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Join the movement!

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We assembled some of the state's best and brightest for an ongoing discussion on how Mississippians can go from anger to action and from protest to participation.

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DR. CEDRIC O. BUCKLEY 

Host | Molecular Virologist | Founder of A Scientist's Approach

Cedric O. Buckley received his doctoral degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in 2000 from Michigan State University. He is a trained virologist who studied viral replication extensively under his graduate advisor, Dr. Michele M. Fluck (University Distinguished Fellow, now deceased). He continued his postdoctoral research under Dr. Julius H. Jackson (Professor Emeritus, Assoc. Dean Emeritus) studying computational microbial genomics. As a tenured Associate Professor of Biology at Jackson State University, Dr. Buckley furthered his training through collaborations with Dr. Jeffrey Conner, Evolutionary Genomics, Kellogg Biological Station-Michigan State University and Dr. Bruce Birren, Director of the Genomic Center for Infectious Diseases-The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

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Take a look at our previous panelists.

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JENSEN LUKE MATAR

Transgender Education & Advocacy Program (TEAP) Coordinator, ACLU of Mississippi

Previous Panelist

Jensen Luke Matar is the Coordinator of TEAP, the Transgender Education and Advocacy Program with the ACLU of Mississippi. TEAP focuses on strategies that reduce discrimination faced by transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) people by collaborating directly with the community, educating the community at-large and advocating for policy protections. As a former retail manager of 13 years, Jensen has successfully influenced and actualized nation-wide LGBTQ policy protections in the workplace. It was through his struggles as a transgender man while transitioning in the workplace that he found a calling for helping others who identify as transgender. He joined the newly established TEAP program as a volunteer key leader in 2017, when he wrote the first-ever statewide newspaper opinion editorial publication from a trans person about trans living in the Clarion Ledger, testified at the first Mississippi Legislative Hearing on Trans Rights, organized the state’s first publicly acknowledged Trans Day of Visibility event and received the ACLU of Mississippi’s Freedom of Speech Award. In July of 2018, he accepted the position of TEAP Coordinator and, has since expanded the program to become what coalition partners have called “the most influential and recognizable LGBTQ advocacy program in the state”. Through business, community building, leadership development, education and direct advocacy, Jensen has been able to lead a shift in culture around trans narratives and is a vital contributor in the fight for LGBTQ rights in Mississippi.

HONORABLE JUDGE

LATRICE A. WESTBROOKS

State of Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge

Previous Panelist

Judge Latrice A Westbrooks became an assistant district attorney in the Second Circuit District of Harrison, Hancock and Stone counties in October 1997. She was the first African American woman assistant district attorney in the Second Circuit District. She joined the Jackson law firm of Byrd and Associates in 2000, then opened her own law practice in 2001, representing clients in both criminal and civil matters. She served as prosecutor for the city of Durant and as city attorney for the town of Isola. For almost 10 years, she served as a public defender in Holmes County. In 2013, she became interim communications director for Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, then joined the Jackson City Attorney's office as legal counsel for the Jackson Police Department. She returned to private law practice in 2014. She served as Municipal Judge for the city of Lexington before she was elected to the Court of Appeals. She was named Outstanding Woman Lawyer of 2017 by the Mississippi Women Lawyers' Association and has worked in conjunction with the Magnolia Bar Association, One Voice, the NAACP, the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mississippi Youth Justice Project and the ACLU. She served as a Southeast Regional and Central Director of the Magnolia Bar Association. She previously chaired the Criminal Justice Committee for the State Conference of the NAACP. She is a member of the Mississippi Bar, Magnolia Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Bar Association, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Capital Area Bar Association and the Metro Jackson Black Women Lawyers Association. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. as well as a life member of the NAACP. She is a former member of the Mississippi Association for Justice and the Mississippi Public Defenders Association. She is a past board member of Leadership Greater Jackson Alumnae, the I.S. Sanders YMCA, and the National African American Student Leadership Conference.

Forest Suspensionn Bridge

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN SCIENCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE.

REV. DR. ROBERT 'BOB' RAMBO 

Lead Pastor, Christ United Methodist Church

Previous Panelist

Dr. Robert 'Bob' Rambo received both his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Memphis Theological Seminary in 1984 and 2002, respectively. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor for The Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies in Jerusalem, Israel. As a pastor, Dr. Rambo has been instrumental with the establishment of day-care centers to provide quality child care in disenfranchised communities. In addition, he's very involved in international mission work and has provided aid to Russia and Costa Rica while also partnering apostolically with community pastors to establish churches in those regions. Dr. Rambo presently serves as the Lead Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mississippi

PASTOR ROCKY SHACK

Outreach/Missions Minister, Christ United Methodist Church

Previous Panelist

Pastor Rocky Shack received his B.A. in Psychology at Ole Miss and Master of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary. His focus is on intercultural connection promoting unity in his home state, which grew him to supporting Embrace, an organization purposed to connecting pastors throughout the multi-ethnic Jackson area. Pastor Rocky is passionate about the discipleship of young emerging leaders between the ages of 18-35 who will be the next round of leaders within a multicultural context that he believes to be ripe for change. He also cares about local churches reflecting the demographics of their respective immediate communities. Pastor Rocky believes that if we the Church remain connected to Jesus and committed to His way, then our oneness through Christ will send a credible message of the Gospel to a world that needs to know Jesus.

Rev. Dr. C.J. Rhodes is pastor of Mt Helm Baptist Church, professor at Alcorn State University, and host of the CJ Rhodes Show on WRBJ 97.7 FM. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Mississippi, his Master of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School and he also obtained his Doctorate of Ministry from Wesley Biblical Seminary. Dr. Rhodes also holds several certifications from the Black Mississippi Leadership Institute, Black Theology and Leadership Institute, in addition to Princeton Theological Seminary.

 

Dr. Rhodes recently published "Deeper Still: Ministry Empowered by the Holy Spirit." He and his wife, Allison, are the parents of twin sons.

REV. DR. C.J. RHODES

Pastor, Mt. Helm Baptist Church

Previous Panelist

DR. KARIN L. KLINGMAN

Physician | Infectious Disease Specialist, National Institutes of Health

Previous Panelist

Dr. Karin L. Klingman is a physician who has worked in Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health for nearly 20 years. Most of her work revolves around clinical trials on the treatment of HIV. She is active in her church community in Washington, D.C.

RETIRED COLONEL

JENNIFER RILEY COLLINS

Attorney at Law

Jennifer Riley Collins is an attorney who focuses her skill set on protecting people, engaging in politics, and addressing adversely impacting policies. In 2019, she became the Mississippi Democratic Party’s Nominee for the office of Attorney General. This was a historic race in that no African American had ever sought this office. Although she did not win, despite the barriers she faced, Ms Riley Collins garnered national attention and secured the second highest number of votes on the ballot – out pacing long time politicians with unlimited resources. Jennifer is also Colonel (Retired) Collins. She served as a Military Intelligence Officer in the United States Army. Her last assignment at the Pentagon completed 32 years of distinguished military service. Jennifer is the former state Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi. She is an active servant leader at her church, the Jackson Revival Center, a member of the Mississippi Bar Association and the Magnolia Bar. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She is most proud of her role in life as mother to three sons, and grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren.

Previous Panelist

MS. SHALONDA SPENCER

Political Activist | Political Strategist | Policy Analyst

Previous Panelist

Shalonda Spencer is a graduate from Jackson State University, where she has her Masters in Public Policy and Administration and a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice. She is considered a social justice advocate, political strategist, and policy analysts. She has experience working in government, lobbying legislation, and fighting for change through her voice as an activist. She is the founder of Politics for the Culture, a media and podcast platform that allows her to speak out on social justice issues that affect the black community.

Don't worry! If you missed our last Virtual Town Hall, join our email list because there's still time for you to get involved.

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