Jonathan serves as an Equity Specialist with the Fort Worth Independent School District. Before that, he was the Coordinator of Intercultural Student Engagement & Academic Success Network at Tarrant County College- South, where he also lead the implementation of the Men of Color Collaborative. For the past fifteen years, Jonathan has worked to assist young people and college students in developing 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 students 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 and through institutional practices. Jonathan is currently pursuing his doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Abilene Christian University, where he also completed his Master’s in Higher Education in 2015.
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.
Lillian Werbin is an avid audience participator, banjo and uke player, and overall musician lover from Lansing, Michigan. Werbin is the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director at Elderly Instruments. Lillian sits on the Old Town Commercial Association (local) board, the Bluegrass Pride board, and will head the Safe Venue Directory Project, a network of music venues that both audience members and musicians can refer to as they travel around the country. Lillian is the Site Coordinator for Midwest Banjo Camp and helps to organize events such as the Banjo Gathering (formally the Banjo Collectors Gathering), Fort Worth African American Roots Music Festival, and Midwest Ukulele Camp. Lillian is passionate about building communities by using communication and music to bridge social gaps.
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.