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   Hope and Healing Panel of Equals

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Featuring Noel Professor Past and Present

Phoebe A. Haddon
Dr. Philip Hart
Aishah Shahidah Simmons
Hon. Wilma J Webb
Hon. Wellington E. Webb
Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry
Judi Hampton

About Rachel B. Noel


Rachel B. Noel

A champion of the civil rights movement in Denver and in Colorado, Rachel Noel was the first African American woman elected to public office in Colorado, the first African American elected to the Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) Board of Education, the first African American to be a member and chair of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, and the first African American woman elected statewide in Colorado.

On April 25, 1968, she presented the DPS board with the Noel Resolution, recognizing that the “establishment of an integrated school population is desirable to achieve equality of educational opportunity.”  It directed the superintendent to develop “a comprehensive plan for the integration of the Denver Public Schools.”  Under a cloud of threats to Noel and her family, the resolution passed on May 17, 1968. The U.S. Supreme Court would eventually affirm Noel’s position in its landmark decision of 1973, Keyes v. Denver School District No. 1, making Denver the first city outside the American South to be instructed by the country’s highest court to address de facto segregation with school busing.

Noel also played a critical role in MSU Denver’s history. She came to MSU Denver as a teacher of sociology and African American Studies in 1969 and served as chair of the African American Studies Department from 1971 to 1980. 

Rachel Noel leaning in at a meeting

Noel died at the age of 90 in 2008. During her lifetime and after, Noel’s legacy has inspired the MSU Denver community and beyond. In 1981, the University created The Rachel B. Noel Distinguished Visiting Professorship to honor Noel.  A recipient of many awards and distinctions, Noel also lived to see a Denver Public Schools middle school named in her honor.  Although that middle school was closed, the building and campus is still called the Rachel B. Noel campusand is home to various charter programs. The Noel Community Arts School, housed in the former Montbello High School building, consists of both a high school and a middle school.

Noel was awarded honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Denver in 1993 and the University of Colorado in 2004 and an honorary degree from MSU Denver in 1981.  (She held a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University and a master’s degree from Fisk University.) Noel’s other commendations and accomplishments were many, including:

  • Rocky Mountain News Top 100 Citizens of the Century, 2000 
  • Denver Mayor’s Millennium Award, 2001
  • Colorado Women's Hall of Fame, 1996
  • Civil Rights Award, Anti-Defamation League, Mountain States Region, 2004
  • Pillars of Leadership Award, National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, 2002
  • Metropolitan State College’s Plain and Fancy Award, 1990, and Outstanding Female Faculty Member 1974-75
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award, 1990
  • S. Civil Rights Commission, Colorado Advisory Committee; Mayor Wellington Webb’s Black Advisory Committee; Mayor Federico Peña’s Black Advisory Committee (chair)
  • Commissioner, Denver Housing Authority
  • Council Trenholm Memorial Award, National Education Association, 1978
  • Eddy Award, Denver Classroom Teachers’ Association, 1963

Hope and Healing Panel of Equals


Phoebe A. HaddonPhoebe Haddon

Phoebe A. Haddon, a nationally known leader in issues related to access and equity, served as chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden from July 2014 through 2020. She was dean of the University of Maryland School of Law from (2009-2014) and secured a $30 million gift for the Law School; at the time this was the largest gift to a public law school, leading to its being named Francis King Carey School of Law. Under her leadership at Rutgers University-Camden the institution was able to widen affordable access to students through its landmark Bridging the Gap program, which provides full or significant tuition coverage for New Jersey’s poor and working families. She also amplified Rutgers-University’s role as an anchor institution in Camden and in the Delaware Valley by expanding the university’s nationally recognized civic engagement program. She continues her affiliation with Rutgers as Chancellor Emerita and University Professor of Rutgers Law School.

Among other awards and recognitions, Haddon has received the 2019 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Law Schools and the 2019 Smith College Medal. In 2015, she received the Trailblazer’s Award from the New Jersey Women Lawyer’s Association. In 2014, Haddon was an invited speaker at the American Institute’s 91st annual meeting; she is a life member of the Institute. In 2011, Haddon received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of American Law Teachers. She has served as co-president of that organization.

From 2016 until this fall, Haddon served as Director of the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia. She continues to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Cooper University Health System, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Higher Education Resource Services, a nationally known organization supporting women aspiring to leadership in higher education. In 2019, NJBIZ named her among the “Top 50 in Higher Ed in New Jersey” and the Philadelphia Business Journal named her to its “Power 100” list in 2019. The Philadelphia Inquirer also named her among its 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Pioneer awardees. Haddon has served on the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services, as well as the ABA’s Kutak Award Committee. She currently serves as a member of the NJ TAG Commission, an appointment by Governor Murphy.

Haddon earned an LL.M from Yale Law School in 1985 and a Juris Doctor cum laude from Duquesne University School of Law in 1977. She received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College with Honors in 1972. She has served as Vice Chair and member of the Smith College Board of Trustees and a member of the board of the Alumnae Association. From 1981 to 2009 she was a member of the Faculty at Temple Law School.

Dr. Philip S. HartPhilip Hart

2018 Rachel B. Noel Professor

Philip Hart is CEO of Hart Realty Advisors (a division of Tanya Hart Communications, Inc.) in Hollywood.  For the past year, Hart served as Managing Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Urban Land Institute (ULI).  Prior to this position, Hart was Executive Director of the ULI Los Angeles District Council, the first District Council to reach 2,000 members in 2006 under Hart’s leadership.

Hart has served as a construction manager with HNTB/Yang for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) $20 billion new school construction and modernization program.  Hart served as project manager for the 5,000 seat, $60 million West Angeles Cathedral in South Los Angeles and is Senior Advisor for the West Angeles Campus and West Angeles Village Building Strategy Team.  Hart was master developer of the 75-acre Cross Town Industrial Park in Roxbury, Massachusetts, which has high technology, biotechnology, office, retail, industrial, textile manufacturing, public utility and hotel tenants.  For over 25 years, Hart was a Professor of Sociology and Director of the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Hart is on the Urban Design Committee for the Los Angeles Metro Exposition Construction Authority Light Rail Line, which opens in mid-2010 from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City.  He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Hollywood Cap Park. Hart is on the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Governing Board of Directors of Ability First and Board of Governors of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). Hart is also an award-winning author and filmmaker; his most recent book is African Americans and the Future of New Orleans.

Aishah Simmons, an African American woman resting her chin in her hand and smiling.Aishah Shahidah Simmons

2017 Rachel B. Noel Professor

Aishah Shahidah Simmons, an award-winning cultural worker, is the editor of the 2020 Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology Love WITH Accountability: Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse  (AK Press), and the producer/director of the 2006-released, Ford Foundation-funded groundbreaking film, NO! The Rape Documentary. Presently, Ms. Simmons is a 2020 Soros Justice Fellow whose next project will complete her trilogy of Black survivor-centered cultural work that utilizes storytelling as a praxis for healing from and ending sexual violence without relying on the criminal justice system. 

Simmons is a 2016-2018 Just Beginnings Collaborative Fellow where she is developing her multimedia project #LoveWITHAccountability, which examines how accountability is a powerful and necessary form of love needed to address child sexual abuse (CSA). #LoveWITHAccountability also examines how the silence around child sexual abuse in the familial institution plays a direct role in creating a culture of sexual violence in all other institutions—religious, academic, activist, political and professional.

Previously, she was the 2015-2016 Sterling Brown Professor of Africana Studies at Williams College, an Adjunct Professor in the Women’s and LGBT Studies Program at Temple University, an O’Brien Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department at Scripps College, an Artist-in-Residence at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture and a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, and an Artist-in-Residence at Spelman College’s Digital Moving Image Salon.

Simmons is an Associate Editor of the online publication The Feminist Wire (TFW), where her published, curated, and edited articles focus on archiving and documenting Black women’s herstories and contemporary realities. Her essays and articles have also been published in several anthologies, including the recently released Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Sexual Violence Movement anthology edited by Jennifer Patterson (Riverdale Avenue Books 2016) and Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence anthology edited by Lisa Factora-Borchers (AK Press 2014).

Simmons’ cultural work and activism have been documented extensively in a wide range of media outlets including Ms., Color Lines, The Root.com, Forbes, Crisis, Alternet, Racialicious, Left of Black, The Philadelphia Weekly, In These Times, Peace X Peace, The Chronicle of Higher Education, HuffPost Black Voices, National Public Radio (NPR), Imagine Otherwise, Pacifica Radio Network and Black Entertainment Television (BET).

Simmons has screened her work, guest lectured, and facilitated workshops and dialogues to racially and ethnically diverse audiences at colleges and universities, high schools, conferences, international film festivals, rape crisis centers, battered women shelters, community centers, juvenile correctional facilities, and government sponsored events across the United States and Canada, throughout Italy, in South Africa, France, England, Croatia, Hungary, The Netherlands, Mexico, Kenya, Malaysia, India, Switzerland, St. Croix U.S.V.I, Germany, and Cuba.

 

Wilma J. Webb

Wilma Webb, an African American woman with a black suit.

2016 Rachel B. Noel Professor

The Honorable Wilma J. Webb, who served Colorado and the nation as Denver’s first active First Lady and first African American woman to be Denver’s First Lady, the U.S. Labor Department’s first woman to be Regional Administrator for Region VIII, and District 8’s first woman to be elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, is a public servant and leader who has, without question, served with distinction.  She is the first and only Colorado African American woman who has served on all three levels of our government.

She has been successful in initiating and delivering laws and programs which improve the lives of all people.  Her accomplishments are numerous and substantive and include:  (1) The establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, (2) Adoption of Anti-Drug Abuse Treatment Programs, (3) A law to allow Subpoena Power to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, (4) Assistance to Those in Need, (5) Job and Business Opportunities, and (6) Education Improvement.  She was the first Member of the House in recent memory to initiate state bills to provide for Compulsory Full-Day Kindergarten and Mandatory K-12 Education to Prevent School Dropout occurrence which affects all of us in a regressive way.  She, along with many other national leaders, carried legislation to provide for Sanctions Against South Africa in order to abolish Apartheid and to release political prisoner Nelson Mandela, who fought for freedom of everyone in his native South Africa, and later would become the first Black President of the newly established democratic government of South Africa.  She also introduced legislation to prevent discrimination based upon sexual orientation.

As a Presidential Appointee of President William Jefferson Clinton, she was responsible for the administration and enforcement of federal statutes which govern workplace activities.

She, as a patron of the Arts, in her role as First Lady of Denver, led the effort in developing Denver’s Vision for the Arts and created and developed Denver’s Process for the Procurement and Accessing of Public Art.  Additions to the People’s Art Collection include Ed Dwight’s I Have A Dream, Borovsky’s The Dancers, Colorado’s Portrait of President Barack Obama, and Irving Watts’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Portrait. She is the founder of the Denver Art, Culture, and Film Foundation.  She envisioned Denver’s Centennial Park and Denver’s Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.  She and her husband’s life stories were portrayed on stage at Denver’s Curious Theatre.  Historical documentation of her and her husband’s life’s work is to be permanently exhibited in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C.

She is the honoree of several hundred commendations, including the National Humanitarian Award, The National Human Rights Award, The National Education Association Carter G. Woodson Award for Human and Civil Rights, the Association for Retarded Citizen’s Legislator of the Year Award, Induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame, and Blacks in Colorado Hall of Fame, and the Colorado Banking Association’s Political Award.

Wilma J. Webb is happily married to former Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb, is the mother to four adult children, Keith (deceased), Anthony, Stephanie, and Allen.  She is also a grandmother.  Her education includes the University of Colorado Denver, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, an Honorary Doctoral Degree of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Colorado, and an Honorary Doctoral Degree from the Art Institute of Colorado.  She is a devout and proud 38-year member of the Zion Baptist Church, and a member of the beloved professional organizations of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Incorporated.

Wellington E. Webb

Wellington Webb, an African American man wearing a suit, standing and smiling.

2016 Rachel B. Noel Professor

Wellington Webb spent 12 years as the leader of Denver's Mile High City and helped drag it out of the economic doldrums of 1991 to an investment of $7 billion in infrastructure when he left office in 2003. Webb is the only mayor in U.S. history to serve as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and National Conference of Black Mayors.

In October 2003, he founded Webb Group International. The firm works with businesses and cities on economic development projects, public relations, and other consulting areas. His clients include Parsons Transportation; the American Beverage Association; Hudson News; and American Petroleum Institute to name only a few. 

Wellington Webb serves on the board of directors of the Maximus Corporation, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense Fund), The Denver Health Foundation, trustee for the Colorado Symphony and is the chairman of the board of the Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado. He was appointed by President Obama and Secretary Clinton to the First Responders Network Authority (First Net) and as a United States Representative to the United Nations in 2009. He is a member of the Denver Rotary, a 33rd Degree Mason and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.

He is an advocate for arts and culture, sports, historic preservation and downtowns.

As mayor, he oversaw the completion of $4 billion Denver International Airport, completing 85 percent of the construction and opening airport concession bids to all Colorado-owned businesses, including women and minorities.

He oversaw the redevelopment of the former Stapleton Airport into a thriving residential and business area. He also helped convince voters to approve a $300 million addition to the Colorado Convention Center, which opened in December 2004, and pushed through difficult negotiations for a nearby privately-publicly funded Hyatt Convention Center hotel opened in 2005.

Among his goals was the redevelopment of the industrial Central Platte Valley near downtown Denver. The area once littered by abandoned rail lines now boasts a privately-funded Pepsi Center (professional basketball, hockey and entertainment venue), relocation of Six Flags Elitch Gardens (amusement park), community gardens and acres of city parks along the South Platte River.

He also pushed for the successful transformation of Lower Downtown into a vital business and residential area anchored by the professional baseball ballpark, Coors Field. In addition, he made sure that Denver's professional athletic teams - the Denver Broncos, the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche - signed agreements to play in the city for at least 25 years.

His social agenda included convincing the city to create Denver Health Medical Authority in 1997, which eliminated a cash deficit of $39 million and has been rated one of the top public hospitals in the U.S. The mayor led the campaign for nearly $290 million in voter-approved bonds for improvements to the hospital and property. He also added more than 2,000 acres of new parks and open space to the city - the largest addition of parkland by any mayor in Denver's history. Voters also approved $96 million for neighborhood and park improvements; and $125 million for a major expansion of the Denver Art Museum and improvements to the Denver Zoo.

The city also took advantage of good economic times to invest in a new $200 million city office building, which citizens pushed to be named after the mayor; and a $16 million African American research library - the only such facility west of the Mississippi River.

His negotiating skills included getting four new airline routes to serve Denver: British Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, and Korean Air. He looked to stimulate Denver's economy by opening foreign trade offices in London, England and Shanghai, China, and leading U.S. Conference of Mayors missions to Africa, United Kingdom and Germany. He also led trade missions to China and Japan.

Denver is the only city to be cited for five consecutive years as "One of the Top American Cities" in Fortune Magazine's annual "Best Cities" survey. The city also was named "One of the Top Three Cities for Sound Fiscal Management" by City and State Magazine; "One of the Top American Cities" by Money Magazine; and ''Top city for Entrepreneurs'' by Entrepreneur Magazine.

As a statesman, Webb hosted Pope John Paul II and nearly 200,000 people worldwide for World Youth Day in 1993. Four years later, he welcomed President Clinton and eight world leaders at the Denver Summit of the Eight, the annual local economic summit.  He also hosted visits of the Emperor and Empress of Japan, Prime minister of China and president of Ghana and Mozambique.

His numerous recognitions include, the U.S. Conference of Mayors highest honor, the Distinguished Public Service award in; The Americans for the Arts Government Leadership in the Arts; The National Wildlife Federation's Achievement Award; The National Trust for Historic Preservation's ''Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy'' award; and by the country of France the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur (Chevalier of the Legion Honor).

Prior to being elected mayor, he served in the Colorado State Legislature; was appointed a Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President Jimmy Carter; was appointed Executive Director of Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies under Governor Richard Lamm; and was elected Denver's city Auditor.  His first career was as a teacher and then faculty member for the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.

Wellington Webb is married to former six-term State Representative Wilma J. Webb and they have four grown children; Keith (deceased), Stephanie, Anthony and Allen. Webb received his Master of Arts from the University of Northern Colorado and four Honorary Doctorate Degrees from: University of Colorado at Denver, Metropolitan State College, University of Northern Colorado, and the American Baptist Seminary in Berkley, California.

Melissa Harris-PerryMelissa Harris-Perry

2014 Rachel B. Noel Professor 

Melissa Harris-Perry, Ph.D. is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University.  There she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center, whose mission is to advance justice through intersectional scholarship. She is also founder and co-director of the innovative bi-partisan program, Wake the Vote.

For more than a decade, Harris-Perry has contributed to American public life through her distinct combination of scholarly analysis and ordinary wisdom applied to the analysis of race, gender, politics, and power. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and many other print and digital venues. She was among the initial cohort of writers for TheRoot.com and authored highly regarded columns for both Essence and The Nation.  Currently, she is editor-at-large for Elle.com and a contributing editor at The Nation.

Committed to diversifying American journalism and mentoring emerging public voices, Professor Harris-Perry has developed and implemented innovative mentoring efforts including the Elle.com scholars program centering the stories of women and girls of color and BLACK ON CAMPUS, a national student journalism program in partnership with The Nation.

She is the author of the award-winning Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, and Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.

Along with Dorian Warren, Harris-Perry is principal and co-host of Freedom on Tap, an independent media project combining live events, digital, and audio content.  She hosted the award-winning television show “Melissa Harris-Perry” from 2012-2016 on weekend mornings on MSNBC and in 2016, she won the Hillman Prize for broadcast journalism.

Harris-Perry received her B.A. degree in English from Wake Forest University and her Ph.D. degree in political science from Duke University. She serves on several boards and award committees and is a trustee of The Century Foundation. James and Melissa live in North Carolina. They are married and business partners managing several joint endeavors including Crooked Room Productions, Rosa Acres Homestead, and Perry Political Partnership. They are also raising two extraordinary daughters and tending a delightful flock of chickens, ducks, bunnies, and dogs.

Judi Hampton

Judi Hampton, an African American woman smiling wearing red.

2011 Rachel B. Noel Professor

Judi Hampton's strength is connecting and communicating with a wide variety of audiences, from cross-generational to cross-functional. Workshop participants and coaching clients appreciate her energy, humor, and engaging teaching style. By focusing her passion and energy on the participants' development, Judi enriches their learning experience and motivation to use their new skills. This results in significant and lasting improvements in skills and productivity. Judi's experience as president of a successful documentary film company and public relations firm enhances her ability to understand complex leadership challenges. Her years as a senior manager in a major corporation are the foundation of her understanding of challenges in the corporate sector. And her background in civil rights gives her the perspective to connect with issues involving workplace diversity and cross-cultural communications on a highly informed level. These three aspects of professional experience, coupled with a talent for teaching, enable Judi Hampton to offer training and coaching programs that provide practical strategies and solutions for complex workplace issues.

Judi Hampton has over thirty years of experience as a business skills seminar leader and coach, university professor, and public relations executive. She is president of her professional development firm, Judi Hampton Public Relations (JHPR), which provides training and coaching to a broad range of clients, including professionals with English as another language. Over the last decade, Judi Hampton has led hundreds of training programs for non-profit organizations, government agencies, and corporations. She has conducted seminars for Cornell University ILR School, Boston University Corporate Education Center, NeighborWorks, and the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Clients include the United Nations, MasterCard, Raytheon, W.J. Deutsch, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Weill Medical Center, and numerous universities.

Judi Hampton also serves as President of the Board of Directors of Blackside Inc., which produced Eyes on the Prize, the Emmy Award-winning public television series on the civil rights movement. Ms. Hampton spearheaded a successful fundraising campaign that raised over $1 million to clear rights for the series and make it available to the public and the educational community again. This resulted in the series being rebroadcast in 2006 and 2008 on public television, a national outreach program, and a new DVD set. This effort is an extension of Judi's lifelong commitment to efforts that benefit minority communities.

Ms. Hampton has over 25 years of experience in the public relations field. Her firm, Judi Hampton Public Relations, has conducted successful public relations programs for the Brooklyn Children's Museum, Panasonic, McDonald's, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA), the New York City Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, Literacy Volunteers, and many other clients. Before starting her company, she was a senior public affairs officer and spokesperson for the Mobil Corporation. Judi Hampton's experience managing her two companies and in a major corporation enables her to lead programs that provide real-life solutions. Ms. Hampton's programs feature accelerated learning techniques that allow participants to learn skills and apply them directly to enhance organization results.

 

Contribute to the Legacy of Rachel B. Noel


Rachel B. Noel Lecture and Awards Event


   Lecture and Awards Event

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Emcee Tamara Banks


Welcome

Remarks from President of MSU Denver

Recognition of Rachel B. Noel Scholarship Recipients

Recognition of the Hope for the Future Award Recipients

Lecture by Professor Phoebe A. Haddon

Remarks from Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Remarks from the Noel Family

Emmy Award winning journalist Tamara Banks lives her motto: “One Person Can Make a Difference.”

Banks is a freelance TV journalist, talk show host and documentary filmmaker, focusing on social justice, and dedicated to creating transformative social change through excellence in journalism.

Her areas of expertise include social justice and political issues across the U.S. and internationally, particularly in South Sudan and Darfur. She also shines light on other parts of the globe where there is little or no news coverage about crimes against humanity and genocide. Her documentary short film, “The Long Journey Home” about former slaves stolen by the Janjaweed during a civil was in Sudan, was featured in the 2009 Hollywood Film Festival, “HollyShorts.”

Banks is currently the host of “From Moment to Movement: with Tamara Banks,” platform for Black voices to be heard, uncensored and unfiltered on PBS12.

Banks has covered some of the biggest stories in recent U.S. history from the Columbine High School and Aurora Movie Theater shootings, to the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver and the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. She also continues to travel to Uganda to interview child soldiers, as well as to Rwanda where she reports on that country’s post-genocide challenges and successes.  Most recently, she’s worked on a documentary on how Black women have caused a seismic shift in American politics.

Her work has been featured on numerous news networks including PBS, CNN, ABC News, HDNet’s World Report, BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera America, Al Jazeera, WB 2 News, FOX News, as well on as a number of radio stations and newspapers over the past 20 plus years.

Banks is currently based in Atlanta, GA, where she continues to be on the frontlines of some of the most important stories across the country and around the world. For more information, visit www.TamaraMBanks.com.

 

Phoebe Haddon - 2021 Professor


Phoebe A. HaddonPhoebe Haddon

Phoebe A. Haddon, a nationally known leader in issues related to access and equity, served as chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden from July 2014 through 2020. She was dean of the University of Maryland School of Law from (2009-2014) and secured a $30 million gift for the Law School; at the time this was the largest gift to a public law school, leading to its being named Francis King Carey School of Law. Under her leadership at Rutgers University-Camden the institution was able to widen affordable access to students through its landmark Bridging the Gap program, which provides full or significant tuition coverage for New Jersey’s poor and working families. She also amplified Rutgers-University’s role as an anchor institution in Camden and in the Delaware Valley by expanding the university’s nationally recognized civic engagement program. She continues her affiliation with Rutgers as Chancellor Emerita and University Professor of Rutgers Law School.

Among other awards and recognitions, Haddon has received the 2019 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Law Schools and the 2019 Smith College Medal. In 2015, she received the Trailblazer’s Award from the New Jersey Women Lawyer’s Association. In 2014, Haddon was an invited speaker at the American Law Institute’s 91st annual meeting; she is a life member of the Institute. In 2011, Haddon received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of American Law Teachers. She has served as co-president of that organization.

From 2016 until this fall, Haddon served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank Board in Philadelphia. She continues to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Cooper University Health System, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Higher Education Resource Services, a nationally known organization supporting women aspiring to leadership in higher education. In 2019, NJBIZ named her among the “Top 50 in Higher Ed in New Jersey” and the Philadelphia Business Journal named her to its “Power 100” list in 2019. The Philadelphia Inquirer also named her among its 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Pioneer awardees. Haddon has served on the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services, as well as the ABA’s Kutak Award Committee. She currently serves as a member of the NJ TAG Commission, an appointment by Governor Murphy.

Haddon earned an LL.M from Yale Law School in 1985 and a Juris Doctor cum laude from Duquesne University School of Law in 1977. She received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College with Honors in 1972. She has served as Vice Chair and member of the Smith College Board of Trustees and a member of the board of the Alumnae Association. From 1981 to 2009 she was a member of the Faculty at Temple Law School.

Rachel B. Noel Scholarship Recipients


The Rachel B. Noel Scholarship will recognizes MSU Denver students, who, through their actions, have embraced Rachel B. Noel’s legacy and served as an exemplary model for fellow MSU Denver students. These exemplary actions may include, but are not limited to: active community service, diversity advocacy efforts inside and/or outside of the campus community, and academic excellence that echoes Rachel B. Noel’s emphasis on the importance of education.

 

Soad Altaai

She is a first-generation student, a Junior, seeking her degree in Human Services. She has earned at GPA of 3.89. 

Soad is the mother of two amazing girls who were born in Jordan, where she was a refugee. During the years she was a resident in Jordan, she lived in a refugee camp where she experienced  hardship, trying to get help with life necessities for her two babies. When she moved to the United States, she had some help to settle in, and then wanted to help others who have gone through the same experience. She started volunteering, helping refugees, especially women who fled their country due to war. She helps them apply for jobs, school or simply talks with them and shows them ways to adapt to their new life. Now she works with refugees as an interpreter, and cultural coordinator for an Arabic-speaking woman cohort through Lutheran Family Services. They teach English and help these women earn certification in early childhood education.

Seeing these communities grow and being part of their journey has motivated her to earn a degree in Human Services to work to improve the quality of life and enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

She says, “No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you have come from, you can always change and become a better you. “

Marina Bialik

Marina Bialik is a Senior, majoring in Biology, with an eye towards medicine, and is minoring in Aviation Technology. She has earned a GPA of 3.95.

Marina spent 20 years in Japan and witnessed the magnitude 9.9 earthquake followed by an 8-story high tsunami on March 11th, 2011, that took 23,000 lives and destroyed cities.  She saw pictures that are stamped in her memory forever. She says that… “While this tragedy had taken the happiness of many, it had also taught us how precious a helping hand can be.” From that experience, Marina set a goal to create a non-profit organization that would have a miniature clinic in a smaller aircraft that can land in virtually any difficult sites. It would allow for treating and providing healthcare to those who live in the most rural parts of the world.

When Marina returned to Colorado, leaving her family in Japan, she lived out of her 1991 Toyota Celica, delivering pizza until she got on her feet. She started classes at Community College of Denver. However, she found that students like herself, under the age of 23 and  unable to obtain parental signatures for college applications must wait 3 years to qualify for in-state tuition as well as scholarships and financial aid. Those who were able to obtain parental signatures only had to wait 12 months.

In 2015, she volunteered to testify before Colorado's House Education Committee in an effort to improve educational access to young students who are unable to get parental information in the financial aid and admissions processes.  Her honest and heartfelt testimony resulted in the Colorado legislature improving Colorado residency laws to allow unaccompanied and homeless youth to demonstrate Colorado residency after just 12 months, expanding in-state tuition and enhancing educational access to our most vulnerable populations across the state.

She says… “I am honored to be able to say that I influenced a positive and real change in our community, representing stronger accessibility, diversity, and respect, through honesty and passion, to make positive changes in our laws and history.” 

Marina has also been working to help those who come to the border of the United States as refugees from drug wars in south America. She won first place in a short story film contest for Colorado students. Her video focuses on how the immigration system is corrupt, separating children from their parents, and those children, who are not at fault at all, are being harmed.

In her scholarship application essay, Marina says, “Rachel B. Noel, along with Martin Luther King, Jr. and many of those who have changed history to make a better world for the next generation to come, started small. But their voice echoed across the country and created real change. When my videos are being played in college classrooms today, my hope is that my messages on equality and diversity as well as the compassion I have for those who are vulnerable across the border are shared. I would like my efforts to be able to show those who judge others, that at the end of the day, we are all humans, and all humans need one another’s help at some point in our lives, so let us be the first to give out a helping hand, even if it is the smallest help, it can change the lives of others.”

Vianney Sandoval

Vianney Sandoval is a Sophomore, majoring in Computer Information Systems, working toward a Bachelor of Science degree.  She is a first-generation student with a GPA of 4.0. 

Vianney has also worked full time as Lead Patient Access Specialist at Denver Health since 2016.  Denver Health is a nonprofit organization, which focuses on providing care to vulnerable populations, such as uninsured patients. While working at Denver Health, Vianney has witnessed first-hand how important technology has become to the community.  At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to continue to serve vulnerable populations, her information technology team was faced with implementing Telehealth capabilities. Patients were not accustomed to receiving their care through Telehealth services, but she says that it was great seeing them be able to adapt to the circumstances. Telehealth services have allowed patients to continue receiving care, while reducing their COVID-19 exposure risk. There is also a hospital at home program, where providers reach out to COVID-19 positive patients via Telehealth, to free up hospital beds. 

Vianney hopes to become a System's Analyst upon graduation, in order to help implement and streamline the systems used by Denver Health. Growing up in Montbello, she did not always have access to a computer to do her schoolwork. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many children have not been able to access their schoolwork due to challenges with technology. She believes that access to technology is a human right, and a social justice issue.

She says,  “Coming from an immigrant background, I have lived firsthand the disparity of not having access to technology, or members of my family not being familiar with technology. Through my computer information systems degree, I would like to make technology more accessible to vulnerable populations.”

Vianney has also used her computer skills to help with creating digital media for Female Empowerment, also called “FE,” which is an organization to empower women to become leaders. FE promotes women learning their rights, and many of the women who participate in these events are from underserved communities.

Vianney proudly attended Rachel B. Noel Middle School, for grades 6-8, and says that Rachel Noel’s record of contributions to the community was inspiring. She says, “My mother has been a community activist since I was a little girl, and she jokes that I have been an activist since I was six years old since I have always attended with her for domestic worker, day laborer, and immigrant rights. I have also always been involved with her non-profit work. I was in high school during her time as a community organizer at the Centro Humanitaro, a day laborer center in Denver. I helped her support day laborers who were experiencing wage theft, and she was able to collect stolen wages for many people. This experience helped me learn about social justice, and I have promoted social justice issues ever since.”  

Ley-Lonni-Marie Woodruff

Ley-Lonni-Marie Woodruff is a first-generation student, and a graduate student in MSU Denver’s Social Work Master’s program. She has earned a GPA of 3.72.

She became interested in the field of social work because of the profession’s core values and competencies. Social work is dedicated to alleviating oppressive conditions in society, helping vulnerable groups, and promotes egalitarianism in our society. The focus is strongly aligned with her personal values and morals.  Her career aspirations upon graduation include obtaining a career in higher education. Eventually, she would like to establish a program that focuses on lifting marginalized groups out of poverty by helping them navigate the higher education system to obtain their degrees.

In 2019 through 2020, Ley-Lonni worked as the Volunteer Program Coordinator for Sister Circles, which is a group for self-identified women of color to provide a secure space to explore their identities, discuss challenges and strengths, and create a space for healing, encouragement, understanding, learning, strength, growth, and empowerment. 

She also served as the Program Coordinator for the EPIC scholars program, which works to serve foster care alumni and students with other independent backgrounds. As the graduate intern for the EPIC Scholars Program, she takes pride in promoting peace, justice, and compassion for students at Metropolitan State University of Denver who identify as former foster youth or another independent background. More often than not, individuals who hold an independent status are among the most marginalized in society, identifying with many under-privileged identities. She says,  “I work to establish policies in our program and on campus to promote justice, conduct assessments to identify quality improvements for our program, and try to bring about awareness on the importance of foster care alumni in higher education.”

She also developed the “Know Your Rights” workshop for Epic Scholars. It is a PowerPoint presentation meant to be delivered virtually, and goes through the legal rights foster youth are entitled to whether in care or upon exiting the foster care system. This was extremely beneficial and useful being that a lot of foster youth are not informed of these rights. Other workshops she developed have included crucial facts on the foster youth population, and have served the purpose of promoting diversity, egalitarianism, and success for EPIC scholars. 

During the summer of 2020, the tragic police killing of George Floyd inspired her to become more involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. As a young woman of color who had just obtained her bachelor’s degree in social work, she felt compelled to get involved. She joined several protests, taking live footage and sharing it on social media to provide clarity and awareness, marketing several flyers for meetups, spoke at events, and collaborated with some activist-scholars from different universities to try and demand justice for the unwarranted and horrendous murders of Black and Brown bodies.

Hope for the Future Award Recipients


The Hope for the Future Award honors Professor Rachel B. Noel’s distinguished legacy as a warrior of the civil rights movement and her effort to integrate Denver’s public schools. We are seeking nominations to recognize and honor individuals who have walked in Dr. Rachel B. Noel’s shoes by promoting equal rights, education, community service and inclusive excellence for all. We are particularly interested in nominees who can demonstrate measurable progress in promoting inclusiveness, equality, diversity, and multiculturalism. Their efforts may involve, but are not limited to, active civic engagement, institutional leadership, and academic scholarship that has contributed substantially to Rachel B. Noel’s vision of progressive social change.

 

Fernando Branch

Mr. Fernando Branch is a proud HBCU graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. After graduation, he returned home to begin his service in education by teaching high school Geography, World History, and Economics. Understanding the need for representation in school leadership, Fernando pursued his Master’s in Education from Union University. 

Fernando came to Denver in 2009 and began focusing on school turnaround efforts within Denver Public Schools. As a school administrator, he worked diligently to craft innovative solutions to create an equitable educational policy approach. Fernando became a champion of equity, equality, and diversity for all students, parents, staff, and the greater community. He served on several DPS committees to include: District Accountability Committee, District Design Committee for the 1st Annual MLK Symposium, and the African American Equity Task Force. As DPS struggled to attract and retain people of color, Fernando worked with the Human Resources Department to recruit talented Principals, Directors, and a quality support team to reflect the students' demographics in the district.

After many years of leadership in Denver Public Schools, where he managed to instrument change in some of the most challenging schools, Fernando accepted a new challenge by serving as an Affiliate Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver in the teacher education department. Fernando is a third-year Educational Leadership and Policy Studies doctoral student at the University of Denver, focusing on closing the opportunity gap in rural and urban communities. Fernando is also working to promote educational/academic excellence as the Senior Director of Partnerships and Programs for Colorado’s “I Have A Dream” Foundation. 

Fernando’s work toward creating lasting change, advocating for culturally responsive leadership, and researching critical race trends within ethnic and marginalized communities echoes the work of Rachel Noel, and today he is recognized and honored with the Rachel B. Noel Hope for the Future Award.

Colorado Black Women for Political Action

The organization Colorado Black Women for Political Action (CBWPA), was the brainchild of former State Senator Gloria Tanner, and was founded in 1977 by 13 women who wanted to encourage African-American women’s participation in the political process and to serve as a political advocate for the African-American community.

Today, the organization’s steadfast commitment to the vision of its founders is evident through its programs and services. Its members seek, daily, to infuse Colorado politics with the strength and perspective of the Black woman.

The main purpose of Colorado Black Women for Political Action is to provide a vehicle for meaningful political involvement of African Americans, create awareness around issues impacting the community, and to engage African American women living in Colorado in the political process.

The organization focuses on

  • Educating the African American community on issues and how to organize
  • Bringing important issues to the forefront
  • Training future leaders
  • Collaborating to generate forward-looking ideas
  • Ensuring that positions relevant to the African American community are heard
  • Getting results by active participation in the process
  • Providing a voice for the African American community

CBWPA events are meant to educate and inform leaders within the community and abroad. They also train, educate and engage with the community about political issues.

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