Sun May 28 at 3PM | “Ulysses on the Anacostia: Exploring District Parallels” moderated by Virginia S
Virginia Avniel Spatz, a native of Chicago, lives and writes in Washington, DC. Spatz has lived with her husband, Cary O’Brien, in what is now known as the Hill East neighborhood of the District for close to 30 years. They have two children, graduates of DC Public high schools and years of homeschooling. She is active in the Jewish community, advocating for cross-denominational understanding and cooperation. She helped coordinate the Washington Chapter of the AJC’s Women’s Interdenominational Leadership Dialogue and directed the local, cross-community Jewish Study Center for several years. She also worked in adult and continuing education at Gallaudet University and has an abiding interest in Deaf culture. Other passions include alternative education, including homeschooling, public libraries and independent booksellers.
Ed Lazere, Executive Director: Ed has led the work of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute since its inception in 2001. Under his leadership, DCFPI has become the primary source of independent information on the DC budget and one of the most influential policy organizations focused on the District. Lazere is recognized as a leading expert on the District’s budget and tax system, and he is looked to as a resource on a number of policy issues such as affordable housing and welfare-to- work programs. Lazere’s work at DCFPI has contributed to numerous budget and policy outcomes, including creation of the largest state-level Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor, expansions of funding for affordable housing, and establishment of a requirement for all proposed business tax breaks to undergo an independent financial analysis be analyzed before they are considered by
the DC Council. Ed’s work at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute has received numerous honors, including awards from Bread for the City, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia Employment Justice
Center, the DC Primary Care Association, The Center for Nonprofit Advancement, DC Jobs
With Justice, and the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council. Lazere has an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a Masters in Public Policy from Primary Care Association, and Temple Micah. directors of a number of local non-profits, including the Consumer Health Foundation, the DC as a member of the DC Tax Revision Commission in 2012-13.
Michele Tingling-Clemmons is a national and international anti-imperialist social and human rights activist and organizer in Washington, DC who is currently on the Steering Committee of the DC Statehood Green Party and President of the Central NorthEast Civic Association.
The oldest child and only daughter of public servants, she came to DC to be an occupational and environmental health specialist and became one of the nation’s leading environmental spokespersons of color, helping to spur attention and work in the environmental justice arena. Tingling-Clemmons then moved into the field of anti-hunger advocacy for nearly three decades, starting with becoming one of the nation’s experts on the School Breakfast Program, working to double the number of schools and low-income children benefiting from this critical social program that had been a result of the Black Panther Survival programs of the 1960s.
She then became DC’s State Director for Child Nutrition and Commodities Distribution Programs, effecting a major increase in the number of DC children benefiting from Summer Food Program along with other school nutrition programs. After being fired as a whistleblower, her subsequent court settlement sent her to the DC Department of Health to become Chief of the Nutrition and Physical Fitness Bureau where she was able to make a difference in the lives of low-income pregnant women, children, seniors and other residents before again being terminated for trying to protect the vital nutrition programs she oversaw.
Together with Rick, her activist adult educator husband, Tingling-Clemmons was a co-founder of the National Welfare Rights Union, the Metropolitan Washington Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Committee, the Emergency Committee to Restore Senior Prescription Drugs, and the Annual Julius Nyerere Commemoration Committee.
Mary Brown: As the Executive Director of the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI), Mary Brown is leading a transformation that is dramatically reducing generational poverty in the Kenilworth-Parkside community and beyond. Under Ms. Brown’s leadership, DCPNI has identified a strategic framework that is applied each day across 13 partner nonprofits, 10 programs, and 6 educational institutions. As a co-founder in 1996 and the Executive Director of Life Pieces To Masterpieces for nearly18 years, she built a sustainable model for change and secured the funding that created a positive college-bound or career-ready trajectory for over 1,000 young black boys and men.Her work and that of her organization received national recognition by prestigious foundations, non-governmental organizations, local government leaders, and President Obama. Ms. Brown was a national faculty member for NeighborWorks America for nearly 20 years. In this role she specialized in designing,facilitating and evaluating trainings for youth development workers, community developers and organizers. Ms. Brown currently serves on the board for the following organizations: The Northstar Academy of Boys, Washington Parks and Peoples, Fair Chance DC, Center for Nonprofit Advancement, DC Alliance for Youth Advocacy and, The Catalogue for Philanthropy. Her areas of expertise include: effective community development, arts education in community engagement,grassroots social change, youth leadership, intergenerational engagement in community building, conflict resolution, and diversity training for communities with emerging populations. The Meyer Foundation, Washingtonian Magazine, The College Board, Georgetown University, and Leadership Greater Washington are just a few of the notable organizations that have acknowledged Ms. Brown’s distinguished work, commitment and impact over the past 30 years. Ms. Brown is a graduate of Xavier University and holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Harvard Business School.