Overview

Mission

Forward Promise uses grantmaking, field building, and research to advance culturally relevant healing practices that affirm the full humanity of boys and young men of color (BYMOC) and the villages (communities) that support them.

Vision

We envision a society of healthy villages (communities) that raise and empower boys and young men of color to heal, grow and thrive.

Values

  • We believe in the ancestral transformative genius, resilience, and energy of BYMOC. They are critically important members of their communities and contributors to society.
  • It is our collective responsibility to disrupt the systemic, interpersonal, and cultural narratives and conditions that continually deny and assault their humanity with culturally relevant healing practices.
  • We understand that healing, growing, and thriving can happen simultaneously and that it is optimal when it occurs in community.

Our Approach

Our approach to building healthy networks for BYMOC involves preparing individuals, families, organizations, and institutions to acknowledge and affirm the humanity of BYMOC, apply culturally relevant healing practices that identify historically-driven trauma experiences, and record and share diverse examples of health transformation.

Research reveals that historical and contemporary oppression, discrimination, and poverty have led to negative physical, mental and emotional health outcomes across life-spans and generations (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2014). Dehumanization is a core dynamic that plagues many health promotion and recovery problems in our society. Through histories of colonization and racism, BYMOC have faced significant hardships that have led to the creation and perpetuation of historical, spiritual, cultural, social, emotional, and physical traumas. These effects impact the systems, such as educational, justice, health and employment systems, with which BYMOC interact on a daily basis.

Recognizing the humanity of BYMOC would seem at first to be a given – not needing explanation, justification, or promotion. Unfortunately, appreciating the humanity of BYMOC is a struggle for many people who interact with them from preschool through young adulthood, as well as many BYMOC themselves. Improving the quality of how systems and their personnel relate to BYMOC can reduce trauma reactions and improve their health in areas of learning, resilience, self-care, help-seeking, social mobility and even sleep (Winn, Iruka, Buansi, McKinney, & Stevenson, 2012; Stevenson, 2014).

Forward Promise targets culturally relevant healing practices that lead to healing, growth, and thriving in the lives of BYMOC as they and their communities define. Defining a healthy village may differ across the diverse communities of BYMOC.

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Healing is recognizing trauma and recovery.

Healing is seeing the need for health recovery. Healing from various traumatic experiences requires a lens that views BYMOC as human and deserving of health despite their current life circumstances. It is important because unaddressed trauma effects increase negative health outcomes. To recognize trauma (sources, effects, resolutions), is the beginning of healing.

Growing is practicing health recovery daily.

Growing is engaging life struggles through a healthy lens. Growing describes how BYMOC come to embrace healthy, culturally-responsive narratives, lenses, rationales, and behaviors for engaging and overcoming the challenges of trauma recovery. If healing is seeing the effects and resolutions of trauma, growing is using that awareness in one’s daily life to make healthy choices in self-care, relationships, schooling, and career.

Thriving is enjoying one’s health choices.

Thriving involves sustaining the practice of health recovery through activism. Thriving describes the capacity of BYMOC to actively make choices that lead to long-term, healthy outcomes for the sake of self, family and community. BYMOC will thrive when the skills and mindsets of culturally-relevant healing models have been adopted for self-protection and the protection of others in the community.

Our Team

Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant, Ed.D

Director

Dr. Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant is President/CEO at The Moriah Group, an international consulting firm, based in Huntsville, Alabama. Dr. Bryant has over 20 years of work...

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Michelle K. Massie

Deputy Director

Michelle K. Massie is Vice President of Program Operations at The Moriah Group where she also serves as the Deputy Director of Forward Promise...

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Ti Kendrick Hall

Associate Director

Ti Kendrick Hall is Vice President of Communications for The Moriah Group where she also serves as Associate Director of Forward Promise.

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E. Bomani Johnson

Associate Director

E. Bomani Johnson is Vice President of External Partnerships at The Moriah Group where he also serves as the Associate Director of Forward Promise.

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Andrea Amaechi

Director, Technical Assistance

Andrea directs technical assistance activities for Forward Promise.

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Kelli Dulan

Director, Leadership & Learning

Kelli directs the Forward Promise Fellowship for Leaders, leadership development and learning, and coordinates our field building activities and events.

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Chardinae Wilson

Project Manager

Chardinae manages multiple projects of Forward Promise, including our grantmaking and field building events.

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Joshua Álvarez

Social Media Manager

Joshua manages Forward Promise's social media content and campaigns across all platforms and channels.

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Edrita Dawkins

Program Associate

Edrita supports the day-to-day operations and logistics of Forward Promise.

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Edith Arrington, Ph.D.

Consultant, Research & Evaluation

Dr. Arrington supports Forward Promise with research and internal evaluation of all programs and activities.

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Howard C. Stevenson, Ph.D.

Consultant, Research

Dr. Howard Stevenson is the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, Professor of Africana Studies, and former Chair of the Applied Psychology and Human Development...

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Tanisha Abernathy Browne

Director of Marketing for the NYC Administration for Children's Services

Tanisha Abernathy Browne is a passionate professional with over 15 years of strategic communications experience in a range of categories, including financial services, healthcare, telecommunications and...

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Tshaka Barrows

Executive Director and Founding Member of the Burns Institute

Tshaka Barrows is a founding member of the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI). As Executive Director he works closely with the executive director to advance the Burns Institute’s mission to protect and improve...

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Kisha Bird

Director of Youth Policy at CLASP and Project Director for the Campaign for Youth

Kisha Bird is the director of youth policy at CLASP and project director for the Campaign for Youth (CFY), a national coalition chaired by CLASP. Ms. Bird works to expand access to education, employment...

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Krishaun Branch

Student Recruitment Fellow at Urban Prep Academies

Krishaun Branch has made “All the Difference” during his journey as a millennial and continues to beat the odds. During his early years, growing up on Chicago’s Southside, in a...

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William Buster

Executive Vice President at St. David’s Foundation (NAC Chair)

At Dogwood, William leads the Foundation’s Education work and Racial Equity investments, and ensures that Dogwood repeatedly lives up to its commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion...

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Dr. Angela Diaz

Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center

Angela Diaz, MD, PhD, MPH is the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

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Quyen Dinh

Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

Quyen Dinh is the Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). Originally formed in 1979, SEARAC was founded by a group of American humanitarians...

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Andrew Mulinge

Teacher at Harlem Village Academy

Andrew Mulinge is an educator, sociologist and advocate for equity-based education for all students. His experiences and interests have primarily been focused on researching, developing, and implementing...

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Kalimah Priforce

Headmaster CEO at Qeyno

At eight years old, Kalimah Priforce held a successful hunger strike against his Brooklyn group home to add more books to its library, which drew the attention of a community...

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Dr. Patrick Tolan

Professor, School of Education and Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia

Patrick H. Tolan is Professor at the University of Virginia in the Curry School of Education and in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences in the School of Medicine...

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Dr. Karina Walters

Director and Principal Investigator of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute at the University of Washington

Karina L. Walters, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is the Associate Dean for Research, the Katherine Hall Chambers Scholar, and the director and principal investigator...

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