The Reparations Narrative Lab is a creative hub focused on narrative and culture change, aimed at building public support for reparations. It accomplishes this by providing support to organizers, storytellers, and artists, helping them gain a better understanding of the reparations narrative landscape, create and test messages, analyze their target audiences, design cultural interventions and experiments, and assess the impact of their strategies. In August 2022, Liberation Ventures launched the Reparations Narrative Lab with an inaugural cohort of 13 leaders from across the racial justice and reparations movement.

Lab Members

Leaders from across the racial justice and reparations movement.

Jean-Pierre Brutus (he/him) is a senior counsel in the Economic Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, where he leads the Institute’s reparations policy and coalition work. 

Dr. Tiffany T. Crutcher (she/her) is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was thrust into the national spotlight following the death of her twin brother Terence Crutcher, who was shot by a police officer in Tulsa while holding his hands in the air. Dr. Crutcher is the founder of the Terence Crutcher Foundation (TCF), whose primary focus is criminal justice and policing reform, providing scholarships to African-American students, community and youth development, and policy advocacy.

Malkia Devich Cyril (they/them) is a writer, public speaker, and award-winning activist on issues of digital rights, narrative power, Black liberation, and collective grief; and is the founding and former executive director of MediaJustice — a national hub boldly advancing racial justice, rights, and dignity in a digital age.

Kamille Gardner (she/her) is a social entrepreneur who brings nearly a decade of experience working in the nonprofit, racial equity, and social justice sectors. She currently serves as Global Project Director for Canopy Collective.

Dreisen Heath (she/her) is an expert on reparations and reparatory justice and has authored reports and publications highlighting victims’ right to seek full and effective reparations that are proportional to the gravity of the human rights violations, including acts of racial discrimination, as dictated by international human rights law, and has testified as an expert witness for her work supporting the movement for reparations. 

Kenniss Henry (she/her) is Co-Chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) and previously served as N’COBRA’s National Legislative Commission Co-Chair where she helped orchestrate a key strategy in the coalition’s legislative efforts that garnered the most successful co-sponsor support in the history of HR 40.

Gerry Johnson (he/him) is a communications strategist who specializes in advancing racial justice and social impact. Currently, he leads media strategy for the U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch and guides the ‘Why We Can't Wait,’ coalition's national communications strategy to advance federal reparations legislation. 

Amity Paye (she/her) is Director of Storytelling & Marketing and the Senior Director of Communications at Color Of Change. She oversees the organization’s media strategy, social media, design, production and partnerships to make Color Of Change a household name. Her team uses media coverage, social media, design and video production to add pressure during campaigns and publicize some of the organization’s most important victories on tech accountability, transforming entertainment industries, and criminal justice reform.

David Ragland (he/him) is a co-founder and co-executive director for Culture, Organizing, and Reparations at the Truth Telling Project. He serves as Director of Reparations at Jubilee Justice. David is a founding member in the creation of the Kibilio Community and Farms Collective; a Queer Black-Led Intentional community focused on healing and reparations.

Aisha Shillingford (she/her) is an Afro-diasporic anti-disciplinary artist, designer, and cultural strategist from Trinidad & Tobago, living in Brooklyn, New York. She is the Artistic Director of Intelligent Mischief, a creative studio and futures design lab that creates art, experiences, content, strategy, and community that unleashes Black imagination to shape the future. 

Rob Thomas (he/him) is a 35-year-old African American male, Asheville native, community activist, and Executive Director of the Racial Justice Coalition in Asheville. Rob uses his lived experience in collaboration with his native connections to inform, educate and mobilize the community to produce systems change.

Richard Wallace (he/him) is a diversely talented artist & director with extensive experience developing effective campaigns to engage and empower working-class Chicagoans. He currently serves as the Founding Executive Director of Equity and Transformation (EAT).

Venneikia Williams (she/her) supports the Free Press team in the development, design, and successful implementation of the Media 2070 campaign for media reparations.

Lab Conveners and Supporters

Liberation Ventures staff and research and project consultants for the Lab.

Trevor Smith (he/him) is a writer, researcher, and strategist focused on the topics of racial inequality, wealth inequality, reparations, and narrative change. He is currently the Director of Narrative Change at Liberation Venture. He is also the creator, curator, and editor of a newsletter titled Reparations Daily (ish). 

Aria Florant (she/her) is a conduit, constantly bridging worlds; Black and white, movement and mainstream, ethnic studies and finance. She holds multitudes of them all, and the essence of her work is creating for others that which she wants for herself: a world where all people’s whole selves belong. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Liberation Ventures. 

Vikas Maturi (he/him) is a strategist, researcher, and organizer dedicated to building a more just world — one in which all people have what they need to live, heal, and be joyful. He’s curious about how we can learn from the movements of the past — their successes, their conflicts, and their tactics — to strengthen the movements of the present. He is Chief of Staff at Liberation Ventures. 

Jennie Goldfarb (she/her)  is daughter and a friend — born on Lenape land (New York City), she is a student of power, paradox, and pleasure. She believes that radical redistribution of resources, heart-centered communication, and joy are preconditions for dismantling white supremacy and building a culture of repair. She is the Director of Operations & Strategic Engagement at Liberation Ventures.

Christina Pao (any pronouns) is a current PhD student at Princeton University in Sociology, with a joint degree in Social Policy and affiliation with the Office of Population Research (OPR). Her research evaluates survey methods/measures used to capture complex social identities, such as gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and ancestry. Christina is interested in how our way of “measuring” identity changes our understanding of social inequalities and policies to mitigate them.

Melinda (she/her) is a social change architect, master facilitator, narrative strategist, and social entrepreneur. She is the President of Weeks in Advance Enterprises, an organizational development firm, and Founder/CEO of Beautiful Ventures, a narrative change social enterprise that influences popular culture, disrupts anti-Blackness, and elevates perceptions of Black humanity.

Kristen (she/her) is a cultural consultant and impact advisor who has dedicated her career to creating positive and long-lasting change across the media landscape. She specializes in working with entertainment and advertising professionals to create accurate, inclusive, and empathetic portrayals of Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ communities to tell powerful stories that create positive and long-lasting social change.

Lab Allies

Close partners of the Reparations Narrative Lab.

Erika (she/her) is beloved for her iconic acting roles as Maxine Shaw (Living Single), Coraline (American Fiction). She’s also writer/producer of “Finding Tamika,” and co-director of the PBS documentary “The Big Payback.” As co-founder of Color Farm Media, and board member of One Fair Wage, Alexander is on a mission to bring greater equity, inclusion, and diverse representation to both media and electoral politics.

Ben (he/him) is co-founder of award-winning entertainment and social impact company, Color Farm Media, along with Erika Alexander. Color Farm, self-described as the “Motown of film, TV, and tech,” develops and produces scripted and unscripted content for film, television, and audio. Color Farm's mission is to bring greater equity, inclusion, and diverse representation to media, creating sustainable, long-term, systemic change by shifting narratives.

Nicole (she/her) is the Executive Director of Get Free, a youth-led movement focused on repairing past harms, removing ongoing barriers to equality, and realizing a future where freedom is for all. She is a movement strategist, digital organizer, campaigner, and trainer born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and has over a decade of experience studying and supporting movements to further racial, gender, and economic justice.

Anthony (he/him) is the Communications Director for Get Free. Anthony is a messaging specialist, political strategist, and organizer originally from Long Island, New York. He’s supported winning campaigns across the country and most recently served as the Director of Collaboration at ASO Communications and has been a key steward and trainer of the Race Class Narrative. Prior to this, he led communication efforts for the national grassroots campaign to impeach Trump in 2019, and held a variety of leadership roles in the climate movement.