Who We Are


The First Sins ~ The First Suffragists

Universal suffrage predates the decades leading up to the 100th-year observance in 2020. Rewind 400 years when the first stolen Africans arrived on these shores. While the record is scant, certainly they resisted enslavement. Throughout history, Black women fought for power in governing their bodies, their voices and their choices.

Yesterday they carried the torch for all people stripped of the most fundamental forms of liberty. Today we pick up the baton, challenging America’s first unrepented sin of human bondage by redefining suffrage through our lens of herstory. This space honors the sacrifices and triumphs of descendants of warriors, daughters of the enslaved and rejects the notion that white should symbolically or literally be the color of the suffrage movement.

Founding Sisters

Founding Sisters



Denise Rolark-Barnes, Washington Informer publisher, is past chairperson of the National Newspaper Publisher Association, which unites some 200 Black newspapers across the country. Rolark-Barnes enjoys high civic standing in Washington, D.C. and among respected national service organizations.

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Kathy Engel, poet and chair of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Department of Art and Public Policy, claims a long and unbroken history of imagining and inspiring collaboration through art, culture, words, and images that depict justice and social change.

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Patricia Ford is former executive vice-president of Service Employees International Union and a longtime labor and racial justice advocate. Her recent strides include support of the Bay Area Black Workers Center and she is a longtime board member of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.

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Jovida Hill, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission for Women and advisor to the Mayor on issues of gender and inclusion, is a former journalist and filmmaker.She has piloted Suffrage. Race. Power — Shifting the Narrative initiative as part of Philadelphia’s citywide centennial observance.

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Llenda Jackson-LeslieSRP Content Editor,  enjoys more than 20 years in non-profit communications, research and advocacy, specializing in public engagement and content management. A longtime senior associate of McKinney & Associates, she currently works with the National Partnership on Women and Families.

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Mariah McClain, SRP Social Media Manager, cut her teeth on change and activism as a college student leader who currently commands a suite of skills in graphic design, research, integrated digital media and social media engagement.

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Gwen McKinney, SRP Campaign Director and creator of the initiative, founder and president of McKinney & Associates, the first Black and woman-owned communications firm expressly dedicated to social change, is the S.R.P. creator and campaign director. She brings to the table more than 30 years as a comms strategist, advocate, writer and journalist focused on public-facing activities and collaboration.

Rosemari Mealy


Rosemari Mealy, award-winning author, poet and international human rights activist, is an adjunct assistant professor at the City College of New York and splits her time between Brooklyn, New York and Coral Springs, Florida.

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Charlene Sinclair is a meeting designer, facilitator, trainer, and advisor for leading social change organizations. The Principal of InSinc Consulting Collective, she provides strategic and organizational development to advocacy  and progressive philanthropic organizations through an intersectional approach to race, gender, and class.

Project Team/Advisors



Carolyn Malachi is a Grammy-nominated artist, an audio producer and engineer, and a professor in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University. In addition to her award-winning creative work, Carolyn mixes records for independent artists and conducts research on the intersection of sound and blockchain technology.

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Alex Kavouras, Graphic Designer. When he is not designing he loves spending time with his family.

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Levi Perrin, SRP Webmaster and Content Coordinator, brings a passion for creative storytelling, progressive causes, grassroots change birthed from experience as a seventh generation South Carolinian. Levi comes to the initiative with experience in creative, digital media, and outreach and research.

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MaSheva King, Social Media Manager, brings years worth of passion and experience in creative arts to SRP. She is the founder of Zimari Entertainment Group, LLC, where she aims to help other achieve their creative goals.

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Nicole Hayes, Web Editor, is a published commentator on society and faith. She brings more than 14 years of public relations experience to her work in serving for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

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Alyssa Davis, Digital Media Coordinator, has a passion for creating meaningful content. She’s enthusiastic about volunteering and community outreach. She has a strong interest in addressing equality and equity related to systemic racism and how that looks in Black and Indigenous communities, especially in healthcare.

McKinney & Associates, campaign and team director, is the first Black and woman-owned communications firm in the nation’s capital that expressly promotes racial justice public policy. For SRPUnerased, McKinney continues its decades of marrying advocacy, narrative creation into a suite of integrated strategies aimed at social change.  

The Washington Informer Charities (WIC) is our fiscal agent. Established in 1989, WIC is the nonprofit arm of the Washington Informer which continues the tradition of pioneering Black women journalists who waged gallant fights against slavery, lynching and discrimination, while advocating for women’s equality and universal suffrage.


Initial funding for Suffrage. Race. Power was provided by the following organizations.

“Anonymous” Women Donors

Project Team/Advisors


Initial funding for Suffrage. Race. Power. was provided by the following organizations.

“Anonymous” Women Donors