Black Voices for Black Justice Fund Announces Third Round of Awards to Expand the Impact of Black Activists Advancing Racial Justice

  • BVBJ has now made awards to 69 Black leaders across 19 states since its launch last September.
  • New awardees are concentrated in California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington—and are doing innovative work across education, the arts, voting rights, environmental science, and criminal justice reform.


WASHINGTON--()--The Black Voices for Black Justice Fund today announced its third round of awardees, including Black leaders in Chicago, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, DC. Each will receive at least $20,000 to use in whatever way they believe will do the most good in building an anti-racist America.

“Our latest awardees are committed leaders on the frontlines of shaping the movement to build a fair, equitable and anti-racist America,” said Jean Desravines, co-chair of the Fund and CEO of New Leaders. “We couldn’t be more pleased to recognize and support these amazing champions for justice as they seize the unique opportunities for racial progress presented by 2021 in communities across the country.”

The latest cohort of 19 awardees join the 50 initial awardees selected during earlier rounds of giving. All awardees are being recognized for their leadership in changing systems of oppression, violence and inequality. The new awardees include:

  • Sharhonda Bossier, Education Leaders of Color (Los Angeles, CA) Bossier is CEO of Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC), which supports talented leaders of color in education and related fields to thrive as disruptive and innovative agents of change, and a committed advocate for Black and Brown children who have been denied adequate educational opportunity. Bossier started her career in education as a public school teacher and brings years of legislative and electoral campaign experience in both volunteer and leadership capacities to her work.
  • Sharif El-Mekki, Center for Black Educator Development (Philadelphia, PA) – El-Mekki founded the Center for Black Educator Development (CBED) in 2019 to revolutionize education by increasing the number of Black educators so that all students, including those who are Black, can reap the full benefits of a quality public education. He began his career as a teacher through an alternative certification program for Black men in 1992. After 10 years teaching at a middle school, El-Mekki began a five-year principalship where he led a school turnaround team that created a nurturing student-centered environment and significantly raised student achievement.
  • Desmond Meade, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (Orlando, FL) – Named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019, Meade is a voting rights activist and the executive director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC). As President of FRRC and Chair of Floridians for a Fair Democracy, Meade led the successful “Amendment 4” campaign that established voting rights for over 1.4 million Floridians with a prior felony conviction. Once homeless, Meade currently leads efforts to empower and civically re-engage members of local communities across the state, and to reshape local, state, and national criminal justice policies.
  • Dr. Tiara Moore, Black In Marine Science, A WOC SPACE (Seattle, WA) Dr. Moore is an environmental ecologist and the founder and CEO of Black In Marine Science, a nonprofit that highlights the work of Black marine scientists as it spreads environmental awareness and inspires the next generation of scientific thought leaders. It launched several YouTube series, including BIMS Bites and BIMS Bites Kids, that focus on small “bites” of marine science topics presented by Black scientists in order to communicate about science to students worldwide. BIMS is currently working to create outreach opportunities, scholarships for youth, as well as a documentary and coffee table book highlighting Black marine scientists past and present. Dr. Moore is also founder of A WOC SPACE, a consulting and training company focused on changing the cultural climate for women of color in the workplace.
  • Vangela Wade, Mississippi Center for Justice (Jackson, MS) – As President and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice (MJC), Wade is dedicated to the fight against Mississippi’s culture of injustice by dismantling systems of racist oppression to ensure equity in the lives of all Mississippians. Understanding the need to build generational economic stability, she created a client-centered legal practice focused on building family wealth and protecting generational property interests through estate planning. Her background also includes working as a law clerk with the Mississippi Court of Appeals, as a special prosecutor with the Madison/Rankin County District Attorney’s Office, and as a corporate defense attorney with local and national employment law firms.

“BVBJ’s investment comes at just the right time,” said Bossier. “It felt like a hug from the universe after an incredibly difficult year. I’ve stepped into the role of CEO at EdLoC after the unexpected passing of my friend and former boss, Layla Avila. This investment enables me to continue to support the people who are doing life-saving work.”

For more information, including the full list of awardees and learn more about the selection criteria, visit:

About Black Voices for Black Justice Fund

The Black Voices for Black Justice Fund was created to address under-investment in Black leaders and Black-led organizations by major donors, both to remedy racial disparities concerning access to philanthropic dollars as well as to support diverse social entrepreneurs who bring unique perspectives and expertise to tackling America's most pressing challenges. Toward these ends, The Fund amplifies clarion voices concerning racial justice; connects new and established Black leaders to one another; and supports Black-led efforts to build meaningful economic and political power for their communities in the context of police brutality and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic along racial lines – including disparities in access to healthcare, jobs, education, justice, and the right to vote.


Alysha Light


Alysha Light