We are artists, organizers, academics, faith leaders, advocates, small business owners, and community members committed to equity and justice in Charlotte.
Monica Ifé Pettiford (Founder/CEO Porch Productions)
A Greensboro native and owner of Porch Productions Inc., Monica Ife’ Pettiford is known for
producing original and classic, professionally staged theater for youth of all ages. Graduating from Queens University with a B.A. in History--Monica began studying dance at age eight with the Harris Mintz Dance Company of Greensboro, N.C. With deep roots in children and family services, Pettiford became the youngest Youth and Teen Director for the Charlotte Branch Harris YMCA at the age of 20. Pettiford soon gained footing in the non-profit sector working for four seasons with the Afro-American Children's Theater as Program Director. Pettiford later worked for 14 seasons with the Charlotte Hornets and the City of Charlotte as Operations Manager at Time Warner Cable Arena now Spectrum Center. She gained extensive knowledge in event management and logistics and is highly sought after for large event execution request. An innovator and entrepreneur with 20 years in business leadership. Experienced in all aspects of business formation, operation, finance, and management. Visionary product developer with deep education in youth programs and community engagement. Effective communicator and motivator who identifies and leverages assets in teammates to reach organizational goals. She currently serves as a Board member for the Salvation Army Advisory Board and enjoys substitute teaching while also working full time on her passion...Porch Productions Inc.
Rabbi Judy Schindler is the Sklut Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte. She was named Rabbi Emerita of Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North Carolina after serving as Senior Rabbi from 2003-2016 and as Associate Rabbi from 1998-2003. Prior to coming to Charlotte, she was an Associate Rabbi at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, New York.
She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Tufts University in 1988 (magna cum laude), her Master’s from the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles in 1993, and her rabbinic ordination at the Hebrew Union College in New York in 1995. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.
Rabbi Schindler serves on the Executive Committee of the Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice. She is past co-chair of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, served on the Board of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Coalition for Housing, and served as co-chair of the Clergy Council of MeckMin.
On behalf of Temple Beth El, Rabbi Schindler envisioned and led the creation of four social justice documentaries being utilized across the country. “Souls of Our Students: Appreciating Differences” and “Souls of our Students: A Transgender Focus” address diversity in schools. “Souls of Our Teachers” addresses urban education and “Souls of our Neighbors” explores the value of creating affordable housing. Three of the documentaries earned Telly Awards. Rabbi Schindler has contributed chapters and articles to more than ten books and recently researched and co-authored a book on recharging congregations through civic engagement and moving the religious community from volunteerism to advocacy (Recharging Judaism: How Civic Engagement is Good for Synagogues, Jews, and America, CCAR Press, 2018). She was a 2017-2018 contributing columnist for the Charlotte Observer and delivered a TEDxCharlotte talk in 2018 entitled “Mastering the Art of Loving your Neighbor.” Among the many awards she has received, Rabbi Schindler was named Charlotte Woman of the Year in 2011.
Former North Carolina state campaign manager for Bernie Sanders, Aisha Dew is a savvy and experienced political strategist with a strong faith and creative arts background that informs all that she does. Aisha currently serves on the coordinating committee for the Charlotte Commission on Reconciliation and Equity (CORE), the city's version of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address racial and economic inequality. She ran the campaign for Charlotte's first African-American woman mayor elected in November 2017. Aisha is, herself, a breaker of glass ceilings -- as the first African-American woman elected to be vice chair of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party -- and a fierce cheerleader for others to do the same. She is currently serving as the 1st Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party.
She works at the intersection of the spaces she loves: faith, art, and politics. Aisha studied religion and has led arts programming for her faith-based community. She also believes that art can transform and integrate into the world of faith. She considers herself a “Creative Change Agent" who works for a positive impact for change wherever she is.
Aisha is a graduate of Salem College, who also attended Wake Forest University and Yale University School of Drama as a part of her undergraduate studies. She obtained a degree in Arts Administration.
Connect with Aisha! Facebook @AishaODew Twitter @AishaDew
Jermanine Nakia Lee is the founder & artistic director CAROLINAS PRIDE THEATER ENSEMBLE (CPTE) funded by the Pride Youth Theatre Alliance. The CPTE develops original theatre work that tell the experience of people of color, the LGBTQA and under-privileged youth & young adults. Lee attended the famed New World School of the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida as a middle and high school student. He then went on to study Music Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Lee as excelled as a Master Teaching Artist and Cultural Educator with Charlotte/Mecklenburg Schools, the Levine Museum of the New South, the NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the Arts & Science Council, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art & Culture, the Children's Theatre of Charlotte. He is a critically acclaimed and published playwright whose works have enjoyed sold out audiences and national tours.
CINDY J. KISTENBERG, PH.D., is Associate Professor of Communication and Theatre at Johnson C. Smith University. In addition to coordinating all academic advising in the College of Arts and Letters, she is serving her second two-year term as Faculty Senate President. She earned her BA & MA at UNC-Chapel Hill, and her Ph.D. at Louisiana State University in Performance Studies. Her book AIDS, Social Change, and Theatre: Performance as Protest (Garland Press) was selected as an Outstanding Academic Book of 1996 by Choice Magazine and continues to be cited in works on performance as activism/activism as performance. Her presentations and scholarship early in her career led to invitations to serve on the editorial board of several regional and national academic journals. In addition to her traditional scholarship, she continues her life-long love affair with theatre by adapting, performing, and/or directing works designed to educate about issues such as immigration reform, racism, domestic abuse, homophobia, and bullying.
Rotrina Campbell has over 10 years of experience in branding, marketing, and consulting small businesses with creative minds. She received her BA from Johnson C. Smith University in Music and Business Administration in 2006 and her MBA from the University of Phoenix in Business Administration in 2013.
Rotrina started her career as an intern for Ken Harris & Associates Law Firm in 2005 while attending Johnson C. Smith University. As a legal intern for Ken Harris &Associates, Rotrina was able to connect and work as the assistant to Theresa Majeed. Theresa Majeed was the owner of Majeed Consulting & Development Group. As the assistant to Ms. Majeed, Rotrina had the opportunity to gain hands on experience with marketing, branding and consulting small business through organizing events, analyzing marketing trends and brand positioning, product development, creating promotional material for events and/or clients, tracking social media/e-blast interaction, and tracking customer satisfaction. Rotrina started Shades of Personality, LLC in 2015. Since then, Rotrina has been a main contributor in the launch of several businesses in the Charlotte area. Rotrina has also been the event coordinator for several businesses & professionals within the Charlotte area, such as Opulence Jewelers, and No Grease Barbershop to name a few.
Melissa M. McDaniel is an entrepreneur, marketing professional, and community organizer. She earned a degree in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and has a string background in education, event management, and marketing. Her company, Thriving Ivy Unlimited, helps small businesses and organizations meet their performance goals through live events, strategic marketing, and community outreach. She has been a key contributor to the growth of national companies such as CBS Radio and Thriving Ivy Unlimited's client list includes political candidates, activists, and progressive organizations that promote social change and human rights. Melissa has worked on multiple campaign teams and as a field organizer for MoveOn.org. She is also an accomplished choreographer and has over 20 years of experience as a dance educator