Commission on African American Affairs

About the Pennsylvania Commission on African American Affairs
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About the Pennsylvania Commission on African American Affairs

Established by Executive Order 2015-07, the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs (GACAAA) serves as the commonwealth’s advocate agency for the African American community in Pennsylvania. Our mission is to ensure that state government is accessible and accountable by advising the governor on policies, procedures, legislation, and regulations. GACAAA also works to expand and enhance the civic, social, educational, cultural, and economic status of the African American Community.

The commission is composed of twenty volunteer members appointed by the governor for a term of two years.


Jalila Parker – Executive Director
Ahmeenah Young – Commission Chair
David Dix – Commission Vice Chair
Adrienne M. Averett-McKinney
Carl W. Bailey
Rev. Dr. William H. Curtis
Angela Euell-McNair
Danielle Paige Jeter
Dr. Damone B. Jones, Jr.
Chad Dion Lassiter
La’Tasha D. Mayes
Anton K. Moore
Desiree Peterkin-Bell
Bilal Abdul Qayyum
Fred Redmond
Jasmine E. Sessoms
Candi Castleberry Singleton
Blane F. Stoddart
Corey Tucker
Rev. Dr. Aaron Willford, Jr.
Marisa C. Williams

Adrienne M. Averett-McKinneymartin regusters 2533 FIXED crop

As a long-time advocate for early childhood education, Adrienne McKinney has served as President/Director of Tuny Haven International Early Learning Center, Inc. for twenty-six years and Executive Director/President of Young World Early Learning Center, Inc. for eighteen years.

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    The two sites serve over 280 children and families who live throughout Philadelphia. With the responsibility of nurturing and educating the city’s /state’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens, both sites have been long-time partners with the Philadelphia School District by providing Pre-K Counts (a state-funded quality initiative program) and Head Start (a state and federal program) in order to prepare the children in our care with the necessary skills for school readiness in adherence with research studies that prove it is essential to school success. Ms. Averett-McKinney also serves on the Board of Directors of The Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children, the local affiliate of The National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Carl W. Baileycarl Bailey

Carl W. Bailey has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Almeda College and University, completed the Executive Education Program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and is a member of the NAACP Philadelphia Executive Board.


Rev. Dr. William H. CurtisWHC 2016 - 2

Mount Ararat Baptist Church is a large urban ministry and ministers to more than 10,000 members in the community.

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    Mount Ararat believes in ministry to the whole community, and under the leadership of Dr. Curtis, the church implemented a Community Tithe Program, which returns over ten percent of the congregation’s weekly offerings to small churches, para-church ministries and non-profit organizations.


David Dix

Biography to come.


Angela Euell-McNairAngela Euell-McNair

Angela sits on the Erie School Board in the City of Erie, Pa, and serves as community liaison, initiating several projects to further include parent involvement.

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    Angela is very active in the community and host many activities and fundraisers for youth agencies. She and her husband, Andrew McNair, operate Erie Boxing Academy, a community boxing center for inner city youth. In addition, Euell-McNair is owner of Jump Start Early Learning center located inside of the Booker T Washington Community center where she facilitates inner city families, providing trauma focused therapy. She and her husband are proud parents of Angelina, Julius, Andrew and twin girls, MaKayla and MaKyah who are autistic. She advocates for her community and for those who need someone to be their voice. She earned her bachelors in science from Edinboro University and a masters in social work from the University of Pittsburgh.


Danielle Paige JeterDanielle P. Jeter

“Creative, visionary, and inspiring” are just a few words used to describe Ms. Danielle P. Jeter. Jeter’s a graduate of Spelman College where she majored in history, dance, and theater arts.

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    After honing her skills through her experiences serving as Director of Marketing with several Atlanta based companies, Danielle decided to take her unique combination of communication skills, leadership, and expertise to launch her own business. Jeter founded AOI Events & PR in 2009, a full service creative communications firm headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, which specializes in event production and public relations, representing clients nationally. Focused on professional growth, Danielle completed the Public Relations Society of America Philadelphia Chapter Nancy Bacher Long Public Relations Institute. In addition, Danielle pursued an Event Planning Certificate from Temple University. AOI’s signature annual Internship & Mentoring Program, has had over 25 high school and college students since 2009 successfully complete the curriculum for hands on experience in communications and business. As an award-winning, acclaimed, sought after social innovator, business, and civic leader, Jeter helps build national brands with her strategic approach and creative solutions.

    Jeter is the Visionary & Co-Founder of the Women in Media Network. Women in Media was created to empower, equip and encourage women from all walks of life who are in the media field or seek to enter it. This organization was founded as a response for the need of more upper leadership from women at media brands and to continue to challenge women to pursue every area of media from ownership, management, leadership, operations, and in front of the camera talent. Annually in September, the organization products a professional development conference which equips and encourages hundreds of women to be fore-front leaders in the industry of media.
    The African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ, and DE named Jeter the Young Professional of the Year, where she was instrumental in founding the current Young Professional Network at the AACC. Danielle P. Jeter received the Next Generation of Women Leaders Risings Stars Award by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and the Philadelphia City Council. Jeter was honored by Influencing Action as a Woman Born to Make History in the Philadelphia Weekly Newspaper. For her dedication to civic empowerment and capacity to mobilize the community, Jeter was appointed to serve as the Chair for the Public Relations Committee and Chair for the Millennial Youth Committee with the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP. The Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper named Danielle P. Jeter, one of the most influential African Americans in Philadelphia Under 40 Years Old for her ability to inspire and lead. Joan Shepp named Danielle A Woman of Style & Substance during Black History Month for the outstanding work she is doing in the community and with her professional career. Just recently, Pennsylvania’s new state Governor Tom Wolf appointed Danielle P. Jeter to the Commission on African American Affairs, responsible for advising the Governor on initiatives needed for the advancement of the black community. Passionate about the creative arts, social change, economic empowerment and global impact, Jeter is devoted to developing the next generation of leaders, women’s empowerment, and making sure good stories about great people doing impactful work is highlighted in the media.


Dr. Damone B. Jones, Jr.Damone Jones Headshot

Dr. Damone B. Jones, Jr. is the Pastor of Bible Way Baptist Church in Philadelphia, a member of the Advisory Board of the Philadelphia Prison System, and an adjunct professor and member of the Board of Trustees at Biblical Theological Seminary, in Hatfield, PA.

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    Dr. Jones has undergraduate/graduate degrees from Cairn University in Langhorne, PA, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in St. David’s, PA.


Chad Dion LassiterChadLassiter

Chad Dion Lassiter is nationally recognized in the fields of American race relations and violence prevention among African American males. He has worked with resilient and vulnerable families, youth, and communities as they experience normal developmental transitions in challenging environments.

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    Chad Dion Lassiter’s work attempts to contribute to a more informed analysis of the diverse ways that adolescents and families, especially people of color cope with socioeconomic challenges and institutional racism.

    He received his Masters Degree at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Social Work where he was the “A. Phillip Randolph Award” winner (2001). Mr. Lassiter was chosen by Ebony Magazine as one of the “Young Leaders of the Future Under 30” in February, 2003. In May of 2004, Mr. Lassiter was named “Who’s Who Among African Americans 17th edition” along with such notables as Colin Powell and Michael Jordan. He is a former research fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Collective Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where he worked on two nationally successful research projects (P.L.A.A.Y.- Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth) and (H.I.P.P.- Health Information Providers and Promoters). In 2008 he was the recipient of the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement Award” at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Mr. Lassiter is one of the co-founders and current president of the Black Men at Penn School of Social Work, Inc. at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. The group seeks to recruit males of color into the profession of social work as well as provide anti racism and violence prevention trainings to urban and suburban schools around the country. Mr. Lassiter provides diversity training for penal systems throughout the United States of America and mentors youth who have a parent incarcerated in a State of Federal prison.

    He has worked on race, peace and poverty related issues in Africa, Israel, Haiti, Norway and Canada. He is called upon often to provide commentary to various media outlets and lectures widely. Presently, he is an adjunct professor at West Chester University and the University of Pennsylvania.


La’Tasha D. MayesLaTasha-MayesMSPPM

La’Tasha D. Mayes, MSPPM is a nationally recognized leader in the field of Reproductive Justice, Human Rights and leadership development for women and girls of color.

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    La’Tasha is the Founder and Executive Director of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, a multi-state organization based in Pittsburgh dedicated to the health and well-being of Black women and girls. La’Tasha is a proud graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.


Anton K. MooreAnton-Moore

Anton was born and raised in the inner city of Philadelphia, PA in the Tasker Homes Housing Development. Reared in church, Anton had a relationship with God, knew the importance of prayer and supplication, and how to trust and have faith.

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    God gave Anton a vision; He told Anton that he would use his niche for music to take his family out of those surroundings.

    By the age of 16 Anton began his career in radio, beginning with an internship and later became a staffer at Philadelphia’s leading station for Hip-Hop and R&B, WUSL’s Power 99FM. Anton was the youngest and hardest working intern at the station generating a buzz among senior staff and industry executives for having a unique and dedicated work ethic. During his tenure with Power 99, Anton helped coordinate the 2004 Unity Day Celebration (a free event in Philadelphia where over 200,000 people come to unite all genres of music with renowned artists and local vendors), the station’s annual Powerhouse concert, as well as a host of community sponsored events.

    Anton’s work didn’t go unnoticed and even as a young intern he networked and built relationships with key people in the music industry. Shortly thereafter, Anton was honored in a national campaign, Verizon Realize, an initiative that focused on young adults aspiring to have successful careers in the music industry. Anton was touted as an icon in the ads that featured his photo and the caption “Intern Today, Icon Tomorrow” on numerous billboards in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

    Months later, Anton caught another break when he was extended an internship opportunity at Black Entertainment Television in New York City. Through hard work, dedication, determination and the favor of God Anton was promoted to Production Assistant for the classic BET show Rap City. Soon Anton was coordinating for various programs on the network including the BET Awards, 106 & Park, Spring Bling, Rip the Runway and later became one of the founding producers for the new show The Deal in 2010.

    While his career in the entertainment industry has granted him the privileges of working closely with popular celebrities and traveling across country, Anton has an immense love for children and his community in South Philadelphia. Since 2008 he has hosted an annual peace week and community block party for his neighborhood where he has provided giveaways and brought out recognized celebs like Jasmine Sullivan, Meek Mill, Angela Simmons , Lil Mama and more to perform. Anton is the founder and President of his own organization known as “Unity in the Community” which is based in South Philadelphia

    Throughout Anton’s career he’s been honored with the following awards: Philadelphia 76’ers Heroes Among Us Award , McDonald’s & Newsone Community Hero Award , the Knight Foundation/Black Male Engagement Award and many more. In addition to launching “Peace Week”, Moore’s organization is responsible for hosting various charity events such as community coat drives , prom drives, community feedings , school tours , mentoring sessions , fundraisers for local schools in his areas , turkey giveaways , operation holiday help , job fairs for the youth and just recently Unity in the Community launched a monthly “listen and learn” session that exposes the youth in his community to various professions free of charge. In May , Anton Moore was elected as the committeeman for the 48-8 Ward in South Philadelphia

    Anton resides in Philadelphia and works as a freelance TV producer , community activist and event planner.



Jalila Parker

Biography to come.


Desiree Peterkin-BellDesiree-Bell

Desiree Peterkin Bell is a strategic planner, brand strategist, consummate communicator and political strategist with nearly 20 years of experience. Desiree is the President and CEO of DPBell & Associates a boutique Public Affairs Firm.

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    Desiree has national and international clients and most recently served as Special Adviser and Consultant to Reverend Leah Daughtry the CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee and her team.

    Honored as one of the industry’s best and brightest in the country by PR Week’s “40 under 40″ a ‘Shorty Award’ winner; recognized by the Philadelphia Tribune as, “One of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African-American Women”; recognized by Black Enterprise as a “triple threat”, and by Philadelphia Business Journal as a “40 under 40” recipient, Desiree strives to identify, create and leverage traditional and nontraditional media and define strategies that work.

    Prior to establishing DPBell & Associates, Desiree served in two appointed positions for the City of Philadelphia and for former Mayor Michael A. Nutter: Director of Communications and Strategy and City Representative. As Director of Communications she was responsible for creating and leading local, regional, national and international traditional and non-traditional media strategies for the City of Philadelphia and Mayor Michael A. Nutter. She crafted the first-ever social media policy for the City of Philadelphia and built an award winning online presence for the City.

    As City Representative, Desiree served as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the country’s largest Fourth of July celebration, the multi-day, citywide, Wawa Welcome America! festival produced under the auspices of Wawa Welcome America, Inc. The event aired nationally over cable network VH-1 and regionally via the Philadelphia region’s leading broadcast outlet, 6ABC. She served as the only Female African American Race Director in the country for the City’s award-winning GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend events, including the USTAF-sanctioned Full Marathon, the Half Marathon, Rothman Institute 8K, Kids Fun Run and the companion Health & Fitness Expo. Desiree also served as Executive Producer of The Philadelphia Collection, a week-long series of fashion and style related events that served as the City’s primary marketing campaign supporting Philadelphia’s fashion design and retailing industries and its leading institutions of fashion education.
    Additionally, she served as the lead in drafting and negotiating the successful bid for Philadelphia to host the Democratic National Convention that took place in July 2016. Desiree also led the strategic communications for the City of Philadelphia in the execution and production of Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival, Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit and the hosting of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia – the largest event ever hosted by a North American city.
    Prior to assuming the dual Administration posts, Desiree served as Senior Advisor for Communications for Obama for America – Pennsylvania, leading the development and execution of a statewide communications strategy in all seven media markets. The campaign earned positive media coverage via pro-active and rapid response press events, paid ads, and public events supporting President Barack Obama’s successful reelection efforts in the “must-win” battleground state, Pennsylvania.

    From 2006 to fall of 2010, Desiree served as the Director of Communications for Mayor Cory A. Booker in Newark, New Jersey, where she was the youngest senior official appointed in the Administration. As the Director of Communications for the City of Newark, Desiree built an award-winning twenty-first century, multi-platform communications network for Newark where one did not previously exist. In 2009, the New Jersey League of Municipalities recognized her leadership and named the city’s Office of Communications as the ‘Best City Office of Communications in New Jersey’.

    Prior to joining Mayor Booker’s team, Desiree served in the administration of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Vice President of Government Affairs for the city’s marketing development corporation, NYC Marketing. Desiree developed and implemented strategies and platforms to secure multi-million dollar sponsorships for the city with General Motors, Universal Studios, Country Music Awards, The Latin Grammy’s, and negotiated media barters with cities including London, Amsterdam, and Dusseldorf, Germany.

    Desiree had previously served as the Supervising Legislative Representative for the Bloomberg Administration representing and lobbying matters before the 51-member city council. While in this role, she shepherded three historic pieces of legislation through to final passage and public law: the New York City Smoke Free Air Act of 2002, Tort Reform and the Film Tax Credit.

    After a brief stint in Washington, D.C., working on a range of public policy issues, the National Urban Fellows Program awarded Desiree a full scholarship toward a Master’s in Public Administration. As a National Urban Fellow, Desiree was selected by Mayor Bart Peterson, Indianapolis, Indiana, to serve in his administration addressing community engagement, economic development, education, strategic governance, and affordable housing issues.

    A special part of her vocation includes mentoring minority students. She is a founding member of the Simmons Memorial Foundation, a non-profit that supports students in their efforts to achieve their education and self-reliance goals. She focuses on students whose backgrounds, similar to her own, are modest; encouraging them to break through boundaries and barriers to determine the path toward their goals.

    Desiree Peterkin Bell is an alumna of the A Better Chance program and a graduate of Swarthmore College where she majored in Political Science and Education and received the Dean’s Award for outstanding academic achievement and exemplary community service. In addition, she excelled in athletics as a five-time National Collegiate Athletic Association All-American in track and field.

    Desiree is a member of a number of boards and commissions, most notably she is a member of the Union League of Philadelphia, a Founding Member of the Walnut Club of Philadelphia, a Vision2020 Delegate, and a Commissioner serving on Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs.

    Desiree lives in Center City, Philadelphia with her husband Brian and their 8-year old daughter who is an avid gymnast.


Bilal Abdul Qayyum

Bilal Abdul Qayyum serves as the President and Executive Director of the Father’s Day Rally Committee, Inc. (FDRC).

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    Since 1989, FDRC’s mission is to implement grassroots, call-to-action, responsibility community campaigns in response to societal and community challenges facing African American fathers, males, and the community at-large in Philadelphia and the surrounding Delaware Valley.


Fred RedmondRedmondVisa

Mr. Redmond joined the Steelworkers union in 1973 and worked his way up from a shop steward to local union vice-president.

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    He serves as Chairman of the USW Container Industry Conference, Chairman of USW’s Civil and Human Rights Department and is joint chairman of USW’s Next Generation Program.


Jasmine E. SessomsJasmine Sessoms

Jasmine E. Sessoms was appointed the Deputy Executive Director of the Mayors Fund for the City of Philadelphia in 2015.

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    The Mayor’s Fund mission is to advance the Mayor’s goals by leveraging public-private partnerships to the benefit of the citizens of Philadelphia.


Candi Castleberry Singleton

Biography to come.


Blane F. StoddartUBara Photo

Blane F. Stoddart is the President and CEO of BFW Group, a construction project management company.

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    Mr. Stoddart is the co-founder of the CEO Access Network at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He also sits on the Board of Entrepreneur Works, and serves as the President of the Better Living Center in Chester, PA.


Corey Tucker

Biography to come.


Rev. Dr. Aaron Willford, Jr.

Rev. Dr. Aaron Willford, Jr. is pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, York, Pa.
He is co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of Destiny Bible Institute.

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    He has a Doctorate of Theology (Philadelphia Bible College and Institute). He is married to Jean (Oden) Willford.


Marisa C. WilliamsMCW Headshot 2016

Marisa began her career in the financial services industry where she has worked in a management capacity for 10 years.

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    In 2015 she joined the YMCA, serving as the Executive Director for the 3 locations that make up the PNC YMCA in downtown Pittsburgh. Marisa is committed to creating a friendly, safe, and engaging environment for all. Marisa is extremely involved in the Pittsburgh community; she recognizes her responsibility and is passionate about serving the community where she works, and lives. Marisa is a proud University of Pittsburgh graduate, a Pittsburgh Magazine “40 Under 40” alum, and serves on the board of Imani Christian Academy. “Be the change you wish to see …” Marisa leads by her actions. She is committed to changing her little part of the world for the better. Marisa is a native of Media, PA. She is the proud mother to Eugene D. Williams IV.


Ahmeenah Young

Biography to come.

Contact Us

For more information regarding the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs please contact:

Jalila Parker, Executive Director
110 N. Eighth Street, Suite 505, 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 965-4603