Who we are
Co-founder, A Long Walk Home
Director, Express Newark and Henry Rutgers Professor of African American and African Studies and Creative Writing at Rutgers University – Newark
Salamishah Tillet is the 2022 Pulitzer Prize-winning contributing critic-at-large for The New York Times, the Henry Rutgers Professor of African American Studies and Creative Writing at Rutgers University, Newark, and the Director of Express Newark, a center for socially engaged art and design. She is the author of "Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination" and "In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece" and is currently working on the book "All The Rage: Mississippi Goddam and the World Nina Simone Made" for which she was the recipient of 2020 Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grant. In 2021, she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for her next project, "In Lieu of the Law: “Me Too’ and The Politics of Justice," a cultural history of the world’s largest social media movement. In 2022, she received the Gracie and Webby awards for “Because of Anita,” a podcast that she co-hosted with Cindi Leive about the enduring impact of Anita Hill's testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee. With her sister Scheherazade Tillet, she founded A Long Walk Home, a non-profit organization that uses art to empower young people to end violence against girls and women.
Co-Founder and Director, A Long Walk Home
Scheherazade Tillet is a photo-based artist, curator, and feminist activist who explores the themes of Blackness, play, freedom, trauma, and healing. She is currently the Executive Director of A Long Walk Home, a nonprofit she founded with her sister, Salamishah Tillet, in 2003. She uses art to empower young people to end violence against girls and women. Tillet has dedicated her life's work to Black girls, including those who have been marginalized by society and victims of all forms of violence. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Weinberg/Newton Gallery, Project of Empty Space, Columbia University, and Rutgers University-Newark, and has been featured in The New York Times,The Cut, The Guardian, Ms. Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Teen Vogue, ELLE Decor, Gagosian Quarterly, and Vice. She was a consultant for Lifetime's documentary, "Surviving R. Kelly," the lead organizer of the #MuteRKelly campaign in Chicago, and curator of the Rekia Boyd memorial project. In 2022, she co-curated the "Picturing Black Girlhood: Moments of Possibility," the largest exhibition on Black girls and genderqueer youth, and was recently awarded by The Field Foundation and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for her exemplary leadership work in Chicago. She is now a research associate at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa's Center for Gender, Race, and Class. Tillet is globally recognized for raising public consciousness, changing cultural narratives, and advancing research and policy.
Program Coordinator, A Long Walk Home
Wisdom Baty (she/her) is the program coordinator for the Girl/Friends Leadership Institute, an interdisciplinary artist, mother, and curator. The Founder and Creative Director of WILD YAMS: Black Mothers + Caretakers Residency, in partnership with THE cre.æ.tive ROOM. Baty received her BFA in Painting at UIC's School of Art and Design (2012) and MA in Arts Administration and Policy, from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2018).
Clinical Therapist, A Long Walk Home
LaShanda Edwards (she/her) is the Clinical Therapist for A Long Walk Home. For the past 18 years she has served as the Director of Trauma Therapy at a Chicago Rape Crisis Center working with survivors of sexual violence. She received an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University and completed her M.A. and Doctorate degrees in Counseling Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral research study was entitled, Childhood Incest Among African American Women: In Their Own Words and Narrative Themes.
Senior Administrator, A Long Walk Home
Porshé Garner (she/her) is the senior administrator at A Long Walk Home, a doula, performance artist, and Black girlhood spiritualist who, since 2008, has organized alongside Black girls and women to create spaces of possibilities and freedom. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies with a graduate minor in gender and women’s studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her life’s work focuses on Black girlhood spirituality as an inquiry into the knowledge production and freedom making of Black girls in community with Black women.
Robert Martin Narciso
Creative Arts and Studio Manager, A Long Walk Home
Robert Narciso (he/him) is the creative arts and studio manager at A Long Walk Home, a trained Art Therapist, counselor, and community artist. He first aligned with ALWH as an intern while he was a student at SAIC in 2015. Robert has a large variety of skills and techniques that he offers to any project he is involved in as a community based artist, specifically sculpture and painting. He has been involved in many ALWH Shows including: Summer Leadership Institute Exhibitions at SAIC, Family Chair at Gene Siskel, The Black Girlhood Altar Project at the MCA, and Freedom Space at the University of Chicago. Robert is currently practicing as an art therapist and counselor at his own private practice: Weatherstone Counseling Institute LLC.
Consultant, A Long Walk Home
Mimi Owusu (she/her) is a consultant at A Long Walk Home and has been the curriculum specialist for the Girl/Friends Leadership Institute for two years. She is a former K-12 educator, teacher educator, and doctoral candidate in Educational Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research lies at the intersection of Black girl play and performance, digital studies, and education. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Masters of Arts in teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education.
Senior Director of Development, L+M Development Partners, Inc.
Elaine Braithwaite is a Chicago native, urban planner and affordable housing developer with an interest in all things Cities. She is a Senior Director of Development at L+M Development Partners, Inc in New York City where she has developed over 1,100 affordable new construction units across a range of mixed use projects compiling over $550 million in funding resources.
Monique French-Brown (she/her) is a community volunteer and advocate. With nearly 25 years of experience in non-profit development, urban planning, and government contracting and compliance, Monique has utilized her skill and expertise to advocate for social and systemic change with various state and national organizations. Her recent efforts have centered on LGBTQA+ rights, reproductive care access, domestic violence policy reform, and efforts to create affordable housing, living wage jobs, and health care access for the economically disenfranchised.
Physical Education Teacher, Oak Park & River Forest High School
Linda Carlson is a Physical Educator at Oak Park & River Forest High School in Oak Park, IL. Due to Linda's building of the incredible self-defense program at OPRFHS, she was named the National High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 2017 by SHAPE America.
Director, Monument Lab
Paul M. Farber (he or they) is a curator, writer, and educator. He is the director and co-founder of Monument Lab and serves as Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Public Art & Space at the University of Pennsylvania. Farber is author of A Wall of Our Own: An American History of the Berlin Wall (University of North Carolina Press, 2020) and co-editor of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia (Temple University Press, 2019).
Chair and Associate Professor,
Art Therapy and Counseling Department,
School of Art Institute of Chicago
Leah Gipson is an artist and an Associate Professor in the Art Therapy and Counseling Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an instructor at the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy. Her community art and clinical practice in art therapy and counseling have addressed racial and gender-based trauma, grief and loss, HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, substance use and addiction. She provides support for BIPOC art therapists through pre-licensure supervision and the BIPOC student fund by Black Arts Therapies Educators.
Freelance Creative Director
Connie Harvey is a multidisciplinary designer and artist who has worked for and consulted as a designer at several award-winning agencies, start-ups, non-profits, and Fortune 500 companies. He has also taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has lectured at various design programs. His current work is focused on mission-driven, socially conscious projects and initiatives.
Program Officer, Chicago Foundation for Women
Marline Johnson is a visual artist in sculpture and performance. Her work is centered on making the invisible, visible. She is a Program Officer, Leading the Women’s Leadership Development Portfolio at Chicago, Foundation for Women. Marline comes from an extensive programming background, implementing and managing programs related to leadership development, violence prevention and educational access, equity and persistence.
Chloe Wayne Sultan
Chloe Wayne Sultan is the director of Clocks, a multidisciplinary practice based in New York and Los Angeles. Clocks works across art direction, architecture, filmmaking, and publishing.
Community Outreach Specialist II
Community Relations Division (IL)
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois
Candance Averyhart-White is a community organizer who identifies as a serial entrepreneur born and raised in the North Lawndale Community. With a background in Community Advocacy she is dedicated to building a diverse community of young urban professionals with the ultimate goal to increase and strengthen the community through knowledge, service, advocacy and entrepreneurship.