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BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SRBWI’s Board of Directors comprises up 11 intergenerational members who set the policy and govern the organization’s activities. The current board members are located throughout the South, and they serve three-year terms. The SRBWI board is 99% black women and young women.
Current Board of Directors
Carol Blackmon is Principal Consultant of CB Enterprises & Associates, Inc. She also serves as Senior Consultant and Human Rights Coordinator for SRBWI, where she trains community leaders and their commissions on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Ms. Blackmon also serves as the Senior Organizing Manager for Mississippi for Black Voters Matter Fund and is the former director of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Foundation.
Sophia Bracy Harris, described as a warrior for children by Equal Voice News, Sophia Bracy Harris has given more than 40 years of distinguished service to the fight to improve the accessibility of childcare for children of color, and further leadership and economic development in marginalized communities. As co-founder and executive director of the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama from 1972-2015, Harris’ passion for equipping others to transform their lives was recognized with numerous prestigious awards including the Rockefeller Public Service Award, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Genius Award. Since retiring, Sophia has remained active as the SRBWI Parliamentarian and has authored the memoir, Finding My Own Way: A Journey to Wholeness Against the Odds.
Sarah is the owner of Bobrow-Williams Group, LLC in Augusta, GA, a community economic development planning firm, and JUST-ice Pops, a social enterprise that adds value to locally grown produce. Sarah is on the faculty of Goddard College Graduate Institute. She received an MA in Community and Regional Planning/Rural Development Concentration from University of New Mexico and is currently pursuing a PhD in Integrative Public Policy and Development at Tuskegee University.
Oleta Garrett Fitzgerald is SRBWI Board Chair and has served as the SRBWI Regional Administrator since its inception. She is also Southern Regional Director of the Children's Defense Fund's office based in Jackson, MS. She has helped to grow SRBWI from its conception in early 2000 into one of the most formidable organizations in the U. S. focused solely on improving the lives of rural Black Women. SRBWI promotes the first Human Rights agenda in the United States aimed at eradicating historical race, class, cultural, religious and gender barriers experienced by southern rural Black women and young women in the U. S. South.
Cal'Mirake Hicks is a recent graduate and has furthered his educational career at the post-secondary level. Her loyalty and dedication to projects through YWLI and SRBWI have fueled a passion for social justice advocacy. She plans to further help black and brown girls in her community as a future Youth Mentor for SRBWI.
Kyanna Hollin received her Bachelor of Accountancy degree from Mississippi State University. Currently, Kyanna is pursuing her Master of Professional Accountancy degree from Mississippi State University and her Certified Public Accountant licensure for Georgia. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Hollins has been an active member of YWLI and SRBWI for five years.
Shirley Sherrod grew up in Baker County, Georgia on her family’s farm during the Jim Crow Era. Mrs. Sherrod co-founded Southwest Georgia Project with her husband Charles Sherrod, and through SWGP the two spearheaded community organizing campaigns that led to the creation of the first community land trust in the United States.
Sherrod spent most of her career as the Georgia State Field Director for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives (July 1985- August 2009) where she successfully organized the Flint River Farmers’ Cooperative, the Southwest Georgia Farmers’ Cooperative, and Southern Alternatives. Sherrod’s time at the Federation was inextricably linked to the Civil Rights Movement, fighting particularly hard for the rights of Black farmers and other landowners in the South. For her work and activism, Sherrod was selected as Kellogg Fellow in 1993.
In 2009, Sherrod was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve as Georgia Director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), she was the first African American to serve. Today, Sherrod serves as the Executive Director of the Southwest Georgia Project where she continues to advocate for black farmers and landowners. She also serves as Board Secretary for SRBWI.
Deborah Thomas, it is with the deepest sadness that we share the loss of our beloved sister warrior, friend, and SRBWI champion, Deborah Thomas. Through it all, she continued to bring unwavering light, love, and encouragement to all of us at SRBWI and to everyone she touched. Her warmth, integrity, and dedication to the many social justice causes and organizations she gave her all to will forever live among us as a source of inspiration, strength, and love. We extend our deepest sympathies to her sons and extended family. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers during this time of remembrance and celebration of her beautiful life.
Deborah Thomas came to us by way of program operations for the Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama (FOCAL), the founding Lead SRBWI Organizational Partner in Alabama.
Rest in Peace Sister Deborah!
Sheryl Threadgill Matthews is director of BAMA Kids, Inc. and the SRBWI Board Historian. Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews is the co-founder and Executive Director of BAMA Kids, Inc. Threadgill-Matthews worked for 29 years for the Wilcox County Department of Human Resources; as a Social Worker and Quality Assurance Coordinator. During her tenue with DHR, Mrs. Threadgill-Matthews also served as the Community Development Coordinator for a W. K. Kellogg-funded project . She started volunteer coalitions and developed resources to support the elderly, families and children. Upon her retirement, Threadgill-Matthews served as director of the Wilcox Area Chamber of Commerce; while continuing to sustain and strengthen the program-components of BAMA Kids, Inc. and its networks.
Gladys Krigger Washington is the retired Deputy Director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. She supervised the Foundation’s programmatic work and investments in 11 Southern States, including Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. A champion for social justice and racial equity, Gladys has served as a mentor to nonprofit and philanthropic leaders on the value of general operating support and capacity building.
Nykeria Westry is a graduating senior that attends Wilcox Central High School in Camden, Alabama. She is an honor student and tutor to local students in her community. After graduating from high school, Nykeria plans to take her academic endeavors to post-secondary. She is an asset in the Wilcox County community as an up-and-coming young leader, organizer, and advocate for southern rural Black women and girls in Alabama's Black Belt.