Carolyn Russell is the Executive Director of A Safe Place, the leading domestic violence assistance non-profit. As a community leader, an administrator and educator, she has served the public for over 30 years, specializing in non-profit management, fund development and strategic planning.
As Executive Director of A Safe Place since 1984, Ms. Russell has led the growth of the organization from its first beginnings as a phone help line to its present position as the leading agency for domestic violence support in Oakland. Her work has included designing their core Emergency Shelter Program, the innovative Teen Dating Violence Program and the integration of a wide range of community education and outreach initiatives, including Cal Works for victims receiving public assistance. Ms. Russell has led efforts in cultural responsiveness for communities of color with a specific focus on faith in the African American community.
Rev. Dianne P. Young, BA is a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, administrator, talk show co-host, teacher, preacher, evangelist, pastor, and author. Pastor Young is one of the city’s most dynamic and prolific preachers and Bible teachers in the Mid-South. As a widely sought conference speaker and celebrated author, she has touched the lives of thousands all over the country with her spirited and audacious style of preaching. She labors in ministry as Pastor of The Healing Center Full Gospel Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee where she is proficient in organizing, unifying, and networking. Pastor Young attended the University of Memphis and Carolina University where she received her BA; hours toward MA. She received an honorary doctorate from St. Thomas Christian College in Jacksonville, Florida. Pastor Young has preached and conducted many workshops and seminars across the country. Pastor Young serves as a Board Member of NAMI Tennessee and a member of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Planning and Policy Council. Currently she is Program Manager for the Emotional Fitness Centers of Tennessee and Project Manager, F.A.C.E.S. of Memphis, a new family organization in Shelby County. She served as Customer Service Manager for the United State Postal Service in Memphis, Tennessee, Executive Director of Glorious Future Head Start, and Administrator of Heavenly Touch Center of Learning. She facilitates support groups, ministerial training classes and individual and marriage counseling at The Healing Center’s Counseling Center and, co-hosts the oldest Christian radio talk show every Sunday morning in the Greater Memphis, Mid-South area: “On The Road To Healing” with her husband, Dr. William M. Young for more than 20 years.
Dr. J.R. Thicklin is the President and CEO of Destiny By Choice, Inc. where he is empowering lives and shaping destinies of lives impacted by domestic violence and related abuse. He is a strong advocate and activist in the plight to end domestic violence and fatherlessness. Dr. Thicklin has been on the front lines as a trailblazer addressing and raising awareness of domestic violence for over 2 decades. His work includes working for domestic violence centers, teaching, making presentations, and educating in middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities. He has spent over 32 years in ministry empowering lives across the country. He is the current Co-Chair for AADPP.
Reverend Traci Jackson Antoine is the Director of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Project for Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. This is a culturally specific project designed to improve outcomes for African American victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Under the direction of Dr. Oliver Williams, Traci leads the African American Domestic Peace Project (AADPP) Boston team. AADPP is an affiliation of organizations in several U. S. cities dedicated to ending domestic violence in the Black Community. Reverend Antoine is a regular guest lecturer at Northeastern University School of Law and a trainer for the Boston Police Academy. Reverend Traci is an Advisory Board Member for Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence and The Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Shawn Muhammad is anti-violence against women and a community justice activist, a minister and an artist. Having worked in the field of violence prevention for over 20 years, Mr. Muhammad has held the position of Associate Director at The Asha Project, formerly known as Asha Family Services, Inc. (Asha), for the past 9 years. An expert on cultural competency with African American populations, he is also one of the first African American males to co-lead a domestic violence organization in the country.
Dr. William Young has over 42 years in ministry and over 35 years in counseling and goes across the country speaking about suicide, mental health, and emotional issues. He is a licensed Professional Counselor and serves as Bishop of Greater Fellowship Ministries, Inc., founder of Greater Fellowship Faith Tabernacle, Bolivar, Tennessee and The Healing Center Full Gospel Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Young is a Veteran with the United States Army, having served his country during the Vietnam War, stationed in the Central Highlands of Vietnam (June, 1969-July, 1970). He was the first African American Staff Chaplain to serve at Methodist Health Systems in Memphis from June 1981 to July 1994. Before accepting that assignment, he served as Staff Chaplain at Western State Mental Institute in Bolivar, Tennessee. Young is a Clinical Member of The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy since 1990. He is licensed by the State of Tennessee in three areas: Marriage and Family Therapist; Professional Counselor; and as a Clinical Pastoral Therapist. He is a graduate of Lemoyne-Owen College. He earned his M. Div. in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Memphis Theological Seminary and did doctoral work on his D. Min at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary completing the doctorate of Ministry at Carolina Theological Seminary. He is a charter member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
R. Tracey Hickmon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Florida and a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling at Webster University in Ocala, Florida. She is a member of the Black on Black Crime Task Force, the Citizens Academy Alumni Association, The Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence in Alachua County, American Counseling Association, International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, and Miracle Temple Church, Inc. Mrs. Hickmon has been married to Rev. Byers L. Hickmon, Sr., LCDR, Ret, for almost 30 years, they have three children, one grandson and two grand puppies. Mrs. Hickmon loves to read and travel.
La Donna Marie Combs is a highly trained educator, counselor, and advocate for victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Teen Dating Violence, Stalking, and Human Trafficking in Detroit, MI. She is the President and CEO of the Sisters Against Abuse Society, (SAAS) a nonprofit organization bringing hope, help, and healing to victims and survivors of domestic & sexual violence in the black and African American Community. Her expertise spans more than 16 years in managing such programs as the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, (SANE), Residential and Transitional Shelter & Treatment programs for victims, and Kids Club Youth Advocacy. She’s an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, MI and a curriculum writer for the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, (IDVAAC) and a collaborator with the African American Domestic Peace Project, (AADPP) both at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. She is the current Co-Chair for AADPP.