2019-20 ExComm Proposed Slate

By Monique Davis, Chair, Alternate ROOTS Executive Committee

It is my honor to introduce you to the 2019-20 Executive Committee Slate. This slate was chosen through an open nomination process, which brought forth a selection of very qualified nominees that were then vetted by the Executive Committee officers and staff. What you see here represents the slate as recommended by the Executive Committee on July 11, 2019.

Please review the slate and each individual’s bio, and then cast your vote using the form at the bottom of the page. Please note: only Voting Members vote in Executive Committee elections and you’ll need to be logged into the ROOTS website in order to view the page. Further, this is a Yes / No vote on the entire slate – you will not vote on each individual member.

You have until Friday, August 2 to cast your vote online. For those of you attending ROOTS Week, you can either cast your vote early online, or in person during the Annual Business Meeting on Thursday, August 8. If you are unable to attend this year’s ROOTS Week, this early voting period is your opportunity to exercise your board membership and vote for the Executive Committee slate.

If you have any trouble using the form, please contact ROOTS’ Communications Specialist Melisa Cardona at melisa@alternateroots.org. If you have any questions about the nomination process or the nominees themselves, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Monique Davis, Chair, at mdavis@msmuseumart.org 

Thank you for being an active member of our participatory democracy!



2019-20 Executive Committee: Proposed Slate

*Denotes those who are new to the Executive Committee or who are nominated to serve in a new position.


Monique Davis, Chair | Jackson, MS

Jonathan Clark, President | Knoxville, TN*

Sabrina Jeffcoat, Secretary | Columbia, SC*

Samuel Valdez, Treasurer | San Diego, CA

At Large Members

Rasha Abdulhadi | Silver Spring, MD

Yvette Hyater-Adams | Jacksonville, FL*

Helms Jarrell | Charlotte, NC*

daniel johnson | Jackson, MS*

Bob Leonard | Blacksburg, VA*

King Shakur | Dallas, TX*


2019-20 Executive Committee: Proposed Slate Bios

Officers: Returning

Monique Davis, Chair | Jackson, MS

Monique Davis currently serves on the Board of the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau, and is deeply committed to creating a vibrant, diverse Jackson that is centered in human rights and dignity. Monique’s role at the Mississippi Museum of Art expanded in 2019; she is now the Managing Director of the Museum’s Center for Art & Public Exchange. In the spring of 2018, Monique had her first Gallery Show: Harlem Renaissance Meets Afro Punk: Honoring the Past Imagining the Future. During the Harlem Renaissance, artists explored the beauty and pain of black life and sought to define themselves and their community outside of white stereotypes. Similarly, Afropunk is a  three-day festival that started in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn that also explores aspects of African American identity and aesthetics. People convene annually to celebrate black thought, power, leadership, art, and music. Monique’s show explored the interplay between these two distinct time periods. Monique is the wife of Melvin Davis (for 23 blissful years), and the mother of six magnificent human beings, Melvin Jr, James, Charles, Ava, Benjamin, and Daniel. You can view her work at Luvmagic.com.


Samuel Valdez, Treasurer | San Diego, CA 

Samuel Valdez (PLAYWRIGHT/DIRECTOR/PERFORMER) graduated from San Diego State University in 1991 with a B.A. degree in theater arts, emphasis in directing. Between the years of 1992 to 2002 he directed a large number of Latinx plays such as ROOSTERS by Milcha Sanchez Scott, THE CONDUCT OF LIFE by Maria Irene Fornes, and THE GUITARRON by Lynne Alvarez. With 7 plays under his belt Mr. Valdez characterizes himself as a playwright. Some of his individual works include SOY YO/IT’S ME, P13-VIVE, AMBOS/BOTH and OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE (written in collaboration with Andrea Assaf). His most recent piece is a show speaking about the creation and development of man and how he as a Latino man with cerebral palsy fits into it, titled AND HE BECAME MAN. Mr. Valdez is an active member of his artistic community, and a board member of NPN/VAN.


Officers: Nominations

Jonathan Clark | Knoxville, TN

Multidisciplinary Artist, Activist and Managing Director at The Carpetbag Theatre, Jonathan Clark, also known as Courageous, is a native of Knoxville, TN and Alumnus of the University of Tennessee. His professional performance career began at the age of thirteen with Carpetbag’s Youth Theatre Ensemble and has remained a performing artist ever since. Most recently, Courageous was selected from a Nation-wide pool of candidates for two prestigious opportunities; The National Institute for Directing & Ensemble Creation: Next Generation, presented by Pangea World Theater and Art2Action, and the Intercultural Leadership Institute, presented by Alternate ROOTS, the National Association for Latino Arts and Cultures, the PA’I Foundation, and the First People’s Fund.

SaBrina Jeffcoat, Secretary | Charleston, SC

SaBrina O. Jeffcoat is a visual artist specializing in mixed media pieces. Having worked in art sales and exhibition design with the Savannah College of Art & Design, SaBrina is now working within her purpose, building community through art. SaBrina has utilized her education and experience to ensure the success of her first business venture, Royal African Company, Ltd. Co., a retailer of Afrocentric accessories and home goods. Royal African Company, Ltd. Co. aims to tell the story of the people of color that have made the South the rich place that it is today. SaBrina earned a BA in Studio Art from the College of Charleston.


At Large Members: Returning

Rasha Abdulhadi | Washington D.C.

Rasha is a Palestinian Southerner who grew up between Damascus, Syria, and rural Georgia and cut her teeth organizing on the southsides of Chicago and Atlanta. She has been a Poetry Foundation Incubator Fellow, Maryland State Arts Fellow in Poetry, and member of the Radius of Arab American Writers. Her poetry and essays have appeared in the U.S. and abroad. Rasha studies and works in tatreez, an indigenous Palestinian feminist practice of narrative embroidery. She is a cultural organizer, fiber artist, community technologist, once and future farmer and beekeeper, and a geek for science both fiction and fact.


At Large Members: Nominations

Helms Jarrell, Charlotte, NC

Reverend Helms Jarrell is a member of the QC Family Tree community in Charlotte, NC. QC Family Tree is a neighborhood based community development organization that is cultivating community for the common good by building a little village where abundance is coming to life. Helms sees her role in the community as learner, momma, creator, gardener, innovator, preacher, pastor, and welcomer. Helms graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia and was ordained to ministry by First Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC in August of 2003.

King Shakur, Dallas, TX

King Shakur is a poet, spoken word artist and DJ from Dallas TX. He holds a MA in Public Leadership and a BA in Music Business and Marketing. He is the founder of Volunteering While Black and several arts program that engage youth on the social emotional level.

Bob Leonard, Blackburg, VA

Bob Leonard is a theatre maker, writer, teacher and arts organizer at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, where he directs the MFA in Theatre program and is the primary advisor for the MFA program in Directing and Public Dialogue. His work includes: CriticalConnecXtions – an on-line digital platform for neighbor to neighbor, peer to peer communications and knowledge sharing amongst the emerging field of community cultural development; ensemble developed new plays; and interactive theater techniques to generate, express, and animate public dialogue and civic imagination in partnership with community organizing efforts. From 1975 to 1998, he founded and led The Road Company, a theatre ensemble based in Johnson City, TN, where he and the ensemble created more than 20 new plays. Leonard authored with Ann Kilkelly Performing Communities, An Inquiry into Ensemble Theater Deeply Rooted in Eight U.S. Communities. With Linda Burnham and Steve Durland, he co-founded the Community Arts Network. He is a founding board member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters and Alternate ROOTS.

Yvette Hyater-Adams, Jacksonville, FL

Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams, MA-TLA, is Principal and Chief Storytelling Officer at Narratives for Change LLC, a social enterprise with a mission to create pathways for women and girls to use storytelling as art, for healing, and advocacy. Yvette is a highly sought after coach by executives and art advocates, and a long time practitioner in applied behavioral science. Prior to forming Narratives for Change, she was President & CEO for Prime Directive Consulting Group, a boutique change management consulting firm. Today, Yvette is a global leader with a proven track record in supporting women in developing culture change strategies within their organizations, enhancing women’s leadership effectiveness, and developing women writers. Yvette earned a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing at the University of Denver, an M.A. in Transformative Language Arts (Creative Writing for Personal and Social Change) at Goddard College, and a B.S. in Occupational Education & Workforce Training at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She is a member and faculty at NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science.

daniel johnson, Jackson, MS

daniel johnson is a multidisciplinary artist focused on agency, equity, and the formation of agreements. johnson roots the artistic process in collaborative, long-term relationships framing everyday life as unfolding, intersecting stories. Through deep listening, reflections on the nature of belonging, and facilitated community storytelling, johnson works with groups of people to harness their unique cultural expressions in a co-design process to disrupt power dynamics and realize shared intentions. johnson is an independent artist, curator, and educator who has designed and initiated projects with partners across sectors. Collaborators have included the communities unfolding from the Jackson Medical Mall, Hinds County Schools, Millsaps College, City of Jackson Mayor’s Office and Planning Department, Operation Shoestring, Mississippi Museum of Art, MS Department of Transportation, and Midtown Partners CDC. johnson is a 26-year resident of Jackson, MS where his roots lie; both sides of his family going back generations in Central and Coastal Mississippi.


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Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.