MEET ROSIE PARKE (YAA GYASI)
In the world of work, they say attitude determines your altitude and if this is true then Rosie Parke may as well have coined the saying herself. She is known on the entertainment and promotions circuit as @MsPeppy2U and has the positive attitude and incredible energy to connect people and foster community building wherever she goes. She is passionate, energetic, and perseverant and is the epitome of PEP.
A native of Jamaica, Ms. Parke has been living in the DC area since January 2003 and holds a Masters degree in Management with specialization in Public Relations and an Undergraduate degree in Business and Professional Management. She also received an executive certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University in June 2016 and is poised to officially take on the role of founder and board chair for The Give Black Foundation. Rosie is also the founder and creative director of Peppy Entertainment & Promotions, LLC; the creator, producer and host of PEP Talk TV; the vice-chair of the Black Child Development Institute – DC Metro Chapter; a board member of the Ayensudo Akoma International Academy in Ghana; a community advocate; and so much more.
Her areas of expertise include planning, administering, and managing workshops, conferences and events domestically and internationally. She serves as liaison with external partners to conduct research on emerging industry and technological trends, prepares a wide range of materials and develops complex documents such as communications programs and electronic documents for Web sites and other publications. Rosie is a seasoned Public Relations Professional and serves as Media Liaison for various projects. She has done extensive work with community based organizations and has an acute awareness of social and cultural dynamics within various countries and communities. Rosie is passionate about giving back to those who are less fortunate and decided to create her own nonprofit after a visit to Ghana in 2011 which changed her life. Since then, she has been hosting her Annual Women’s History Month event and Birthday Fundraiser, raising funds which are used to support the education of children in Ghana, West Africa. She was quoted recently as saying, “At this stage in my life, I am most passionate about giving back to Blacks, without apology. Please join me on this mission.”
MEET THE BOARD
BARRINGTONON M. SALMON has been writing professionally in one form or another for more than 20 years. Writing continues to be his passion whether it’s a news story, column, speech or multimedia script.
Currently working as an independent freelance journalist, he writes for four newspapers, a Black literary journal and publications like Convergence and Diverse Issues in Education. In addition, he is the principal writer for the Greater Washington Urban League and a contributing writer and editor for the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust, both in Washington, DC.
The District of Columbia has been Barrington’s home for 18 of the past 20 years, just the latest stop since he emigrated to the US.
Barrington has served as a Speechwriter and Media Relations Specialist for state, local and international organizations and entities including the Executive Office of the Mayor, Washington, DC; District of Columbia Public Schools; The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Ethiopia (CDC-Ethiopia).
Some of the cities he has worked are Miami, and Tallahassee, FL, the US Virgin Islands, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Among Barrington’s PR responsibilities was working as part of a Communications team to support Mayors Marion S. Barry and Anthony Williams, General Managers, board chairs, senior management staff and other officials at city and state agencies to promote policies, campaigns and other projects, enlighten key constituencies and audiences, and protect and advance the respective brands. He also contributed experience and expertise to communications strategies and crisis communications while developing needed strategies, message development and planning events.
Barrington regularly wrote speeches, remarks and talking points for mayors, executive directors and senior staff; coached department heads on how to handle the media and get their message across; wrote scripts for PSAs; helped developed media campaigns; and produced brochures, newsletters, quarterlies and a range of other documents. These days, among his varied responsibilities is developing and sharing writing strategies, and the creation, enhancement and editing of web content for individuals, companies and other entities.
As a Journalist, Barrington has written or continues to write for about a dozen news publications and magazines in a staff writer, contributor or freelance capacity. Among the beats he’s covered are international, national and local politics; hard news, police and criminal justice; social welfare and urban issues; local, national and international news; education; immigration; entertainment; the Arts; and sports. In addition, Barrington has written columns, editorials, features, profiles and op-eds for a number of several newspapers.
Born and raised in London, England and the child of Jamaican parents, Barrington has lived in the US since he resettled there with his family at age 19. He has traveled to, visited, studied or lived in locales as varied as Ghana, Israel, Italy, Greece, El Salvador, Toronto, Amsterdam, China, Nepal, Guyana and Zanzibar, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Guyana.
Barrington received a classical British education from London and Kingston, and then matriculated at Miami-Dade Community College, where he graduated with honors on the Dean’s List; he earned a BA in Mass Communications from Florida State University and Florida A&M University; and in 2010, he received an MA in Creative Writing and New Media from Demontfort University in Leicester, United Kingdom.
His writing portfolio includes several thousand stories including interviews, with or stories about, Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush; Sean “Puffy” Combs, Henry Louis Gates, Melissa Etheridge, Chaka Khan, Ted Turner, the late Jamaican PM Michael Manley, Vernon Jordan, Jr., St. Lucian Nobel Laureate Derrick Walcott, Walter Mosley, Mayor Marion Barry, The Rev. Benjamin Chavis, Ernest Green of Little Rock Nine fame, and other dignitaries, history makers and luminaries
RON MUNIA is a former Director of Refugee Services for the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, HHS. He is the current President of the Edna Frazier Cromwell Scholarship fund serving Ward 1 in Washington, DC and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer having serviced in Colombia, South America with the Barranquilla Chamber of Commerce International. Ron loves to mentor youth and give back and is a cultural junkie, carnival aficionado, and dancer. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair.
CLAUDETTE B. HENRY is the only girl and last of five children born to Lilly McCarthy. Though born in Kingston, Claudette’s best memories of Jamaica are of the years spent in Manchester before joining her mother in the United States in 1968. Claudette’s inquisitive mind was evident from an early age, developing into a love for reading and traveling. As the years passed, her family and friends dubbed her the professional student – attending first Strayer College, American University, and George Washington University. Claudette’s greatest academic accomplishment was her four years at Bible college earning a degree in Pastoral Counseling, which led to her attending Maryland University earning a degree in Psychology.
Claudette’s desire to promote the welfare of Jamaica and Jamaicans led her to JNA in 2006 as its Executive Secretary later taking the helm as president in January 2010. Taking this dream to the national level, Claudette joined NAJASO in 2011 first as its Recording Secretary; then as its Membership Chair. In 2012, Claudette accompanied Ms. Rosie Parke on a trip to Ghana, West Africa and her life changed forever. She now resides in Arizona, where she continues community outreach through her church and community-based organizations.
MINNIE P. ALLEN, MSW, LICSW is a licensed social worker and national and international Social Work trainer having presented in South Africa and West Africa as well around the United States with emphasis on vulnerable or children at risk. Presentations have varied from trauma to children from exposure to intimate partner violence to challenges youth face when exiting foster care. Most recently, she was invited to Seoul, Korea to present on the importance of infusing cognitive neuroscience into human behavior and social environment curriculums for social work programs which is important to social worker’s knowledge when working with traumatized or neglected children. She is currently at the dissertation phase of the doctoral program at Howard University, School of Social Work in Washington, DC. Her dissertation proposal is to examine whether forced employment compliance of young African American mothers on welfare result in higher employment outcomes. Her undergraduate academic life has included earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Allied Health from Governors State University in University Park, Illinois and a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Her social work career has been in public and private child welfare or human service organizations at both the micro and macro levels of practice. She has worked with a number of diverse populations providing child protection and supportive services to children, youth and families. She has also provided direct organizational support to agencies in training staff in cultural diversity, language access, quality assurance and contract management, case management and documentation.
MELROSE PARKS was born in Jamaica and is the first of five siblings. In 1988, she immigrated to Toronto, Canada where she currently resides and has been in the Insurance Industry for over 20 years. Ms. Parks currently works as a Commercial Lines Supervisor with a specialty in Commercial Property and Casualty. Over the years, she has completed a number of courses and certifications including her Fellowship Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP), Commercial Risk Management (CRM), Essential Supervisory & Leadership Skills and Management Fundamentals. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and entertaining. She is passionate about art, shopping and mentoring children and has been sponsoring two Ghanaian children for many years. Ms. Parks’ favorite quote is “If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
RACQUEL BROWN GASTON, ESQ. is a University Dean of Students, Business Law Professor, Author, Publisher, motivational speaker & UN Ambassador. As an attorney for the past 15 years, Racquel specializes in non-profit law, intellectual property, mediation, real estate and commercial transactions, business formations and contracts. Notwithstanding her passion for law, she has served as a transformative leader in student services and a faculty member at Higher Black College and Universities (HBCUs) for the past 17 years. Her work has been noted for best practices and was accepted to be part of a study to be presented to the US Department of Education. Recognition of her transformative leadership has led the Pan African Council in conjunction with the International Congress of Spanish Speaking Black Universities to have her as an invited guest and presenter at their conference on Education, Leadership and Transformation in Colombia, South America. As for the business side of Racquel, her entrepreneurship spirit led her to create RSG Publishing LLC, where yet again, she gives a voice to those who need to be heard through their writings. Known as a powerful instrument, Racquel has served as keynote and motivational speaker to audiences ranging from universities, churches, corporations, and even international forums. She is an avid servant of the community. She serves and feeds the homeless in Washington DC; she operates and funds a scholarship fund that supplements the financial needs of students in rural Jamaica; she serves on Board of Directors for the only re-entry residential program in Washington DC for federal female inmates, which she also volunteers as a motivational speaker; she serves as pro bono attorney for Coalition of Concerned Legal Professionals; and she assists in the operating of her church’s bookstore. Dear to her heart, is her love of storytelling. With that, Racquel published her first novel, Deadly Instincts, which is now being adapted for a movie production. She is currently working on her second novel, while she practices law, publish books, speaks and serves the students at the University of the District of Columbia. A true Jamaican indeed.
SANCHA FLYNN has been volunteering to prepare marketing collateral for The Give Black Foundation for the last few years and is the website developer for igiveblack.org. From corporate design to a wide spectrum of printed materials and brand identities, Sancha presents unique and very creative concepts. With a growing reputation, she delivers a tailored creative design service to help businesses develop their market presence and reach new customers by creating unique brand identities. Her fresh, dynamic ideas have become her trademark, working with a local and international clientele in the graphic design arena.