Community Scholars: Cohort V

Cohort V

The four scholars pose for a photo.

Project: Contributing to a “new narrative” amplifying the voices of Hatian-Americans, including highlighting enduring contributions from Haitian culture to the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and Black Identity.

Nancy Dorsinville, currently Senior Policy Advisor to the United Nations Office of the Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Community-Based Medicine & Lessons from Haiti, worked in and with Haiti with the UN Office of the Special Envoy at the time of the devastating earthquake in 2010. In those roles, she has represented the government of Haiti to the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Clinton Foundation, among others. Prior to her work at the UN, Ms. Dorsinville worked as the Director of Academic Advisement in Global Health at the Harvard Initiative for Global Health and as the Director of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the New York State AIDS Institute. She has been a Revson Fellow at Columbia and a MacArthur Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Project: Developing a biography and documentary of Harlem legend Percy Ellis Sutton based on oral history resources (project includes interviewing at least forty individuals) and available archives.

Keisha Sutton-James is Corporate Vice President at Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, with a professional background in banking and a family background in activism. Throughout her childhood, she worked at the Apollo Theatre and heard stories from her grandfather, Percy Sutton, of his civil rights work. Ms. Sutton-James pursued a career with Inner City Broadcasting, as well as helping build “Circle of Sisters” and starting her own business to create content about women and African Americans. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Tufts University and a Master of Business Administration from Wharton School of Business.

Project: Conducting a comprehensive survey of shareholders in the nearly 200 Housing Development Fund Corporations (HDFCs) in Community Board 9. The project will include the development of a database of buildings, developing a means to share best practices of strongly running HDFCs, and creating recommendations for struggling HDFCs.

April Tyler, Co-Chair of the Housing, Land Use and Zoning Committee of Community Board 9, has a background in tenant and community organizing, and worked in real estate brokerage in Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan. Ms. Tyler’s experience in nonprofit housing comes from working with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, Housing Develop Fund Corporation cooperatives, and conducting graduate research at CUNY. She also studied to be a Foreclosure Prevention Counselor, and served as a volunteer district Leader for West Harlem for 18 years. Ms. Tyler attended City College and Syracuse University.

Project: Curation and production of the Curious Stories podcast series featuring a cross selection of interviews with architects, urban designers, product designers, designers, interaction designers, experience designers, plus designers in areas such as computation design, and makers of color that are designing products.

Michele Y. Washington is a design research + service experience design consultant who has worked on a wide variety of community-oriented projects. Those include Food Wealth, an app to educate residents of Central and West Harlem about healthy food solutions; Empowered to Run, a nonprofit start-up platform to educate people interested in running for office; and Sprout by Design, which teaches urban farming to teenagers in juvenile detention. Ms. Washington is on the faculty at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and often speaks about 20th century African American designers. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts and a Master of Science in Visual Communications from the Pratt Institute.