DR. JONATHAN PÉREZ
For over fifteen years, Dr. Pérez has worked to assist young people, college students and professionals develop their racial consciousness by creating spaces for courageous conversations, and other opportunities to learn about the pervasive dynamics of racism, while preparing them for action. Because of his journey, he has developed a strong belief that if racism is left unchecked, society will continue to see an increase of racially charged occurrences that impact success for People of Color. Combining his education and lived experiences, from being a high school dropout to now serving as an educator, mentor, advocate, and leader in his community, has prepared him to recognize and confront racism in
our educational system. Dr. Pérez recently completed his doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership from Abilene Christian University where he also completed his Master’s in Higher Education in 2015 and in 2011, he completed his Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas after transferring from Tarrant County College. Dr. Pérez resides in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife Geneva and kids Abigail and Jacob.
NICHOLAS RYAN GANT
Nicholas Ryan Gant is a New York based artist and educator, from Phoenix, Arizona. Gant studied classical vocal performance at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and holds a master’s degree in Music Education from Hunter College. Gant is a worship leader at his local church in Brooklyn and his passion for youth development has led him to work as a music educator with the New York City public school system. He's been a featured vocalist on several projects internationally and has sung support vocals for recording artists such as Michael McDonald, Mariah Carey, Oleta Adams and Miri Ben-Ari, Zo! and Carmen Rodgers, Run the Jewels, and Childish Gambino. Gant is also an accomplished vocal coach for several artists and record labels.
EJIRO UBIEDI MORROW
Ejiro has worked in the nonprofit sector in Southern California since 2006, as a grant proposal developer, volunteer coordinator, and intern supervisor. She received her Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from Meredith College in 2004 and a Master's degree in Communication from California State University, Fullerton in 2009. She received her Grants Professional Certification (GPC) in 2019, a distinction currently held by only 13 other individuals in the state of California. Ejiro joined the Decolonizing the Music Room board in January 2020 and also serves as a board member for two additional nonprofits: Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Los Angeles (YNPN-LA) and the Jileng Kunda Project. In her free time, Ejiro enjoys researching her family genealogy online and visiting local breweries with her husband, Kerry, and their dog Sunny.
A’yen Tran is an organizer seeking to create safer spaces for marginalized people in the traditional music community. She is a guitarist and vocalist in the group Ginny’s Kitchen. A’yen currently works as a Strategy and Operations Analyst for Twitter. Previously she served as Managing Director for the African American Policy Forum under Executive Director, Kimberlé Crenshaw. She was raised in New York where she grew into an artist and community organizer. She spent years building boats with the artist Swoon and brought singers together on her ‘Boat for Singing Together’ project in New York City. Her background in activism and intersectional feminism permeate her mission in the traditional string band community: to honor the roots of traditional music while helping the community become more inclusive. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Jalopy Theatre in NY and the Youth Traditional Song Weekend coordinating committee.
Matt Manning is a multi-instrumentalist and composer born and raised in Austin, Texas, currently practicing law with the venerable Corpus Christi firm Webb Cason, P.C. A former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney now practicing civil rights and personal injury, he has an unassailable commitment to serving the people through law practice, community service, and all things music. A Zeta Iota (Howard University) brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, Inc., the world's oldest and largest secret fraternal society in music, Matt is propelled ever forward by the cause of advancing music in America and ever striving to be a "man of the highest type." He received his juris doctorate from the University of Toledo College of Law in Toledo, OH. His most important roles in life are as father to three sons; partner to a brilliant, wonderful, strong woman; brother, son, cousin, and friend; and as "Manning of the People" -a stalwart advocate for his clients and a voice for the voiceless.
Tendai Phiri graduated from Dickinson State University with a Bachelors degree in University Studies and with a Master's of Management from University of Mary in North Dakota. She has worked in a variety of executive roles for nonprofit organizations but has spent more than the last decade in raising her children and in disability advocacy for herself and her child.
DR. TREVON JONES
Dr. Trevon R. Jones serves as the Lead Consultant at Practicing Scholar LLC, and he is a passionate advocate for students of color in Fort Worth, Texas. This summer, Dr. Jones joined the faculty at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth as the first Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Community. Dr. Jones earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Texas Christian University. His dissertation study, entitled Listen to the Kids: Honoring the Voices of Students of Color, focused on elevating the voices of students of color in school decision-making. His research interests include Critical Race Theory, student voice, and leadership for social justice. Prior to joining Trinity Valley, Trevon worked for eight years in public schools. Most recently, as an Equity Specialist, he supported schools and departments in engaging in racial equity work. Before serving in this position, Dr. Jones worked with students as a Data Analyst, Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) Coordinator, and Math Teacher. Dr. Jones has also worked as an adjunct professor at Texas Christian University. His courses focused on helping students unpack identity, respect humanity, and analyze the impact of systemic oppression.