Leadership Transition


Alternate ROOTS Welcomes Michelle Ramos as next Executive Director: Love-Infused Transition Continues in January 2018


Alternate ROOTS is proud to announce that Michelle Ramos, PhD will take over the executive director position after Carlton Turner’s departure in 2018. Michelle brings a robust diversity of experience to her new role. Her background includes most recently working in criminal justice reform as Project Director of the Vera Institute of Justice, philanthropic work as a Program Officer at Women’s Foundation of California, and service organization leadership as Board Chair of Dance/USA.

In addition to being a licensed attorney, she has significant organizing experience and has committed her career to serving communities and individuals adversely impacted by issues of race, gender, disability, class, socio-economics, inequitable laws, and systemic oppression. Michelle lives and works in New Orleans, LA and plans to remain based there. She will be ROOTS’ executive director beginning January 15, 2018.

Michelle joins Alternate ROOTS at a moment when the organization is poised for robust membership growth and an expansion of our leadership in the fields of social justice, arts, and cultural policy. Board Chair Monique Davis of Jackson, Mississippi is excited about Michelle’s “forward thinking, innovation, and deep understanding of the issues that are important to our members. Her broad range of skills, from dancer to attorney will provide a fresh perspective that will continue to grow and deepen our work!”

Board President Trey Hartt calls on all of the people in the ROOTS network to welcome Michelle with open arms and adds, “Michelle’s background as a dancer coupled with her legal and policy expertise, along with her work advancing equity in non-profit and the arts fields, are the right nexus of skills to continue strengthening our organization and deepening the role Alternate ROOTS plays in advancing economic and social justice through the arts.”

Outgoing Executive Director Carlton Turner is also enthusiastic about the next iteration of Alternate ROOTS: “Michelle has a depth of knowledge of the field as an artist, administrator, and activist within the community. Michelle’s body of work shows a strong history of advocating for justice AND the arts.”

The selection of Michelle Ramos as the next Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS is the result of a transition planning and executive search process that began in 2016. The formal search engaged a diverse group of ROOTS stakeholders at all stages: the Personnel Committee, the entire Executive Committee, and the full ROOTS staff contributed many hours of administrative and emotional labor. The vision, integrity, and care demonstrated by applicants for the position have left us all humbled and grateful.  

On the eve of her transition, Michelle Ramos says, “I am incredibly honored and look forward with much enthusiasm to taking on this exciting role as the next Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS. I have long admired Carlton Turner’s leadership and the historical legacy this organization has cultivated to support artists living and working in the South. We are in a pivotal moment in time in this country, and ROOTS is uniquely positioned as a cultural leader and catalyst for transformative change to work to end oppression in all its forms and to spearhead justice in our communities through the arts. I look forward to joining the team and working towards that shared vision together.”

Please join us in offering Michelle your support as we all grow together.

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.