Board of Directors

Steve Shaff

Stephen Shaff is a community and political organizer, social entrepreneur, and the founder of Community-Vision Partners (C-VP), a community and social solutions Benefit LLC whose mission is to initiate, facilitate and agitate for the Common Good. A significant project of C-VP has been the establishment and development of the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council (CSBC), a business-led educational and advocacy organization whose mission is to promote and expand sustainable business viability, awareness, and impact within the Chesapeake region (MD, DC and VA). Shaff’s background represents an unusually broad but interrelated series of accomplishments along with a multi-sector network of relationships and contacts. His areas of expertise include inner-city Washington, DC Affordable Housing & Real Estate Development; Community Development and Activism; Green & New Economy Advocacy; Civic & Political Advocacy Leadership and other national movement initiatives.

Steve Shaff

Secretary - People Demanding Action
Executive Director Community Vision Partners

Executive Director

Alex Lawson is the executive director of Social Security Works, the convening member of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition— a coalition made up of over 300 national and state organizations representing over 50 million Americans. Lawson was the first employee of Social Security Works, when he served as the communications director, and has built the organization alongside the founding co-directors into a recognized leader on social insurance. Mr. Lawson is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Mr. Lawson is also the co-owner of We Act Radio an AM radio station and media production company whose studio is located in the historic Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC. We Act Radio is a mission driven business that is dedicated to raising up the stories and voices of those historically excluded from the media. We Act Radio is also an innovator in the use of online and social media as well as video livestreaming to cover breaking news and events. Most recently, producing video livestreaming from Ferguson, MO as the #FergusonLive project sponsored by Color of Change.

Alex Lawson

Treasurer - People Demanding Action
Social Security Works
Washington, DC

Rev. Rodney Sadler

Dr. Sadler's work in the community includes terms as a board member of the N.C. Council of Churches, Siegel Avenue Partners, and Mecklenburg Ministries, and currently he serves on the boards of Union Presbyterian Seminary, Loaves and Fishes, the Hispanic Summer Program, and the Charlotte Chapter of the NAACP. His activism includes work with the Community for Creative Non-Violence in D.C., Durham C.A.N., H.E.L.P. Charlotte, and he has worked organizing clergy with and developing theological resources for the Forward Together/Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina. Rev. Sadler is the managing editor of the African American Devotional Bible, associate editor of the Africana Bible, and the author of Can a Cushite Change His Skin? An Examination of Race, Ethnicity, and Othering in the Hebrew Bible. He has published articles in Interpretation, Ex Audito, Christian Century, the Criswell Theological Review, and the Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and has essays and entries in True to Our Native Land, the New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, the Westminster Dictionary of Church History, Light against Darkness, and several other publications. Among his research interests are the intersection of race and Scripture, the impact of our images of Jesus for the perpetuation of racial thought in America, the development of African American biblical interpretation in slave narratives, the enactment of justice in society based on biblical imperatives, and the intersection of religion and politics.

Rev. Rodney Sadler

Co - Chair - People Demanding Action
North Carolina Forward Together/Moral Monday Movem
Radio Host: Politics of Faith - Wednesday @ 11 am

Executive Director and Executive Producer PDA Radio

Andrea Miller is the Executive Director of People Demanding Action, a multi-issue advocacy group. Andrea is both an organizer as well as a digital advocacy expert. She has appeared on the Thom Hartmann show, hosts the Progressive Round Table and is Executive Producer or PDAction Radio. As an IT professional she is also responsible for PDAction's digital strategy and customizes advocacy tools for small to medium size organizations through the Progressive Support Project. She is the former Co-Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, was the Democratic Nominee in 2008 for House of Representatives in the Virginia 4th District. Running on a Medicare for All and clean energy platform, Andrea was endorsed by PDA, California Nurses and The Sierra Club. Prior to running for office, Andrea was a part of Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign, first as Statewide Coordinator for Virginia and subsequently as Regional Coordinator. From 2006 until leading the VA Kucinich camppaign Andrea was’s Regional Coordinator for Central, Southwest and Hampton Roads areas of Virginia and West Virginia.

Andrea Miller

Board Member and Executive Director
Spotsylvania, VA

President and Executive Director

Since September 2013, Dr. Gabriela D. Lemus has served as the President of Progressive Congress. Dr. Lemus served as Senior Advisor to Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis and was Director of the Office of Public Engagement from July 2009 until August 2013. Prior to her appointment, she was the first woman to hold the position of Executive Director at the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) from 2007-2009, and the first woman to chair the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) from 2008-2009. During her tenure at LCLAA, she helped co-found the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) and was a Commissioner for the Commission to Engage African-Americans on Climate Change (CEAAC). She served 3-year terms on the advisory boards of both the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) from 2005-2008 and the United States Labor Education in the Americas Project (USLEAP) from 2006-2009. In January 2013, she was confirmed by the DC Council to sit on the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia. From 2000-2007, she served as Director of Policy and Legislation at the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) where she launched the LULAC Democracy Initiative - a national Hispanic civic participation campaign and founded Latinos for a Secure Retirement - a national campaign to preserve the Social Security safety net. Dr. Lemus was adjunct professor of international relations and border policy at the University of Memphis, San Diego State University, and the University of San Diego; as well as a Guest Scholar at the University of California, San Diego – Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies. Dr. Lemus has appeared in both English and Spanish language media outlets, including CNN, CNN en Español, C-SPAN, MSNBC, NBC's Hardball, Fox's Neil Cavuto, Univision and NBC-Telemundo among others. She received her doctorate in International Relations from the University of Miami in 1998.

Dr. Gabriela D. Lemus

Co - Chair - People Demanding Action
President and Executive Director
Progressive Congress

Team Leader and Climate Action Radio Host

Russell Greene has been focused on the climate crisis since 1988. He leads the Progressive Democrats of America Stop Global Warming and Environmental Issue Organizing Team, is Advisory Board Chair for iMatter, Kids vs. Global Warming, vice-chair legislation for the California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus and has been an executive in the restaurant industry for over 30 years, with a current focus on the impact of sustainability in business.

Russell Greene

President, People Demanding Action

President & CEO

Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, is a minister, community activist and one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life. He works tirelessly to encourage the Hip Hop generation to utilize its political and social voice.

 A national leader and pacemaker within the green movement, Rev Yearwood has been successfully bridging the gap between communities of color and environmental issue advocacy for the past decade. With a diverse set of celebrity allies, Rev Yearwood raises awareness and action in communities that are often overlooked by traditional environmental campaigns. Rev Yearwood’s innovative climate and clean energy work has garnered the Hip Hop Caucus support from several environmental leaders including former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, National Wildlife Federation, Earthjustice, Sierra Club and Bill McKibben’s Rolling Stone deemed Rev Yearwood one of our country’s “New Green Heroes” and Huffington Post named him one of the top ten change makers in the green movement. He was also named one of the 100 most powerful African Americans by Ebony Magazine in 2010, and was also named to the Source Magazine’s Power 30, Utne Magazine’s 50 Visionaries changing the world, and the Root 100 Young Achievers and Pacesetters. Rev Yearwood is a national leader in engaging young people in electoral activism. He leads the national Respect My Vote! campaign and coalition ( In the 2012 Elections, numerous celebrity partners have joined the campaign to reach their fan bases, including Respect My Vote! spokesperson 2 Chainz. The Hip Hop Caucus registered and mobilized tens of thousands of young voters to the polls in 2012. In 2008, the Hip Hop Caucus set a world record of registering the most voters in one day: 32,000 people across 16 U.S. cities. This effort was part of the Hip Hop Caucus’ 2008 “Respect My Vote!” campaign with celebrity spokespeople T.I., Keyshia Cole and many other recording artists, athletes, and entertainers. Rev Yearwood entered the world of Hip Hop Politics when he served as the Political and Grassroots Director of Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Summit Action Network in 2003 and 2004. In 2004 he also was a key architect and implementer of three other voter turnout operations – P. Diddy’s Citizen Change organization which created the “Vote Or Die!” campaign; Jay Z’s “Voice Your Choice” campaign; and, “Hip Hop Voices”, a project at the AFL-CIO. It was in 2004 that he founded the Hip Hop Caucus to bring the power of the Hip Hop Community to Washington, DC. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rev Yearwood established the award winning Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign where he led a coalition of national and grassroots organizations to advocate for the rights of Katrina survivors. The coalition successfully stopped early rounds of illegal evictions of Katrina survivors from temporary housing, held accountable police and government entities to the injustices committed during the emergency response efforts, supported the United Nations “right to return” policies for internally displaced persons, promoted comprehensive federal recovery legislation, and campaigned against increased violence resulting from lack of schools and jobs in the years after Katrina. Rev Yearwood is a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer. In the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq he began speaking out against such an invasion. He has since remained a vocal activist in opposition to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2007 he organized a national pro-peace tour, “Make Hip Hop Not War”, which engaged urban communities in discussions and rallies about our country’s wars abroad and parallels to the structural and physical violence poor urban communities endure here at home. Rev Yearwood is a proud graduate of Howard University School of Divinity and the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), both Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He served as student body president at both institutions. As a student at UDC, he organized massive student protests and sit-ins, shutting down the school for ten days straight, and achieved victory against budget cutbacks. After graduating from UDC he served as the Director of Student Life at a time when the city was attempting to relocate the school, under his leadership the city was forced to rescind its effort to marginalize and move the campus. Rev Yearwood went on to teach at the Center for Social Justice at Georgetown University, before entering the world of Hip Hop politics with Russell Simmons and civil rights activist, Dr. Benjamin Chavis. He has been featured in such media outlets as CNN, MSNBC, BET, Huffington Post, Newsweek, The Nation, MTV,, The Source Magazine, Ebony and Jet, Al Jazeera, BBC, C-Span, and Hardball with Chris Mathews and featured in the Washington Post, The New York Times and VIBE magazine. He was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. The first in his family to be born in the United States, his parents, aunts, and uncles, are from Trinidad and Tobago. Rev Yearwood currently lives in Washington, DC with his two sons, who are his biggest inspiration to making this world a better place.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood

Board Member
President and CEO
Hip Hop Caucus

Board Member

Marc Carr’s passion for social justice and entrepreneurship has led him to work on civil rights campaigns in the Deep South and organize community forums in the U.S. and West Africa. His professional experience includes heading the sales division of a major international corporation in West Africa, consulting for the United Nations Foundation, and working as a Social Media Analyst for McKinsey & Co. Marc is the Founder of Social Solutions, an organization devoted to crowd-sourcing tech solutions to solve intractable social problems. Social Solutions produces a monthly event series, the Capitol Innovation Forum, and the yearly Social Innovation Festival, along with a podcast series, the Capitol Justice Podcast. Social Solutions also spearheads the Capitol Justice Lab, an initiative to reduce the incarceration rate in the nation’s capital by half in five years. Marc is expecting his Master’s Degree in Social Enterprise in 2016 from the American University School of International Service.

Marc Carr

Board Member
Social Solutions
Washington, DC

Board Member

Lise received her Doctorate in Medicine in 1982 from the University of Paris. After interning at hospitals in Paris and Lome, Togo, she completed her residency in psychiatry at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. Board certified in both general and forensic psychiatry, Lise worked as a staff psychiatrist in public mental health centers in Alexandria and Fairfax, Virginia. For more than twenty years Lise has maintained a private practice in psychiatry. An Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University and an active member of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, she has worked to educate the public on mental health issues through writing in professional journals, the press and other media outlets. A frequent guest on local and national radio and television, Lise has addressed a range of issues on violence, trauma, and mental illness. Through Physicians for Human Rights, she conducts evaluations of victims of torture seeking asylum in this country and advocates on their behalf. She has served as a consultant to the CIA where she developed psychological assessments of world leaders. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti Lise provided mental health services to those traumatized by the events. In 2005, concerned about the direction the country was taking -- and believing that a background in science and human behavior would strengthen the political process -- she ran for the U.S. Senate seat in Maryland. In September, 2006, she was chosen as one of the first fifty persons to be trained in Nashville by Al Gore to educate the public about global warming. Lise is an expert on climate change and public health, with a particular interest in the psychological impacts of climate change. She frequently writes and speaks about these issues. In collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation and with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation she organized a conference held in March 2009 on the mental health and psychological impacts of climate change. Lise is on the board of The Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard School of Public Health, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and the International Transformational Resilience Coalition.

Dr. Lise Van Susteren

Board Member
Moral Action on Climate
Saturday, 08 November 2014 00:00

Police Brutality: Southern Whites’ Last Attempt At Civil War?

Written by Jacque delRio
Jacque Del Rio at protest for David Silva Jacque Del Rio at protest for David Silva

Can it be that simple?
Has America’s long standing history of racism caught up with us? Has the south risen once again? One has to wonder, or do we merely continue to follow this road of denial and the turning of a blind eye to the proverbial- shall I say it- “Elephant in the room?”

To get a better understanding of this rise in police killing black youth America better start asking itself the hard questions. I really believe America needs to look back at one of our history’s darkest hours. Now, more than ever, we need to remember the civil war and why it was fought.

It needs to be written (not by a black man nor can it be written by a white man) why Michael Brown was shot to death and what role racism played in this tragic killing. This can also be applied to the obvious American epidemic of white LEO’s killing and beating people of color. This should allow some insight into what I’m asserting.


This was a fifty year old woman with mental health issues and this white officer did not hesitate to pummel her into the ground! What hate… what loss of humanity does a person need to possess in order to do this to another human being? What brings a man to beat a woman like this? Is racism that profound. Can racist hate compel a man to hate another human being that much.

Those last to questions are rhetorical and yes, racist hate is that powerful. Powerful enough to begin the American civil war that would pit brother against brother, father against son and would literally tear this country apart. So much so that southerners and now many mainstream Americans will now deny that slavery was the main catalyst for the civil war.

So we must take into consideration America’s attempts at revisionist history and the cause and effects thereof and understand that many American’s have been propagated, through media and our own educational textbooks, into believing much of this faux history. But the truth is- the civil war was brought about because southern white men wanted to retain the ability to enslave black men, and women, and America’s cardinal sin was born. Americans would have to endure the bloodiest and only civil war in American history and it was due to racist hate

So, yes, racism is profound and it can and has made men do some terrible things

But does that amount of hate still exist today? I believe we are seeing it now. Recently, the Supreme Court pretty much undid what years of civil rights fighters have given their lives to. Men like Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Medgar Evers, and Freedom Riders’ James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Shwermer.

This very conservative court has, in essence, ruled that racism no longer exists in America today. They have ensured all of America’s policing agencies that if their case makes it to the Supreme Court, racism will not be a factor in any of their verdicts and/or decisions. This has opened the doors to many who still harbor feelings of the “rebel yell,” or the edict that the south will rise again. Hence, it may well be that police shootings of black men has taken the place of lynchings. And I do not say this lightly.

This is something I read in the Chicago Tribune by Jamelle Bouie, a writer at Slate in an article titled, “Black Police and Black Citizens.”

“…the most likely victims of fatal police shootings are young black males. According to a ProPublica analysis of federal data on police shootings, young black males ages 15 to 19 are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than their white counterparts. "One way of appreciating that stark disparity," notes ProPublica, "is to calculate how many more whites over those three years would have had to have been killed for them to have been at equal risk. The number is jarring — 185, more than one per week."

Recently, a group of far right conservatives led by a man by the name of Cliven Bundy had a stand-off with Government agents. As I witnessed this standoff, I gained a new understanding of America’s racism and the degree to where it stands now. These white men were pointing sniper rifles at these agents and not one bullet was fired. Michael Brown was shot six times while his hands were raised in the air… for crossing the street.

Try to put into perspective… to grasp the depth and horror of some Americans’ racist hate toward black men. Try to gain an idea of the sheer audacity of the restraint that white authority has in the face of white lawbreakers in contrast to its obvious indifference toward a young black man that was merely crossing the street. Racists cling to the idea of Michael Brown stealing a pack of cigars and this is why his death was required. And to this I would offer, Cliven Bundy owes over one million dollars in taxes yet this man is walking free and still feeding his cattle on government property and on the American taxpayers’ dime, and to many of his backers in America, he is a hero.

Indeed, this article should not be written by a black man and could not be written by a white man. If a black man would make this claim, it becomes just another “race card” being “played,” and it can’t be written by a white man because a white man can never truly understand what it is to be a slave - a minority- in America

I do. And I can attest to the unseen “laws”- the same “black codes” that were used during reconstruction when President Andrew Johnson and his racist administration used these unseen laws to allow overt racism to make life for African-Americans a living hell just after the assassination of President Lincoln.

President Andrew Johnson told Thomas C. Fletcher, the governor of Missouri: "This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men." And the “black codes,” the same black codes that we are seeing today, were created.

Today, we see the parallels of Andrew Johnsons presidency and the current reign of this very right-wing Supreme Court and leading members of the Republican Party. In his opinion, Justice John Roberts asserts that “America has changed,” and with one swipe of his pen, wiped away what years of civil rights activists and human beings have fought so hard and died for. So, now we have police killing black men with absolutely no recourse, becoming too reminiscent of the terror filled years between Andrew Johnson’s presidency and the 60’s civil rights act.

And in a profound twist of irony, a leading Republican figure in Republican politics, Senator Lindsey Graham of, you guessed it, the southern stronghold of South Carolina, was just quoted as saying, “If I get to be president, white men in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency," the day this article was to be posted. Sound familiar?

But why doesn’t the non-racist element of America stand against this? Why are we seeing this racial tension being allowed to fester in America? We all know that racism still exists but we allow our extremely right-wing supreme court to hold true to fallacies of a post-racial America? We stand idle while southern senators make statements mirroring those made by Andrew Johnson in 1865?

Is this part of the southern strategy? Because there is a quasi-black president in office, is the southern strategy to pull Barack Obama’s hand in terms of racism? I do believe so. They are actually playing to white America’s fear of a black president enslaving the white race, as ridiculous as that may sound. The unbelievable reality is 40% of Republicans would not vote for a black man as president of the United Statessimply because he’s black. Many of these same Republicans believe our president is actually a Kenyan and I can go on but these claims only cheapen and degrade perceptions of true Americans.

After President Lincoln freed black slaves under the tyranny of southern racist hatred, it took another hundred years before a man by the name of Martin Luther King made any inroads on racial equality. Southern whites lynching and murdering black people were every day occurrences and a great many of these murders would never be held to account legally. We are now witnessing that same racist hate.

White Police Officers are beating and killing black people with reckless abandon and America is collectively standing by and enabling this racist hate to continue as incarceration rates for these same minorities are breaking records across the planet. President Carter was quoted as saying, “Barack Obama has inherited a country more polarized by racism than even during the civil war.” America is beating and killing its minority population and racism is at such a high point, very few Americans feel empathy toward many of its sub-cultures. When a “Latino” is killed in America, mainstream media barely bats an eyelash because to mainstream America we are all “Mexicans,” or “Illegal aliens.”

Which brings us to the beating death of David Silva in Kern county USA on the night of May 8, 2013.  It would take nine officers and a canine nineteen and a half minutes to beat this man to death but because this man is Latino, his death went pretty much unnoticed in the world of mainstream media. This killing was successfully, for all intents and purposes, swept under the rug.

But the Silva family didn’t riot. They actually believed in the American justice system. They believe, like many Latinos,in the idea of equal justice under the law. Like many Latinos they didn’t see the reality until it actually happened to them and now they know. Now they know what it is to be ignored by mainstream America. Now they know what it is to be a black man in America… what it is to be a black family.

I can foresee the outcomes of both the David Silva case and that of Michael Brown. The tactics of America’s policing agencies when combatting the killing of a citizen by one of its officers has become mundane and repetitive. So much so that Americans now mimic those strategies. “I feared for my life,” or “I thought that he was reaching for a weapon” has become commonplace.

In the case of David Silva, the Chief of police, Donnie Youngblood is also the Coroner. Talk about conflict of interests. I don’t have to tell you what the results of the autopsy were. But this is indicative of how out-of-control America’s policing agencies have become, how audacious they are in light of this very law-enforcement-friendly Supreme Court.

So, what are the chances that both the Silva family and the Brown family will receive “equal justice under the law?” My experience and expertise on American racism tells me that both Darren Wilson and the nine officers in the beating death of Mr. Silva will never face charges. America will continue to enable this ever-growing epidemic of police brutality and we’ll continue to break records in terms of mass incarceration.

So, shooting an unarmed black teenager to death with his hands in the air, or beating a Latino man to death as he screams for his life are the new normal.

Nothing to see here, just another Sunday lynching. Like Andrew Johnson said… "This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men."

The Supreme Court has picked up that mantle and will continue to perpetuate racism by denying that it exists… thus becoming the new “rebel yell” of the New World Order.

And the South has, indeed, risen once again.

Read 34984 times Last modified on Sunday, 09 November 2014 17:48

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