Location: Washington, DC
Donna DeCaillie, Monica Rainge and Briar Blakely | July 24
Donna DeCaillie, MS, RD is Director of Communications & Member Relations. Monica Armster Rainge serves as the Director of Land Retention and Advocacy. Briar Blakely is the Communications & Outreach Specialist.
The Federation is a non-profit cooperative association of black farmers, landowners, and cooperatives. We are organized by state associations with field offices serving a primary membership base in the Southern States. The majority of our farmers, landowners, cooperatives, and credit unions are in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Louisianna. Our Largest individual membership base is in South Carolina. Our largest co-op membership base is in the state of Mississippi.
Behind The Mind Radio Show is a 1-hour bi-weekly talk show airing LIVE ON Friday 11 am (EST) and Tuesday 7 pm (EST), showcasing design thinkers, visionaries, game changers and innovators; while shedding light on designers of well-known and upcoming products and services both domestically and internationally.
Thomas W. Mitchell, JD | October 2
Texas A&M University, School of Law
Professor Thomas W. Mitchell is a Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Program in Real Estate and Community Development Law at Texas A&M University School of Law. He is a ground-breaking legal scholar who has worked for more than 20 years to help some of the most economically insecure groups secure stronger property rights. As the principal drafter of The Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA), an act to help protect families from real estate speculators who may seek to acquire a small share of heirs’ property in order to file a partition action and force a sale, Thomas and other supporters have helped 17 states [8 of the states are southern states] and the U.S. Virgin Islands enact this act into law. The UPHPA represents the most significant reform to partition law since certain reforms were made to partition laws in the 1800s.
Monica Jahan Bose & Nirina Lune | October 9
Washington-DC based artist Monica Jahan Bose and Paris-based musician Nirina Lune are collaborating on a musical piece. Monica is a Bangladeshi-American artist and climate activist whose work spans performance, painting, film, printmaking, and interdisciplinary projects. Nirina is a French-Malagasy singer, songwriter, and performer whose music incorporates soul, blues, and experimental influences to explore the facets of feminine power. Due to the pandemic, in lieu of a live performance in Washington DC, Nirina and Monica are collaborating online and creating a music/sound piece called “Slow/Lent,” inspired by their times of isolation during the pandemic. “ Slow/Lent" responds to the beauty and benefits of slowing down, looking deeper, and shifting our lifestyles toward a more sustainable world.
Richard Bentham | September 18
DC Design Week
Richard Bentham is an exhibit designer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Presently, he’s working on Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight, an exhibition scheduled to open in October 2020. Prior to this, Richard worked for six years as an exhibit designer for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, one of the most visited museums in the country. He was the lead exhibit designer on several projects, including Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity (resulting in a Bronze AAM team MUSE award) and Art of the Airport Towers. He holds a Masters of Arts in Interior Design from Marymount University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Washington.
Nick Fabiani | September 18
Nick Fabiani is a designer and brand strategist who creates authentic connections between brands and their audiences. He is currently the senior designer at Democracy Fund, an independent foundation working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Prior to this, Nick served as digital communications manager at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, where he launched a successful email marketing strategy, served as creative lead for a brand video series, and led a brand refresh and redesign of geofunders.org. Nick graduated from The George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs with a bachelor’s degree in political communications. He currently serves on the board of AIGA DC as chair of DC Design Week.
Raj Aggarwal | July 24
Raj founded Provoc in 1999 and serves as President and Lead Strategist. Over twenty years of experience as a communications and technology strategist, he has worked with more than 400 nonprofits and socially responsible businesses on a variety of projects including internal and external branding, marketing and customer engagement. Raj keeps Provoc rooted in empathy-driven work by forging partnerships with values-aligned, visionary leaders and has led workshops and talks at dozens of national conferences. He serves on the boards of Think Local First, DC, and Ben’s Chili Bowl Foundation, and recently shared his personal story on NPR.
Danilo Batson | October 16
Danilo is the founder and overall director of Spicy Green Book. This all started with his idea and he has recruited several talented people who have made this organization what it is and what it's going to be. Danilo makes sure to continue to add talented staff for the continued growth of this project. These dedicated members have brought Spicy Green Book even beyond his original vision. He and the talented members of this team will continue to work
diligently to make real change. Spicy Green Book is gathering a growing list of volunteers to help compile a directory of black-owned businesses. Their mission is to establish a space to help people who seek to create change within their communities. Each business has a story and we at Spicy Green Book set out to share them.
Vanessa Braxton | October 23
Black Momma Brands
Vanessa Braxton is is the CEO and President of Black Momma Brands, a line of vodkas, organic teas, and syrups. Braxton is the first African-American female distiller, master blender, and trailblazer in the beverage industry. As the proprietor of the only black-owned tea and beverage manufacturing facility in the country, Braxton is setting the stage for minority business owners to join her ranks with the goal of building generational wealth in their communities. A retired structural engineer, Braxton has been strategic about her business moves. She launched her first product, Black Momma Vodka (BMV), in 2013 after her departure, resulting in her success in the spirit industry, along with a manufacturing facility that opened in 2016. Her efforts are tangible and can be seen with the opening of Black Momma Tea & Café this year. The café will serve 160 different blends of tea, three flavored agaves, and vegan and organic food items such as muffins and wraps.