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Meet the Team at Forward Through Ferguson

Faybra Hemphill | Lead Racial Equity Capacity Catalyst

As one of the Racial Equity experts on the FTF team, Faybra comes with a wealth of knowledge on the equity spectrum. She specializes in next practices of growing capacity for the successful development of anti-bias, antiracist institutions. She has dedicated 10 years of service to the St. Louis community within the Education and non-profit advancement sectors. She is an experienced facilitator and enjoys participating in courageous conversations. She is the 2018 recipient of the Annie Turnbo Malone Trailblazer Award, presented by Annie Malone Children & Family Services, and the Power 100-Game Changer Award, presented by Delux Magazine. Faybra is a St. Louis Native and lives with her partner in University City.

Faybra will work closely with our FTF board and community members to advance the current efforts to build Racial Equity capacity.

Karishma Furtado | Senior Director of Data & Research

Karishma Furtado, MPH, PhD is the Data and Research Catalyst and a founding staff member of Forward Through Ferguson. In her position, she leads the use of human-centered data, research, and reporting to facilitate accountability, measure impact, deepen understanding, and imagine what’s possible on the path to Racial Equity. Prior to her role with Forward Through Ferguson, Karishma served as staff to the Ferguson Commission. She has completed a doctoral degree in public health sciences, and her research at the intersection of race, racism, and health is in the service of closing the school discipline gap, or the disproportionate rate at which Black students are suspended from school and pushed out of the classroom.

She has published articles in the leading public health and health policy journals on the Ferguson Commission, the role of public health in advancing the mission of Racial Equity, and operationalizing a commitment to health equity in applied public health spaces.

Karishma teaches graduate level courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, and translating epidemiology into policy. She’s also a big fan of baking and DIY home renovation and design.

David Dwight IV | Executive Director, Lead Strategy Catalyst

Driven by a passion for systems change and equity, David Dwight IV serves as the Executive Director and Lead Strategy Catalyst at Forward Through Ferguson (FTF), the organization created to carry on the work and vision of the Ferguson Commission, which was a wide-ranging community policy recommendation process engaging over 3,000 residents after the killing of Michael Brown Jr. In David’s role, he leads FTF, develops strategic initiatives, and directs the organization’s policy and systems advocacy strategy.

He has served in a variety of leadership roles in St. Louis to engage community voice and apply a Racial Equity lens to regional issues.

David has taken root in St. Louis where he has lived for nine years. He received his degree in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015. His experience co-founding Students in Solidarity—a multi-campus student advocacy coalition—led him to center equity, justice, and advocacy in his career. After graduation, he served as the communications fellow for the Ferguson Commission where he worked closely with the Citizen-Law Enforcement Relations working group. He is dedicated to supporting the St. Louis region as we forge a path toward a transformed St. Louis where Racial Equity is the status quo. David balances his equity work, and maintains his sanity, through theatre and dance.

Spencer Dunlap | Director of Operations

With a background in operations and project management, Spencer brings nearly a decade of experience to Forward Through Ferguson. Transitioning from the Arts, Spencer was drawn to Forward Through Ferguson’s focus on racial equity and the impact the organization has had on the St. Louis region. Originally from Northern Iowa, Spencer now resides in St. Louis City with his wife and daughter.

Rachel D’Souza-Siebert | Justice Philanthropy Catalyst

D'Souza-Siebert

As the founding Justice Philanthropy Catalyst, Rachel infuses community-centric fundraising principles with the Sustain the Work pillar of the #STL2039 Action Plan to produce a more equitable and sustainable model of support for Forward Through  Ferguson.

Rachel is a proud life-long resident of St. Louis. Born to parents who immigrated to the U.S.A from India, Rachel has always been passionate about bridging differences and celebrating what’s possible when we collaborate from a mindset of abundance, learning and risk-taking.

Rachel is the founder of Gladiator Consulting, a boutique consultancy with a holistic approach to nonprofit organizational capacity building. Through Gladiator, Rachel has combined her knowledge of Organizational Culture & Resource Development with her deep personal commitment to centering community, seeking justice and creating belonging for those who have been disenfranchised or targeted by institutions, systems and policy.

Jia Lian Yang | Director of Storytelling & Communications

Jia Lian Yang (she/they), MDiv/MSW, is a storyteller, cultural worker, and facilitator. Born and raised in San Jose, California, she came to St. Louis in 2012 to pursue a Master of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and Master of Divinity at Eden Theological Seminary. Most recently, they served as the Co-Host/ Lead Producer of St. Louis Public Radio’s We Live Here podcast, and the Co-Founder/ Co-Host of Who Raised You? podcast. She’s inspired by Forward Through Ferguson’s dedication to storytelling for transformation. They believe that real, trusting relationships are the first step toward building power for systemic change.

Nichole Murphy | Director of Community Partnerships

An equity-minded and passionate systems thinker and community builder, Nichole Murphy, MSW, is committed to challenging herself and confronting systems that perpetuate inequity. In this role, she looks forward to being closer and more accountable to BIPOC, particularly Black and Brown, communities. Nichole is also a founding board member of 4theVille, a community-based tourism and arts organization created by Ville residents and community volunteers in order to restore pride in the legacy of the historic African American neighborhood and inspire reinvigorated community. Originally from the Baltimore area, Nichole has been in St. Louis – off and on – since beginning her studies at Washington University in St. Louis in 2010. Most recently, she served as a Community Engagement Coordinator working with Washington University students, staff, faculty, and community partners to further ethical and effective community engagement and partnerships.

Take Action

FTF Co-Chairs and Community Partners Call for Swift Policy Action

Residents Call for Policy Change, Regional Leaders Must Rise to the Challenge Forward Through Ferguson co-chairs, Rebeccah Bennett and Zachary Boyers, and 30 community partners call on policy and decision makers to deliver swift action on Ferguson Commission Calls to Action.  Read the full statement on Medium, or download a pdf here. “Unfortunately, we’ve been…

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A Path To Racial Equity Worksheet

Racial Equity is a state in which race no longer predicts outcomes. Achieving Racial Equity is the mission of Forward Through Ferguson. But the 189 calls to action in the Ferguson Commission Report are a reminder that there is no one-step, straight-line path from our current state—where racial disparities exist in almost every set of…

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Opportunity for a New Approach to Public Safety in St. Louis

An open letter to Mayor Lyda Krewson from Rebeccah Bennett and Zachary Boyers, Co-chairs of Forward Through Ferguson, on the public safety opportunity in front of our region. Click here to download a pdf of the open letter. Mayor Krewson, The retirement of Police Chief Sam Dotson represents a new day for public safety in St. Louis….

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