Leaders of Color Launches NY Chapter

Blogs, Letters & Testimonials

April 23, 2020

Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez Joins as Director

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 23, 2020)—Education Reform Now (ERN) announced today the launch of its Leaders of Color New York Chapter, with an inaugural cohort of 12 aspiring political and education leaders, representing the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, and Harlem. 

ERN’s Leaders of Color training program recruits Black and Brown leaders for public office, providing 70+ hours of training and in-person workshops on education policy and campaigning skills—all with an equity lens. The program will be led by Dr. Damary Bonilla-Rodriguez, the first Hispanic elected as School Board Director in the East Stroudsburg Area School District, Pennsylvania, and the former Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager of Girls Inc. 

“The LOC training program provides an opportunity for fellows to take a deep dive into critical issues affecting Blacks and Latinos so they’ll be well-versed and empowered to advocate for visible, meaningful change in their communities,” said Bonilla-Rodriguez. “Our inaugural cohort here in New York represents a diversity of Black and Latino leaders in terms of lived experiences, intersectionalities, and skills as part of our program’s commitment to impacting and diversifying the leadership landscape in the political and education sectors.” 

Current Leaders of Color New York cohort members include:

  • Janna Rodriguez
  • Jermaine S. Smith
  • Harry Laguna, Jr.
  • Kiana Bierria-Anderson
  • Priscilla Dominguez
  • Teresa Hernandez
  • Biena Depena
  • Abou Diakhate
  • Desiree K. Robinson
  • Tatiana Rivera
  • Carolina Ramirez
  • Mariela Meza

ERN first launched the Leaders of Color program in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2018. The program has graduated 31 leaders—including 6 women and 2 men of color who have filed for races in 2020—and launched its third cohort of 19 leaders last month. 

You can learn more about the Leaders of Color training program and chapters here.

About Leaders of Color 

The Leaders of Color (“LOC“) program recruits civically engaged Black and Brown leaders who are respected in their communities. During the journey, they are provided a suite of resources to enable them to grow as change agents concerning education policy, increase their influence and help them win elections, if they choose to run for public office. Not only are community-based leaders uniquely essential to the sustainability of education reform, local leaders who support reform values are also the least likely to receive the supportive services necessary to launching and winning elections. The LOC Training Program is the launch of our long-term development to unapologetically usher in a new, bold group of Black and Latino elected officials.