The Black Slate Committee
Kandia is an Associate Pastor at the Shrine of the Black Madonna, Chairman of the Black Slate (Detroit) and is the National Policy Director for the Justice program at Dream.org - an organization founded by Van Jones. He is grounded in the spiritual belief that every aspect of our lives is sacred. As a lifetime member of the Shrine of the Black Madonna and the Black Slate he has been engaged in the politics of getting Black people to vote in the interest of self determination. Additionally Kandia has worked at the intersection of policy, politics and government relations for more than 20 years. He is intentional in building sound political strategies, crafting evidence-based policies and developing strategic messages that seek to dismantle racists systems of oppression and transforming the people's lives of the afflicted.
Treasurer & Secretary
Nilaja Diana Stewart was born and raised in Detroit, MI and attended Detroit Public Schools. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. In 1967 she joined the Shrine of the Black Madonna. Nilaja is the proud mother of a son, Kiano Stewart and two grandchildren, Jeremiah Stewart, and Nia Stewart. Nilaja has worked with the Black Slate since its inception and currently serves on the Black Slate Board as the Secretary/Treasurer.
Tene Ramsey was born and raised in Detroit. She was throughly educated in the Detroit Public School System. She earned a B.S. from WSU and Master Degree in Humanistic Psychology from Center for Humanistic Studies of Detroit. Have been in the political arena for over 50 years and served on The Black Slate since 1973.
Mary (Rashida) Blackmon
Mary Elizabeth Blackmon attended Higginbotham Elementary, Custer Elementary and graduated from Mumford High School. She began working for AT &T two days after graduation at age l6 and retired as a Director of Public Affairs. Since 1982, Mary has been a member of Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency Board of Education. Because of the work of the Black Slate she was elected City-wide to the Detroit Board of Education where she served from 1978 - 1988. She was appointed to the Black Slate in 1973. She serves on the Board of Water Commissioners as Vice Chair (previous Chair)- initially appointed by Mayor Young in 1978.
Roger Short has lived in Detroit for 75 years. He has worked for the City of Detroit for 30 years
and has served has treasurer/adviser to many Detroit elected officials.
As a lifelong Detroiter, Adesola Holmes has witnessed and experienced what resilience and empowerment looks like. A graduate of Cass Tech and University of Michigan, it is her passion that drives her to understand new ideas, implement progressive concepts and have forward-thinking conversations.
SHEBA ROGERS –a social worker and community organizer—was born and raised on the eastside of Detroit. Sheba is a daughter of the Shrine of the Black Madonna Church and holds deep gratitude for her years spent learning and growing as part of the Alkebulan youth development program. Sheba’s life experience, family upbringing and community involvement nurtured her passion to study and transform injustices in our country. Through a variety of professional and community roles over the past 16 years, Sheba has worked to shine a light on the harmful conditions created by mass incarceration, education inequality and racial injustice with the goal of supporting communities in transcending beyond these conditions.
Sheba holds a bachelor’s degree from Howard University; master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan; and master’s degree in Education from Harvard University. Through her education, professional and community involvements, Sheba is actively fulfilling her mission to help build healthy communities that nurture the wellbeing and brilliance of Black children and families.
Ashanti Berry is a native Detroiter. She grew up on the city's east side where she learned self love and self determination. She is a graduate of DPS and holds a BS in Business Management. Ashanti has worked in the financial sector for more than 15 years. Where she is a leader in operations management and process efficiency. She is a member of the Shrines of the Black Madonna.
Black Slate Digest
Dr. Kefentse Chike
Kefentse Chike, Ph.d is community activist, and professor of African American Studies at Wayne State University. Kefentse has been a Black Slate Committee member for five years. He currently serves the slate as the coordinator of the educational committee.
Minister Hanifah Hightower has been a Community Activist for over fifty years. As a life-long resident of the City of Detroit ("Lady Detroit") and member of the Shrine of the Black Madonna; Minister Hightower believes that "Politics is Sacred and Relationships are Holy". A spiritual community is responsible for ensuring that it's citizens needs are met in order for the community to prosper.
Aminata B. Sow is a cultural marketing and strategy enthusiast with a passion for celebrating all things art and culture and cultivating strategic relationships. She has a passion for when culture, people, marketing and technology converge and has a desire to serve mission-driven organizations and institutions that are focused on preserving history and uplifting the legacy of the community. Aminata joined the Black Slate in 2022.
Lutalo Sanifu started as a Black Slate volunteer working with his grandmother in Southwest Detroit at the age of 8. He now works as the Collaboration Lead for the Black Slate where his emphasis is on community engagement, economic development, and elections. Lutalo is also the Director of Neighborhood Resilience, Safety and Business District Services for Jefferson East, Inc. and a committee member for the Legacy Committee for Unified Leadership.
Anthony Kodjo Darden
Elder Kojo Darden became a resident of Detroit after migrating from Birmingham AL in 1964. Married with three adult children. He earned a Master of Social Work degree from Wayne State University. He performed social Work duties for home-restricted patients for several years. Employed with the City of Detroit for 28 years of service. Soon after retiring feeling a need to see African American business prosper and grow, he started the "Directory of Black Owned Business and Organizations" a web-based advertising and marketing company. Which he still owns.