Denise Perry – Executive Director
For over 25 years of labor and community organizing, Denise Perry has dedicated herself to developing strong grassroots leaders, democratic organizations, and progressive social movements.
Through her career, she organized health care workers into labor unions in the east and southeast; directed field training for the Organizing Institute creating curriculum, managing organizing sites and working with participating unions. Internationally she worked with a team to develop the Women’s Global Equity Project–an initiative that took her throughout Africa and the Caribbean to train and work with women labor activists.
In 2001, Denise co-founded Power U Center for Social Change, rooted in Miami’s historically Black community of Overtown. Power U has equipped residents to challenge the displacement of low-income families by gentrification, blocking the proposed use of public land for luxury condominiums in the neighborhood. Other Power U projects are training youth to have a voice in school policies and engaging women in childbirth classes that also introduce them to social justice organizing increasing women leaders.
Bringing the work to the national level, Denise has served on several boards and played a key role in the development of the Right to the City Alliance and its work to connect with environmental justice issues.
JONATHAN STITH - NATIONAL ORGANIZER
Part of the first BOLD Director Cohort in 2012, Jonathan Stith is also a founding member and National Director for the Alliance for Educational Justice, a national network of intergenerational and youth-led organizations working to end the school-to-prison pipeline. He has over 20 years of experience organizing with youth and community organizations to address injustice in education. Alliance for Educational Justice played a critical role in shaping federal policy on school discipline, ending the access of school police departments to military grade weapons from the DFA 1033 program and the defense of Niya Kenny and Shakara in the #AssaultAtSpringValley.
Last and most importantly, he is a father of three young adults whom taught him everything he knows.
JENNIFER TOLES - national organizer
Two time BOLD graduate (1st Amandla Cohort 2013 and Directors & Leads 2015) Jennifer has spent the majority of her organizing career building community and power in Ohio to dismantle the criminal justice system and the negative impact it has on community.
With a focus on leadership development, political education, and electoral work she has been able to learn from and create change with young people, families, and returning citizens; resulting in policy and legislative changes, cultural shifts too, that have positively impacted conditions for communities in Ohio.
She began her organizing adventures as a leader with the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and over her 7-year span with the OOC she moved through various positions – Movement Builder, Organizer, Lead Organizer, Senior Organizer, and finally Training Director. Jennifer has been on the BOLD training team and a teacher with generative somatics since 2017.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science from Ohio University, a Master of Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University. She has over 20 years experience teaching social dance to all ages and walks of life (though Chicago Steppin’ is her favorite). She is a daughter, sister, teacher, friend, aunt, creative, dancer, lover, problem solver, tool builder, analyzer, leader, facilitator. She is also the mother of an amazing young person who feeds her deep commitment to our collective healing, growth, and liberation.
Alta Starr – Director of Training
Alta, based in Harlem, NY, is a somatic coach, bodyworker, and a poet. A former teacher, radio news and music producer, and grantmaker, she has been on the Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD) training team since the project began, and is also a member of generative somatics’ NY-based Somatics and Trauma teaching team.
MINA REMY - development director
Mina has accompanied social movements in the Caribbean, the Middle East and West Africa over the course of nine years at Grassroots International. With time spent in both program and fundraising teams, Mina brings deep experience in grantmaking, grantseeking, and nurturing funder and partner relationships to this position.
Mina has a background in law and public policy; enjoys learning from and being inspired by social movements from around the world; and nurtures a passion for sustainable livelihoods, social justice and collective liberation.
NYASHA LAING - COMMUNICATIONS director
Nyasha Laing is a lawyer, campaigner, writer, and documentary film producer with a global lens. Her written and produced work explores themes of culture, memory, and resistance and has been featured in and on national and international outlets and film festivals such as Yes Magazine, BBC World Service, the South African Broadcasting Network, and the Pan-African Film Festival. Nyasha has developed storytelling products for organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Nikki M.G. Cole - Director of Development and Resource Mobilization
Nikki M.G. is a nationally recognized campaign strategist, fundraiser, trainer, coach, and organizer for workers’ rights, economic and environmental justice, and inclusive democracy. Nikki has over 25 years of experience coaching individuals, creating winning teams and cultures, developing training and curriculum, and managing operational structures and budgets for a variety of organizations and grassroots candidates in the DC Metropolitan area and nationally. Nikki is a founding member and former director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Washington, DC and of One Fair Wage; has served as Executive Director or Director of Organizing for multiple coalitions, c3s and c4s; has supported over 80 grassroots progressive candidates to run for office and managed teams to mobilize hundreds of thousands of voters in the 2016, 2018, and 2020 elections.
Nikki is most proud of her leadership in coordinating historic coalition victories in the creation of Washington DC’s Paid Sick Days, Minimum Wage Increase, and Wage Theft Prevention laws, as well as for founding the DC Just Pay Coalition dedicated to long term implementation of worker’s rights legislation. Nikki has been featured in the Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC, etc. and is a proud and active alumna of Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity. Nikki is a mom, writer, and avid reader and consumer of philosophy, human history, fantasy and science-fiction.
Cicily Daniels – OPERATIONS MANAGER
Cicily Daniels is a graduate of Yale University. She has worked as a Word Processing Supervisor at Goldman Sachs, and a Word Processor at several top NYC Law firms included Davis Polk & Wardwell. Cicily is also an established performer, having appeared in multiple Broadway shows, on television, in movies, and commercials.
She has worked in various capacities for BOLD since December of 2016. She is proud to be a part of the BOLD team and to support the work of training Black leaders doing vital work for our community and our world.
Zuri Croson Murphy - Evaluator
Zuri Croson Murphy earned her Masters of Social Work at GSU in 2004 and her therapy licensure in 2008. For the last decade, she has worked as a program evaluator, managing data collection and analysis for social justice organizations and state/federal prevention programs.
She has presented at the American Evaluation Zuri Croson Murphy earned her Masters of Social Work at GSU in 2004 and her therapy licensure in 2008. For the last decade, she has worked as a program evaluator, managing data collection and analysis for social justice organizations and state/federal prevention programs.
Association’s international conference, the Society for Community Research in Action’s international conference, and the Sex, Race and Power conference. Her qualitative work exploring women’s roles in the Civil Rights Movement was displayed in the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.
Her primary research interests include social movements, identity, and community resilience. Currently, she is a PhD student and the managing editor of the City & Community journal, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Sociological Association.