Nexus BCLI Announces Its Fourth Cohort!

SEPTEMBER 14, 2016

Building More Equity Champions:
The Twin Cities Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute Announces its Fourth Cohort!

Nexus Community Partners is thrilled to announce the selection of 16 fellows for the 2016-2017 Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute (BCLI).

The BCLI is a seven-month leadership program designed to identify, train, and support placement of dynamic leaders of color and underrepresented communities onto publicly appointed boards and commissions in the Twin Cities. BCLI fellows help advance an equity agenda across several sectors and issue areas.

This group of 16 leaders also includes 2 fellows from Duluth, indicating the statewide reach and appeal of the program.

The fourth BCLI cohort members are:

Allysia Jenkins, nominated by The University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Ayan Hassan, nominated by The Wesley Center for Spirituality, Service and Social Justice at Hamline University
Chakita Lewis nominated by Resources Health Center
Hodan Hassan nominated by People for Pride in Living
Hieu Nguyen nominated by BCLI Alumni
Jacquelyn Thomas nominated by Village PTSA
Jocelyn Beard nominated by BCLI Alumni
Jonathan Harris nominated by Leading Individuals and Families to (L.I.F.T) to End Poverty
Manu Lewis nominated by Minneapolis Neighborhood & Community Relations
Salaam Witherspoon nominated by Community Action Partnership – Duluth
Sheronda Orridge nominated by BCLI Alumni
Shannon Eckman nominated by Minnesota Homeownership Center
Shaun Williams-Wyche nominated by Wilder Neighborhood Leadership Program (NLP)
Sindy Morales Garcia nominated by The Wilder Foundation
Susie Green nominated by Community Action Partnership – Duluth
Thamyr Goalafaie nominated by Department of Labor & Industry, State of Minnesota

The BCLI is building momentum within local governing bodies, as decision makers become not only representative of, but accountable to, our communities of color and other marginalized communities in the Twin Cities. The incoming BCLI fellows join 41 alumni, 24 of which have been successfully appointed on a board or commission or hold a high level policy position, and all of whom are building and pushing racial, social and economic equity in the community. Collectively we look forward to ensuring equitable outcomes in local and regional public policies. Biographies of each fellow can be found on Nexus’ website, The Twin Cities BCLI has been adapted from the Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute originally created by Urban Habitat in Oakland, California.

Please help us welcome and celebrate the incoming cohort at the BCLI Launch Event on Thursday, October 6th,  2016 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at Twin Cities campus of Saint Mary’s University (East Banquet Room) University Center, Twin Cities Campus, 2540 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404. The theme of this year’s launch is “Strengthening Champions for Equity”. Come meet the fellows, mingle with BCLI alumi, and hear from local leaders about the equity movement. The event is free, but please register online: (

For more information about the BCLI, the launch or ways to become involved, please contact the program director, Ms. Terri Thao at or program coordinator Mr. Chai Lee at