Who We Are

Members

The Member of the Month initiative showcases the outstanding contributions of ACT's community leaders. ACT's members are as diverse as the African continent from which they come. They are at the heart of this organization. They are the reason why ACT fights everyday for language access, economic opportunity, and a fair chance for a better tomorrow.

Click here to check out the Member of the Month profiles!

Staff

Amaha Kassa is the founder and Executive Director of African Communities Together. Amaha has 25 years of professional experience as a labor and community organizer, nonprofit director, and social entrepreneur. For nine years, Amaha directed East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, a workers’ rights nonprofit in Oakland, California, growing it from a startup to one of the leading organizations in its field. Prior to launching ACT, Amaha earned his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. He is an immigrant from Ethiopia.

Airenakhue B. Omoragbon is ACT's New York State Policy Manager. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to immigrant parents from Trinidad and Nigeria, Airenakhue brings a profound dedication to social justice and community empowerment to ACT. Before joining our team, Airenakhue served as a Search for Common Ground’s Youth, Peace, and Security (YPS) Advocacy Fellow. In this role, she collaborated with Search’s Director of Children & Youth to map and conduct outreach to new youth groups and activists, with a special focus on those facing identity-related violence and hardship. Additionally, she played a crucial role in supporting and conducting outreach and meetings with
Congressional members and the Department of State to integrate YPS principles into existing
Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) strategies. Airenakhue's commitment to social change has
also seen her serve as a Legislative Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives and as a John R. Lewis Social Justice Fellow through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.


Airenakhue holds a Master of Science in Social Work (M.S.S.W.) from Columbia University, specializing in Accelerated Policy Practice on behalf of Family, Youth, and Children’s Services. Her expertise lies in women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence, human trafficking, and child welfare. Airenakhue speaks French at an
intermediate level.

Akinde Agnes Kodjo-Sanogo is a Lead Community  Organizer with ACT in New York. Akinde brings to ACT extensive experience with New York's African and Carribean immigrant communities. For over a decade, she served as a Research Program Associate for ParentCorps, a Child Development Program at the New York University Child Study Center. She is a native of Cote d'ivoire,  she is very active in her community, with African Women's Development Organization, and with her religious community which is one of the largest African Mosques in New York City. Akinde holds a BS in Finance and Banking  from Touro College, and an  MBA/MPA from NorthCentral University, she is fluent in five languages, including English, French, and Madingo.

 

Alpha Kassogu, a dedicated Community Organizer, leads the charge at ACT within the New York City Chapter, drawing upon extensive experience within the city's vibrant African immigrant communities. With over three decades of immersion as a Malian Community Member, Medical Interpreter, and Prevention Coordinator at African Services Community, Alpha is deeply rooted in grassroots initiatives. Holding a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Metropolitan College of New York and a Master's Degree in Management from Monroe Business School, Alpha brings both practical knowledge and academic rigor to his work.


His commitment to community extends beyond his professional roles; he currently serves as the President of the Malian community in the USA and holds a position on the Board of the Malians Mosque Tumbuktu. Proficient in Bambara, French, and Mandingo, Alpha bridges linguistic and cultural gaps, ensuring effective communication and understanding. With a passion for empowering others and fostering unity, Alpha is a driving force for positive change within New York City's diverse tapestry.

Assefash Makonnen is the Communications Manager at African Communities Together. Assefash was born in New York City to Ethiopian immigrant parents who sought asylum in the mid 70s and early 80s. Assefash has over 10 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, with experience in event planning, communications, and operations for a variety of organizations, including Just Food, Race Forward, and Transportation Alternatives. Outside of ACT, Assefash is a mental health advocate, organizing several events, focus groups, and panels for local Eritrean and Ethiopian communities in New York and Washington, D.C. in the last few years. Assefash received her Bachelor degree from Vassar College with a dual degree in Africana Studies and Urban Studies. 
 

Assitan Makadji is ACT's Community Navigator. She was born and raised in Mali and came to the United States when she was 16 years old. Assitan has her associates degree in business administration and management and is pursuing her bachelor degree in business, with a minor in Human Resources. She has previously worked in the financial aid aid department of her college, where she helped students apply for loans and assistance. She began working with ACT in 2020 as a test and trace outreach worker, providing face masks and hand sanitizer. She speaks bambara, French and English .

 

Berole Bekele is ACT's Lead Organizer in DC. Berole has played a pivotal role in shaping ACT’s organizing work in Virginia. She has developed and trained community leaders, and built a strong tenant union at Southern Towers Apartments, where over 4000 majority African immigrants tenants faced evictions. Berole has also run ACT’s civic engagement program in Virginia through voter registration, census awareness and voter turnout campaigns moving thousands of African immigrants that have not been taking part in civic life. Berole has a master's degree in Marketing Management and a Law degree from St. Mary University in Ethiopia. She also has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Addis Ababa University. Her work experience in Ethiopia includes a Human Resource and Credit monitoring officer at a private bank for five years and she also has run a private tour company for two years before immigrating to the US in 2018. She speaks Amharic and some Oromigna.

 

Bert Bayou is ACT's Deputy Executive Director, Organizing and Member Engagement. He joined ACT as the Chapter Director for ACT’s DC office in January 2019. Originally from Ethiopia, Bert has lived in the US since 2001. Bert has a Master’s Degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Addis Ababa University. In Ethiopia, Bert worked in humanitarian aid and development for the United Nations World Food Programme. After moving to the US, he became an organizer for Unite Here, a labor union serving the United States and Canada. In 2014, he was elected President of Unite Here Local 23, the Washington D.C. Chapter. In his time as a chapter president, the union has seen a dramatic increase in organized members and raised the wage standards for hospitality workers in the DC area. One of its greatest achievements was organizing close to 600 workers in the DC airports and leading a successful airport minimum wage campaign that raised wages for all DC airport workers over $4.00 an hour. Bert is fluent in Amharic.

Christina Samuels is the Deputy Executive Director, Programs for ACT. She was born in Florida to Jamaican parents and grew up along the east coast. Before joining ACT, Christina worked in a range of for- and non-profit sectors and fields, most recently as director of South Bronx Rising Together, a cradle-to-career collective impact initiative working to improve outcomes for young people in the Bronx. Prior to that she was the Policy & Impact Manager at HERE to HERE, a NYC-based youth workforce non-profit, and the Education Policy Manager at the New York Immigration Coalition. She earned her Master of Arts in Anthropology & International Development from The George Washington University and a BA in Anthropology from The Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Corine Dorcas Coulibaly is the Office Administrator for the New York Chapter, she was born and raised in Ivory Coast and has been living in the United States for eight years. Prior to joining African Communities Together, she worked in customer relations and support service for over five years. Driven by her passion for justice and equity, and also the strong desire to help others, Corine volunteered with an organization assisting people with immigration matters. Corine has a Master Degree in Law from the Catholic University of West Africa in Ivory Coast, a Paralegal Certificate from Pace University, NY, and a Diploma in Immigration Law from CUNY School of Professional Studies. Corine is fluent in French. 

Dauda Sesay is the National Network Director for African Communities Together (ACT).  A former refugee from Sierra Leone, Dauda fled his homeland at the age of 16 due to a terrible war and resettled in the U.S. in 2009. He earned a degree in Applied Science in Process Technology and is currently going for his Bachelor Degree in Administrative Management with a concentration in International Business at the Louisiana State University-Shreveport. Dauda is presently the Vice-Chairman of the Refugee Congress Board of Directors. Prior to working for the ACT, Dauda worked as a Process Technician at Dow Chemical Company and volunteered with various local and national nonprofit organizations.

Dauda is a community advocate and founding member of the Louisiana Organization for Refugees and Immigrants (LORI,) assisting other refugees and immigrants with integration into the United States. He is also a member of Mayor Sharon Weston Broome International Relations Commission and Chairperson of the Commission Culture and Art Engagement. Recently Dauda was appointed as the United States Advisor at the UNHCR High-Level Officials Meeting on Global Impact on refugees. Dauda speaks Sierra Leone Krio and Temne.

Diana Konaté is Deputy Executive Director, Policy. She works to ensure that the interests of African immigrants are considered in federal immigration policy.  Prior to joining ACT, Diana worked in the House of Representatives as a legislative assistant and scheduler. While a congressional staffer, Diana also served as President of the Congressional African Staff Association (CASA), an organization with a mission of educating the Capitol Hill community on Africa policy issues. Diana was born in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. She moved to the U.S. at 8 years old and was raised in the Liberian community. Diana holds a J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law and a B.A. in Political Science from Old Dominion University.

 

Dina Jaffary is the Director of Workforce Programs at ACT. She brings 10+ years of multi-sectoral experience—nonprofit and international development—in program design and project management with a track record of successfully transitioning projects into streamlined programs. Dina previously served as a project management consultant for ACT's African Wage Gap project focusing on identifying and developing evidence-based strategic interventions to enhance equitable job access for African immigrant communities.

Dina formerly led the development and execution of economic mobility initiatives for women and girls in West Africa's Sahel region leveraging public-private sector partnerships. She also has several years of experience in cultivating partnerships to facilitate the economic integration of skilled immigrants in the U.S.

Dina holds a master's degree in International Service from American University in Washington D.C. Additionally, she earned a BS in Computing Information Systems from Greenwich University in the UK. As a first-generation immigrant from Syria, Dina approaches her work with empathy, ensuring that workforce programs prioritize equity and embrace diversity.

Fatoumata Barry serves as the Community Navigator for African Communities Together. Raised in New York City by Guinean immigrant parents, she brings a diverse background to her role. After completing her education at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she studied Biomedical Sciences, Marketing, and Public Relations, Fatoumata delved into the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining ACT, she gained valuable experience working with Americorps, focusing on legal aid, communication, media relations, and social media management.

At African Communities Together, Fatoumata initially served as the Legal Outreach Worker, specializing in Know Your Rights initiatives, case management, and aiding asylum seekers. Fluent in English and Pular, she is passionate about bridging cultural divides and empowering marginalized communities.

Gigi Traore is ACT’s Civic Engagement Director. A native Midwesterner born to a Nigerian father and a southern Black American mother, Gigi has dedicated over 20 years to political activism and community service. Her groundbreaking achievements include serving as the first Black Mayor, Council President Pro Tempore, and Councilmember for the Village of Newburgh Heights, OH (2018-2023), where she championed issues of race and gender equity.


Throughout her illustrious career, Gigi has made significant contributions as a political operative, consultant, and civic advocate at the national, state, and local levels. She represented the United States as a delegate to China in 2017 and served as a two-time DNC Congressional Delegate in 2012 and 2016. Gigi's influence extends to national and local media, where she has appeared on platforms such as TV One, MSNBC, CBS, NPR, and Essence.com, advocating for political leadership and equity.


Gigi holds a Master of Science in Leadership, and General Management from Walden University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, complemented by a Black Studies Certification from Cleveland State University. Her academic and professional achievements underscore her commitment to effecting positive change in communities.

Hamza Al Hammadi  is ACT's Finance Director/CFO. He is an accounting professional with over 20 years of experience in managing day-to-day financial operations, reporting, and auditing. Born in Ethiopia, he worked in Yemen as the primary accountant for a major hospital, and served as an auditor for the country's largest telecom company. Hamza provides individual tax preparation for low-income individuals as a volunteer. He speaks Arabic, Oromo, and Amharic.

Hellina Tadesse is the Development Director at African Communities Together (ACT). She has over 15 years of experience working in fundraising and partnerships, operations and administration, program development and clinical support. She has worked at local and international organizations in the education, community development and healthcare sectors. A few of these organizations include Extension Foundation, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders USA, Seeds of Africa and The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Hellina founded Diaspora Crossings and launched a pilot program for New York City-based undergraduate students of African descent. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership from Fordham University in New York City. Hellina is an Ethiopian-American currently based in the Washington D.C. Area, and previously lived in New York City, Greater Philadelphia and other cities in the U.S., and Nairobi, Kenya.

Isaaca Kaly is ACT's Executive Assistant. Prior to entering this role, Isaaca served as an outreach worker at African Communities Together for over two years. Isaaca has her BA in International Relations where she focused on global development and strategic planning. She is an advocate for Human Rights and has led several advocacy campaigns including human rights campaigns and fundraisers at Amnesty International. Prior to her role at ACT, Isaaca worked as a Development Associate at the Bill of Rights Institute.

 

Jainaba Camara Ceesay is a Paralegal in ACT’s New York office, where she coordinates immigration legal services for ACT members and clients. Jainaba was born and raised in The Gambia, where she worked for 13 years in office administration and finance. Before joining ACT, she served as an Administrative Officer at a Gambian nonprofit organization, National Farmers Platform. Jainaba earned her diploma in Business Studies and her Advanced Diploma in Banking and Finance. She speaks seven languages, including Mandingo, Wolof, Fulani, Mandinka, and Krio.

 

Karen Kwaasi is ACT's Communications Associate. Karen, a Jersey City native, brings with her a rich background shaped by her Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian immigrant parents, who settled in the city almost three decades ago in search of a better life. Fluent in both English and Krio, Karen has made significant strides, breaking ground as the first college graduate in her family.Having completed her studies in Communications and Marketing at Kean University in 2020, Karen has dedicated the last five years to immersing herself in the field of Communications, with over two years spent in Marketing and Nonprofit work. Her journey includes notable contributions to organizations such as Meredith Corporation, One Africa Music Fest, and Uncommon Schools.Driven by a deep sense of purpose, Karen is eager to channel her diverse experiences into African Communities Together. Her goal is to contribute to and build upon the impactful work already in progress within our organization, reflecting her passion for fostering the prosperity of the African community and ensuring they receive the opportunities they genuinely deserve.

Kathryn Dale is our Data Manager. Kathryn was born in the Bronx and grew up in Queens, New York. She started organizing during the Iraq War, where she became involved in the antiwar movement. Her main focus was on combating discrimination within communities that were specifically targeted. She has continued her organizing activities within her community, focusing on important matters like housing justice and food insecurity. Engaging in these activities helped her develop a deep passion for data and technology. As a result, she was able to utilize her skills to support the election campaigns of several progressive candidates throughout Queens. She has earned a bachelor's degree in political science and criminal justice, and she is currently pursuing a master's degree in data science.  
 


 

Maimouna Dieye is the Program Manager in ACT's New York office, where she leads ACT’s Community Interpreter program, supervises the development of our African language services worker cooperative, and manages ACT's advocacy to address occupational licensing issues faced by African hair braiders. Prior to joining ACT, Maimouna served as a College and Career Advisor at Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School. Born and raised in Dakar, Senegal, Maimouna has lived in New York since 2007. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College. Maimouna is fluent in Wolof and French.

Makeda Seare is ACT's Membership & Services Manager in the Washington, D.C. Chapter. Before migrating to the US, Makeda worked as Social Communications and Public Relations Director for the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat. She was involved in the social service projects run by the organization that included food security, education, health and women empowerment throughout Ethiopia. She elevated the visibility of the organization throughout the country and internationally. She also worked as a radio journalist and correspondent for international media. Makeda got her Masters in Cultural Diplomacy from Sacred Heart Catholic University in Rome, Italy and studied Journalism and Communications in Ethiopia. Makeda Seare is fluent in Amharic and Tigriniya. 

Meron Hailu is the Paralegal/Legal Assistant in the D.C. office. She graduated from American University Washington College of Law in 2016 with an LL.M. in International Legal Studies. After graduating, Meron worked as a case manager for a boutique immigration law firm at Fairfax, VA and as research assistant for the NewMarket Lab at Washington, D.C. focusing on sustainable global economic development. Meron’s passion in the public service sector gave her an opportunity to work for Attorney General’s Office of Ethiopia as a public prosecutor before migrating to the U.S. to pursue her studies. At ACT, Meron provides critical immigration legal services by conducting phone screenings, legal research, and managing a heavy case load at ACT’s DC office. Most recently, she received a DOJ Accredited Representative recognition. Meron is fluent in both Amharic and Tigrina. 

 

Nafanaba Sanogo is a Community Organizer in the New York City chapter. Born and raised in the Ivory Coast, Nafanaba started at ACT as an intern while she was in high school, from October 2018, to January 2019. In 2020, Nafanaba came back to ACT as a captain for the Census outreach program and later, for the COVID-19 Test and Trace team. Nafanaba has an Associate Degree in Business Administration, and is currently working on her Bachelor's Degree in Accounting. Nafanaba is fluent in French & Mandigo.



 

Nils Kinuani is ACT's Federal Policy Manager. Nils brings with him over 8 years of invaluable experience in immigration services and a passion for community leadership.

Nils started his career as an immigration paralegal and quickly ascended to the role of Government Affairs Manager, where he led the development and management of the firm's government affairs program. In addition to his professional achievements, Nils is deeply involved in community advocacy, serving as the Immigration Coordinator and Board Director for the Congolese Community of Washington Metropolitan (CCWM), where he advocates for immigrant rights and supports vulnerable communities.

Outside of his professional commitments, Nils generously volunteers as an ESL teacher at Saint Mark Catholic Church in Vienna, Virginia, helping adult immigrant students integrate into American society by teaching them essential English skills.

Nils holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminology, Law, and Society from George Mason University, and has recently completed the prestigious Immigration Leadership program offered by Immigration Hub.

Nils is proficient in French, Lingala, Swahili, and English.

Saba Fentaw is the Community Organizer at African Communities Together. She first joined ACT as an outreach worker for both ACT's healthcare and housing campaigns, as well as helping to distribute grocery cards for community members. Saba studied administrative and medical assistance in the U.S. and has a degree in plant science from Wollo University in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, Saba worked as a Sales Agent at Awash Insurance for 5 years, Promotion leader and Salesperson at Shimelis Fiseha Import and Export company for 2 years, and she also has run her own Clothing Store as a Manager before immigrating to the United States in 2018. She speaks Amharic fluently, and some Oromigna.

Sadé White is ACT's Human Resource Manager. Sadé brings a wealth of Human Resources experience with a focus on diversity recruitment, nurturing career development, fostering inclusivity, and promoting mental health in workplaces. Raised in Massachusetts, Sadé's multicultural heritage spans Nigerian, Irish, Sioux, and Beninese roots. Armed with a degree in humanities and human resource management, complemented by a bachelor’s in psychology and ongoing pursuit of a master’s in industrial organizational psychology, Sadé has honed her skills in bridging cultural understanding and enhancing organizational development.

Sade, in her role as Human Resource Manager, will support a variety of administrative and operational functions for the department, including recruiting, onboarding, payroll and compliance, benefits administration, assisting in the enforcement of company policies and practices.

Salematou Kake is ACT's Deputy Executive Director, HR, Finance and Operations. She was born and raised in the Bronx to Guinean parents. She brings several years of experience in non-profit management and leadership within non-profit and corporate organizations. She is committed to working with institutions to advance a unique approach to confronting socio-economic barriers in communities of color. Her work also includes overseeing the programming of inadequate funding of Minority and Women Business Entrepreneurs, Immigrant rights, Environmental Racism, and Education. Before moving to the nonprofit arena, Salematou worked as an operations director and business consultant for small and medium-sized businesses. She earned her bachelor's in Comparative Politics and Economics from Kean University.

 

Solomon Ayalew is ACT's DMV Chapter Director. Born in Gonder, Ethiopia, Solomon immigrated to the USA, where his knack for bridging community differences flourished. His ability to communicate with diverse groups enabled him to build robust relationships, aligning stakeholders with organizational goals. Solomon’s storytelling talent often catalyzed change.
As the Senior Program Manager for the National Racial Equity Initiative (NREI) at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), Solomon oversaw the strategic implementation, program administration, and evaluation processes. He produced NREI research, tracks pivotal social justice legislation, and has organized large-scale events, including the Annual Legislative Conference. Solomon left CBCF with the most-read publication to date. His efforts have strengthened CBCF's mission and built vital connections with Black leaders.
Prior to CBCF, Solomon completed a Master of Public Administration focusing on nonprofit management and public policy at American University, and a sociology degree at Ohio State University (OSU). At OSU, he led youth programs at the Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Service Agency (ETSS), advocating for immigrants across Ohio. He secured $1 million in funding, managing programs that annually assisted over 1000 immigrant families. With nearly a decade in nonprofit management, Solomon is a prominent advocate for Black migrant communities, sharing his insights and expertise across various governance levels.

Sophie Kouyate is ACT's Membership & Services Manager. Sophie was born in France to a father from Guinea and a mother from Guadeloupe, Sophie lived in Paris, France before moving to the United States. Sophie's background is in hospitality and customer service, having nearly 20 years experience working in front facing roles managing large teams and projects in industries ranging from restaurants to art gallery. She also has approximately 5 years experience as a tax preparer. Sophie joined ACT first as a member in 2015, where she was part of the Language Access Campaign. She also played an important role in helping to organize membership dues. Sophie graduated from the University of Evry in France with a degree in Marketing and Management. Sophie speaks French and Creole. 

 

Sosseh Prom is ACT's National Housing Justice Director and responsible for developing and managing housing campaigns and advocacy efforts across ACT's chapters to ensure that members of the African immigrant community are safely housed and protected from displacement. Previously a Family Law attorney representing low-income D.C. residents, Sosseh has dedicated her life to assisting vulnerable communities by providing them with the resources they need to thrive. Prior to joining ACT, Sosseh also served as Policy Counsel for a local non-profit, advocating for change to make D.C. courts and government agencies racially equitable and just. She is an active member of the D.C. Bar and holds a J.D. from the Catholic University, Columbus School of Law. Sosseh was born in D.C. and raised in The Gambia.

 

Sylvia Nyamuhungu is ACT's National Lead Immigration Community Organizer. Sylvia is fluent in Kiswahili, Kinyarwanda, and beginner level in Kikuyu.

Sylvia brings an abundance of passion and expertise to our team. With a remarkable track record as an award- winning multilingual community organizer, she boasts over 7 years of dedicated experience in community engagement, particularly with refugees and immigrants. Notably, her impactful initiatives in Michigan have been instrumental. Her efforts were pivotal in establishing the Michigan Immigrant and Refugee Advisory Council, orchestrating the successful Michigan Immigrant Youth Conference, securing funding within the Michigan 2022 State budget for a refugee and immigrant community center, and much more.


Hailing originally from Tanzania and nurtured in Kenya by Rwandan parents, Sylvia identifies strongly as an East African. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international development studies with a minor in Business, which underscores her academic foundation and complements her practical expertise.

Tsehaitu Abye is ACT's Pennsylvania Director for African Communities Together (ACT). Originally from Philadelphia, Tsehaitu comes from an Ethiopian-American family who spent significant time on the east coast prior to relocating to Hawaii. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Hawaii, Tsehaitu returned to the east coast to earn her Master's in Business Administration from Lincoln University. From there, Tsehaitu’s focus narrowed in on business entrepreneurship, marketing, and community. She has over 13 years of organizing experience in labor, community, and political issues across the United States. A few of these issues include raising the minimum wage, voter access, reproductive rights, equity in education, hospitality work, agricultural practices, and creative expression. Her organizational skills positioned her as a national organizing trainer where she was able to impact thousands of volunteers and advocates alike. Tsehaitu is also a board member of the Pennsylvania Farmers Union, an active artist in the Philadelphia arts community, and the proud owner of a Philadelphia-based business that serves the cannabis and hemp industries, called Black Dragon Breakfast Club

Board of Directors

Afua Atta-Mensah is ACT’s President. Afua is an organizer, strategist, and movement lawyer. She is currently Chief of Programs at Community Change, a national organization whose mission is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change the policies and institutions that impact their lives. Previously, Afua served as the Executive Director of Community Voices Heard and Community Voices Heard Power and as the Director of Litigation and Policy for the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center. In 2008, Afua was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in support of her work at the International Federation of Women Attorneys advocating on behalf of indigent women in Ghana. She also worked with area lawyers to develop proposed legislation for marital rape law and served as a visiting lecturer at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where she taught a course on women's rights in the context of Ashanti-tribal law. In both Ghana, West Africa, and the United States, Afua has worked to improve the quality and quantity of fair and equitable housing, defend women's rights, galvanize support for programs benefiting low-income families, and fight to dismantle systemic racism. Afua holds a law degree from Fordham Univ. School of Law, and a BA in Sociology and African American History from Trinity College.  She and her husband Cephas are proud parents of two daughters and reside in the "village of Harlem". Afua is a Ghanaian-American and a native of The Bronx.

Dr. Sekou Siby is ACT's Treasurer. He is President & CEO of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United where he leads the national staff of ROC UNITED to support membership operations, training and education programs, community and public engagement, and policy advocacy and organizational development. Under his leadership, ROC United is building worker power and promoting policies that improve the lives of restaurant workers and their communities. Dr. Siby is native to the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) and immigrated to New York City, where he survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He worked as a cab driver, a cook at the Windows on the World, and then co-founded ROC United, managing and organizing major campaigns and bringing hundreds of restaurant workers to victory against wage theft and wage inequality. Dr. Siby speaks four languages and has been the recipient of  the prestigious Heroes Award and National Leading from the Inside Out Yearlong Fellowship by the Robin Hood Foundation and Rockwood Leadership Institute in 2013 and 2018, respectively. He holds an MBA and DBA in Business Management from the University of Phoenix School of Business. Dr. Siby is also a 2007 graduate of CORO’s Immigrant Civic Leadership Program (ICLP) and a fellow of Corneil’s National Labor Leadership Initiative (NLLI).

Folabi Olagbaju is an ACT Board Member. Folabi is the Democracy Campaign Director at Greenpeace USA. Folabi brings a wealth of experience as a human rights advocate and recognized leader in the global social justice movement. His work has elevated labor movement campaigning, cutting edge environmental justice organizing, and his ongoing commitment to economic and immigrant justice. Previously, he worked at Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) and more recently with the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). Folabi holds a doctorate in political science from George Washington University. He is an immigrant from Nigeria. Folabi joined ACT’s Board in 2023

Juanita O. Lewis is ACT’s Secretary. Juanita O. Lewis joined the staff of Community Voices Heard in 2009 as the Yonkers Organizer and currently serves as Executive Director. She began her work as an organizer in 2004 with the Minnesota chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). In her role as Lead Westchester, she led the organization's county wide expansion which resulted in securing funding for the Westchester Housing Needs Assessment, lobbied for Ban the Box across the county. She was born and raised in the Sierra Leonean community in Saint Paul, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science, and with her Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership Degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

 

Naomi Abraham is a Board Member. She is a multimedia storytelling & strategic communications consultant to social change organizations. Naomi has more than 10 years of experience working in various roles including as a Director of Communications and a program officer managing a multimillion-dollar immigrant civic engagement fund. In 2010, she transitioned from working in philanthropy and non-profit programming to communications because of her ardent belief in the power of storytelling and messaging for social change. Since then Naomi has had the privilege of consulting with various human rights organizations around the world and working as a communications strategist with groups such as Policy Link, the UN Population Fund, and Video Volunteers. She has also worked as a freelance journalist publishing articles on human rights and social issues for which she was awarded a fellowship with the International Center for Journalists to report on human rights abuses in Uganda and Kenya. She holds graduate degrees in international relations and journalism, respectively, from City University of New York and Columbia University. Naomi is an Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrant.

Sochie Nnaemeka is an ACT Board Member. Sochie served most recently as the State Director of the NY Working Families Party. Sochie is a seasoned community organizer and national leader in the progressive movement who has spent her career building power for working people. The daughter of Nigerian immigrant parents, Sochie was born and raised in New York and attended Yale University, where she began to organize with a local union of cafeteria and custodial workers. Her time in the union halls of New Haven sparked an unwavering commitment to people-powered movements — leading to her first job as an organizer for the 2008 Obama campaign in Toledo, Ohio. Following graduation, Sochie worked alongside casino workers in Miami to form a new union. She later attended Georgetown Law, where she studied how labor law might better protect, serve, and embolden working people. Sochie joined ACT’s Board in 2023.

Tata Traore-Rogers, an ACT Board Member, has dedicated her career to nonprofit work, particularly in women's and human rights. She holds the role of Deputy Department Director at the ACLU's Affiliate Support and Nationwide Initiatives (ASNI), bridging the ACLU national office and 54 state affiliates. Previously, she was the Executive Director at Manifesta and Turning Point Brooklyn and supported LGBTQI rights globally as Deputy Executive Director at the Astraea Foundation.

Beyond her role, Tata serves internationally as a facilitator, executive coach, and meeting planner. She actively volunteers for nonprofit boards like Peer Health Exchange, SeaChange Partners, and the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation (HER). She brings a unique perspective from living in diverse countries and teaching occasionally at CUNY School of Public Health, and studying at the Reik Institute of Psychoanalysis.

A West African immigrant with parents from four countries, Tata resides in Brooklyn with her three dogs, finding solace in reading and exploration. Her passion for Tavistock Group Relations Theory, exploring authority, leadership, and power dynamics, fuels her role as an executive coach and avid student of interpersonal dynamics.