African Diaspora Empowerment Fund

Our Committee
Senator Donald Oliver has been active in political and civic affairs for more than 30 years. His service record includes: President and Chair of the Halifax Children's Aid Society; Chair, President, and Director of the Neptune Theatre Foundation; founding Director of Black United Front; and founding President of the Society of the Protection and Preservation of Black Culture in Nova Scotia. Since his Senate appointment in 1990, Senator Oliver has consistently donated knowledge and expertise to a broad range of community organizations and societies. Currently chairman of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Senator Oliver was also co-chair of the Special Joint Committee on a Code of Conduct for Parliamentarians.
Hon. Madame Justice Micheline A. Rawlins graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor in 1978. In October 1992 Justice Rawlins became the first black woman to be appointed to the Ontario Provincial Court. Since the 1980's Justice Rawlins has sat on the board of many organizations in Windsor including the Girl Guides, the Boy Scouts, Robinson House, Windsor Urban Alliance, Windsor Media Council, the University of Windsor and more. She is currently on the University Board of Governors and the Friends of Women's Studies Committee.
Dr. Barbara Hughes Smith is a licensed professional counselor serving as guidance supervisor for the Detroit Public Schools. A few of Dr. Smith’s present and past professional memberships include the American Counseling Association; the Michigan and Wayne County Counseling Associations; National Board of Governors; Executive Board and negotiations team and Member of the Organization of School Administrators and Supervisors.
Richard Phillips earned his MA in Sociology from the University of Windsor in 2007. Past President of the Windsor and District Black Coalition, he is now Community Missions Specialist with the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Irene Moore Davis is Manager of Continuing Education at St. Clair College. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Windsor, an M.A. in English from Queen's University, and a B.Ed. from the University of Western Ontario. In her spare time, Ms. Moore enjoys a wide array of community activities including board and committee roles with the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, the North American Black Historical Museum, the Northstar Cultural Community Centre, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Leadership Windsor/Essex, and BookFestWindsor.
Mark Emmanuel is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng) and Registered Gas Distribution Professional (RGDO) by profession. Mark currently works in Union Gas as the Manager, Construction and Growth in Windsor/Chatham and has developed a global experience base working in the Gas Transmission and Distribution industry in Nigeria, UK (Leeds) and Canada (Ontario). Mark is currently the Secretary to board of the Cultural Coalition of Chatham-Kent, the Vice-Chair of the Energy and Environment committee of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Construction Safety Association of Ontario (CSAO) and is the out-going Chair of the Cross-Cultural Awareness Committee within Union Gas Ltd.
Veronique Mandal is currently head of the Journalism Department at St Clair College. As well as being a journalist, she has worked as a registered nurse, an actor, and is also a published author, playwright and poet. Veronique has won 27 provincial, national and international awards for her work in radio, newspapers and magazines. She was chosen Ontario Journalist of the Year in 2002 and was Windsor Woman of the Year in 1999 and for her work with numerous charities and non profit organizations, she was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.
Bryan Walls was born in Puce outside of Windsor and is a graduate of the University of Toronto. Dr. Bryan Walls is a dentist who undertook extensive research on his family and the area. His research led to the 1980 novel "The Road That Led Somewhere." This novel tells the story of John and Jane Walls' journey, with the assistance of the Underground Railroad, from Troublesome Creek, North Carolina to Puce, Ontario. He and his family established the Underground Railroad Museum and the John Freeman Walls Historic Site at the site of his ancestral home. Dr. Walls became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2003.
Dr Cecil Houston is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Windsor. He is a co-founder of the University's annual African Diaspora Youth Conference, which brings hundred of secondary school students together from Detroit, Toronto, and Windsor to explore their history and inspire their futures.