Advisory Commission on African American Affairs Sworn In by Governor Tom Wolf

February 24, 2016

Harrisburg, PA — At a closed ceremony at the Governor’s Residence yesterday evening, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs (GACAAA) was sworn in by Governor Tom Wolf and Deputy Secretary of State Peter Speaks.

“I am thrilled to stand with this outstanding group of leaders in our state’s African American community,” said Governor Wolf. “This commission will benefit the commonwealth by defining and addressing the unique contributions, needs, and concerns of the African American community. Their work will improve the lives of all Pennsylvanians.”

To view photos of the event, click here.

The GACAAA was re-established under the Wolf Administration as the commonwealth’s advocate agency for its African American citizens in August 2015. The commission serves seven main functions:

  • Advising the governor on policies, procedures, legislation, and regulations that affect the African American community;
  • Developing, reviewing, and recommending to the governor policies in the areas of health and human services, housing, education, employment, business formation, and other relevant areas which affect the African American community;
  • Providing appropriate assistance and advice to state agencies to strengthen the enforcement of the commonwealth’s anti-discriminatory hiring, retention, and promotion policies;
  • Serving as a liaison to federal, state, and local agencies to ensure that programs impacting African Americans are effectively utilized;
  • Serving as a resource for community groups and provide forums for developing strategies and programs that will expand and enhance the civic, social, educational, cultural, and economic status of the African American community;
  • Identifying programs, scholarships, mentoring programs, sources of funding, or other resources and compliance requirements for the benefit and advancement of African Americans; and
  • Promoting the cultural arts of the African American community throughout the commonwealth.

The commission will be chaired by Ahmeenah Young. Other members include, by region:


La’Tasha D. Mayes, Founder and Director, New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice
Candi Castleberry Singleton, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer, UMPC
Rev. Dr. William Curtis, Senior Pastor, Mt. Ararat Baptist Church
Fred Redmond, International Vice President, United Steel Workers
Marisa C. Bartley Williams, Executive Director, YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh


Rev. Dr. Aaron Willford Jr., Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church


Chad Dion Lassister, Executive Director, Red Cross House and Recovery, American Red Cross of SEPA
Ahmeenah Young, Former CEO, Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority
Blane Stoddart, President and CEO, BFW Group LLC
Dr. Damone B. Jones, Sr., Pastor, Bibleway Baptist Church
Desiree Peterkin-Bell,Consultant, DNCC
Adrienne McKinney, Executive Director, TUNY Haven International Early Learning Center
Danielle P. Jeter, CEO & Founder, Affairs of Isis
Anton Moore, Founder, Unity in the Community
Corey Tucker, Academic Coordinator, Community College of Philadelphia
Carl Bailey, Retired President and CEO, CWB Consulting Service
Jasmine Sessoms, Deputy Executive Director, Mayor’s Fund
Bilal Qayyum, Father’s Day Rally Committee


Angela McNair, Director, Erie School Board
David Dix, Managing Director, Lumnious Strategies

The commonwealth is committed to providing equality and opportunity for all Pennsylvanians and increasing access for African Americans to civic, economic, and educational opportunities in Pennsylvania.

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