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BOARD OF MEMBERS

AMERICAN KING FOUNDATION

AARON KING

PRESIDENT

New President Aaron King is a successful entrepreneur running his own company, Information Technology Consulting Firm in Georgia. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry and hold several IT certifications. His company envisions a society whereby today’s tasks can be made much simpler by integrating technology with human interface.  He is a strong visionary leader who has dedicated his time and resources towards taking the next step in achieving success. Using his unit set of skills, he sets out to get to greater heights of excellence.

He credits this to his time in the United States Marine Corps (USMC), where he is awarded veteran of Desert Storm with an honorable discharge. His military background enhances his leadership and management skills. He is proud a father of five children and five grandchildren who he loves and adore his growing family.

Aaron is very active in charitable organizations. He works with the American King Foundation which work is to reduce the emotional triggers that lead people to engage in criminal behavior. This organization provides support systems to those in prison and those returning home. He has taken upon himself to ensure the organization can reduce the stigma of recidivism.

In his free time, Aaron is an avid golfer who reckons he has a decent drive. He is set to be announced as the new CEO of American King Foundation and will take over position from Angela King who has step down. His drive and zeal and passion will bring a renewed focus towards the commitment of the foundation in helping and serving the community. Aaron will bring on board a wealth of experience in both the private and public sector. His life experiences will help shape the direction of the foundation towards a more progressive stance on fighting criminal justice for all.

LEON BENJAMIN

Director

Leon Benjamin is the Senior Pastor and Bishop of New Life Harvest Church in Richmond, VA. Bishop Benjamin, a former Democrat and Gulf War veteran, is an emerging evangelical leader on the national front as a media spokesperson and conservative political activist. He operated as a surrogate for Trump on the presidential campaign trail and worked on the Faith-Based Initiative support team during the President-Elect’s transition to the White House. As a community activist, Bishop Benjamin has worked with public officials, civic and community leaders to make a difference in the areas of education, business development, and economic reform. He is a Senior Fellow for the National Minority Technology Council where he services National Faith-based Liason and Advisor to the Council. Bishop Benjamin is the president and founder of Coalition of Leaders United (CLU) dedicated to advancing conservative values and restoration of moral clarity in America. As a change agent for healing and reconciliation in our nation, the core of Dr. Benjamin’s message is “It’s time to unify, America!”

DARLENE "CELESTE" McFADGEN

Secretary

Darlene Ruth Celeste McFadgen graduated from Georgia Southern University at the turn of the century with a BA degree in French and Psychology. After college, she used her educational training to travel abroad and teach English as a second language in Europe. Upon returning the U.S., Celeste served as a lecturer and motivational speaker while working as an ESOL professor at Interactive College of Technology.

Celeste decided to continue her education and in 2007, she entered Law School at Liberty University. After graduating and passing Virginia's Bar Exam in 2010, she returned to Atlanta and taught Business Law at Atlanta Metropolitan College.

 

In 2012, she began working for Charitable Connections Inc, a nonprofit organization whose mission was to help smaller nonprofits by connecting them with appropriate resources to build their capacity. Celeste currently serves as a Small Business Consultant and has the pleasure of organizing, educating and training entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses. Armed with faith that people working together can always bring us closer to meeting global needs, Celeste is honored to help serve organizations that operate in this same spirit.

ANTHONY LEE "ANDY" SHURDEN

Trustee

Andy Shurden is the President and Co-Founder or 1st Legacy Capital LLC, a leader in the mortgage industry who has a passion for serving others. A Christian, Andy is the father of five children and grandfather to three beautiful little girls, Andy understands the importance of family. An active participant with the Salt and Light Prison Ministry in Mississippi and member of Life Church in Columbus, Mississippi.

 

After his release from prison in 2009, Andy has become one of the very few former inmates of the Mississippi Department of Corrections to be granted clearance to go back inside the walls and share his testimony and encourage those that are incarcerated. Today Andy is well respected in his industry as well as throughout the prison system in Mississippi by correctional staff and inmates alike.

EVANGELIST ALVEDA KING

Advisory Board Chairman

Alveda C. King is a creative Christian evangelist and civil rights activist and is also known for her creative contributions in film, music, politics, education and journalism. She is also an actress, singer, songwriter, blogger, author (including AMERICA RETURN TO GOD, KING TRUTHS, KING LEGACY COOKBOOK, KING RULES, WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, LET FREEDOM RING, TENDER MOMENTS ALONE WITH GOD), FOX NEWS Contributor and a television and radio personality.

 

As a former GA State Legislator and devoted mother and grandmother, she is also a guardian of the King Family Legacy. Alveda is the daughter of Rev. A. D. King and Mrs. Naomi King, the granddaughter of Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Mrs. Alberta Williams King, and the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

She currently serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, the African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God’s forgiveness, and healing.

Isaac Newton Farris Jr. nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia and attended his uncle's alma mater, Morehouse College where he majored in Political Science. Mr. Farris’s background has given him a unique perspective and real-life experience on some of the most pressing issues of our times. Growing up in one of America's most socially and politically active families have provided him with a front row seat, witnessing how policy is formulated and implemented. Mr. Farris has met and dialogues with countless heads of State, CEOs, religious leaders, academic leaders, and grassroots activists, in addition, he has also participated in debates and commentaries for print, radio and television media outlets ranging from CNN, USA Today to WSB radio. In 1984 Mr. Farris got his first hands-on experience as a political operative when he served as Georgia Field Coordinator for the Walter Mondale Presidential campaign. A year later he served as Deputy Manager for the reelection of Andrew Young as Mayor of Atlanta.

ISAAC NEWTON FARRIS Jr. 

Advisor

AMY POVAH

Clemency Adviser

For the past eighteen years, Amy Ralston Povah has been an accomplished filmmaker, writer, speaker, and activist. Her efforts have focused primarily on issues related to executive clemency, criminal justice reform, conspiracy laws, women in prison, and the drug war.  

 

She has spoken at on panels at Yale University, Pepperdine University, Vanderbilt University, Washington State University, New York University, Columbus School of Law, on Capitol Hill; and authored Op Eds for new sources including the New York Times, Fusion, HuffPost, San Francisco Chronicle, The Hill and has been quoted by almost every major source, please visit out media page here.
 

Amy is a Clinton-era clemency recipient who served 9 years of a 24-year sentence for “conspiracy” in an MDMA case. Post-release, Amy started the non-profit CAN-DO Foundation; Clemency for All Nonviolent Drug Offenders that advocates for “justice through clemency.” CAN-DO educates the public about the collateral damage associated with the conspiracy law, and profiles the cases of clemency applicants.

DERRICK KING

Program Development Adviser

Derek Barber King, Sr., is the son of Reverend Doctor Alfred Daniel Williams King, Sr. and Mrs. Naomi Ruth Barber King. Derek’s father is the only brother of Reverend D0ctor Martin Luther King, Jr. A son of the south, Derek, attended public schools in Birmingham, Alabama; Louisville, Kentucky and Atlanta, Georgia.

 

In 1976, Derek earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia majoring in Religious Studies. In 1979, he earned a Master of Divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Bexley Hall/Crozer Theological Seminary located in Rochester, New York concentrating in Black Church Studies. Additionally, he has Doctor of Divinity degrees conferred by Virginia College Seminary located in Lynchburg, Virginia; Georgetown College located in Georgetown, Kentucky and the A. P. Clay Seminary located in Kenner, Louisiana.

 

As a preacher, Dr. King was licensed and ordained as a minister of the Christian gospel at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Derek has served as Pastor of the Pleasant Grove Baptist located in Rome, Georgia; organized the New Life Baptist Church of Christ located in Rome, Georgia; pastored the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church located in West Palm Beach, Florida and pastored the Eastern Star Baptist Church located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

MONDO De LaVEGA

Advisor

Mondo De La Vega, Executive Vice President of Television Production and Co- Host of The Jim Bakker Show. Also known for his creative contributions as a Director, Producer of national syndicated television shows. Mondo married the daughter of Mimi Lennon of the famed Lennon sisters. With his beautiful wife, Elizabeth, and beloved twins, Mila and Mateo, Mondo continues to follow the  path that God laid out for his life. His insight on our television programs brings forth a bold voice to the Christian television world and new hope for so many. Keeping hold of his faith, the words he once spoke throughout the world still ring true and he is living proof. “The Choices That You Make Today You Will Become Tomorrow.”

He is passionate about getting “real” with men and women and spreading his message that their life can change in just 24 hours. Opportunity is the door to change.  Mondo is fluent in Spanish which opens the door to many opportunities for both English and Latino groups. Mondo is a worldwide motivational speaker sharing his story.

TOPEKA K. SAM

Justice Advocacy Adviser

Topeka K. Sam is the Founder and Executive Director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries – The LOHM – whose mission is to help disenfranchised and marginalized women and girls transition back into society through resources and access to high-quality education, entrepreneurship, spiritual empowerment, advocacy and housing. She is also the co-founder of HOPE HOUSE NYC – a safe housing space for women and girls. Topeka serves on the board of directors for Grassroots Leadership and is now the first formerly incarcerated person on the board of The Marshall Project.

She is a Beyond the Bars 2015 Fellow and a 2016 Justice-In-Education Scholar both from Columbia University, a 2017 Soros Justice Advocacy Fellow working on Probation and Parole Accountability, a 2018 Unlocked Futures Inaugural Cohort Member2018 Opportunity Agenda Communications Institute FellowDirector of #Dignity Campaign for #cut50, Host of “The Topeka K. Sam Show” on SiriusXM UrbanView Channel 126 Sundays 9am est. and has recently signed a development deal as Executive Producer for a scripted and unscripted series inspired by her fight to change the many problems that plague female incarceration with 44 blue productions.

CHRISTAL JORDAN

Public Relation Adviser

Christal D. Jordan is the principal behind Enchanted Branding & Public Relations, a premiere entertainment based PR firm based in Atlanta, GA. Her client list has included clients in the entertainment space including, music, acting, art, sports and fashion. Her philosophy of combining creativity with public relations strategy has rendered her a branding expert with a history of assisting clients reach their career goals. Christal has been instrumental in securing numerous radio & television placements along with lucrative endorsement deals.

 

She has secured her clients placement on such networks as MTV, Fox, Oxygen, BRAVO and many more. Christal believes the key to securing sponsorship and relationships with consumer brands is using creativity and strategy to find synergy between talent and staple brands to create opportunities for impact and influence. She has worked with household brands such as; Coca-Cola, Monster Energy Drink, Red Bull, L'OREAL, SoftSheen Carson, Miss Jessie's, Ford, Peroni and many more. In addition to Enchanted PR, she also serves as Executive Director for Chilli of TLC's non-profit foundation Chilli's Crew.

Dr. LORETTO MADELEINE GRIER CUDJOE

Adviser

Dr. Loretto Madeleine Grier Cudjoe was born in Macon, Georgia, the fifth child of Mr. Freddie L. Grier, Sr. and Mrs. Jane King Grier, both Bibb County Georgia public school teachers. Like her siblings Loretto received infant Baptism and subsequent Sacraments at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Macon and an Elementary Education at St. Peter Claver Catholic School, established by St. Katharine Drexel and operated by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. She went on to attend A.L. Miller High School in 1968 and graduated from Central High in 1971.

 

Loretto graduated cum laude from Mercer University, Macon Georgia with a B.S. Degree in Biology in 1975 and went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine where she earned a Doctorate in Dental Medicine, awarded 1979. Before relocating back to Georgia in 1989, Dr. Grier practiced dentistry in the City of Philadelphia for 10 years, excluding one year in which she served as a Commissioned Officer in the National Health Service Corp in Patterson New Jersey. After 20 years of service as an employee of the State of Georgia, Dr. Grier Cudjoe retired as State Dental Director for the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice in 2014. Dr. Grier Cudjoe is a Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and an active member of the Macon, Bibb Branch of the NAACP. She is a founding member of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, convened by Dr. Joseph Lowery. She is an active member of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Macon Georgia where she is a member of the Council of Catholic Women and an Associate of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament wherein she continues her ASBS commitment to “speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, the unborn and the imprisoned.”

ERICA ANDY

Financial Adviser

Servicing as an advocate for minorities, youth and the underrepresented Erica Andy acts as a mentor and positive role model for youth/minorities through various community programs and efforts both past and present. Christian Business and Professional Alliance (CBPA)- Board member for 15 years and President or 9 years of an organization that promotes leadership, education, and business with the Christian faith-based foundation.Grateful Girls- Board member for 4 years of an organization that promotes an outlet service from human trafficking. African American Ladies Empowered to Grow Opportunities- Captain of the Convention Committee of an organization that promotes education, health, mental health, family reunification, economic development, and human trafficking. Daniels Foundation – President of a foundation that promotes education, health, program development, financial literacy, and youth development. NAACP- Member. EIKE Construction Company- Board member for 7 years. Milwaukee Talented Tenth- Organization which promotes education within the African American community. Boys & Girls Club of Milwaukee- Tutor and Mentor (2005/2014). COGIC Social Services- Mentor (2006/Present). Aurgilla Youth Program- Mentor (2006/Present).Catapult Learning- Workshop facilitator (2005/Present)

Stet is a first time, nonviolent, offender, who served 25 years of a life sentence for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Stet was released on August 02, 2019, as a result of the First Step Act. Even though he was. A model inmate and exceeded the requirements for clemency under Obama's Clemency Initiative, yet he was still denied clemency in January 2016 and 2017. Moreover, the DOJ referred to him as a female in the letter. There are thousands of prisoners like Stet who are currently serving unfair & unconstitutional sentences in our Federal Prison System. The only redress these inmates now have is to petition Congress and hope that Congress eliminate the now 18:1 crack v. cocaine disparity and replace it with a fair and constitutional 1:1 sentencing guideline and make it retroactive, or await an executive order by President Trump.  

STEFFANY "STET"

FRAZIER

King Advocate Crack

Cocaine Disparity

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

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© 2019 by American King Foundation