Coalition Board Vote

Open Communities Alliance's by-laws provide that up to 20% of the Governance Board seats are reserved for members of OCA's Coalition. These representatives are voted on by the Coalition members and approved by the current board. 

See the nominees bios below. 

Voting ends: November ____

Shanay Fulton     

Shanay Fulton: My connection to Middletown started when I first moved to the North End of town and began attending community action meetings with the North End Action Team. At the time I was looking to engage and feel part of my community. My biggest break into community engagement didn’t truly start until I began working for Middletown Public Schools in 2016. I began my work as a paraprofessional starting at Middletown High School, ultimately starting a youth community engagement group with a few MHS students at North End Action Team. I also worked as a paraprofessional at Keigwin Middle School and currently as a Family Resource Specialist at Macdonough Elementary providing community resources to families.

Racial equity and inclusion is very important to me because it’s been a topic often swept under the rug. With such a highly sensitive social and political climate, one of the first target areas has been with regards to racial equity. People of color, especially, women of color are stepping into more leadership roles and sitting at the table as change makers for their communities. As a woman of color I am extremely proud to be on the spectrum of that community change.

 Joining Middletown Works!, a Working Cities Initiative first as a Co-Leader with Executive Director Rebecca Lemanski and then as the Asset Mapping Manager has opened up doors of opportunity for me. We are addressing areas of racial inclusion and equity within our work. On Friday evenings, myself and my CORE Team partner Shardae Nicholson provide single mothers of color a space via our FB Live series to discuss topics affecting us. This has been great as it has given a platform to other women to voice their concerns, showcase their talents, and offer services. Women of color account for some of the highest levels of racial inequities due to systemic racism in the workforce and education which often results in poverty. Poverty is an issue that with the help of the Middletown Works Initiative is looking to change and bridge the gap within the community.

     

 

 

Josh Hill      

Josh Hill, Esq.: Josh Hill is the Manager of the Real Estate Legal Department at General Electric Company.  He is responsible for oversight of all GE real estate transactional activity as well as advising on standard commercial real estate matters related to the company’s real estate portfolio. Josh started my career at Proskauer Rose LLP in New York and went on to represent developers, banks, and owners in connection with the purchase, sale and financing of commercial real estate at Loeb & Loeb LLP in Los Angeles. He received his A.B. from Princeton University and my J.D. from Columbia University. 

     

 

 

Marissa Mead photo     

Marissa (Dionne) Mead, AIA LEEDAP: Marissa is an architect with an expertise in community engagement, multi-family housing, public art and the support of social justice through the built environment. Marissa is the Director of Art Integration at Svigals + Partners and Co-Owner of design studio, Atelier Cue, both in New Haven. Marissa strives to connect communities with their environments through collaborative actions and design processes. Her work demonstrates the transformative power of artful environments, bringing meaning and delight to the built world for all people. The results bring joy, inspire connectivity, and ultimately contribute to community health and healing. Marissa is a Committee Chair for the AIACT’s Women In Architecture Committee where she leads initiatives in Education and Community Outreach. And she has been nominated for consideration to the AIA Connecticut Board of Directors. A resident of Hamden, CT, Marissa is an organizer of the grass-roots housing equity task force, Spring Forward, which aims to address exclusionary zoning and segregation in Hamden.

     

 

 

Quyen Truong     

Quyen Truong: Quyen is passionate about Open Communities Alliance's mission and is interested in serving on the Governance Board because she personally experienced how affordable housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods can make meaningful differences in people's lives. As a refugee from Vietnam, Quyen came to the U.S. with her family at age seven. Because her parents were able to secure affordable housing in West Hartford - one of the best districts for secondary school education in Connecticut - Quyen was offered educational opportunities that were otherwise unavailable. She went to a high school that offered a huge range of AP classes and she benefited from school mentors who offered their networks and connections to help her get into college. Now, she is a lawyer and wants to address racial equity by pushing to create affordable housing in opportunity-rich communities. For the past fifteen years, Quyen has worked in non-profits to create a more equitable society. She has worked in Boston at Artists For Humanity, promoting urban youth development through the arts, and in Hartford at Amplify, Inc. to advocate for behavioral health and health equity with our grassroots community partners. Quyen recently graduated with honors from University of Connecticut School of Law and intends to practice health law at Wiggin and Dana, LLP in New Haven. Quyen lives with her wife and dog in Hartford and in her spare time enjoys painting and running.

     

 

 

Kirk Wesley     

Kirk Wesley: I am interested in joining the OCA Board of Directors because I know and understand that access to quality, affordable, housing in affluent communities in Connecticut will dramatically reduce the opportunity gap that is so prevalent in this state. As a 20 year resident of Bridgeport, I never understood how there could be such poverty and distress just miles from the opulence and decadence of the "Gold Coast." Even though I spent 10 years working as a political campaign manager, I did not understand the role that housing segregation plays in the state until I attended an OCA event in Westport in the fall of 2019. That event led me to learn and try to understand more about the affordable housing crisis that this state faces and the many measures taken to limit integration in local municipalities. As a community organizer and board chair of a pre-school in Bridgeport, I will bring a plethora of skills and knowledge to board that can help the mission of OCA and also add to the efficiency of the board dynamic. Additionally, because equitable housing is an issue I am extremely passionate about, I will bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the work and the board that will help to grow the organization.

 
     

 

 

Shanyelle Young     

Shanyelle L. Young: Shanyelle L. Young is the Broker/Owner of S Young Realty & Associates, LLC. Shehas been a REALTOR for 17 years. In 2017 she followed her dream to become a Broker and opened her own Real Estate Firm. She has used her business as ministry and has been honored and Blessed to help so many achieve their goals and make their dreams come true. Her business motto is “Giving and Living in Abundance”.

She is a graduate of The University of Connecticut where she earned her degree in Economics and Sociology.  She serves on the University of Connecticut African American Alumni Council. She holds a position on the board of Directors for the Connecticut Realtors Association and The Connecticut Realtor’s State  Accountability’ for Racial Justice and Inequality in Real Estate task force.  She is co-founder of the Bridge Committee for The Greater Hartford Association of Realtors which was established in 2015 to support underrepresented Realtors and their clients.

Shanyelle has been a member of the First Cathedral Church in Bloomfield CT for 18 years where she is a Sunday school teacher for the  Women’s  Ministry and a member of the  Diaconate Bereavement Ministry.

She also holds a CT Insurance Agent license so she can assist her husband Brent Young, of 27 years in his Insurance Agency.

Shanyelle’s biggest Blessings are her 3 children. Brent Jr.  and Shaylyn - 25 year old twins, one who is a Dr of Chiropractor and the other who is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst for Autistic children. Her youngest is a senior in the school of Business at The University of Connecticut and has accepted a position as an analyst with Goldman Sacs post-graduation.

 

 

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