Our Team

 
 

Board of Directors

Cedric Diakabana: Board Member

Rooted in community, Cedric’s work is a culmination of community organizing, city planning, public policy, political strategy, organizational management, leadership and the arts. His organizing on lower Georgia Avenue corridor began in early 2011 after being introduced to the late Sylvia Robinson and the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force. After a year of living in the neighborhood, intense listening and organizing through the Task Force, he and several community leaders co-founded the Georgia Avenue Business Alliance (GABA) – to strategically mobilize Georgia Avenue business owners and community residents (Ward 1 & 4) to address the comprehensive community needs along Georgia Avenue’s commercial corridors. During his tenure as a U.S. Senate staffer, Cedric served on the board and as President of the Congressional African Staff Association (CASA). Additionally, he helped coordinate key Senate offices in the passage of Resolutions pertaining to conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Nigeria. Cedric has also organized with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), and worked to create community coalitions around the Community Reinvestment Act – and expand access to capital, credit and basic banking services in low-to-moderate income communities. He currently serves on the Neighborhood Strategy Council of the Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street. An avid runner and retired Division 1 athlete, Cedric also enjoys playing his conga drums and building community with Malcolm X drummers in Meridian-Malcolm X Park on most D.C. Sundays

Lakesha King: Interim Treasurer

Lakesha is currently the VP of Operations and development of a non-profit organization located in Washington DC. She is passionate about youth and community work and has dedicated countless hours on developing programs that offer resources to low-income families in Prince Georges County in MD and in Washington DC.

Fabio Melo: Board Member

Contra Mestre Fabio is an instructor of Capoeira Angola, the traditional Afro-Brazilian martial arts, and former Chapter President of Fundacao International de Capoeira Angola (International Capoeira Angola Foundation) in DC. His training began at age 15 in his native Brazil and he came to Washington DC in 1998 to learn with Mestre Cobra Mansa at FICA DC. Between 2004 and 2019, Fabio was one of the main instructors at FICA DC and he has traveled many other places to teach, share, and learn Capoeira.

Luci Murphy: Board Member

A native of D.C. who has been singing songs of liberation and freedom over the last 50 years. In1963 she accompanied her church congregation to the March on Washington. Around the same time as a student at Banneker Junior High School, she joined her English teacher who happened to an officer in the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) to picket downtown stores which refused to hire Blacks. Later she became more committed to the power of using arts as a weapon after seeing events put together by the Communist Party, and other community change groups. She currently sings songs for peace and justice in English, Spanish, French, Creole, Portuguese, Zulu, Arabic, Hebrew, Swedish, Cherokee, and ki-Swahili. Luci draws on the folkloric traditions and musical idioms of all these cultures, as well as her own roots in Spirituals, Blues and Jazz. She is a practicing Buddhist and chants Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with Soka Gakkai International, of which she is a member.

Stephen Shaff

Stephen is a community and political organizer, social entrepreneur, and the founder of Community-Vision Partners (C-VP), a community and social solutions Benefit LLC with a mission to initiate, facilitate and agitate for the Common Good. A significant project of C-VP is the establishment and development of the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council (CSBC), a business-led organizing and advocacy organization whose mission is to promote sustainable business viability, awareness, and impact within the Chesapeake region (MD, DC and VA). His background represents a broad but interrelated series of accomplishments and a multi-sector network of relationships and accomplishments including: Affordable Housing & Real Estate Development; Community Development and Advocacy; Green/New Economic Advocacy; Civic Service; and, Political Movement Leadership. Based in the Washington, DC region, his experience, focus and efforts range from working within under-served DC communities throughout national social and political advocacy arenas.

Doreen Thompson, Esq.: Vice President

Ms. Thompson is a retired administrator and community organizer, who has served as the head of the District of Columbia's Office of Cable Television, Environmental Health Administration, Taxicab Commission, and the Economic Regulation Section of the Office of the Attorney General. Ms. Thompson also served in leadership positions at the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of Advocacy at the Small Business Administration and the House Select Committee on Drug Use and Control. Ms. Thompson has a long history of community service and civic engagement in the DMV, including serving as chair of Big Sisters of the Washington Metropolitan Area, and Board service at The Dance Place, The Source Theatre Company, The Washington Bar Association, The DC Mayor's Commission on African and Caribbean Community Affairs, The Jamaican Nationals Association of the Washington Metro Area,  The Georgia Avenue Business Alliance, and The Carter Barron East Neighborhood Association. She is a co-founder of the Petworth Farmers Market and the founder of Caribbean-American Heritage Month, Caribbean Cuisine Month, Caribbean Foodways Alliance (NCAFFA), and the Collards to Callaloo Society. 

Michele Williams: Interim Secretary

An award-winning Radio Broadcast Manager and Community Ambassador in Washington DC, Michele has extensive experience as an Executive Producer with multiple organizations, including Stone Soul Picnic at RFK Stadium, Gospel Festival DC Armory, the Go Go Awards Constitution Hall, and “Voice of the Community” on-air radio fundraising drives. She was a Founding Executive Producer for St. Jude’s on-air radio fundraising drives. She has previously been a Board member with the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Club and at Mentors Inc.