYC for 5 years. Ms. Reid-Eaton is interested in art and documentary work that captures and conveys contemporary memory, life, and culture; that balances community goals with individual artistic expression, and cultivates progressive change by amplifying voices, engendering respect among individuals, breaking down barriers to understanding, and illuminating social injustices.
Tara currently serves as the 1st Vice President on the Board of NC Women United (NCWU). She started with NCWU on the planning committee of the 2006 Wake Women’s Agenda Assembly, and had been the lead coordinator of the WWAA since 2008. With 10 years experience in domestic violence prevention and victim support work, she is a founding member of the Triangle grassroots domestic violence prevention and advocacy organization, Project Vox. She is also an organizer with the Triangle progressive community organization Traction and an organizer with Triangle Jobs With Justice. Tara currently works at Duke Health Systems in workplace and patient safety, and has been an activist in the Triangle area for many years.
Retired Businesswoman, Community Activist
Ethel Simonetti is a retired small business owner who developed a local music store, The Tuba Exchange, into a viable player in an international niche market – collaborating with her husband, musician and entrepreneur Vincent Simonetti. She has lived in Durham for 40 years and is a lifelong learner. She connects with people by volunteering in groups aimed at ensuring equal rights for all people. She enjoys yard work, wrapping presents, choral singing, and handwriting letters. Now that she is am retired she wants to resume bike riding so she can learn to come to a stop, without falling over.
Katherine Turner serves as adjunct faculty in Health Behavior and Health Education department at UNC-Chapel Hill and has over 20 years of international and domestic experience as a program director, technical advisor, trainer, and health educator. She has served as the Senior Health Systems Advisor at IPAS since 2001, an organization that works to expand and ensure women’s access to sexual and reproductive rights throughout the world. She is the President and Founder of Global Citizen, LLC, an organization that works to improve international human relations and productivity by enhancing the capacity and preparedness of professionals, students and others as global citizens to interact and work more effectively across cultures.
Duke Durham Neighborhood Partnership
As a veteran of Durham grassroots work, and a staff member of Duke University’s Office of Community Affairs, Mayme Webb-Bledsoe plans and implements strategies through an “Empowerment Model” to improve neighborhood environments. She is a ToP qualified trainer and she provides support and technical assistance to community partners, nonprofit organizations, local government, civic groups and the private sector organizations. She has been coaching the creation of the Quality of Life Project using ToP methods in a participatory community plan for six Southwest Central Durham Neighborhoods. In 2006, Duke University Samuel DuBois Cook Society recognized her community development work by presenting her with Community Betterment Award.