PAALF’s Leadership Academy acts as a framework to guide a group of transformative Black leaders. The year-long training program addresses personal, cultural, civic and professional needs of emerging Black leaders in Portland. Above all else, PAALF works to foster leaders who hold a lifelong commitment to fighting for racial justice and lasting change in the Black community.

The Leadership Academy centers on fellowship, mentorship, and project-based learning. Participants explore what it means to be a transformative Black leader through the historical context of the African Diaspora. The program is designed to provide specific skills necessary to actualize leadership in everyday work in the community.

The Leadership is simply one part of a larger solution to our movement’s need for a network of training opportunities for the next generation of Black leaders. While this is a program that trains the individual, the Academy is truly about advancing the needs of the collective. Each of our Leadership fellows brings with them a unique identity, skill set, experience, educational and professional background. Each participant was chosen for their ongoing commitment to creating community change and a tireless fight for racial justice. PAALF has faith in their ability to achieve this change and is committed to supporting them in their ongoing development as a leader in Portland.



Cohort I Alumni:

  • Rukaiyah Adams aka Olayinka (wealth surrounds me)

  • Sara Baker aka Thandiwe (the loved one)

  • Khalil Edwards aka Dejen (foundation, support)

  • Steven Gilliam aka Melisizwe (leader of the nation)

  • Jayvin Jordan Green aka Azibo (the whole earth)

  • Bryan Hockaday aka Simba (lion)

  • Joy Howard aka Añuli (joy)

  • Solamon Ibe aka Obi (father's heart)

  • Dana Ingram aka Chika (god is the greatest)

  • Eric Island aka Kayode (he brought joy)

  • Cobi Jackson aka Adisa (one who is clear)

  • Robin Johnson aka Kanoni (little bird)

  • Darryl Kelley aka Azubuike (the past is your strength)

  • Nnena Lewis aka Adannaya (her father's daughter)

  • Zakaria Mohamed aka Adetokunbo (the crown came from over the sea)

  • Rebecca Naga aka Abeni (we asked for her, and behold, we got her)

  • Cimone Schwoeffermann aka Hlengiwe (nursed)

  • Jennine Smart aka Jaha (dignity)

  • Amber Starks

  • Samaura Stone aka Chinasa (god answers)

  • Lisa Summers

  • Sita Symonette aka Afya (health)

  • Lamar Tillman aka Moyo (heart)

  • Charniece Tisdale aka Akilah (intelligent one who reasons)

  • Justice Rajee aka Enitan (person of story)

  • Matthew Robinson aka Tendaji (makes things happen)

  • Cameron Whitten aka Azikiwe (full of vigor)

  • Zenia Wilson aka Inyangura (healer)

Cohort II Alumni:

  • Jesse Beason aka Simba (lion)

  • Hosheman Brown aka Dejen (foundation, support)

  • Adolfo Cuevas aka Jaha (dignity)

  • Anthony Deloney aka Obi (father's heart)

  • Lakeesha Dumas aka Azubuike (the past is your strength)

  • Azizi Evans aka Adannaya (her father's daughter)

  • Cat Goughnour aka Hlengiwe (nursed)

  • Leila Hofstein aka Folmai (respect and honor me)

  • Tony Hopson, Jr. aka Kayode (he brought joy)

  • O'marr Johnson aka Olayinka (wealth surrounds me)

  • Rolanda Lively aka Kanoni (little bird)

  • Marlon Marion aka Enitan (person of story)

  • David Nussr aka Adetokunbo (the crown came from over the sea)

  • Aisha Redmond aka Inyangura (healer)

  • Nicole Rowe aka Tendaji (makes things happen)

  • Ty Schwoeffermann aka Afya (health)

  • Luc Smith aka Abeni (we asked for them, and behold, we got them)

  • Laura Stewart aka Akilah (intelligent one who reasons)

  • Michael Walker aka Moyo (heart)

  • Elle Weatheroy aka Adisa (one who is clear)

  • Marshawna Williams aka Thandiwe (the loved one)

  • Lavell Wood aka Azibo (the whole earth)

  • Sekoynia Wright aka Azikiwe (full of vigor)

Cohort III Alumni:

  • Elisabeth Braswell aka Amara (sweetheart)

  • Fannie Black aka Moyo (heart)

  • Anjeanette Brown aka Abeni (we asked for her, and behold, we got her) and Azikiwe (full of vigor)

  • Robbie Davis aka Akili (bright & smart)

  • Sherisa Davis-Larry aka Akilah (intelligent one who reasons)

  • Alaiyo Foster aka Bititi (strong woman)

  • Xochilth Franklin aka Kanoni (little bird)

  • Kisha Iguzanbara aka Thandiwe (the loved one)

  • Yashica Island aka Chinasa (god answers)

  • Alicia Jackson aka Inyangura (healer)

  • Melissa Hicks aka Dejen (foundation, support)

  • Kristy Hines aka Añuli (joy)

  • Christina Lane aka Olayinka (wealth surrounds me)

  • Rosalie Lee aka Tendaji (makes things happen)

  • Ebony Oldham aka Adisa (one who is clear)

  • Nolan Pratcher

  • Byron Redmond aka Obi (father's heart)

  • Samantha Thompson aka Makena (happy one)

  • Ezell Watson aka Kayode (he brought joy)

  • Nural Willis III aka Simba (lion)

Cohort IV Alumni

  • Sadie Atwell aka Amara (sweetheart)

  • Rozalind Darby aka Adannaya (her father's daughter)

  • Isaiah Jones aka Kayode (he brought joy)

  • Christopher Kendrix aka Jaha (dignity)

  • Nyla K. Moore aka Akilah (intelligent one who reasons)

  • Ombrea Moore aka Akili (bright & smart)

  • Patrisha Porter aka Chinasa (god answers)

  • Ayasha Shamsud-Din aka Adisa (one who is clear)

  • Talunaka Washington aka Tendaji (makes things happen)

  • Krysta Williams aka Thandiwe (the loved one)

  • Jibri Willis aka Obi (father's heart)

What are transformative Black Leaders?

Transformative Black Leaders understand the change that is required not just within broader society to
address the needs of Black people, but the dismantling of internalized oppression within ourselves. Led
by a vision of a prosperous healthy community, transformative leaders can navigate the process of
change, understanding its phases and tending to the needs of both the hearts and minds of the
community. Transformative Black Leaders are able to bridge gaps and work across differences. In
owning their personal failings, they maintain humility, and commit to a lifelong learning journey. They
lift as they climb, and own their responsibility as a steward of prior and future generations.
Transformative Black Leaders are compassionate healers, strategic organizers, and grounded visionaries.

The African American Leadership Academy is a proud member of the Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) Bridges program. Bridges houses six culturally-specific leadership development programs led by CCC member organizations and provides ongoing support through leadership placements, mentorship and community networking.


For more information regarding the Academy, please email here: