Imani Walker is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, a legal and policy organization that advocates for justice, dignity and policy reform for vulnerable women and girls in the United States and Africa.
Ms. Walker is the Founder of Rebecca Project's Sacred Authority leadership and advocacy program, a national leadership network of parent-advocates in recovery and their allies. Imani founded the program soon after her 18 months of recovery and in 2001 joined forces with co-founder Malika Saada Saar, who is the founder of Crossing-the-River, a written and spoken word workshop, to create the Rebecca Project for Human Rights. It was Imani Walker’s goal for the Sacred Authority parents, by virtue of their own lived experiences and expertise to authentically and persuasively speak truth to power.
As a result of receiving 18 months of comprehensive family-based treatment, Ms. Walker enjoys 13 years of long-term recovery from substance abuse. She has effectively used her personal journey of suffering to healing to become a voice for other mothers and children dealing with violence, trauma and substance abuse issues. Imani has trained hundreds of mothers in recovery across the United States to become advocates and educators to policymakers to progress sensible criminal justice, child welfare and public health policy reform, which include: comprehensive treatment as an alternative to incarceration for non-violent addicted women; ending shackling of mothers giving birth in prisons—an initiative that was created out of Sacred Authority leadership workshops, where mothers complained of being shackled while giving birth in prison; expanding child welfare funding to increase family based substance abuse treatment programs; and expanding the Sacred Authority Leadership curriculum for women to train girl-victims of sex-trafficking to become leaders, to help end the cycle of abuse, exploitation and poverty.
Since 2001, Imani expanded Sacred Authority from one to now a total of 15 Sacred Authority chapters in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, and Washington DC, where Sacred Authority advocates conduct weekly leadership workshops for women in the DC Jail.
In 2011, Ms. Walker was honored by Essence Magazine’s 2011 Power List as one of the 28 most influential Black women and was also featured on BET’s Black Girls Rock!, where she received the 2011 Black Girls Rock! Trailblazer Award. Imani Walker is a 2009 Women’s Addiction Services Leadership Institute (WASLI) Associate, received Redbook Magazine’s Mothers and Shakers 2005 Award, and Ford Foundation's Leadership for a Changing World Award in 2004. Imani and the Rebecca Project for Human Rights have been featured in Essence Magazine 2005 and 2011, Redbook Magazine 2005, and “O” The Oprah Magazine 2011.
She can be reached at Imani_Walker@rebeccaproject.org.
Kwame Fosu Shabazz is CFO and Policy Director. He has been with the Rebecca Project since 2002. Prior to working with the Rebecca Project Kwame Fosu worked briefly with the Public Defenders Services in Washington, DC and also served as a Legislative Fellow for Representative Charles Rangel where he addressed issues related to crime, foreign affairs (Africa & Middle East) and AIDS/HIV in Africa. In Congress, Kwame became a devoted advocate for Africa and created an informal coalition of staffers to advocate and support the human rights efforts of Adotei Akwei (Amnesty International) and Rory Anderson (World Vision) to pass the Clean Diamond Trade Bill. Kwame Fosu pushed back against lobbying efforts by the government of Botswana and the diamond industry in New York, and persuaded Congressman Rangel that the harm to vulnerable populations in the conflict regions of Africa far exceeded any potential loss of revenue to African governments and the diamond industry. The Bill was finally signed into law in 2003 by President George Bush (Public law 108–19: Apr. 25, 2003). The legislation was designed to stop the trade of blood diamonds that fund civil conflicts in many African countries, where diamonds were bartered for arms in conflict regions in Africa and sustained human rights abuses, and the reason Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia, is on trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity (specifically 11 counts of war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law). The Clean Diamond Trade Act enacted a certification process to verify that diamonds did not originate illegally from conflict zones. The certification is called the Kimberly Process which was introduced in December 2000 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/56 following the Fowler report in March 2000.
Kwame Fosu developed Rebecca Project's Educating Girls to Empower Girls—EG² initiative, and the Summer Leadership and Mentoring Program for Teen Girls. He is also a board Member of AEHLIHD (African Education, Health & Law Institute for Human Development). He founded ResearchLeaks.org, a cyber-ORI (Office of Research Integrity), a necessary and efficient tool for research whistleblowers in remote parts of the world, especially in Africa where research integrity monitoring is virtually non-existent. The Rebecca Project’s immediate goal in Africa is to seek a permanent solution, with the backing of international law enforcement and a coalition of concerned foundations, to halt illegal Human Subject research in Africa and stop the fabrication of data. Our advocacy will include public Congressional hearings to develop policy for an “Africa Ethical Research Act ” where government officials and researchers who are monitored and identified as conducting illegal human subject research experiments and studies without Informed Consent Forms, will be prosecuted in a Special International Court for crimes against humanity for violating international research laws and international humane principles, namely the Nuremberg Code, Belmont Report and Helsinki Declaration, as should have been the case in Nigeria v. Pfizer after evidence of deaths were revealed.
Kwame Fosu received his B.A. in Criminal Justice, magna cum laude, from the John Jay College-CUNY, M.B.A. from Pace University, and J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
He can be reached at Kwame_Fosu@rebeccaproject.org.
Lorna Hogan is the Director of the Rebecca Project. She directs Rebecca Project’s Sacred Authority Women’s Advocacy and Sacred Daughters Advocacy which is a leadership and empowerment program for girls. Ms. Hogan also conducts a weekly written, spoken and expressed word workshop at the DC Jail for Women’s Correctional Treatment Facility and Guadenzia, Inc., an alternative sentencing family treatment program in Baltimore, Maryland.
A mother of four children, Ms. Hogan attributes her eleven years in recovery and the end of her drug-related criminal activities to the opportunity she and her children were afforded by a comprehensive family-based treatment program where they could heal together as a family.
Ms. Hogan is a graduate of Montgomery College’s Continuing Education Program and is an active PTA mom in the Montgomery County School District.
Lorna has been featured in several publications in the Washington Post and Silent Treatment-Addiction in America, and in an article Criminal Justice Cycle Must End: Time for Treatment, Not More Prisons, by Dr. Henrie M. Treadwell, Morehouse School of Medicine, and “A Ray of Hope” an article in the Reentry Bridge Network Newsletter.
She can be reached at Lorna_Hogan@rebeccaproject.org
Rosetta Kelly is the Lead Advocate of the Rebecca Project’s Sacred Authority national leadership advocacy network for women and girl survivors. She is a recovering mother from substance abuse and has remained clean
from her drug addiction for over 13 ½ years. She received her treatment
at a Comprehensive Family Treatment Center in Washington, DC and
graduated after completing their 18 to 24-month long program.
Ms. Kelly graduated from Crossing the River, which is Rebecca Projects 12-month workshop which consists of expressing one’s idea through poetry, song, and verbal expression through the written, spoken and expressed word. Ms. Kelly conducts Sacred Authority leadership/advocacy training workshops throughout the United States.
In accomplishing the mission of Sacred Authority, Ms. Kelly supports and uplifts parents, in recovery, by sustaining the power found in claiming her voice and her inner being, and uses her voice to assist the outer circumstances of parents, families and communities.
Ms. Kelly is on the U.S. Federal Government’s Federal Women’s Programs Advisory Committee in the District of Columbia; a member of the Senior Soros Justice Fellow’s Advisory Board on Substance Abuse and Diversion; a member of the US Department of Labor Chapter’s Gospel Choir, is a mentor with the Groundhog Job Shadow Day Program for young adults, and is an Emergency Evacuation Zone Monitor with the Federal Government, as well as a host of other accomplishments. Ms. Kelly works for the Rebecca Project part-time while working for the Department of Labor for over 18½ years.
Ms. Kelly has two daughters and a son. For Ms. Kelly, recovery means much more than leaving drugs behind. “It’s discovering oneself, being a power of example and service to others, and achieving one’s life’s goals.” “The flower has bloomed, and it is still blooming!” she says.
She can be reached at Rosetta_Kelly@rebeccaproject.org
Winnefred Amaka Monu is the Staff Attorney of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights. While obtaining her LLM at American University, she worked with American University Academy on Human Rights and the United Nations Population Fund in developing a handbook on the global and regional human rights system regarding the rights of older persons. Ms. Monu has also worked for Amnesty International USA, analyzing reports on proposed human rights legislation, the Fair Housing Clinic at the John Marshall Law School and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
Ms. Monu has written articles about the slow stride to democracy in Nigeria, Ghana and Niger. She has also written research papers on the human rights violations in Nigeria, Rwanda and Sudan. Ms. Monu worked with Professor Samuel Jones of the John Marshall Law School, performing research about the involvement of prominent Chicagoans who helped in the movement to end the Apartheid in South Africa. More recently, Ms. Monu traveled to Nigeria, where she worked with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. She has also assisted the ABA Africa Committee in initiating Rule of Law (ROL) letters relating to human rights violations in Africa.
Ms. Monu obtained her B.A in Political Science with a concentration in Urban Politics (cum laude) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has a JD from John Marshall Law School, an LLM in International Human Rights law from American University Washington College of Law and is a member of the Illinois State Bar.
She can be reached at Winnie_Monu@rebeccaproject.org
Abena Ninnette Boakye is the Director of Rebecca Project's "Educating Girls to Empower Girls Initiative (EG²)" in Ghana. She has been a community advocate and organizer for the Okyenhene (pronounced: o-chin-hini) for over six years. The Okyenhene is the King of Akyem Abuakwa in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Abena coordinated the King's HIV/AIDS and education efforts for poor women and families. As the Okyenhene's community director for women, Abena, organized workshops that targeted secondary school girls and young women to get tested for STDs and to practice safe sex. She also incorporates the art of jewelry making and cultural dancing as mediums to motivate girls and young women to attend her health workshops.
Ms. Boakye earned her B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College in New York. She is married to a Public Relations Consultant & Media Analyst, Nana Fredua-Agyeman Ofori-Atta – they have two sons, Nana Fredua Agyeman Ofori-Atta (Ohene) and Barima Ofori Panin Ofori-Atta.
Abena can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org/ Tel: 011233 54 089 4737 or 011233 24 466 2839. Address: Rebecca Project, c/o Office of the Okyenhene, Private Mail Bag 109, Accra, Ghana. In the U.S. she can be reached at 202-265-3906, 2029 P Street NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20036.
Selasinam Kumekpor is a consultant for Women & Girls policy. She is responsible for developing and tracking policy to insure
that victimized women and girls are protected. Selasinam has worked with
the Arlington Police department to provide posttraumatic resources in
cases involving in the aftermath of traumatic and violent crimes;
included evaluation of victims and family members;; and has assisted
violated women and developed a comprehensive data collection and
reporting process for emergency shelter hotline intake for Women Against
Abuse in Philadelphia PA.
Ms. Kumekpor received her Masters of Social Work, with a concentration
in Management from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social
Policy & Practice, Philadelphia, PA; and BA (honors) from the
University Texas School of social work, Arlington, TX.
She can be reached at Selasi_Kumekpor@rebeccaproject.org
Tamekia McMahon is a Researcher/Policy Advocate and Community Liaison. She is responsible for public policy research and analysis that addresses the social, economic and political inequities affecting women and girls as well as raising awareness about these issues to communities and public officials.
Ms. McMahon received her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration with minors in Psychology and African American Studies from Middle Tennessee State University and obtained a Master of Arts in Inner City Studies with honors from Northeastern Illinois University. Presently, she is a doctoral candidate in the African Studies Department at Howard University.
While fulfilling her academic goals, Ms. McMahon has maintained very close ties to the community. She worked in the juvenile justice system, the Chicago public school system and with a not-for-profit network of community clinics that provides medical care to the Underserved in Washington, D.C. Ms. McMahon’s current interest is the promotion of women’s human rights and equality. She works part-time with the Rebecca Project for Human Rights.
She can be reached at Tamekia_Mcmahon@rebeccaproject.org