It is our honor to introduce you to the 2021-22 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 June 28, 2021.

Please review the slate and each individual’s bio, and then cast your vote using the form at the bottom of the page. Only Voting Members vote in Executive Committee elections. You can vote on the proposed slate on the form below. Please note, this is a Yes / No vote on the entire slate – you will not vote on each individual member.

You have until Thursday, July 29 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 virtual Annual Business Meeting, July 30-August 1. 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 questions about the nomination process or the nominees themselves, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Board President, Helms Jarrell iamhelmsie@gmail.com.


April C. Turner | Lexington, NC

April C. Turner is a professional writer/producer  and content creator specializing in creating cultural arts  experiences designed to invite honest conversations about  difficult social issues. Her work also uses performing and  literary artforms to document historical events, as well as  share cultural traditions.  An accomplished actress, writer, dancer, and theatre  producer, Ms. Turner has had principal roles in more than  20 movies and television shows, as well as dozens of  commercials and corporate videos. Among her favorite  credits are roles in made for television movies such as  Eyeborgs (SyFy Channel) and the independent film adaption  of Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms. Other  favorites include roles in productions such as Good  Behavior (TNT), Unanswered Prayers (Lifetime), Trinity  Goodheart (gmc TV), Army Wives (Lifetime), Ditch Digger’s  Daughters (Family Channel), and Discarded Things (EarthMother Entertainment). Turner also plays Constance  Watson in an episode of the critically acclaimed Showtime  series, The Good Lord Bird.

Among her produced writing credits are the stage plays,  C.O.T.O.: CHOCOLATE ON THE OUTSIDE, RESERVATIONS,  STARLIGHT AND MOONSHINE TIMES, PICKLE & LIL’JUNIOR,  NIKKY’S GONE and ONE DROP OF MY BLOOD. She has  successfully presented stage productions from New Jersey  to Florida to Oklahoma. C.O.T.O.: Chocolate on the Outside  was a featured production in the 1998 Piccolo Spoleto  Theatre Series and was a favorite at universities and arts  institutions in the ten years following. This contemporary  drama with comedy toured nationally, making a positive  impact in communities throughout the United States.  Turner’s residencies, workshops and theatrical  innovations have made her a favorite among arts  presenters, universities and cultural organizations. In  addition to being a prolific playwright and performer, Ms. Turner is a passionate dancer. For more than two decades,  her African dance performances and workshops have  enlightened, entertained, and promoted cultural  awareness. Ms. Turner is currently a guest artist at North Carolina  A&T State University’s theatre department, teaching  playwriting.

Wende Ballew | East Point, GA

Wende Ballew is the executive director of Reforming Arts. They founded Reforming Arts in 2010 as an arts and humanities education program for people incarcerated in women’s prisons in Georgia. In 2013, Reforming Arts launched a theatre reentry project which Wende also oversees. Before founding Reforming Arts, Wende worked as a stage manager and in the construction field, and then as an arts manager and finally a financial advisor. Wende has taught at Kennesaw State University and continues to teach and direct Reforming Arts classes inside women’s prison facilities in Georgia and facilitate Reforming Arts’ Theatre Reentry Project. Wende is also a co-founder of the Georgia Coalition of Higher Education in Prison and the Southern Higher Education in Prison Collective. Wende conceived of Creative Intra-active Theatre/Pedagogy which is a queer feminist diffraction of critical pedagogy, applied theatre, and participatory action research through a posthumanist and quantum physics framework. Wende has a bachelor’s degree in Theatre, a Master of Business Administration, a Master in American Studies, a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies, and is a PhD candidate in Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methodologies at the University of Georgia.

Erik W. Martínez Resly | Washington D.C. (soon Houston, TX)

Erik W. Martínez Resly is a visual artist, cultural organizer, and communications manager at the ACLU of Texas. He also works with the Justice for Muslims Collective and serves as a fellow at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Previously, he led digital strategy at Muslim Advocates and co-directed The Sanctuaries, a multifaith nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that trained and placed hundreds of artists on the front lines of grassroots organizing campaigns and national social movements. Erik grew up in Frankfurt, Germany, and had the formative experience of participating in Alternate ROOTS’ Partners in Action program.

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

2020-2021 Returning Executive Committee


Yvette Hyater-Adams (she/her), Chair | Jacksonville, FL | yhyater@gmail.com

Yvette Angelique is a poet, writer and storytelling facilitator. She composes poetry, essays, and teaches writing workshops; She also works with artists, cultural workers, organization leaders and their teams—helping them unpack oppressive practices in their personal and system narratives. Messy work makes for great learning, healing, and good writing. She sometimes thinks of herself as a griot doula, because the work she loves best is when helping women and girls use storytelling to birth their voice. She works together with them to examine barriers, explore experiences, envision possibilities, and use their voice for advocacy. Her goal is to increase the representation of women’s voices in every discourse, in every subject. Yvette’s writing centers around the Black Woman’s experience as an artist, business leader, facilitator, community advocate, mentor, mother, sister-friend, daughter, and lover—not necessarily in that order! She studied educating adults in the workplace and in community-based learning, achieving a B.S. in Occupational Education and Workforce Training from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She continued her academic studies in creative writing for healing, crafting literary art, and for social justice, achieving an M.A. in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College and a Post Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. Curiosity and ingenuity takes her around the world to write and teach. She lives in Atlantic Beach, FL with her husband, and within seconds of a text between her two precious adult children.

Helms Jarrell (she/her), President | Charlotte, NC | iamhelmsie@gmail.com

Reverend Helms Jarrell is a member of the QC Family Tree community in Charlotte, NC where she and other residents seek to be kinfolk rooted in discipleship in West Charlotte through practices of creativity, prayer, and welcome. QC Family Tree is a community of hospitality and solidarity in a neighborhood that bears the wounds of economic injustice and racial oppression. Helms sees her role in the community as learner, momma, creator, gardener, yogi, preacher, pastor, and welcomer. Helms is an interdisciplinary artist who weaves stories together using mixed media, ceramics, needlework, and jewelry making techniques. She 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. Her most recent projects have centered around neighborhood based work.

daniel johnson, Secretary (he/they) | Jackson, MS | significantdevelopments.us@gmail.com

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 go back generations in Central and Coastal Mississippi.

Stephen Clapp, Treasurer (he/him) | Washington D.C.| stephen@danceboxtheater.org

Stephen Clapp (he/him) is a Filipino-born cultural strategist, equity facilitator, change agent, performing artist and choreographer who maintains a professional creative practice as Co-Artistic Director for Dance Box Theater with his creative and life partner Laura Schandelmeier. Clapp is a co-owner of DC Vegan, the national capital region’s premier plant-based delicatessen specializing in cruelty-free and sustainable practices. His creative work aims to build social capital among communities with engagement through choreographic inquiry, devised theater performance, anti-oppression curriculum development and training, anti-racism facilitation, equity-based strategic planning, organizational development and cultural equity consulting. Clapp’s approach to community engagement and organizing employs movement-based arts-integration strategies that foster self-determination, innovative thinking, open dialogue, collective decision making, power analyses, resource development and creative problem solving. With over 25 years of professional experience using the arts as a tool for grassroots community development and creative changemaking, Clapp understands that transformative evolution of individuals, communities, organizations and businesses is essential. As a cultural worker, his creative practices are rooted in moving away from racist, neo-colonial and otherwise oppressive and problematic tendencies; towards a vision of equity, diversity and justice, where culturally marginalized voices are centered, honored, activated and celebrated.

Returning At Large ExComm Members


Bob Leonard (he/him) | Blacksburg, VA | bob.leonard@vt.edu

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.

King Shakur (he/him) |Dallas, TX | king@ytheycalluking.com

King Shakur is a poet, spoken word artist and DJ from Dallas TX. He holds an MA in Public Leadership and a BA in Music Business and Marketing. He is the founder and president of Volunteering While Black, The South Dallas Youth Poetry Contest, Poetry and Waffles, and What the HHAP’s creative writing organization. Winner of the Memphis Book Festival “Artist of the Year” 2016, and The Black Caucus of Librarian’s Poetry Book of the Year award for Street Lights J’s and Hip Hop: The Makings of a Poet; and Mr. Shakur has been a featured performer in over twenty-five states. He has competed in and won several regional and national poetry slams and serves as a contracted creative writing instructor for several organizations, including the City of Dallas, Mecklenburg County, and Big Thought.

muthi reed (they/them) | New Orleans, LA | muthireed@protonmail.com

muthi reed they them he lux works with archives, digital media, story and design to generate fresh language and ways of seeing. They borrow from aesthetics of Black, Native and Queer life, the internet, interior studies, Ecology, migration form pattern and possibility.

Creative partnerships include their life and work with Angela Davis Johnson, Hollerin Space and with Sage Crump, [TKE] the kinfolk effect. Hollerin Space was selected as one of the cohort members for Alternate ROOTS 2020 program Partners for Change. TKE led ROOTS deep dive class COMMONS immersive leading up to and during the 2019 annual meeting. In 2019 muthi reed was awarded a fellowship with Black Spatial Relics, an ongoing project led by Arielle Julia Brown. muthi spent a residency season in sound design and production development with the team at Junebug Productions for Gomela/to return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue (2018) led by Stephanie McKee. muthi served as a cohort member of the Intercultural Leadership Institute year 2 fellowship. They were an artist-in-residence with Clear Creek Creative (2017) led by Carrie Brunk, Bob Martin and Nicole Garneau, and Cucalorus (2017) led by Dan Brawley. In 2016, Hollerin Space participated in the Mississippi Museum of Art C3 program led by daniel johnson. Hollerin Space conducted a mini residency in 2015 with Gwylene Gallimard and Jean-Marie Mauclet in Charleston, SC. muthi participated as a collaborating artist in New Orleans with Ecohybridity and Black feminist patrons of Black feminist possibilities led by Kai Lumumba Barrow in 2015. They joined the Alternate ROOTS community in 2015 as a Joan Mitchell Visual Arts fellow.

Michael Murray (he/him) | Columbia, SC | ink4848@gmail.com

Michael A. Murray is a literary and visual artist out of Columbia, SC who has always allowed his love for art and community to steer his sense of purpose in the right direction. During his tenure as mentor and Director of Poetry at the Rebuilding Individual Character Habits (R.I.C.H.) program, Michael has attained tremendous insight into the often misunderstood, but always inventive minds of the black artistic southern youth. That insight carried over into his foundation of the NU GRWTH Artist Collective, the co-founding of The Prologue Writing Group, and continued collaborative efforts with other activists and organizations to create programming centered around the development, support, and sustainability of local artists. As a photographer and poet, Michael has had several works featured in Tapp’s Art Center, The State Newspaper, Access Magazine, The Carolina Panorama, and more. As a community organizer and Founder/Manager of Playlixt LLC, he has curated over four years of innovative events showcasing the many faces, voices, and styles of performance art, including Blue Note Poetry, Laughs; Lyrics, Our Words—Our Way!, and Afrobeats; Poetry to name a few.

Stephanie V. McKee- Anderson (she/her)| New Orleans, LA | smckee@junebugproductions.org

Stephanie V. McKee- Anderson is an artist, organizer and cultural strategist born in Picayune MS and raised in New Orleans. She is the Executive Artistic Director of Junebug Productions, Inc. an organization birthed out of the Free Southern Theater (FST), which was formed in 1963 as one of many cultural arms of the Civil Rights Movement. FST would eventually be a tremendous influence on the BlackArts Movement. Mckee has a long history of creating powerful performances that she strategically leverages for social change.  McKee is a 2018 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Fellowship recipient and under McKee’s leadership, Junebug Productions was a recipient of a Surdna Foundation’s Artist engaged in social change award for Homecoming Project, and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) Theater Project grant for Gomela to Return/Movement of Our Mother Tongue which was her directorial debut. McKee serves on the board and executive committee of National Performance Network, is a member of Alternate ROOTS, a 2007 New Voices emerging Leader alumnus, a 2015 Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Leadership Fellow and a Group Leader for the 2017 APAP Leadership Fellow Cohort.


Please cast your ballot during Early Voting! Voting closes on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

To fill the form go HERE!

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.