Spring Cohort 2021
Ms. Abeer Alharazi has been the Deputy Director at the Yemeni American Merchants Association (YAMA) since 2019. She was the first employee to be hired at YAMA when it was established in 2017, as it was born through the Yemeni Bodega Strike in New York in response to the Executive Order Travel Ban on February 2, 2017, at Brooklyn Borough Hall. She formerly served as a (DOJ) at The Arab American Association of New York (AAANY). For almost four years, she served immigrant communities from across New York City by providing various immigration legal services to over hundreds of clients. She received her Paralegal Certification from York College and received a legal studies award for outstanding scholastic achievement in 2015. Abeer holds a degree in Business Administration from BMCC College, where she was on its Dean’s list and received the Phi Theta Kappa award in 2011. Prior to her arrival to the United States, Abeer worked at the American Embassy in the capital of Yemen, Sana’a for five years. She mostly served in the procurement department where she experienced working with local and overseas Merchants. She was recognized for her exemplary service, and extraordinary efforts for sustaining a high level of performance, where she received multiple awards.
Andrew Mulinge is the Director of Programs at Code Nation in New York City. He has overseen the recruitment, placement and retention of over 200 tech volunteers in New York since 2018. Additionally, Andrew has managed inclusive programs in schools and technology companies that have prepared students to enter careers in tech. Since 2020, Andrew has led an initiative focused on the development of policy positions that advance technology and computer science education accessibility for students in under-resourced communities. Prior to joining Code Nation, Andrew worked in the classroom as a 3rd grade English teacher and as a policy consultant for the Moriah Group, a firm focused on enhancing outcomes for children and youth through improved education, child and youth development, and community development strategies. As a 2016 NYC Education Pioneer Fellow, he provided qualitative and quantitative analysis on professional development workshops for the New York City Department of Education. Andrew currently serves as an advisory member of Forward Promise, an initiative of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation where he has reviewed and approved grants totaling $1.05 million to organizations dedicated to supporting culturally-responsive practices that buffer the effects of historical and systemic trauma on boys and young men of color. Andrew has a master’s degree in Sociology and Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics and a certificate in African-American studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a proud alum of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, a premier leadership development program for Black men committed to service. In his free time, Andrew enjoys DJ-ing, playing pick-up basketball, and listening to podcasts.
Angelica Lara is UnLocal’s Education and Outreach Director. She was raised in Queens, New York and is deeply committed to advocacy as a tool for creating sustainability for New York City’s undocumented communities. She is the resident Dramaturg with the ALAT theater company with which she participates in efforts to dismantle and create alternatives to a system that creates harm in our homes and communities by means of story telling.
Anya Mukarji-Connolly is the Associate Director of Policy at the Brooklyn Defender Services where she oversees the organization’s legislative team which comprises of a multi-disciplinary staff working on city, state and federal criminal, civil and immigration policy work. Anya has been an advocate for low-income and homeless communities in New York City for close to 20 years. Prior to joining BDS, Anya led NYLAG’s LGBTQ Law Project. At NYLAG, Anya managed a team of attorneys who represented low-income clients in immigration, housing, employment, and other civil legal matters. She managed the program’s private and public funding and developed its Advisory Board. Before joining NYLAG, Anya was the Director of the Urban Justice Center’s legal services program for homeless and at-risk youth. There, Anya directed its civil legal services program, managed the Project’s state and city legislative and system advocacy work, and managed its fundraising which enabled her to expand the program during her tenure.
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, now local to Brooklyn, NY, operates between the spheres of dance, cultural production and fitness and wellness, with a focus on the Contemporary Caribbean. She has had an established career as a performer, choreographer, fitness professional, cultural producer, teaching artist, community facilitator and Caribbean dance specialist. In addition to her work in these areas, she leads ContempoCaribe, an ongoing choreography and performance project and is the founder of Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE, an organisational platform for Caribbean dance in the diaspora that spearheads the New Traditions Festival in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from Adelphi University’s BFA program for Dance, and has presented, performed and taught at major venues including: Queen’s Hall (T&T), John F. Kennedy Center, New York Live Arts, Brooklyn Museum, and The Ohio State University. She was an inaugural member of the Dancing While Black Fellowship Cohort 2015/2016, was an awardee of Adelphi University’s 2017 – 10 Under 10 program, and a Dixon Place Artist-in-Residence for fall 2017. As a cultural producer and strategist, Candace has worked with the Dance and Performance Institute of Trinidad and Tobago, WIADCA (NY), Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Renegade Performance Group, and curator Claire Tancons, for the 2019 Sharjah Biennial. Ms. Thompson-Zachery holds an M.A. in Performance Curation from the ICCP program at Wesleyan University and a certificate from the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy at UPenn. with National Arts Strategies. Of tantamount importance to her is the vital role dance plays in our communities and she is eager to see dance artists of various styles, practices and traditions thrive in New York City.
Carolyn Slade has over 25 years of extensive leadership experience within Non Secure Detention, Non Secure Placement and Scattered Site Housing. During Carolyn’s tenure, she has held positions as a Program Manager, Program Director and Site Director. Affording Carolyn the ability to gain a wealth of experience, insight to evaluate programming, become solution focused, develop leadership skills and interact with others from diverse backgrounds. Carolyn’s ability to focus on programmatic assessments (i.e. budgeting, compliance mandates, staff development, best practices, etc.), contributed to the overall program adherence and desirable outcomes, which were essential for a collaborative working environment.
Carolyn has spent the vast majority of her career working within the Juvenile Justice sector overseeing detention programs (Residential Treatment Facilities, Alternative to Incarceration and The Close to Home Initiative), that strived to assist at risk with behavioral concerns. Alternative to Incarceration afforded youth in the Juvenile Justice system to be assessed for at risk behaviors, connect to supportive treatment and provided them with an opportunity to be supervised in their family home setting oppose to being placed in long term detention facility.
Close to Home Initiative (CHI) allowed adjudicated youth to be placed in the Care of the Administration for Children Services in a Non Secure and Secure Limited Placement Residential Facility within the 5 boroughs and provide the adolescents with core skills for their overall development. In addition, CHI decreased the amount of youth mandated to Upstate NY, Office of children and Family Services, OCFS facilities through family court.
Currently, Carolyn is a the Senior Program Manager within Scattered Site Housing at the Fortune Society, providing assistance to participants who have histories of criminal justice involvement, homelessness, mental health and substance use diagnoses.
Carolyn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
Catherine Grau currently serves as the Community Partnership Manager at the Queens Museum. Central to her role is working in close relationships with communities and artists to ensure that the museum is an open and accessible space that not only exists to serve through educational and cultural programs, but that is co-created with its constituents. Prior to joining the museum, Catherine has worked on a number of local and international multi-disciplinary public art projects, in the capacities of curator, educator, programs and community engagement facilitator. She was trained as an artist in the field of public art practices (MFA, Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany / BFA, Pratt Institute, NYC).
Christopher Gorman is the Chief Communications Officer at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, New York. A graduate of Manhattan College, Christopher has worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, and HarperCollins Publishers. He has worked as a freelance writer, editor, and producer, and served as a consultant for non-profit organizations such as the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation. He lives in New York City with his family.
Cievel Xicohtencatl is a multidisciplinary artist, cultural organizer, and a born and raised New Yorker currently working remotely from Mexico. At the moment she focuses on advancing artists and neighbors as change agents within their own communities through serving as the Community Engagement Manager for The Laundromat Project which is a Black rooted and People of Color centered arts organization in NY. In here role, she engages neighbors and artists through residencies, fellowships, public, and educational programs. She has been awarded fellowships through National Association of Latino Arts and Culture and The Laundromat Project and hold a Bachelor of Arts from CUNY Hunter College in Studio Art.