Board of Directors

Hope Barrett (Chair)

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Hope Barrett joined the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2015.  As Manager of Community-based Initiatives, she provides oversight and strategic direction for the AAP Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) Program and the Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPCP). She staffs the District CATCH Facilitators (DCF) Executive Committee and works to evaluate and improve grant award programs.  Ms. Barrett has over 15 years of experience in planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating a variety of health and wellness programs. Prior to joining AAP, she served as the Deputy Director of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), a program of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. While at CLOCC, she handled the daily operations of the program.  Further, she raised and managed over $500,000 to support CLOCC’s work in early childhood, community-level interventions, and school-based initiatives. She has held many leadership positions in nonprofit organizations throughout Chicago; including Senior Director of Public Programs at Center on Halsted as well as Director of Elder Services at Howard Brown Health Center. Ms. Barrett earned her BA from Hunter College and MPH degree from New York University.

Sandra L. Barnes
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Sandra Barnes is a Professor in the Department of Human and  Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Barnes focuses on the role of religion and congregations as change agents in society. She is also interested in race, class, and gender dynamics, the relationship between structural constraints and individual agency, and how these dynamics influence the experiences of residents in poor urban spaces.

Angel Collie, Secretary

Pronouns: he/him/his
Angel grew up in rural North Carolina and, before joining the team at the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity at Duke University, spent his days working as the Assistant Director of the LGBTQ Center at UNC-CH. His return to UNC (where he received his BA in Religious Studies with minors in both Women’s Studies and Sexuality Studies) came after obtaining a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. In August 2019 he is going to be working full time while working towards his Doctorate in Ministry from Duke Divinity School. He is excited to support the work of the Freedom Center for Social Justice because he has seen the life giving and lifesaving work of the organization! He is most excited about the Trans Seminarian Cohort where is he one of the three faculty members for the cohort.

Keona Francis, Treasurer

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Keona Francis is a Texas native who grew up in North Carolina. She has extensive knowledge of the different cities and neighborhoods across the Piedmont area. Keona received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a minor in Psychology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.  Keona is a Licensed REALTOR® (SLS, ABR) in North and South Carolina who brings both a strategic and personable approach to the home buying, selling and investment management process. Drawing on her multiple years of experience in logistics management, Keona has built a reputation for her refreshingly friendly customer care and proven ability to guide buyers to obtain the best value for their dream home and to assist sellers to a smooth, stress-free sale of their properties to enhance their future. Keona has also spent many years working with the local service organizations (Women’s and Men’s Shelters of Charlotte and the Urban Ministries) in the placement of individuals and families in affordable housing after life and financial setbacks. Working with affordable housing individuals has made her work as an Asset Manager extremely valuable.  Keona manages the daily and long term futures for her real estate investment clients. Keona believes in the moto “Each one, teach one, reach one”.  No matter what we do in life we should all do our best to impact someone else in a positive way.

Cassandra Grant

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Cassandra Grant was among a group of powerful Black lesbian sisters in the seventies who founded Salsa Soul Sister Third World Women, Inc. A voice and a movement that became a force to be reckoned with within the NYC gay community. In a time filled with discrimination, fear, and oppression, they were faced with the challenge of changing societal norms. Cassandra is married to Sharon Lucas, who is another original member of Salsa. She holds a Master’s degree of Education from Bank St. College and a Bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University. She retired from the New York State Education Department in 2011. Her work in education spans over forty years, from pre-kindergarten to higher education. Today she continues to give back to her community and to society to improve life outcomes. She believes that it is important to be grounded, both spiritually and culturally in your journey through life.

Jay Pastrana

Pronouns: he/him/his
Antonio (Jay) Pastrana, Jr., PhD, is an Associate Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of the City University of New York (CUNY).  His areas of specialty include Latina/o Studies, Sexualities, Race, and Social Justice.

Elizabeth Diane White

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Elizabeth White, author of 55, Underemployed and Faking Normal (Simon and Schuster 2019) is an aging solutions advocate for older adults facing uncertain work and financial insecurity. Ms.  White has a Harvard MBA and a master’s in international studies from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She is a frequent guest blogger, and speaker at conferences and workshops, and has been named one of the top 50 influencers on aging in the country. Her essays and work have appeared in publications like Barrons, Forbes, The Huffington Post, MarketWatch, Next Avenue, and The Washington Post. She has been featured prominently in three segments on the PBS NewsHour.  And her TEDx Talk has been elevated to the main TED stage where it has garnered over 1.5 million views.

Rodney McKenzie, Jr. 
Pronouns: he/him/his 
Rodney McKenzie, Jr. is an experienced community organizer, movement leader and out person of faith who brings to Dēmos over fifteen years of experience fighting for grassroots political power in marginalized communities. Before joining Dēmos, Rodney was the Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action at the National LGBTQ Task Force, where he led the grassroots organizing strategy that focused on faith organizing across the country. His work at the Task Force focused on disrupting the national narrative that LGBTQ people aren’t people of faith and that people of faith don’t support LGBTQ equality. Rodney currently lives in Washington, DC.

Veronica Calderon

Pronouns: she/her/hers
Veronica Calderon is the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Aldersgate Retirement Community. She considers herself a Charlottean after moving to the Queen City from Ecuador in 1999. Veronica received her undergraduate degree in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Finance from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. With 12 years of leadership experience at Wells Fargo, she understands the meaning of establishing lasting relationships and building strong partnerships. Veronica’s desire to give back to the community that has given her so much – is endless. Loving the city goes beyond our great sky-high buildings, great array of diverse restaurants, and lovely people. Veronica has served on many local non-profit boards, and uses free time to volunteer. She believes the best way to see the community grow is through volunteering – one of the greatest rewards, to make a difference in someone’s life.

Jonathan Barrio
Pronouns: he/him/his
A native to Miami Beach, Jonathan Barrio comes to us from a background in musical theater and opera, political activism, and LGBTQ fundraising. Jonathan currently serves as a development officer with SAGE, where he builds connections and advocates for LGBT older adults in the South Florida, New York City, New Jersey and Washington D.C. markets. Jonathan is also an LGBTQ activist who is always working hard to create an environment in which camaraderie and diversity is effectuated by building a safe and fun space for the LGBTQ community in Charlotte, NC where he currently lives. In his off time, Jonathan is also the Executive Director of Queen City Prism, an LGBTQ organization based in Charlotte, that builds meaningful friendships and connections between community members. Jonathan also co-founded the Charlotte Gaymers Network, North Carolina’s largest LGBTQ gaming community.


Marsha Foster Boyd
Pronouns: she, her/hers
Rev. Marsha Foster Boyd, Ph.D. is President Emerita of Ecumenical Theological Seminary and a retired minister in the AME Church. She is a proven thought leader in the field of higher education, with 25 years experience as a professor, dean, accrediting officer, seminary president, and educational strategist. She facilitates workshops with administrators, boards of directors, and school communities, and provides personal coaching for senior administrators, non-profit leaders, and leadership teams through her business, Catalyst Connections Global. She is a Co-Founder and Principle of The Bridge Collective, established to unite humans to re-pair the fractures among us across our differences through facilitating workshops, hosting retreats, and engaging communities in conversations that matter. She is also a member of the board of the In Trust Center for Theological Schools and the Freedom Center for Social Justice.

Christina Adeleke
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Christina Adeleke is a social justice activist and attorney from Miami, Florida, who uses her insatiable curiosity and drive to work towards creating a better world for all, especially members of marginalized and underserved communities. Christina serves as the Policy and Communications Manager at the North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN), where she has worked since 2016. A lawyer and self-proclaimed policy nerd, Christina is a long-time advocate for people living with and affected by HIV.  Christina’s passion for human rights is at the cornerstone of Christina’s work and involvements since a young age.

Ciara Lilly
Pronouns: they, their, she, her