W. DeWayne Wells

W. DeWayne Wells

EJAM Executive Director

DeWayne Wells joined EJAM in 2018 as its new director. A CPA by training, DeWayne brings a wealth of knowledge to the organization in the areas of auditing, financial management, and leadership. Prior to this appointment, he was a consultant for nonprofits and served as project director for Detroit Food & Fitness Collaborative, a group of 65 individuals representing 40 organizations developing ways to ensure that everyone in Detroit, especially the most vulnerable children, had access to affordable, healthy, locally grown food and opportunities to be physically active.

DeWayne’s past experience includes the presidency of Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. He was chosen as the organization’s first African American president in 2008. In that role, DeWayne expanded the organization’s nutrition education program, streamlined its human resources practices, and increased Gleaners’ profile in the community through collaborations and partnerships.

Prior to his work at Gleaners, DeWayne was the chief operating officer for Starfish Family Services in Inkster, Michigan, and the first lay person to serve as executive director of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit, Michigan. He holds an MBA from Wayne State University and is a graduate of Leadership Detroit.

Dave Woodward

Dave Woodward

EJAM Strategic Advisor

Dave Woodward is a former member Michigan House of Representatives, and currently serves on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. With a focus on advancing social and economic justice, his 20-year political and public service career includes senior leadership roles in political party organizations, candidate and political training programs, policy advocacy, and leadership development. Today, he is one of the most sought after progressive political strategist and trainers in the state.

In 2006, under Dave’s leadership, the Center for Progressive Leadership started in Michigan. Since then, he has helped train hundreds of activists, organizers, campaign staff and folks who have successfully later run for office. Dave continues to support the training of future value-driven progressive leaders through comprehensive programs that help others realize their full power to bring about change in their community.

Dave and his wife Stacie, a high school social studies teacher and education consultant, have two daughters, Alice and Eleanor, and live in Royal Oak, MI.


ROC-MI State Director

Dr. Alicia Renee Farris

Dr. Alicia Renee Farris is the state director of Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan where she gives leadership to a statewide movement to achieve social and economic justice for restaurant workers. Farris, a lifelong resident of Detroit, is passionate about justice and equality. She has worked in local and state government and in nonprofit settings such as New Detroit, Inc., Michigan Institute for Nonviolence Education, Michigan Neighborhood Partnership and Doing Development Differently in Metropolitan Detroit. Farris has served on numerous local and national nonprofit boards and as adjunct professor for the University of Detroit Mercy’s College of Liberal Arts and Education.

The Ezekiel Project Executive Director

Jessica Hernandez

Jessica Hernandez serves as executive director and lead community organizer at The Ezekiel Project, a faith-based community nonprofit organization in Saginaw that takes action on issues of social, racial and environmental justice. A native of the Great Lakes Bay Region, she graduated with a bachelor of science with a focus in community development from Central Michigan University.

Hernandez’s background is in nonprofit management in the health, housing, and education sectors. She has skills in program development and oversight and has juggled compliance of multiple contracts from local, state and federal sources. Her professional experiences bring a unique and diverse growth opportunity to The Ezekiel Project and the partnership with Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan.

MOSES Executive Director

Ponsella Hardaway

Ponsella Hardaway is a native Detroiter. Since 1996, Ponsella has been an organizer with MOSES; she is also a national trainer with the Gamaliel Foundation. In addition to training leaders across Detroit, the State of Michigan, and the country, she has trained congregation members in South Africa, Swaziland and the United Kingdom. Hardaway has also traveled to Brazil and Mali to study NGO’s work on political and social issues.

In her first year of organizing, Hardaway organized 22 Detroit congregations to conduct neighborhood listening campaigns and do safe zones actions (small public meetings of 200–600 people) to address abandoned buildings, drug houses, recreation, dumping, street lighting and gangs. She is most proud of organizing a 40-minute meeting with MOSES leadership and United States President Bill Clinton, who agreed to work with the organization by opening doors in Washington D.C. needed to leverage the resources for the MOSES vision for improved youth programs.

In 2008, Hardaway organized a public meeting to address hospital closures, access to grocery stores, immigration reform and public transportation. She was successful in turning out 3,000 people and public officials, even though President Obama’s rally was an hour before and five miles down the road from the MOSES rally.

Mothering Justice Founding Director

Danielle Atkinson

Danielle Atkinson is the founding director of Mothering Justice, a statewide organization working to improve the lives of Michigan families by equipping the next generation of mother activists. Atkinson has extensive experience as a church-based, electoral, and community organizer. She has worked with such organizations as America Votes, State Voices, Population Connection and ACORN.

In 2012, Atkinson founded Mothering Justice, a leadership development and advocacy organization. To date, Mothering Justice has trained more than 300 women, reached more than 50,000 mothers in voter engagement efforts, led Mama Conversations around Michigan, and drafted the Mamas’ Agenda, a policy priority plan addressing financial stability issues of mothers in Michigan. Atkinson help lead organizing efforts to raise the minimum wage in both Florida and most recently Michigan. Her work organizing mothers won her the 2013 Michigan Organizer of the Year Award.

Atkinson received bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology from Pfeiffer University and lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, with her husband Frank and their four children.

Building Movement Project- Detroit People’s Platform Founding Team Member

Linda Campbell

Linda Campbell is a founding member of the Building Movement Project and currently leads activities in Detroit, including work on social service and social change and the Detroit People’s Platform. Linda’s background is both nonprofit and grassroots organizational development. Linda holds a master’s degree in public health.

Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network Founding Director

Randy Block

Randy Block has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in social work, specializing in community organizing. For over 30 years, he worked as a manager of services for older persons, but in 2011 he “retired” to devote more time to working as a community activist. During the Vietnam War, Block was a conscientious objector. He has been a long-time leader of Gray Panthers of Metro Detroit and serves as president of a new National Council of Gray Panthers Networks. He serves as the outreach governor and coordinates justice activities for the Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield.

In 2002, Block founded and has since directed the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network (MUUSJN).

Pontiac Policy Council Founding Director

Autumn Butler

Autumn Butler is the founding director of Pontiac Policy Council. She has spent her professional career in a variety of aspects of community development and empowerment, including working as a neighborhood planner developing revitalization plans for communities of color throughout the United States. For the last ten years, Butler has worked extensively in the City of Pontiac as a community outreach coordinator, among other roles, focused exclusively on low-moderate communities of color. She has empowered city residents, particularly women of color, to take control of their finances and helped many ultimately become homeowners and maintain their homeownership status in the Pontiac community.

Butler has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida A&M University, a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Florida State University, a master’s degree in public administration from Florida State, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in political science at Wayne State University. She is a longtime resident of Oakland County and is mother of two children.


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