2024-2025 Executive Committee (ExComm) Slate

2024-2025 ExComm Slate Collage

These Dedicated Change-Makers Have Volunteered to Lead the Alternate ROOTS Board of Directors

Online Voting is now open for the slate of Executive Committee Officers for 2024-2025. Voting is open from Monday, July 8 to Sunday, August 11, 2024. 

Voting members elect the Executive Committee (“ExComm”) of the board, empowering the ExComm to act on behalf of the full board of directors of Alternate ROOTS, which includes 200+ voting members. The ExComm meets by video-call monthly throughout the year to address organizational needs, give voice to member concerns, and provide governance and strategic direction. 

How did we arrive at this ExComm Slate? 

In the interest of being transparent about our process with our community of ROOTS members, here is the 8-month outline for composing the 2024-2025 Executive Committee Slate:

  • November 2023: Sitting ExComm creates Nominating Committee
  • December 2023: Nominating Committee works with Communications Team to plan the entire process and keep our members informed
  • January 2024: Invitation text and graphics created and reviewed
  • February 2024: ExComm nomination process announced via email, Member News, Facebook, Instagram, and on the ROOTS website. Members are given 6 weeks to nominate themselves and others
  • March 2024: ExComm nomination process closes
  • March 2024: 12 nominations received
  • April 2024: Current ExComm review nominations
  • May 2024: All ExComm nominees interviewed
  • June 2024: Current ExComm discusses and finalizes slate for 2024-2025
  • June 2024: 15 (new & returning) ROOTS members invited to serve on ExComm in 2024-2025
  • June 2024: ExComm Slate presented to membership in Member News 
  • July 2024: Online voting begins for ExComm slate: announced via email, Member News, Facebook, and Instagram
  • August 2024: In-person vote during ROOTS Week; ensure a quorum of Voting Members; ratify and celebrate the 2024-2025 Executive Committee. 

As a member-led organization, ROOTS has served as an experiment in participatory democracy for nearly 50 years. Please join us for our monthly ExComm Meetings* and engage with the ROOTS community through local gatherings, ROOTS Weekends, and the many Workgroups that carry our mission forward. This work is often difficult. We do it because we believe it is a practice of liberation for all of us. 

The link to vote online is HERE, and there will be an in-person vote at the Annual Meeting of Alternate ROOTS, also known as ROOTS Week, August 13-18, 2024. Only Alternate ROOTS Voting Members vote in Executive Committee elections. Please note: this is a Yes / No vote on the entire slate – you will not vote on each individual member.

Early online voting closes on Sunday, August 11, 2024. For those of you attending the Annual Business Meeting (August 13-18, 2024), you can either cast your vote early online or while attending the Annual Meeting. If you will not be attending this year’s Annual Meeting, 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 Board Chairperson April Turner at aprilcturner@gmail.com.


2024-2025 PROPOSED EXCOMM SLATE

*Indicates someone who is a new nominee to the Executive Committee.

 

*Keryl McCord, Chairperson (she/her) | Sandy Springs, GA 

Keryl McCord is the President and CEO of Radical EQ, LLC, a consulting practice fostering human-centered, equitable, and transparent organizational cultures. With over forty years in the arts, Keryl’s experience includes roles as a theater director, commercial theater producer, and managing director. As the Director of Theater Programs at the National Endowment for the Arts, she launched initiatives to address funding inequities, leading to increased support for historically marginalized theaters.

Keryl served as Managing Director of Alternate ROOTS from 2009 to 2017. Post-retirement, she founded Equity Quotient, LLC, now Radical EQ, consulting for clients like Dance USA and Cleveland Public Theatre. She is also the immediate past chair of Working Films. Her work consistently emphasizes social justice, making significant strides in leveling the playing field in the arts sector. For more about Keryl and her work, visit www.radicaleq.com.


Sara Green, President (she/her)| New Orleans, LA

Sara Green is a New Orleans-born, raised and returned performance artist, healer, and organizer. She imagines liberation and beloved community as communities that have the ability to eat good food together, experience pleasure in our bodies, and regularly put their hands in soil – all the while free from fear and violence. She understands herself as part of a legacy of cultural workers, maroons, southern queer freedom fighters and artists trying to shape god.


Priscilla Smith, Treasurer (she/her) | Atlanta, GA

Priscilla Smith performs art works solo and in collaboration in the streets and galleries of her lifelong home, Atlanta and has since 1978. Most recently, she operated No Tomorrow, a creative arts venue and laboratory; she currently conducts, plays and sings with the Atlanta Improvisers Orchestra and Choir. Her community-engaged work includes helping found Art on the Atlanta BeltLine; being co-chair of Arts and Remembrance of the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre centennial observance; and 18 years of student-written and produced theater works on themes of social justice. She went to her first Alternate ROOTS Annual Meeting in 1981 (or was it ‘82?) and served on the ExComm around the turn of the millennium. In 2021 and 2022 she ran for the Georgia State House and in 2023 was arrested for civil disobedience protesting the building of a militarized police training facility in Atlanta.


Abigail Gomez, Secretary (she/her/ella) | Winchester, VA

Abigail Gómez is a Latinx visual artist, teaching artist, and arts advocate with a profound commitment to social justice. As the owner of Pretty Girl Painting, LLC, she blends art and community engagement. Abigail holds an MFA in painting from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and teaches art through various local organizations. She is also a Professor of Art and Design at Shenandoah University.

Abigail’s leadership is evident in her tenure as a Commissioner on the Virginia Commission for the Arts and her role as the past Chair of its IDEA Committee. Nationally, she serves on the board of NASAA and co-chairs its People of Color Affinity Group. She founded Arte Libre VA, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering Latinx, Black, and Youth of Color through arts education. Her work includes facilitating community mural projects and cultural tours, demonstrating her dedication to using art as a tool for social change.


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


AT LARGE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

 

Don Harrell (he/him) | Winter Garden, FL

Don – a member of Alternate ROOTS since 1995 – is an author, arts educator, folklorist, music producer, performing artist, and college professor. He is Co-Founder of Orisirisi African Folklore – a performing arts company that shares the beauty and poignancy of African life and culture with the use of storytelling, drum, dance, and song and Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of African Diasporic Arts and Education Inc. – a non-profit that provides African and African-centered transatlantic life and cultural education, with the use of performing and visual arts, research, publications, academic discourse, and presentations. Don also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Central Florida and Adjunct Professor of Humanities at Ringling College of Arts and Design. He is an Inter-Cultural Leadership Institute-Year Three Fellow and is currently working on the second edition of his treatises on Black music culture entitled The Evolution of Hip Hop: A Hip Hop Nation Story.


Corey Staten (he/him) | Portsmouth, VA

Corey Staten is the co-founder of Atumpan Edutainment, Inc. (AE), a leading nonprofit arts education organization in the Mid-Atlantic region. With a focus on world music, folklore, and dance, AE promotes cultural understanding and social justice. Corey, a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Old Dominion University, has been a dynamic presenter at workshops, conferences, and master classes.

Specializing in African culture, Corey is a lead teaching artist and playwright, overcoming blindness since 1994 to create impactful educational productions. His works have been commissioned by prominent organizations like the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Tryon Palace History Museum. Corey is also a popular educator with international tour companies, blending standards of learning with interactive reenactments.

Through AE and its initiatives like Blind Guy, His Wife, Their Life LIVE, Corey continues to inspire and educate diverse audiences, emphasizing the transformative power of the arts in advancing social justice.


Taylore Adams (she/her/they/them) | Norfolk, VA

Taylore – Reiki Master Teacher (she/her/they/them) (Reiki Tayy) is a natural-born healer specializing in the Art of Energy healing, also known as Reiki. Taylore began her journey as a motivational speaker focusing on depression, suicide, and workplace anxiety, while healing those parts of herself that she felt were misunderstood. She found the connection to her superpowers after learning more about energy healing and has shared that gift among her peers. She started Far Beyond Reiki by Taylore in 2019, located in Hampton Roads, where she began to teach Reiki Healing while concentrating on enhancing the student’s natural power.

She is an advocate for self love, self healing, and ascension. Using her favorite quote, “Come the Heal On” to inspire people to be aware, to be okay with navigating life, and understanding that we hold so much power. That Love with no conditions can be our biggest healing medicine. She often spends her time volunteering at special/community events with her students spreading love. Positivity and the enhancement of their healing skills. Taylore is also currently a member of the Heal Team with Alternate ROOTS. Healing through Dance, Love, Touch, and Energy.


ShaLeigh Comeford (she/her) Rougemount, NC

ShaLeigh Comerford (she/her) is a neurodivergent Irish & Native American choreographer, performer, and advocate dedicated to social justice through the arts. As the Executive Artistic Director of ShaLeigh Dance Works (SDW), she leads a nonprofit dance-theater company committed to inspiring individuals of all abilities and backgrounds. Her work addresses inequalities and forces of erasure, emphasizing connection and the intersectionality of disability, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and physicality.

ShaLeigh’s leadership extends to impactful engagement practices and partnerships that advocate for arts accessibility. SDW’s annual programming merges art, culture, and social change, enriching communities and empowering marginalized groups. Founder of the ShaGa Movement, she integrates energy-consciousness in her practice. ShaLeigh’s choreography has been showcased nationally and internationally, earning her prestigious awards like the Ella Pratt Fountain Artist Award. She is a member of the UpROOTing Ableism workgroup for Alternate ROOTS. She also teaches dance at Elon University and Washington & Lee University and is active in arts accessibility initiatives statewide. 

Image description: A black and white photo of ShaLeigh, a white presenting woman with blonde hair. She is gazing into the camera with a slight smile and hands folded over her knees. Photo by Amalfi Photography.


* Andre Love (he/him) | Norfolk, VA

Love develops peer educators, recruit teens and community support by conducts dynamic educational and motivational workshops that jumpstart teen’s social and civic engagement along with programs that build self-esteem, and workforce development. Andre is a poet and musician and teaching artist. Love uses poetry and original music to expand his reach into the community


* Andrea Assaf (she/her) | Tampa, FL

Andrea Assaf is a writer, director, performer, and cultural organizer. She is the founding Artistic and Executive Director of Art2Action Inc., and Co-Director of the National Institute for Directing & Ensemble Creation in partnership with Pangea World Theater.


* Carolyn Somers (she/her) | New Orleans, LA

For over twenty years Carolyn was an administrator at the Joan Mitchell Foundation, where she developed and oversaw multiple programs designed to support a diverse group of visual artists.  

While with JMF she was able to facilitate a multiyear grant to Alternate ROOTS to explore ways to engage more deeply with members who were visual artists. Part of this strategic planning by ROOTS, included bringing a group of artists to ROOTS Week in 2014.

Carolyn brought her experience running an artist endowed foundation to the work she’s doing now with one artist, Willie Birch, in New Orleans. This work is based on the concept that even established, successful older artists could benefit from one on one support to help photograph, document and organize archival information about their artwork and career. 

The relationship may be one on one, but in no way is it one sided. Working with Mr. Birch over the past decade, has been an incredibly rich experience. Mr. Birch is a painter and a sculptor, but primarily a storyteller who has generously shared his stories, both through his artwork as well as through the conversations about his life and work.  


* Justice Von Maur (she/her) | Savannah, GA

Justice, is a black feminist theatremaker from the Bahamas, now in Savannah, GA, has contributed to over 40 theatre productions. Her theory, Emergentheatre (ET), a black feminist systems change theory, has been shared at Theatre Symposium, Alternate ROOTS, and the Allied Media Conference. Justice has been an instrumental voice in the launch of ROOTS’ YOOTS Advisory Circle.


* Lauren Fitzgerald (she/her) | Tennessee

Lauren Fitzgerald is the Managing Director of the Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI) and the founder and Lead Executive Strategist for Strategize/619, a cultural strategy firm. She has served with several art institutions, theaters, and community development corporations.


* Victoria Rae Moore (she/her) | Charleston, South Carolina

VICTORIA RAE MOORE develops ideas, encourages people and spreads positive messages. She’s a creative entrepreneur, culture bearer, culture worker, and conNECKtedTOO program facilitator currently mastering the arts of business, public relations and social responsibility.


* Omari Fox – (he/him) | Savannah, Georgia 

Community artist and organizer Omari Fox has a long résumé of civic engagement, classroom expertise, and cultural arts campaign experience from a 20 year long organizing career that is still growing. As a trained sociologist and graduate of South Carolina State University, Omari brings a unique creative consciousness to the lens of community relationship building combined with his special infusion of Hop-Art Education as a certified visual arts teacher. Honing his organizing skills through the Charleston, SC rhizome, Omari was a member of the first Alternate Roots Hip hop Scholarship in 2004 and has been rooting for community ever since.


Online ballot only available during Early Voting! Online Early Voting closes on Sunday, August 11, 2024.

To fill out 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.