Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Babatunde Akowe is an Attorney, Adjunct Professor and Community Advocate who has an unwavering commitment to his community.
An alumni of both Lincoln and Temple Universities, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Babatunde is also proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and 100 Black Men of New York. Steadfast in his devotion to service through education, reform, and political activism, Babatunde is an active member of Brooklyn Community Board # 3 and has represented the 8th Congressional district at the 2020
Democratic National Convention (DNC) on behalf of United States President Elect Joe Biden as a Delegate. Babatunde also serves as the Vice President of Political & Social Action of the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA).
As a staunch advocate for the people and a public servant Mr. Akowe is proof that one man can make a huge impact and has leveraged his activism into action and currently serves as the Director of Procurement at the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR). Babatunde lives by the adage “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way".
Arts, culture and education was at the forefront of Elisheba’s upbringing and played an integral role in molding her into the person she is today. She believes that the arts support the educational experience by providing our youth healthy outlets outside of the home. It also fosters creativity and teaches people to think out of the box whether it’s solving a complex math problem or interpreting a piece of abstract art.
As a Global Procurement Executive at the world’s largest children’s book publisher, Scholastic Inc., Elisheba currently leads all sourcing activities for the organization including the
management of complex multi-million dollar automation technology programs. She began her career in Finance before transitioning to Operations and holds both an MBA and BBA in Finance from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College.
Dana Rachlin is a public safety advocate and a co-founder of We Build the Block. Dana has been working over the last 11 years to support local communities facing over-policing, mass incarceration, and gun violence. She has created resources for youth impacted by system involvement, disrupting the school to prison pipeline. She has also worked with community organizations and law enforcement to build new programs and protocols that replace traditional policing with community-led public safety models.
LaShawn Ames has over three decades of resource development experience including prospect research, proposal development, project management, proposal writing and program evaluation. In recent years, she has secured over $13 million in external funding from state, federal, foundation, corporate, and individual sources. LaShawn has worked as a consultant, primarily working with small to mid-sized non-profit youth development organizations writing grant proposals, prospect research, and developing fundraising plans. Projects range from writing proposals for a specific new program, to prospect research and fundraising guidance, to
ongoing grant writing and development work. She specializes in funding through U.S. Department of Education programs. LaShawn also conducts external evaluations for federally-funded programs throughout the U.S.
She has spearheaded the launch of an organizational website and e-newsletter and supported program development for the summer, after-school, and arts-in-education programs. She graduated from Boston University and is a 37-year member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is a member of the Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, New York Continental Societies, Inc. and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.