"Envisioning a New Normal in Community Safety"
Aqeela Sherrills is a spirit-centered activist, working to promote healing in marginalized communities and community ownership of public safety.
Aqeela Sherrills grew up in the Jordan Downs Housing Project in Watts, Los Angeles. A member of the Grape Street Crips, he fled the devastating violence in his community for college. At 19 he began working with football star Jim Brown and co-founded the Amer-I-Can Program, Inc. to heal gang violence around the country by negotiating peace treaties in those cities. In 1992 he brought his message home to Watts itself, and with his brother Daude and a few other key players in the community, forged a historic truce between the Crips and the Bloods in Watts.
When the ceasefire began to fray, the Sherrills brothers created the Community Self-Determination Institute in 1999 to tackle the overwhelming personal and social issues that underlie crime, drugs, and violence, and to draw attention to communities’ Post (and present) Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
On January 10, 2004, Sherrills’ 18-year-old son, Terrell, home from studying theater arts in college, was shot in the back at close range. Determined that Terrell’s death not be in vein, Aqeela embarked on a new phase of work and activism, launching The Reverence Project (“TRP”). TRP work has been to create intentional space for individual healing and to develop comprehensive wellness centers in urban war zones to introduce those who suffer from high levels of trauma to alternative healing technologies to support our respective healing journeys.
In 2014, Aqeela was tapped by Newark, NJ Mayor Ras J Baraka to build out his community based public safety initiative. In the 5 years that he’s led the Newark Community Street Team, Newark homicide rate went from 104 in 2015 to 51 in 2019 respectfully.
Aqeela also serves as the Senior Advisor to the Alliance for Safety and Justice’s Shared Safety Initiative----a national nonprofit working to replace justice and prison system waste with common sense solutions that create safe neighborhoods and save taxpayer dollars. In addition to co-founding Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice—the largest survivor network in the country, he’s also a subject matter expert on victim service and community based public safety providing consulting services to The International Association of Chief of Police. His primary focus with Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is meeting the unmet needs of victims of crime, which includes healing, recovery and prevention.
"Community safety in the presents of harm (Internal Community Harm and Safety)" Panel
Richard Smith National Director of Healing Works
TeAngelo Cargile Jr.,
Violence Prevention Office for the City of Milwaukee Health Department.
Charles Dixon M.A., Director Ramsey County Social Services, Community Partnerships, Quality and Continuous Improvement
The pandemic has led to significant challenges in the increase in violence and the continued concerns about police-involved shootings and deaths. This panel will look at both external and internal concerns of harm and safety within the Black Community. This panel will also discuss strategies to construct a new vision for community safety.
"Reparations as part of the new normal" Panel
Curtis Marshall works as a Public Health Strategist/Consultant for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.
Rev. Mark A. Thompson, Pastor, Radio Boadcaster, MSNBC Commentator
Thomas Berry is the Program Director at Black Civic Network. Educator, community organizer and father.
The pandemic magnified the historical and current struggles in the African American community. The question is should reparations be part of the public dialogue about the “New Normal”? This panel will take an in-depth look at that question and what reparations could mean for the Black Community.
“Envisioning Healthcare in the new normal" Panel
Clarence R. Jones, M.Ed, CPH, CHW, CPE., Community Health Strategist for the Hue-MAN Partnership
Ericka M. Sinclair is the Founder and CEO of Health Connections Inc. located in the Milwaukee, WI
Brandon Jones M.A., Executive Director of Minnesota Association for Child’s Mental Health, Psychotherapist, and Professor,
COVID-19 has bought to the forefront and magnified the historical health disparity in the African American community. This panel discussion will look at ways to deconstruct the current healthcare system and what can the “New Normal” mean for the wellbeing of the black community and society as a whole.
Nick Muhammad is a Twin Cities transplant from Indianola, Mississippi. His journey has brought him from the cradle of white supremacy to the crown of white supremacy in Minnesota. He is a product and advocate for the American Descendants of Slavery ADOS/Black community. As Executive Director of the Black Civic Network (BCN) he is a strong advocate for reparations and repairing of the ADOS/Black families. Under his leadership they have authored the “ADOS Reparative Justice Fund” which is a bill to stabilize the ADOS/Black community and are strong allies in support of the “African American Family Preservation Act”. They are also the consultants on several State, County and Municipal initiatives to impact the ADOS/Black community.
August 14th - Day Two
9 am to 12:30 pm
"Envisioning a New Normal in Healthcare"
Robert E. Bailey II is the Program, Communications, and Training Team Lead U.S. for CDC’s Division of Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) where his team is responsible for providing funding and guidance to all 50 states and the District of Columbia to advance cancer prevention, early detection and treatment, survivorship supports, and health equity.
He has also served in multiple leadership roles in support of CDC’s COVID-19 response, including Strategy, Policy, Partnerships, and Communications lead for the Chief Health Equity Officer; the Program Deputy for the Community Interventions and Critical Populations (CICP) Task Force, and the Communications Lead for the CICP Task Force. Prior to joining the Division of Cancer Prevention, Robert served as an acting Branch Chief and Team Lead within CDC’s Division of Community Health, where he provided oversight to the development and implementation of multi-sectorial strategies and funding to support national organizations, networks, state, community, and organizational efforts to prevent chronic illness and promote health and wellness for Americans wherever they live, work, play, worship, and learn through community transformation and health equity initiatives. Before focusing on community health, he led national partnerships, campaigns, and mobilization efforts for CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP), managed the Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium within the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, and worked as a public health analyst on evaluation practices for DHAP’s Program Evaluation Research Branch. He has also worked as a consultant for non-profits and small businesses on infrastructure, marketing, and evaluation aspects of their organizations
"Collective Healing for a thriving "New Normal" Panel
African American community is known for its resiliency but trauma continues to run deep and seem normal. One question is how does a community heal when the oppression continues? This panel will discuss the deconstruction of the current normal for the African American Community at the same time envision strategies to construct a “New Normal" that will lead to collective community empowerment and healing.
Tiffany Turner-Allen, Founder of Blacktivism -The Collective: The Center for Peace and Prosperity in Black Communities and executive director of Nonprofit Prince George County.
Consultant and an attorney, licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
Reverend Walter J. Lanier, Senior Pastor of Progressive Baptist Church of Milwaukee and Director of Student Resources at Milwaukee Area Technical College where he also created the college’s Men of Color Initiative.
"The New Normal” What does mean for the Black Community?”
Sam Simmons has over 31-years’ experience as an alcohol and drug counselor and behavioral consultant specializing in culturally sensitive trauma informed strategies and working African American males and their families. He is an Adverse Childhood Experience Interface Trainer in the state of Minnesota.
Sam received the 2016 Healing the Hidden Wounds of Racial Trauma award and the Black Tear Drop Award for his vision and leadership in culturally sensitive trauma informed work in the community and around the country. In 2017 Sam received the Champions for Children Award for his trauma work with parents. In 2018 he received Public Health Hero Award for his unique, innovative, and culturally specific trauma informed work from the City of Minneapolis.
In 2018 Sam was honored by the NFL for his work to end violence against women and interpersonal violence. In 2019 he became project consultant on the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Advisory Council on Opioid Use Disorders in the African American Community. Sam is co-host of "Voices” radio show on KMOJ FM that addresses issues of the urban community. He is co-creator of the Community Empowerment Through Black Men Healing conference and for that work in 2018 he received recognition from both Minneapolis and St. Paul Mayors and Minnesota’s’ Governor. “
“You don’t have to be a man to fight for freedom.
All you have to do is to be an intelligent human being.” — Malcolm X