Skip to main content

Meet the Members

Officers

MARVIN SLAUGHTER

Board Chair

Marvin Slaughter is an applied policy researcher and Portfolio Manager on the College and Career Success team at the University of Chicago’s Inclusive Economy Lab, where he focuses on the Lab’s portfolio of research designs related to improving outcomes for students attending City Colleges of Chicago. Before joining the Inclusive Economy Lab, Slaughter was the Interim Director at the African American Leadership and Policy Institute, a non-partisan research and advocacy organization focused on the identification, development, and implementation of policy approaches to achieve racial and socioeconomic equity through the lens of Black community interests and applications.

Slaughter is a published researcher on the topic of reparations co-authored with esteemed economist Dr. William Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen on the Journal of Economic Perspectives entry entitled “The Cumulative Cost of Racism and the Bill for Black Reparations.” He has prior policy experience on the topics of social equity in the cannabis policy area, lead service line replacement in the environmental/water quality policy area, college access, persistence, graduation, and labor outcomes in the higher education policy area, and manufacturing, labor force participation, labor force growth in the labor policy area.

Slaughter has had extensive political experience working on several campaigns including an Illinois State Senator’s Campaign and a Chicago Mayoral candidate campaign as the Deputy Director of Community Relations. Slaughter also worked for the University of Illinois’ System Office of Governmental Relations on issues of recruitment, enrollment, retention, and graduation for Black students.

Slaughter is active in the community and serves as a board member for the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ and the African American Leadership and Policy Institute. He serves on the National Youth Advisory Board for the Young Invincibles. He serves on the Alumni Advocacy Committee for the UIC Alumni Board. Slaughter attends Covenant United Church of Christ where he is an active participant in the Food Pantry Ministry, Men’s Fellowship Ministry, and Christian Education Ministry.

Slaughter graduated with a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a master’s degree in Public Policy with certificates in Municipal Finance and Policy Analysis from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.

STEPHANIE TAYLOR

Board Vice Chair

Stephanie Taylor is a remarkable and forward-thinking leader who has made a significant impact on the Juneteenth movement. She is the founder of the Illinois Juneteenth Committee and witnessed the historic signing of the Illinois Juneteenth legislation. For more than ten years, she has been a dedicated advocate on a national level, championing Juneteenth initiatives that honor the legacy of freedom and equality. Taylor's commitment goes beyond mere commemoration; she also established the Miss Illinois Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant program to support and empower future leaders. In 2021, Taylor was honored with the NAACP Community Service Award and is an active member of NAACP Branch 3013. She was also inducted into the Top Ladies of Distinction in 2023. 

Taylor is also the founder and CEO of Community Development Sustainable Solutions, a transformative endeavor to create environmentally friendly solutions that support community development, job training, and mentoring. The organization is widely recognized as a symbol of excellence in Illinois. Taylor's unwavering dedication to equity, justice, and a brighter future for all drives every step of her journey.

ROGER M. ELION

Board Secretary

As an Innovation Scientist, Roger Elion brings the healthcare industry into the future faster by working on his company’s Health Equity Steering Committee and emerging technologies like quantum computing and ChatGPT applications. Beyond his technology skills, Elion has activated analytical and visionary gifts in over a decade of both real estate investing and event organizing. Civically Elion stepped away from Corporate America and coached high school wrestling for 4 years at Simeon Career Academy making it the best in Chicago and Illinois sending many students to college on full scholarships. Broadening his impact on the African American community he turned to sculpting and scriptwriting, then government policy. 

Elion was the first person appointed by Governor Pritzker to the African Descent-Citizens Reparations Commission bringing his civic, academic, and professional aptitudes to bear for the purpose of detailing the plight of African Americans for the purpose of developing reparations proposals. Elion credits God, his family, the church, and his ancestors who have paved the way for everything that he has accomplished, and hopes to carry their legacy forward into unprecedented collective progress.

Elected Officials

SENATOR CHRISTOPHER BELT (D)

Illinois State Senator- 57th District

Board Member

State Senator Christopher Belt grew up in Centreville and is a lifelong resident of Illinois’ Metro East area. He represents Illinois’ 57th Senate District, which encompasses communities in St. Clair and Madison counties, including Belleville, Collinsville, O’Fallon, Granite City, Freeburg, Mascoutah and Scott Air Force Base.

Prior to serving in the Illinois Senate, Belt enjoyed an 18-year career as a law enforcement officer. He spent 16 years with the St. Clair County Probation and Detention Center and two years as the regional deputy administrator of Aftercare for the central and southern regions of Illinois.

Prior to serving in the Illinois Senate, Belt enjoyed an 18-year career as a law enforcement officer. He spent 16 years with the St. Clair County Probation and Detention Center and two years as the regional deputy administrator of Aftercare for the central and southern regions of Illinois. Senator Belt also authored an educational children’s book, “The Adventures of Nate the Gnat,” to teach youth how to be safe, responsible citizens.

Senator Belt holds two master's degrees - one in public administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and another in professional counseling from Lindenwood-Belleville. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Illinois State University, and is a graduate of Lincoln Sr. High School in East St. Louis.

REPRESENTATIVE SONYA M. HARPER (D)

Illinois State Representative- 6th District

Board Member

State Rep. Sonya Harper is the Executive Director of Grow Greater Englewood and President of Sharper PR Communications. She brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Harper's journey began with a B.A. in Journalism and Broadcast News from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she honed her communication skills. Her passion for community engagement led her to found the Wood Street Meet and Greet Community Garden and become a community organizer with the Resident Association of Greater Englewood. She also represented her community on the Local School Council at Lindblom Math and Science Academy.

As a co-founder and campaign director of Englewood Votes!, Harper mobilized her community for meaningful change. Her dedication to social impact extended to her role as the former Director of Outreach at Growing Home Inc. and her experience as a news producer at Fox 19, KOMU-TV, and KOPN.

Harper's political career took off when she was first appointed to the Illinois House of Representatives in 2015. Her journey has seen her assume the Chairmanship of the influential House Agriculture Committee, where she champions urban agriculture and access to healthy foods. Furthermore, her commitment to addressing issues of food insecurity, education, and equity led to her election as Joint Chair of Illinois' Legislative Black Caucus.

Board Members

JAQUIE ALGEE

Board Member

Jaquie Algee is Vice President/Director of External Relations for SEIU HCIIMK. In this capacity, she directs activities that support and foster positive relations and collaboration with faith leaders and congregations, community organizations/residents, elected officials, and key stakeholders in support of SEIU HCIIMK, workers rights.

In 2017, Algee played a vital role in organizing the Women's March Chicago. The march drew 250,000 people, primarily women, to advocate for their rights in the workplace, equal pay, and resistance to oppression, and exclusion. 

Algee continued to be a board member and leader of Women's March Chicago, and in January 2018, helped to organize the march to the Polls. This march brought over 300,000 people to Chicago. In October 2018, Algee coordinated a march to the polls, focusing on first-time voters. The event was organized by Women's March Chicago, with over 100,000 people showing up to “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV). In January 2020, Algee aided Women's March Chicago with a march that focused on five areas of interest, including the 2020 Census, Climate Control, Gun Violence, Healthcare, and Voter Registration. The goal was to encourage women and others to vote for their values and ensure their voices were heard on issues impacting their lives, families, and communities.

Algee was later elected as the board president of March On, a national Women's March organization. March On provided tools and guidance to over 300 marches throughout the US and globally in January 2018 to mobilize women and others to the polls. March On continued to mobilize women and others throughout a number of states for the November 2020 election, as well as the January Senate run-off election in Georgia.

DEBORAH LANE

Board Member

Deborah Lane currently holds the role of Financial Secretary/Treasurer at Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, a union comprising 3,000 rail transportation employees of the Chicago Transit Authority. She was elected by her fellow union members in November 2017 and re-elected for a second term in November 2020. Lane has been an active member of her union for 31 years, taking her first union steward class in May 1993 at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Labor education is a priority for Lane, as she strives to help workers understand the significance of being part of a union and the labor movement's historical importance to workers. Her passion for learning has led her to seek new opportunities constantly. Deborah believes in using her voice to empower others, striving for equal access to education and economic advancement.

In 2015, Lane was appointed as the first union organizer to assist with the contract dispute against CTA. During this time, she received mentorship from Karen Lewis and other CTU and ATU organizers, learning valuable skills and strategies to help her members prepare for conflicts with companies and negotiate effectively. Lane was part of the negotiating team that secured a 9.5% pay increase for the union over three years and a freeze on healthcare increases for its members. She also played a crucial role in creating educational and safety classes for union members. In 2018, 32 union stewards graduated from these classes, and as of 2021, 26 students have successfully completed them.

Lane has worked hard engaging members in Political Affairs, Equity, and Justice Education, participating with other allies in Rallies, and Strike efforts: SEIU, CTU, IBEW, Arise Chicago, Community Renewal Society, UAW, CWTA, UNITE HERE, Indivisible IL, UWF, Fight FOR $15, Job With Justice, Citizen Action, Women’s March, Poor People Campaign, Polk School, Midwest Conference, Women Employed, ERA, Cook County Census Faith Committee, Operation PUSH, SINGLE PAYER, NAN, NAACP, At-Large Delegate for Joe Biden / Kamala Harris campaign and many more. 

CARLTON MAYERS II

Board Member

Carlton T. Mayers, II, Esq. brings over 10 years of experience advocating for racial justice and criminal justice reform, which includes advancing policy reforms in more than 30 states and on Capitol Hill. Mayers directed the National Criminal Justice Reform program at the NAACP National Office. He also co-authored the NAACP report called “Born Suspect: Stop-And-Frisk Abuses & the Continued Fight to End Racial Profiling in America,” which was published in 2014 and provides the public with resources for ending racial profiling by state and local law enforcement.  

Mayers also worked for NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. in Washington, D.C. as Policy Counsel for the Policing Reform Campaign. In this role, he supported advocacy efforts in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland, North Charleston, South Carolina, New York City, and on Capitol Hill during President Obama’s Administration. Additionally, Mayers advocated for juvenile justice reform in Florida at the Southern Poverty Law Center and advanced reentry reform in Illinois as the Senior Policy Manager of Criminal Justice Reform at Heartland Alliance. 

Currently, as the Founder, Owner, and CEO of Mayers Strategic Solutions, LLC, Mayers works with communities nationwide to reimagine public safety by using the Community Empowerment-Centered® Approach to identify, strategize, and implement long-term and positive change in practices, policies, and culture through the C.A.T. Method®, which stands for Community Empowerment, Accountability, and Transparency. He has also been published in the Chicago Tribune and featured on BBC News as a national expert on public safety and policing reform. Likewise, Mayers volunteers as the Criminal Justice Chair of the NAACP Chicago Westside Branch.  

Mayers has his bachelor’s in science in neuroscience and behavioral biology with a minor in environmental studies from Emory University. And his juris doctorate and master’s in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School. 

TWYLA MOORE

Board Member

Twyla Moore currently serves as Director of Workforce and Economic Empowerment for the Springfield Urban League Inc. Her passion and commitment to serving the community and those who have a long history of oppression, disenfranchisement, and disproportionate involvement in the criminal justice system extends for more than twenty-five years. Moore began her career in social justice as a case manager for pregnant and parenting teen mothers. From there, she built her career in the field of criminal justice as a probation officer, serving both juveniles and adults for twenty-one years.

Moore’s experience as a criminal justice professional helped her become well-educated on state and federal laws, court procedures, and underlying social issues contributing to crime. This career path led the way to her role as an advocate for those who do not have the voice, knowledge, or platform to speak for themselves. Moore wholeheartedly embraces her role as a community leader and the call to serve on several boards in her hometown, as well as the African Descendants Citizens Reparations Commission. These roles allow for opportunities to work jointly with other social service agencies, local law enforcement, local school systems, state legislators, business owners, and many other public figures who offer a collaborative approach to supporting the needs of citizens throughout the state of Illinois.

Moore remains adaptable and focused with a commitment to approaches that affect change in systems that often fail to provide equitable opportunities for employment, fair representation in the criminal justice system, educational support, and access to financial education and opportunities for African Americans and other underserved citizens.

Moore holds a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Springfield and will be completing her M.A. degree in criminal justice administration from the University of Southern Indiana in the spring of 2024.

JOEL SACHNOFF

Board Member

Joel Sachnoff currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor for Governor JB Pritzker. As a veteran member of the Governor’s administration Sachnoff has focused primarily on healthcare and health equity. This includes helping pass nation-leading nursing home reforms, Medicaid expansion to underinsured communities, reproductive justice, and increased health insurance oversight – all while centering his work in equity and justice. He is proud to bring his knowledge of state government and policy research as the Governor’s designee to the African Descent-Citizens Reparations Commission. Prior to joining the Governor’s team Sachnoff worked for the United States Forest Service as well as Senator Dick Durbin. A born-and-raised Chicagoan, he has spent nearly his entire life in Illinois. Sachnoff has a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in education from Denison University. 

DOMINIC E. WATSON

Board Member

Dominic E. Watson is a distinguished leader within the Greater Springfield community and across the state of Illinois. He serves as President of the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield Project Community Development Corporation. His influential roles span various sectors, reflecting his commitment to advancing economic empowerment and civic engagement statewide.

With over a decade of dedicated service, Dominic has been instrumental in spearheading initiatives for community revitalization. He brings a wealth of governance experience, having served on various boards and commissions dedicated to fostering growth and opportunity in both Springfield and throughout Illinois.

In 2022, Dominic founded the Community Access Project (CAP) 1908, a social innovation hub designed to empower underserved populations across Springfield. Beyond his professional endeavors, Dominic actively contributes to philanthropic efforts and volunteer initiatives aimed at enriching the lives of community members throughout Greater Springfield and Illinois. His visionary leadership and dedication to educational advocacy continue to drive positive change and foster sustainable development across the region. 

TED WILLIAMS III

Board Member

Ted Williams III’s work merges social activism and artistry. He is an educator, actor, and author who is a graduate of the University of Chicago, Rutgers University, and a Political Science faculty member at Kennedy-King College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. He is the former host of WYCC-PBS television’s The Professors weekly talk show and has provided political commentary for a host of local and national media outlets. He has appeared in commercials for companies including Subway, Cheerios, and Empire Carpet, and recently appeared in the films Human Zoos, The Christmas Thief, and on NBC's Chicago PD, and Showtime's The Chi. 

Additionally, he is the author of the book The Way Out: Christianity, Politics, and the Future of the African American Community, and a contributor to the Third World Press text, Not My President. Williams is a former candidate for the Chicago City Council and is currently completing a doctorate in Faith and Arts-Based Community Development at Northern Seminary.  His latest production, 1619: The Journey of a People, was funded by the Illinois Arts Council, the City of Chicago, and was nominated for the August Wilson Award for Best Writing of a Musical by the Black Theater Alliance Awards.