Task Force Members


A cross section of community leaders have united for this cause.

All of the work being done by the Task Force is on a volunteer basis.

 

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Mereda Davis Johnson

Ex Officio 

Mereda is 5th District Commissioner in DeKalb County and has been a resident of DeKalb County for over 30 years, Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson serves as a founding partner at Johnson, Hopewell, Coleman, LLC. Davis Johnson has served as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses. She is a co - Founder and Member of DeKalb Lawyers Association and ARThink DeKalb. Commissioner Davis Johnson is married to Congressman Hank Johnson, Congressman for Georgia 4th Congressional District.

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Burrell Ellis

Task Force Co-Chair

Burrell has long been recognized by the citizens of Georgia for the vital role he has played in public service, and for his deep personal commitment to the welfare of all while serving on the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners and as the County’s Chief Executive Officer. More recently, he served as the first ever Political Director of the ACLU of Georgia, where he developed and managed the agency’s public policy and advocacy infrastructure, particularly related to criminal justice reform.

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Eric Ellis

Website and Social Media Director and Task Force Member

Eric is a native resident of Dekalb County and owner of Made You Look Media, a digital design firm. Eric desires to be a part of an effort organizing to create the memorial tribute statue to John Lewis. Eric recalls one of his greatest memories was marching alongside Congressman Lewis. Eric envisioned a "Good Trouble" tribute in honor of Congressman John Robert Lewis in the district he served. Mr. Ellis is graciously donating his firm's time and expertise for this effort.

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Jeff Rader

Ex Officio

Commissioner of District 2 in DeKalb  County. Commissioner Rader is also a City Planner, and has  held staff positions in local government and has served as  the inaugural Planning Director of the Georgia Regional  Transportation Authority, Executive Director of the Regional  Business Coalition, and Vice President of the Greater  Atlanta Home Builders Association. Commissioner Rader  was instrumental in contextualizing the full history of the “lost  cause” monument which previously stood in the Decatur  Square. He has also served as the Presiding Officer of the  DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. 

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Juanita Powell Baranco

Task Force Member

Lawyer and entrepreneur  and co – founder of the Baranco Automotive Group with her  husband, Gregory Baranco. Attorney Baranco has also  served on the Board of Directors for Coca – Cola, DeKalb  County Education Task Force and as a member of the  Georgia State Board of Education and became the first  African American woman to chair the Board of Trustees at  Clark Atlanta University.

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Meredith Lilly

Task Force Member

Meredith is State Director for US Senator Raphael Warnock. She works in the office of the CEO, Michael L.  Thurmond. Lilly is an attorney and political strategist. She  served in the Obama Administration as a senior advisor at the  U.S. General Services Administration. Congressman John Lewis Is one of Lilly’s political mentors, as  she got to know him well, when his campaign office was next  door to her campaign office when she served as the State  Director of Georgia for the Obama for America campaign in  2012.

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Gale Walldorff

Task Force Member

Gale is a former DeKalb County Commissioner.  First elected in 1992, she served for 14 years Representing  Commission District 2. During her time on the Commission she  served as Presiding Officer and Chairman of the Budget  Committee. She was also supportive of many environmental  issues including acquiring new parks and trails for the County. She became active in her community of Druid Hills and helped  organize CAUTION a coalition of eight neighborhoods that  formed to fight the Presidential Parkway.

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Thomas L. Coleman

Task Force Member

Thomas is aretired Senior Executive in
Government Service. He has served as Chief of Staff to CEO Burrell Ellis, and served for over eighteen years as the Deputy Commissioner of the State Department of Juvenile Justice. In
1991 Dr. Coleman was appointed by Governor Zell Miller to head the Department of Highway Safety for the State of Georgia. Dr. Coleman is a retired, “highly decorated”, Vietnam
Veteran and a United States Air Force Officer with over twenty five years of military service. In addition to his military experience, he has served as a College Professor of Educational Research and Statistics in the Graduate School, Central Michigan University.

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Heather Fenton

Task Force Member

Heather is an advocate, community activist and arts patron. Heather and her family have enjoyed a relationship with the late Congressman John Lewis dating back to his election to the Atlanta City Council. Her husband headed the Transition Team upon his election to the U.S. Congress. Heather has served on the committee to secure and install the sculpture by the renown Alabama artist Thornton Dial known as The Bridge. The sculpture, installed on the John Lewis Freedom Parkway,
represents the historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

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Audrey Maloof

Task Force Member

Audrey is a lifelong resident of DeKalb County, where she was raised by a public educator and a female business
owner. Audrey’s involvement in government began in the Office
of Congressman John Lewis, where she learned how to best serve constituents. Audrey expanded her experience and encountered all sides of government, federal, state, and local, during her time working for the Commission Office in DeKalb
County. Audrey is currently focused on engaging Georgia’s voters through her work with the Progressive Turnout Project.

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Stacey Key

Task Force Member

Stacey is passionate, driven, focused, inspirational – four words that perfectly describe her. A businesswoman to the core, she grew up talking finance and business with her parents. She took advantage of opportunities that ultimately led her to

represent Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District on the State Transportation Board, a seat she’s held

since 2013. Key, the CEO of a non

profit that aims to help small businesses prosper, believes believes personal growth and taking risks were keys to her success.

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Melissa Carlson Forgey

Task Force Member

Melissa is the Executive Director for the DeKalb History Center and has almost 30 years of experience in the field of Public History. Melissa has taken the path of learning and teaching everyone’s past in an industry that, until recently, primarily focused on a very narrow history of the United States. She has been recognized by the Historic Preservation Division, Georgia DNR, for work promoting African American Preservation in Thomasville, and the Georgia Trust
for Preservation Service. Recently she served on a DeKalb County committee of historians to provide

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William A. Cook

Task Force Member

William is a retired employee of the United States Postal Service and has worked as the Executive Director of the American Postal Service Union. Mr. Cook has spent the last fifty
years of his life involving himself in civic and political action with
the focus of ensuring diversity and inclusion in the political
process. He is an active member of his church, Saint Phillip AME Church
where he serves as the church treasurer and a steward board member. 

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Patti Garrett

Task Force Co-Chair

Patti is the Mayor of the City of Decatur and has served on the Decatur City Commission since 2010. She serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of the National Civic League and as District 3 Present of the Georgia Municipal Association where she is also a member of the Federal Policy Council, the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee. Patti is on the Community Resources Committee and the Regional Housing Task Force at the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), Welcoming America’s One Region Initiative Steering Committee, and New American Pathways’ Advisory Council. She has recently been appointed to serve on the Georgia Municipal Association Equity and Inclusion Commission.

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Jonathan Elmore

Finance Committee Director  and Task Force Member

Jonathan currently serves as the Mayor Avondale Estates. Mayor Elmore has previously served as Georgia MunicipalAssociation (GMA) District 3 President and as such, sat on the GMABoard of Directors. In 2018, Mayor Elmore was accepted into andcompleted the Atlanta Regional Commission ALMA (Arts Leaders ofMetro Atlanta) program. 

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Emory Berry Jr.

Task Force Member

Pastor of Green Forest Community Baptist Church. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Baptist General Convention of Virginia and is the past-Chairman of the Board for the Virginia Alliance Against Mass Incarceration. He served on the Board of Directors for the Richmond Christian Leadership Institute and the Advisory Board for the Church Hill Academy for at-risk high school students.

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Mawuli Davis

Task Force Member 

Mawuli is a founding partner of the Davis Bozeman  Law Firm where he leads the firm’s Civil Rights Division.  Attorney Davis attended the United States Naval Academy and  has served in the United States Navy as an officer while  earning a Masters in Public Administration from Bowie State  University. He has been recognized for his work as a Civil  Rights attorney and advocate by the Gate City Bar  Association, ACLU of Georgia, Urban League of Greater  Atlanta, and Southern Center for Human Rights. He also  serves as the Co – Chair of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for  Human Rights. 

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Steve Bradshaw

Ex Officio

Commissioner of District 4 in  DeKalb County and is the current Presiding Officer of the  DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. Steve has been an Adjunct Professor in the Andrew  Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. He has taught courses on Public Service and Democracy,  Organizational Culture and Leadership, and Critical Policy  Issues. Steve was appointed to the State Water and  Wastewater Treatment board by Gov. Roy Barnes in 2001.

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George Dusenbury

Task Force Member

George serves as the Georgia State  and Southern Hub Director for The Trust for Public Land, a  national organization dedicated to creating parks and  protecting land for people. Before joining The Trust for Public  Land, he served as Commissioner of the Atlanta Parks &  Recreation Department (2010-2014), Executive Director of  Park Pride, a nonprofit dedicated to building civic and corporate  support for Atlanta’s parks (2004-2010), District Director for  Congressman John Lewis (2000-2004) and in Congressman  John Lewis’s legislative team (1993-1999).

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Jan Selman

Task Force Member

has served on President Barack Obama’s National Arts Policy Committee and owns a consulting business, Skirting Politics. She is a founding member of NewPowerPAC, a nonpartisan political action committee - whose mission is to
empower, endorse and elect qualified women to local office in Georgia. Jan has also been involved with the Arts through her continued service.
Her service includes serving on/as: President Obama’s National Arts Policy Committee, Executive Director of the Arts Leadership League of Georgia (ALL-GA) State Advocacy Chair for Americans for the Arts, National State Arts Action Network

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Ed Lee III

Task Force Member

Ed is senior director of Emory University’s AlbenW. Barkley Forum for Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue. His
work explores the interplay between communication, culture, and diversity in creating more innovative and responsive policies and practices. Ed is national media commentator for
U.S. Presidential Debates and the use of arguments in public discourse. Ed is a highly sought-after trainer and facilitator whose work focuses on the interplay between communication,
culture, and diversity and how those can be harnessed to improve the workplace and other communities. 

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Brian Wertheim

Task Force Member

Brian has practiced law in Dunwoody since graduating from Emory University School of Law in 1976. Attorney Wertheim also worked extensively to get out the vote in the 2008 and 2012 elections, helping to elect and re – elect President Barack Obama as President of the United States. Attorney Wertheim has often stated “Always remember to think outside the box because many legal, business, and family problems are not battles to win, but are problems to be solved. He loves practicing law and helping people.

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Teresa Hardy

Task Force Member

Teresa is President of the DeKalb NAACP chapter and has spent nearly 15 years serving in the DeKalb NAACP and has served in many community organizations to include Rainbow Creek HOA, Board Member of TEAM BLUE (Tennis Organization),

and the DeKalb County SPLOST.

President Hardy led the effort to contextualize the lynching’s of African

Americans in DeKalb County, and helped to establish a historical marker noting the history of lynchings in Dekalb County.

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Karima A. Jones

Task Force Member

Karima is a Merchant Planner for a supplier for The
Home Depot. She has worked for Home Depot for 7 1⁄2 years as
a Resolutions Case Manager. She earned her Bachelor of
Science degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology
from Tennessee State University.

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Sharon Hill

Task Force Member

Sharon is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.
She is privileged to have the opportunity to teach both graduate
and undergraduate students in Public Management and Policy.
In addition, she is the Academic Director for the Mandela
Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative. Dr.
Hill is a member of the Board of Trustees for Goshen Valley
Boys Ranch and previously

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Sherry A. King

Task Force Member

Sherry is Operations VP and Purpose
Ambassador at a major financial institution and broker dealer
where she has worked in a management role for over 20 years.
She has been in the financial services arena for over 30 years and managed accounts with transactions and assets at times totaling over $50 billion.
She has served as treasurer and president for local PTA and booster club organizations at elementary, middle and high school level and is currently serving her second term as the president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Stone Mountain-Lithonia Chapter.

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Angie Macon

Task Force Member

Angie  is the Executive Director of the Decatur Arts Alliance. Angie is a 25-year resident of the City of Decatur.
During her tenure at the Decatur Arts Alliance, Angie has worked with MARTA Artbound, Atlanta Regional Commission, Living Walls, City of Decatur to install permanent and temporary sculptures and murals in Decatur. She serves as a board member of the Decatur Tourism Bureau.