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Across the state of Michigan, Black lives are under attack. While African Americans make up 14% of the state's population, 40% of the deaths to date in the Covid-19 outbreak. The reasons for the disproportionate outcome are many and they are all on display in Detroit. water, transportation, housing, access to healthcare and the ones no one is talking about yet.

On Wednesday, April 29th, we'll explore these problems, looking for policies that will solve them them now and prevent this from happening again in the next pandemic. If you understand how trauma, gender, spirituality and poverty have played a role in these racial disparities, we need you to be part of the conversation.


Lakisha Watson-Moore

Lakisha Watson-Moore was the blogger at Bougie Black Girl. Lakisha's blog was self-empowerment and business blog. Her audience primarily consisted of Black women from all over the world. Various publications including Madame Noire and Ebony Magazine have featured her blog posts. In 2014, the Bougie Black Girl blog won the Black Weblog Award for “Best Business Blog.” She is also the author of “Change Your Mind, Change Your Destiny.” Her Facebook page currently has over 50,000 followers, she has over 16,000 followers on Twitter and over 3,000 followers on Instagram 

Lakisha was a Research Communications Analyst for the Greater Memphis Chamber where she assisted on numerous projects that brought thousands of jobs to the Memphis area. 

Lakisha has been active in politics for over 20 years. She was featured in the Take Part Series  “Women Who Rock”  for the White House Project and Participant Media's summit—inspired by Valerie Plame Wilson—FAIR GAME: Women Leaders for Nuclear Security. She also advocated on behalf of Operation Free as a part of the Truman National Security Foundation. Operation Free coordinates groups of veterans to go to Capitol Hill and speak to both our House and the Senate legislative representatives about the direct link between national security and climate change.

Lakisha was the first African American and Woman Chair of the Young Democrats of America Military and Veterans Caucus. In 2020, she was a Field Organizer in Oakland County for the Mike Bloomberg campaign. Lakisha served in the United States Navy and most importantly she is the widow of a Navy veteran and the mom of two teenage boys.

Rev. Dr. John E. Duckworth, Pastor

Currently serves as Pastor of the Gethsemane  Missionary Baptist Church in Westland.

He is the chairman of the Health and Human Services for the Detroit Baptist Council and Vicinity.

He serves the community through his leadership to the various boards: Wholistic Living Community Corporation, Henry Ford Health Systems, Interfaith Health & Hope Coalition, and Authority Health.

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Deborah Burke, MS Psychology

Full-time Faculty Schoolcraft College

Part-time Woman's Huron Valley Correctional Facility teaching emphasis on Human Development

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Shanay Watson-Whittaker is a political and community activist, Democratic Precinct Delegate, and small business owner. She’s a passionate Detroiter, by way of Bronx, NY. Most recently, Shanay led the organizing efforts of Mike Bloomberg in Western Wayne County. Prior, Shanay worked as an Executive Assistant to the Detroit Health Department Chief Public Health Officer and worked closely with the Operations and Public Policy Directors to research and track policy related to promoting the health and welfare of Detroiters.

Early on, Shanay served in multiple roles advocating for and developing the leadership of Black people in politics. She was elected and served as the Chair of the Young Democrats of America Minority Caucus, Young Democrats of Michigan Minority Caucus, and the New York State Young Democrats Caucus of Color Chair. She was also elected to two terms as Treasurer of the 14th District Democratic Party, where she ran GOTV operations for four cycles.


Shanay and her twin sister, Lakisha Watson-Moore, launched Watson-Whittaker Strategies to connect political campaigns with Black voters. Shanay is raising six young adults and a grandson with her husband Ken Whittaker. Five are in college, with the youngest currently serving in the U.S. Navy. Shanay is a Jesuit-educated  genealogy enthusiast, a sports fanatic, and a broken-hearted Game of Thrones fan. She often quotes her political shero, Shirley Chisholm, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” You can follow Shanay Watson-Whittaker on Twitter @LaFemme_Negrita.

Shanay Watson-Whittaker
Lisa Jackson, Ph.D

Lisa Jackson, Ph.D. is a full-time professor and department chair in the Psychology Department at Schoolcraft College. She was raised in Detroit, and earned her doctoral degree from the University of Michigan specializing in behavioral neuroscience. 


Her passions involve mentoring undergraduate students and teaching psychology. Through the Project for Research on Black Americans, she investigates how “race” affects the health of women. Through the University of Michigan Medical School, she looks at issues of health, equity and inclusion in psychiatric treatment. She also works to increase transfer opportunities for community college students to four-year schools. She is interested in other health issues in young people including reproductive health, mental health and substance abuse.


Her research focuses on how sex differences in neural function affect behavior, including how ovarian hormones affect depression and cocaine addiction in women. Her research includes an animal model of cocaine addiction and human brain imaging research in a pain model. 


Dr. Jackson is a Ford Foundation Fellow, a Society for Neuroscience Fellow, a Harry S. Truman Scholar and a recipient of an American Psychological Association Fellowship in Neuroscience. 


She is currently the chair of the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission in Ann Arbor. She was the president and on the Board of Directors of Ozone House in Ann Arbor, a youth and family services agency that serves homeless and at-risk youth and young adults.

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