RECERT Equity Action Circle Member Bios
Dr. Mohamed served as the equity coordinator with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) – Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). He has also served as the state job vacancy survey coordinator and the disability employment expert with DEED where he conducted research and published articles on disability prevalence and the intersection of disability and race.
Dr. Mohamed currently serves as the vice president of the board of directors of Access Press, one of 12 newspapers in the nation focusing on disability affairs, and is a member of a cross agency Direct Care/Support Workforce Working Group. He is an appointed member of the board of directors of the MN Commission of the Deaf, Blind and Hard of Hearing (MNCDHH), and is also appointed member of the MN Statewide Independent Living Council (MN SILC) Dr. Mohamed has an MBA, MPA and PhD.
Mr. Berry is a Twin Cities resident who’s been serving the broader community through volunteer and activism since he was a teenager, from being the vice president of the African American Student Union, to working with Black Civic Network. Mr. Berry has always stood for and fought for the improvement of life for American Descendants of Slaves (ADOS) citizens.
He’s served on several boards and even created a youth organization called S.W.I.M that mentored youth ages 13-18 focusing on social skills, health, art, economic development and empowerment. Mr. Berry is currently working for Black Civic Network hosting town hall meetings on topics ranging from reparations to COVID-19. He obtained a degree in world history with a minor in political science.
Dr. Batres is a medical doctor from El Salvador who has worked as a researcher with a nonprofit since 2014. He is participating in various community-based participatory action research projects. His research interests are broad, but have the common goal of improving the health and wellness of Minnesotans, particularly within the Latino community.
He has worked on multiple community-academic research projects, using a community-based, participatory approach to plan and develop research methodology and recruit participants. Throughout his work, the research teams have placed trust in him to serve as a source of cultural and linguistic expertise while working within the Latino community.
Mrs. Blanchard is American Indian (enrolled member of the Omaha Tribe and half Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa). She brings 20+ years of equity, human services and public policy experience as the former Ombudsperson for American Indian Families, state of Minnesota, and as a former Minnesota Assistant Tribal Administrator for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
Mrs. Blanchard worked with and on behalf of the 11 tribes in Minnesota to seek answers for Minnesota's high rate of American Indian children in foster care. She has been an advocate for American Indian children and families because the needs of American Indian children were not adequately addressed, and the problem need to be addressed at the state level.
Mary K. Boyd
Elder Mary K was born and raised in the Rondo community. She has worked with public systems, community agencies and community residents to partner in various ways to improve services and outcomes. She served as community consultant to Kujichagulia partnership in Ramsey County regarding communities' planning process to redesign MFIP on welfare reform.
She started her career with Saint Paul Public Schools as a teacher's aide and retired as an area superintendent; served in two interim positions for Ramsey County as manager of Child Protection and director of services to children and families. Presently, Elder Mary K co-chairs Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood Partnership Council and works with Goodwill Easter Seals F.A.S.T. partnership program to help Ramsey County families on MFIP achieve success in reaching their goals.
Ms. Dorn is American Indian and works in the American Indian community. She sees the inequity the American Indian community faces on a daily basis, including the highest health disparities among all races.
She has a master’s in public policy, with a focus in community development and engagement. Laura is the Family & Youth Services Director at the American Indian Family Center (AIFC) in east Saint Paul. She lives and works by the saying “Nothing bout Us Without Us," and helps ensure the community is involved in program development at the AIFC.
Mrs. Flowers was born and raised in Saint Paul and graduated from Central High School. Mrs. Flowers is the founder of Family Values for Life, an organization that serves low-income families of color in Saint Paul, providing workshops for single moms, youth enrichment, family meals, free school supplies, grief and trauma support, and more.
Mrs. Flowers was known as the “community mom." She was a licensed daycare provider for 18 years, with her focus on single parent homes. It gave her the opportunity to provide a safe place for children to go. People were over all the time and she opened her home to friends and family. Caring for others seems to be Mrs. Flowers' calling. She was the oldest girl of seven children, with one older brother, and has always taken on the responsibility of caring for her siblings. She married at the age of 18 and has eight children and nine grandchildren. She is also a member of the Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative Board.
Elder Snowdon is a former Hmong 18 Clan Council member from 2017-2020 and is currently the president of Hawj United of Minnesota, serving the Hmong community in Minnesota from cultural to political differences for minority and the mainstream.
Currently, Elder Snowdon serves as the chairman for the Anti-Asian American Racial Discrimination Task Force Committee by the Hmong 18 Council of Minnesota due to the COVID-19 pandemic where Asians have been racially attacked around the country.
He has been working and meeting with the Coalition of Asian Americans to bring peace and stability to the community collectively. The community knows him, and he knows what the community wants based on his personal lived experience.
Ms. Lor was born and raised in Minnesota to Hmong refugee parents and experienced racism, poverty and other forms of oppression. She wants to represent, empower and serve underrepresented populations so that Minnesota can be the most livable state for everyone.
Ms. Lor obtained her MPH in community health promotion from the U of M. She believes that xenophobia, COVID-19 African American disparities and lack of representation of BIPOC in government leadership and planning positions should be addressed.
Mrs. Madison is an African American woman who has developed relationships in many diverse minority and Native communities through her position at the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA). Mrs. Madison can relate experiences from her own life to the struggles faced daily by marginalized communities here in Ramsey County.
In addition, she served as treasurer on the Council of Minnesotans of African Heritage (CMAH) for several years. At her place of employment, Mrs. Madison participates as a member of the Communications Committee and the Diversity Action Committee to ensure that equitable processes are implemented that manifest as equitable outcomes.
Dr. Tamara Mattison
Dr. Tamara Mattison is the Assistant Divisional Social Service Director at the Salvation Army Northern Division and owner and principal consultant for Generation 2 Generation, Inc. She previously worked as an Academic Dean and Dean of Faculty at two for-profit universities. In 2014 she opened the first Safe Harbor Shelter for girls ages 12-17 who were victims of sex trafficking and exploitation for 180 Degree’s a non-profit organization.
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Mattison has personally trained and facilitated large and small groups of youth and adults providing workshops and training around restorative practices, cultural competency, leadership, and career and college preparation. She is a community engagement professional, who is a voice for the disadvantaged, marginalized, underrepresented and voiceless individuals.
Dr. Mattison has worked with diverse populations over the past 20 years including youth and families in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul public schools and charter schools, area learning centers, community organizations such as Model Cities, Totem Town, Girls in Action, Ramsey County Juvenile Corrections, Ramsey Count Attorney’s Office and faith communities. Dr. Mattison is the secretary of African American Leadership Council in Saint Paul.
Mr. McLemore is a successful entrepreneur after 25 years of being a formerly incarcerated son of Saint Paul. He has experiences on both sides of a disproportionate system, while working within the system to help expose people who look like him to information and resources, to help save lives.
Since his release from incarceration he has worked, volunteered or contracted with over 15 nonprofit agencies in the metro area. While involved in these various organizations, he was given an infinite number of tools to address historical trauma in building a safe space for honest/open dialogue.
Richard is a psychology graduate from Metropolitan State University and a trained mediator, educator, mentor and housing specialist (certified contractor in MN/ND). He believes that as a people who must coexist, we can be educated - out of our ignorance.
Javiera (Javi) Monardez-Popelka
Dr. Monardez-Popelka has been working for five years in the Twin Cities to support and advocate for the Latinx community. She is Latina, works close to the community, and feels it is her duty to be part of any efforts to advance race equity and community engagement to improve their health. She is a family-oriented physician by training in Chile. She received her MPH in community health promotion at the University of Minnesota and has a certificate in equity and diversity.
Dr. Monardez-Popelka’s latest research was featured in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The Padres Preparados, Jovenes Saludables (Prepared Parents, Healthy Youth— Padres for short) is a family-based intervention that aims to increase father involvement in positive parenting practices to address youth energy balance-related behaviors focusing on Latino immigrant fathers with an adolescent youth.
Marika was born and raised in the Twin Cities. She graduated with a bachelor’s in sociology and minor in Afro Studies from the University of Minnesota. She then pursued a career in education and graduated with her master’s in education from Augsburg University.
In 2017, Marika became a social entrepreneur and started Ubuntu, an outpatient mental health company that provides adult rehabilitative mental health services (ARMHS) to individuals that have severe and persistent mental illness. Marika has worked diligently in the individual and family services industry with skills in nonprofit leadership, coaching, volunteer management and public speaking. Marika is a 2019 Josie R. Johnson Leadership Academy Fellow and YouthCARE board member. Marika is also a member of The Historical Research Advisory Committee and Josie R. Johnson Leadership Academy Advisory Committee.
Mr. Thompson is a longtime resident of the East Side of Saint Paul who is a well-respected community activist and organizer. On July 6, 2016, John’s good friend and co-worker Philando Castile was shot and killed by a Saint Anthony, Minnesota police officer, after being pulled over for a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. The death of Philando was a turning point in John’s life.
Since Philando’s death, John has been compelled to be a voice for Philando, and for those like Philando who have been victimized by injustice. John has spoken, and stood, and marched and asked, and pleaded, and fought, for justice and accountability. John is a member of the Ramsey County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and is a catalyst for the Transforming Systems Together initiative (TST).