Staff

  • Danielle Atkinson-Founding Director

    Danielle Atkinson is the Founding Director of Mothering Justice, a statewide organization working to improve the lives of Michigan families by equipping the next generation of mother activists. Atkinson has extensive experience as a church based, electoral, and community organizer. She has worked with such organizations as America Votes, State Voices, Population Connection and ACORN. In 2012, Ms. Atkinson founded Mothering Justice, a leadership development and advocacy organization. To date, Mothering Justice has trained more than 300 women, reached more than 50,000 mothers in voter engagement efforts, led Mama Conversations around Michigan, and drafted the Mamas’ Agenda, a policy priority plan addressing financial stability issues of mothers in Michigan. Ms. Atkinson help lead organizing effort to raise the minimum wage in both Florida and most recently Michigan. Ms. Atkinson’s work organizing mothers won her the 2013 Michigan Organizer of the Year Award.
    Ms. Atkinson received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology from Pfeiffer University and lives in Royal Oak, Michigan with her husband Frank and their five children.

     

  • Dr. Rita Fields-Strategic Organizing Consultant

    Dr. Rita Fields is the Executive Vice President at Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and Associate Professor of Management in the School of Business at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan. Dr. Fields worked at the senior executive level in the healthcare industry for 10 years and in corporate America for nearly two decades. Dr. Fields is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR). She serves on the Institutional Standing Committee on Campus Diversity and Inclusion (ISCCDI) at Madonna University, as a Dissertation Advisor in the PHOD Program at Assumption University in Thailand, as a spokeswoman for the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan and as a member of the EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) at the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development.
    Dr. Fields is a recent ex-President of the Marygrove College Alumni Board, a board member with both South Oakland Shelter (SOS) and Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS), a board advisor for the First Children Finance Fund a member of the board of directors for the Detroit Artist Market. Crain’s Detroit Business named her among “40 under 40” in 2008. In 2009, the Fusion division of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce honored her with a Young Professional in Health Care Services Horizon Award. In both 2010, 2011 she was selected to serve as a United States delegate with SHRM to explore human capital issues in both China and Brazil. She was selected to be a presenter at TEDxDetroit in 2015. In 2016 she was honored with a Women’s History Month Careers Mastered Leadership in Action Award. She also offers expertise on human resources and strategic business issues through Copper Phoenix Consulting, LLC.

  • Tomicka Robinson-Director of Communications

    Tomicka Robinson is the Director of Communications for Mothering Justice. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising from Wayne State University, in 2007. She has a vast background in social media management, communications, community building, researching, event planning and a host of other beneficial skills. She’s a graduate of the Mothering Justice Movement Fellowship Class of 2016. She also completed an extensive Organizer Training with Wellstone Action in June 2017. Her interests include activism, grassroots organizing, freelance writing and volunteering. She resides in Warren with her husband and two children.

  • Phyllis Jacob-Director of Leadership and Advocacy

    ​Phyllis Jacob is the Director Of Leadership And Advocacy for Mothering Justice. Phyllis Jacob received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with honors from the University of Michigan Dearborn in 2010. While attending the University of Michigan Dearborn she was the Director at The Learning Tree Daycare Center. Phyllis Jacob decided it was time for a career change after working many years in the field of early childhood education. In November 2014, Phyllis Jacob, was in the first graduating class of (EJAM) which stands for the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan, where she was trained in Community Organizing and strategically learned how to build power and impact in low income and working-class communities across the state of Michigan. Phyllis Jacob currently resides in Oak Park Michigan with her husband Baiil, they have been married for over 30 years and have three adult children and two grandchildren. Phyllis is trained in Mental Health First Aid to provide help to people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis and substance use disorders. Phyllis Jacob was a panelist for Black Women and Education at The State of Black Women in Michigan in 2015.

  • Eboni Taylor-Director of Policy

    Eboni (Wells) Taylor is the Director of Policy.  She most recently co-wrote the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan’s 2017-18 Public Policy Manual. Mrs. Taylor is the former public policy fellow at the Skillman Foundation in Detroit. In her role at Skillman, Eboni managed special public policy projects and conducted research on public policy issues at the state and local levels affecting neighborhoods and children. Prior to her start at the Skillman Foundation, Eboni received her master’s degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Mrs. Taylor received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with a double major in Political Science and African & African-American Studies and a minor in International and Comparative Studies. Eboni is a native Detroiter, a product of Detroit Public Schools and has intentionally established her interests at the intersection of community development and public policy. She serves on the board of directors of the Michigan AfterSchool Association, the Mary Turner Center for Advocacy and the Eastside Community Network. Eboni lives in Ypsilanti with her husband Andarius and their son.

  • Nicole Banks-Administrative Assistant

    Nicole Banks is the wife of Timothy Banks.  They’ve been married for 22 years and have four beautiful children. Her natural family unity of six has brought a fulfillment of life that she really never imagined.  She’s glad to have be chosen by God to be the natural mother of them all. It’s an honor to say they are her children.  Nicole’s a daughter of God, Christian, and very proud to be both. She serves as a missionary unto God. She’s a licensed missionary under her current Pastor, Rickey Cranford at The Community Church of Christ.  She serves the membership of the church in the office of mother of the youth department and as the mother the church young men’s group, Young General Under Service. Additionally, Nicole has been the church secretary for 10 years. Nicole founded the Young Women’s Initiative Alliance (2016). The mission of Y.W.I.A. is “through the study of the Word of God, gain self-esteem, confidence, strength, empowerment, and support to live an abundant life.”

  • Jenny Byer-Organizer of Ally Relationships

    Stay-at-home-mom-turned-organizer, Jenny Byer volunteered for the 2016 Michigan Coordinated Campaign in Oakland County, wearing her baby and bringing her preschooler to knock doors. She enrolled in Emerge Michigan in the wake of the election for fellowship training in political leadership. She became the Reproductive & Economic Justice Organizer for Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, working statewide to engage interfaith coalitions championing the progressive values. While serving on the Local Host Committee for the Women’s Convention in Detroit, she began working with her mentor, Mothering Justice’s Danielle Atkinson, on an idea Atkinson had for a program to help white women support and know their role in coalition with women of color. Byer joined Mothering Justice as the Organizer of Ally Relationships to develop the training program.

  • Elaishia Outley-Communications Organizer

    My name is Elaishia Outley and I am a Communications Organizer working at Mothering Justice. Although I personally am not a mother, I still can understand why many of the agenda items set forth by Mothering Justice is important on a fundamental level for everyone.  That’s why I help to spread the message the best way I know how: by reaching my fellow peers thru our best mode of communication – social media. However, I did not expect that in turn I would become an activist by getting petitions signed, driving to Lansing to promote bills.  Also finding a group of women who would further expand and/or share my point of view on social matters that I usually reserve among close friends and family. I was just expecting to stay behind the computer communicating with those interested in Mothering Justice’s events and agenda, albeit occasionally recording, editing videos and photos to further highlight the various events Mothering Justice attended.

  • Danielle Atkinson-Founding Director

  • Dr. Rita Fields-Strategic Organizing Consultant

  • Tomicka Robinson-Director of Communications

  • Phyllis Jacob-Director of Leadership and Advocacy

  • Eboni Taylor-Director of Policy

  • Nicole Banks-Administrative Assistant

  • Jenny Byer-Organizer of Ally Relationships

  • Elaishia Outley-Communications Organizer

Board of Directors

  • Dr. Alicia Renee Farris State Director of Restaurant Opportunities

    Dr. Alicia Renee Farris has devoted her life's mission and professional career to the promotion of social and economic justice and currently serves as the State Director of Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan. Alicia views Mothering Justice as the "most crucial element to building a just society" and instilled this value in her two adult sons, Cedric, James and grandmother Deja Iman Farris, all of whom are committed champions for justice.

  • ​Nadia El-Zein TonovaDirector of National Network

    ​Nadia El-Zein Tonova serves as the Director of the National Network for Arab American Communities, a program of ACCESS that builds the capacity of community based organizations and addresses issues important to Arab Americans on the national level. She is also a mom to three beautiful, young kids, who keep her and her husband busy and happy!

  • Carmen WargelLicensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)

    Carmen Wargel, is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), ia community organizer and educator on the topic of domestic and sexual violence. In addition to her volunteer work with Mothering Justice, she serves on the Royal Oak School District's Sexual Health Advisory Committee.

  • Mykale (Kelly) GarretMayor Pro Tem of Lathrup Village

    Mykale (Kelly) Garrett currently serves as Mayor Pro tem of Lathrup Village, making her the first African American woman in the position. She was selected unanimously from her peers in 2013. Ms. Garrett led the fight for earned paid sick days straight to the Michigan State House of Representatives to testify as to why earn paid sick days are not a luxury but a sincere need for Michiganders. In addition to her many charitable and legislative commitments, her biggest accomplishment is she is a mother of a 16 years old son.

Fellowship Instructors

  • Rebecca Thompson

    Mamas' University Trainer  >>>Rebecca's mission (and life’s work) is to change the face of power by informing, inspiring, and supporting black women to run for elected office so they can fulfill their purpose and change the world.  She has traveled the world training candidates to run for elected office and is a graduate of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale, EMILY’S List, The White House Project and numerous other leadership programs. Rebecca is a national trainer for VoteRunLead and ElectHer, which trains young women to run for elected office. She also serves on the National Leadership Team of Political Parity, a bipartisan group of national women’s organizations dedicated to getting more women elected to office.  Rebecca was inspired to create Changing the Face of Power - the first and only podcast in the country dedicated to inspiring black women to run for office - after losing her election for state representative by just 6 votes on Election Day. She wants to teach women candidates everything she learned the hard way so they can run and win the first time.  Rebecca is also a digital nomad who is spending a year traveling the world living in 12 countries across Asia, Europe, and South America in 12 months.

  • Erin Dale Byrd

    Mamas' University Trainer  >>>Erin is currently the Executive Director of Blueprint NC.  She currently resides in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area.  She's the mother of one son named Hausson and has five siblings.  Her areas of expertise include but aren't limited to: civic engagement, community organizing, grass roots advocacy, social justice and organization development.  She's passionate about arts- literary, community development, entrepreneurship and parenting.  She's won countless awards for her work such as Business and Professional Women's Young Careerist Award, NC NAACP Political Trailblazer Award and Youth Organizing Institute Ella Baker Award.

  • Denise Diaz

    Mamas' University Trainer  >>>Originally from Puerto Rico, Denise's parents raised her and her brother on the northwest side of Chicago. Her parents worked hard in the airline catering industry and as union members to provide a better life for their children. Denise Diaz received her BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her activism began in organizing on the South Side of Chicago.  She later became a tenant right and organizer in immigrant communities outside of D.C.  In 2007, Denise moved to the Sunshine state to raise her two children and continue community organizing on worker rights issues. From informational picketing in front of major employers to community meeting on racial profiling, you'll find Denise and her family. Denise has been the Executive Director of Central Florida Jobs with Justice for 10 years now.  She is also a National Jobs with Justice board member and Trainer. When she is not organizing, Denise is spending time enjoying yoga, hanging out with her awesome family, and reading. Central Florida Jobs with Justice is a coalition of unions, community based groups, faith based and student groups that work together on economic justice campaigns.  The coalition is based out of Orlando, and is made up of over 25 organizations.

  • Trina Greene Brown

    Mamas' University Trainer  >>>Trina Greene Brown has worked in violence prevention for the past 15 years, managing multiple local and national initiatives. She launched Parenting for Liberation as a space for parents of Black children to envision a world where our children are cultivated to be their most liberated selves.  Before creating Parenting for Liberation, Trina engaged leaders within the violence against women's movement to build an inclusive gender and racial justice movement via her role as Outreach and Engagement Manager at Move to End Violence, a ten-year initiative of the NoVo Foundation. She also served as a Director for the YMCA, incorporating violence prevention education focusing on resiliency in the Department of Youth Development. Formerly a Manager at Peace Over Violence, a social service agency dedicated to the elimination of sexual and domestic violence and all forms of interpersonal violence, Trina co-authored a female empowerment curriculum, Be Strong: From The Inside Out and contributed to the second revision of In Touch With Teens, a nationally recognized relationship violence prevention curriculum. She is the proud to co-parent of two African American children, whom she raises with her husband in California to reach for the stars.

  • Jacqueline Roebuck Sakho

    Mamas' University Trainer  >>>Jacqueline understands #BlackActivistMothering as critical community work that is beyond the biological function of labor. Black Activist Mothering seeks to center the wisdom of Black mothers as a community approach to igniting activism in urban spaces. As a Black Activist Mother herself, Jacqueline has birthed 6 children and enjoyed three homebirths. She reclaims her communal labor as an independent scholar-practitioner specializing in designing culturally responsive restorative justice processes in urban school spaces. Dr. Roebuck Sakho sits on the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding Advisory Board at Eastern Mennonite University and has consulted with community and school leaders in Oakland, CA; Memphis, TN; Nashville, TN, Oklahoma City, OK and Pittsburgh, PA. Jacqueline has been trailblazing in the fields of Restorative Justice and community-based urban educational leadership for over 10 years and of course, radical mothering for over 20 years! Specifically, her work focuses on assisting community-centered organizations operating at the grassroots level to (a) engage vulnerable and/or destabilized school communities in a deep ecological model of systems change and (b) build their capacity to be active participants in improvement processes alongside schools and researchers.

  • Anika Fassia

    Mamas' University Trainer  >>>Anika Fassia has worked at the local, state and national level as a policy analyst, communication strategist and trainer since 2008. She has worked with hundreds of advocates, elected officials, students and community organizers to advance the role of the public sector in racial justice. Anika recently became a registered nurse and works as a critical care pediatric nurse. She is also a consultant at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development and a part of the training team at Beyond the Choir. Previously, Anika was the Director of Outreach at Public Works and an inaugural policy fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

  • Martha Collins

    >>>Mamas' University Trainer

  • Danielle Slaughter

    Mamas' University & Accomplice Academy Trainer  >>>Danielle Slaughter is a doctoral student in the Rhetoric and Composition program at Georgia State University. She is passionate about the intersections of social justice advocacy and parenting. Danielle shares her experiences navigating motherhood while finding her place in the academy on her blog, Mamademics. Mamademics also houses her popular blog series, Raising an Advocate. In the summer of 2016, she launched her first online class, RaA 101: Exposing the Three Ps - Prejudice, Privilege, and Pride. This self-paced class helps parents looking to pinpoint the ways privilege and prejudice factor into their parenting and provides a community for working through making changes. In January of 2017, Danielle launched Black History is American History, a monthly download for parents looking to add more Black History to their children’s educational experience. Danielle’s ability to turn complicated discussions into everyday conversations has caused her close friends to dub her an Educational Diversity Consultant. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son, crocheting, watching Shonda Rhimes shows, and reading non-dissertation related books.

  • Rhiannon Childs

    Accomplice Academy Trainer >>>Rhiannon Childs is Executive Director for Women's March Ohio Chapter and Digital Communications Manager Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio. Rhiannon’s background in the United States Air Force as a healthcare professional was the beginning of her compassion and dedication to social justice and uplifting voices of marginalized and oppressed communities. She is also the Chair of Community Outreach for Lean In Ohio, a member of the King Arts Complex Women's Service Board, and the Health and Legislative Chair for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Columbus, Ohio Chapter.

  • Heather Marie Scholl

    Accomplice Academy Instructor >>>Heather Marie Scholl is an artist and activist invested in approaching social justice issues with a productive emotionality. Her primary focus is in anti-racism work, particular anti-black racism, understanding "whiteness" and the layered ways they manifest. Her main fine art body of work is Whitework, which examines white women's roles in the establishment and maintenance of white supremacy through whitework embroidery techniques. Her work has been shown in NYC and LA galleries, and has been written about on Huffington Post, Brooklyn Magazine, BUST, I-D, and Vice. She holds a BA from The Evergreen State College in Race, Gender and Sexuality and an MFA from Academy of Art in Fashion and Knitwear Design.

  • Sophie Ellman-Golan

    Accomplice Academy Instructor >>>Sophie Ellman-Golan is the Deputy Director of Communications at Women’s March. A social justice activist with a background in racial and gender justice, queer liberation, and anti-police violence organizing, she is a member leader on the Campaign for Police Accountability and Legislative Working Group at Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), and a proud member of the #JewishResistance. Prior to joining the Women's March team, Sophie worked at Everytown for Gun Safety, the nation's largest gun violence prevention organization. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Barnard College in Africana Studies and Human Rights.

  • Perfecta Oxholm

    Accomplice Academy Instructor >>>Perfecta is a Ph.D. candidate with the Gold­man School of Pub­lic Pol­icy at University of California, Berkeley studying community-oriented policing and critical race theory. Prior to the PhD program, Perfecta was the executive director of Esperanza Housing and Economic Development, a community-development organization serving Latino residents in North Philadelphia, where she engaged in community organizing, including the co-creation of community-oriented policing strategies. Perfecta holds an MSW and an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger, West Africa, and is the mother of two young kids, ages four and two. Perfecta's writing and teaching explores the broad domains of history, policy, race, parenting, and social justice.

  • Emily Joye

    Accomplice Academy Trainer >>>Emily Joye (EJ) is an intersectional facilitator and trainer from Allies for Change. She is originally from California and has lived in Battle Creek Michigan for the last 8 years. EJ is mother to Maddie, Aurora and Isaiah and wyke to Kate Staib. She holds a Bachelors Degree from Catawba College and Masters of Divinity from The Pacific School of Religion. EJ is also an ordained Minister in the United Church of Christ, a regular contributor to The Anti-Racist Devotional, and blogger for Ignite Courage. She identifies as a member of the disability community, anti-racist white, non-binary, queer and middle class.

  • Lois McCullen Parr

    Accomplice Academy Trainer >>>Rev. Lois McCullen Parr has served congregations in the Chicago area and is an activist for justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the United Methodist Church. Lois believes that speaking the truth about systems of power, privilege, and oppression – and examining the ways in which racism harms white people – is critical to our nation’s need for race reparations, and can lead to liberation for both oppressor and oppressed peoples. Lois is facilitator for a Justice League Network of Educators (Washtenaw County, Michigan), Albion-Marshall Resilient Communities Project (Albion, Michigan), and Allies for Change (based in Michigan); she also serves as a Chaplain in Chelsea, Michigan.

  • Dr. Rita Fields

    Dr. Rita Fields is the Executive Vice President at Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and Associate Professor of Management in the School of Business at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan. Dr. Fields worked at the senior executive level in the healthcare industry for 10 years and in corporate America for nearly two decades. Dr. Fields is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR). She serves on the Institutional Standing Committee on Campus Diversity and Inclusion (ISCCDI) at Madonna University, as a Dissertation Advisor in the PHOD Program at Assumption University in Thailand, as a spokeswoman for the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan and as a member of the EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) at the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development. Dr. Fields is a recent ex-President of the Marygrove College Alumni Board, a board member with both South Oakland Shelter (SOS) and Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS), a board advisor for the First Children Finance Fund a member of the board of directors for the Detroit Artist Market. Crain’s Detroit Business named her among “40 under 40” in 2008. In 2009, the Fusion division of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce honored her with a Young Professional in Health Care Services Horizon Award. In both 2010, 2011 she was selected to serve as a United States delegate with SHRM to explore human capital issues in both China and Brazil. She was selected to be a presenter at TEDxDetroit in 2015. In 2016 she was honored with a Women’s History Month Careers Mastered Leadership in Action Award. She also offers expertise on human resources and strategic business issues through Copper Phoenix Consulting, LLC.

  • Jenny Byer

    Stay-at-home-mom-turned-organizer, Jenny Byer volunteered for the 2016 Michigan Coordinated Campaign in Oakland County, wearing her baby and bringing her preschooler to knock doors. She enrolled in Emerge Michigan in the wake of the election for fellowship training in political leadership. She became the Reproductive & Economic Justice Organizer for Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network, working statewide to engage interfaith coalitions championing the progressive values. While serving on the Local Host Committee for the Women’s Convention in Detroit, she began working with her mentor, Mothering Justice's Danielle Atkinson, on an idea Atkinson had for a program to help white women support and know their role in coalition with women of color. Byer joined Mothering Justice as the Organizer of Ally Relationships to develop the training program.