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Meet the Team at Forward Through Ferguson

Annissa McCaskill | Executive Director

A headshot of Annissa McCaskill, Forward Through Ferguson's Executive Director. She is a smiling Black woman with silver and black hair in twists. She is smiling a warm smile with red lipstick.

A native of Earlington, Kentucky, Annissa G. McCaskill has called the Greater St. Louis Area home since 1996. A graduate of HBCU Livingstone College (B.S. Political Science), and Indiana State University (M.P.A.), Annissa has worked in the municipal government and non-profit sectors for over 25 years and possesses competencies in organizational development, community engagement, and relationship creation. An entrepreneurial professional with a rare understanding of the need for convictive action toward racial and social equity, Annissa believes her work should be one of service. As such she has served on various boards such as the Mid-America Workforce Investment Board, the YWCA Head Start Board, and the Board of Directors for Catholic Urban Programs. She is an active member of the Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®. Annissa takes most pride in being a sister, a friend, an advocate and a mother.

Faybra Jabulani | Lead Racial Equity Capacity Catalyst

Faybra is a beautiful Black woman with glowing skin and a warm smile. She has curly black and magenta hair, is wearing a sleek grey long-sleeved top and a thin gold bracelet.

Faybra is a native St. Louisan who lives with her partner and son in University City. She has a background in directing Racial Equity initiatives in the educational field as well as designing and facilitating Racial Equity curriculum, workshops and roundtables. She built FTF’s robust suite of Racial Equity Capacity Building offerings from the ground up and expanded FTF’s impact by growing the Racial Equity capacity, anti-racism skills, and action plans needed for transformational change with 400+ community advocates at anchor institutions, Biotech and STEM companies, local philanthropic foundations, and others.

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.

Spencer Dunlap | Senior 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.

Sara Paracha | Lead Catalyst, Resource Development

Sara Paracha is a confident Pakistani woman with long black hair with curls at the bottom. She has a welcoming smile and is wearing a light grey blazer. Her left arm is bent and her hand is on her waist.

Sara is a St. Louis native committed to supporting the work of systemic change to build a more equitable region. Sara received her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Saint Louis University and Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. She has worked with evaluating and implementing programs that promote positive youth development.

Over the past 6 years, Sara has helped raise over $5million to support youth serving organizations in St. Louis. She brings valuable experience related to resource development, project management, and strategy for organizational growth to Forward Through Ferguson.

In 2022 Sara was recognized as one of five Outstanding Young Professional’s by the Global Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), an award recognizing fundraising who display excellence in raising funds, inspiring donors, managing campaigns and dedication to the charitable sector.

Stephen Jung | Development Catalyst

Image of Stephen Jung, a white man with brown curly hair and a brown beard. He is wearing wire frame glasses and is smiling in a grey suit and purple button up with purple silk tie.

Stephen is a born and raised St. Louisan, with roots sprinkled throughout the region. For over a decade, he has been driven by his passion for systems and policy reform– inspired by his proximity to generational trauma and inequitable systemic forces. He received his Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and his Master of Social Work (with a concentration in Domestic Social and Economic Development) from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Madhav Narayan | Senior Director of Policy & Data

Madhav Narayan, Forward Through Ferguson's Senior Director of Policy & Data, is pictured from the shoulders up against a brick background. He is wearing a navy shirt and has a thick black beard and a short haircut with thick curls at the top. He is wearing glasses and has a closed mouth smile.
Madhav has spent over half of his life living in St. Louis. After a few years away to attend college at UW-Madison, he returned to St. Louis and started community organizing toward removing the School-to-Prison-Pipeline. Since acquiring a Masters of Public Health at Saint Louis University, he has been focused on marrying his interests in data and organizing by telling the narratives of underserved populations through data. He firmly believes that data that doesn’t help to tell the story of the population you’re trying to serve is not good data. Madhav lives in St. Louis City with his wife, a cat, and a dog.

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. They are the Director of Storytelling & Communications at Forward Through Ferguson, where they manage data storytelling initiatives such as #Transforming911 and craft narratives around grassroots efforts to advance Racial Equity. Previously, she 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. They believe that real, trusting relationships are the first step toward building power for systemic change.

Janaé Robinson | Communications Catalyst

Headshot of Janaé Robinson, Communications Catalyst. She has long black hair in soft waves and is wearing a black blazer with an African print stole. She is a Black woman with glowing skin and a powerful expression on her face.

Janaé is a Saint Louis University alum who received a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership & Organizational Behavior with a DEI emphasis. Throughout her college career she was committed to pursuits that worked against societal injustices outside of the classroom.

Janaé is determined to make this world a more equitable place for black & brown folk in America. Her social justice warrior spirit has shaken up racist systems in St. Louis through contributions and investments in child-advocacy, early childhood education, and diversity & inclusion efforts.

Janaé now serves as the Communications Catalyst at Forward Through Ferguson, dedicated to growing the organization’s visibility and impact through the powerful principles of storytelling. In her own words, “It is time that the untold stories are told, and I will be the one to tell them.” As a community & organizational change agent, Janaé has a strong background in nonprofit capacity building, stakeholder engagement, and social impact.

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.

Gina Becnel | Executive Administrative Catalyst

St. Louis area native, Gina Becnel, began their professional career as a media technician and film production crew member but transitioned into advocacy and related logistical support in the wake of the 2020 protest movement. Doing that work mostly as a volunteer for organizations focused on direct action, Forward Through Ferguson spoke to their desire to disrupt archaic and inequitable systems of institutional power from a different angle. Their personal interest in public transportation justice is undeniably entwined with the core pursuit of Forward Through Ferguson to achieve racial equity in St. Louis. Most recently, they’ve been involved in an organization called Bus Riders United- St. Louis, a group of mostly transit reliant riders in the St. Louis region working together to demand equitable, reliable, and accessible public transportation.

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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