We Still Count Statewide Convening

We Still Count Statewide Convening:
Building Long-Term Partnerships for Equity

(En español)

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
(Registration begins at 9:00 AM)

The McKimmon Conference and Training Center at NC State
1101 Gorman St, Raleigh, NC 27606


Full Listing of Participants



Featured Speakers Include: 

Darlene Azarmi                                                          Democracy Campaigner, Friends of the Earth


 Darlene Azarmi is the Democracy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, where they are working to build momentum for an Independent Redistricting Commission in North Carolina while forging deeper ties between environmental and voting rights communities. Darlene holds a BA in Environmental Studies from UNC Wilmington,  studied “People, Politics, and Environment” in the Galapagos, and has a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke. Their passions for civic engagement, environmental justice, and racial equity culminate with their work at FOE. Darlene previously worked with Democracy North Carolina, the Oregon Public Interest Research Group, and Oceana in Washington, D.C. Outside of movement spaces, they enjoy hiking, wildcrafting, riding things with two wheels, and spoken word. Darlene resides in Asheville, where you can often find them enjoying an Appalachian sunset from their porch with their hound dog.

Tasha Boone
Assistant Director for Communications,
U.S. Census Bureau


Tasha Boone is originally from northeastern NC and grew up near Elizabeth City.  She came to the U.S. Census Bureau in 1998 and has held several positions focused on communications. She has served as census advisor in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, deputy chief of the 2010 Census Publicity Office, and was special assistant to the associate director for communications. In 2012, Tasha became the assistant division chief for communications in the American Community Survey Office. She later was acting chief of the Decennial Communications Coordination Office before becoming the deputy chief of the Decennial Census Management Division. In 2018, Tasha transitioned to serve as a senior advisor to the deputy director, and in 2020, she became the chief of digital services and communications in the Office of the Deputy Director.    

Deric Boston, LCSW                                                      Director of Head Start & Early Head Start, Families & Communities Rising, Inc.


Deric is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and serves as Director of Early Education programs for Families & Communities Rising, Inc. (FCR) serving the Durham/Orange County communities. He previously served as the Director of Durham Head Start & Early Head Start. He began his affiliation with Head Start programs as a contract Mental Health Consultant for Telamon Corp. while employed as a Young Child Mental Health Specialist with Learning Together Inc.’s Young Child Mental Health Initiative. Deric assisted Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms in Wake and Yadkin County by creating interventions for children with social/emotional issues. Prior to coming to FCR, Deric has also served as a contracted Disabilities Coordinator for children enrolled in Head Start in Durham, NC. He joined FCR, Inc. as a Health Manager and now serves as a director.

Deric holds a Masters in Social Work from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work and a Bachelor of Science in Education from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He has extensive clinical experience and training in young child, teen, adult, and couples mental health, trauma, risk and resilience, therapeutic foster care, adoptions, attachment disruptions, ecological systems approaches, and family systems.


Kyle Brazile                                                                Director of Civic Engagement, NC Counts Coalition



Originally from Chicago, Kyle Brazile joined NC Counts after an extensive career in higher education and law. He is the former in-house counsel at St. Augustine’s University and spent nearly 15 years in higher education, which includes time working at UNC Chapel Hill and his alma mater, NC Central University School of Law, as the Assistant Dean for Admissions. He received his undergraduate degree in business and English from Fisk University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and graduated from the W.E.B DuBois Honors program. He received an M.A. degree from the University of Chicago with a focus in political science. Kyle completed his law degree in 2013 from NC Central’s evening program.

Kyle believes in the transformative nature of justice and education in our democracy, and enjoys advocating by using his privilege to empower others. He currently lives in Durham with his brilliant daughters, and is a lover of books, jazz, hip-hop and social justice.


Judith Brown                                                           Executive Director, Project 70Forward



Judith Brown is the founder and Executive Director of Project 70Forward. Judith was born in New York City. Moving first to Baltimore, MD in the late 1990s, and then to Charlotte, NC in 2010, Judith originally worked as a corporate administrator in various industries, until her late-30s.

At that time, she left the workforce due to increasingly disabling health conditions. Also, as a mother of two sons on the autism spectrum, her time became focused on getting the best of care and education for her children and herself. After raising her boys to adulthood, Judith took all her years of dealing with the medical, insurance, education, and social services industries, and founded Project 70Forward in 2018.

She is an outspoken disability advocate/activist in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Project 70Forward is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with the mission to support and advance the lives of people with disabilities. It’s important to note that two-thirds of the team are people with disabilities. Project 70Forward serves our community in many different aspects such as the Foodie4Access program; a pop-up neighborhood food distribution and community resources event, the Highest Love Hygiene Pantry, and a Prescription Drug Assistance Program for uninsured residents. Judith works with other advocates and organizations to coordinate support throughout Charlotte. She also represents the disabled community on important issues, such as housing, food security, and economic mobility.



Brandy Bynum Dawson                                                Senior Director of Policy & Advocacy, NC Rural Center 


Brandy Bynum Dawson is the senior director of policy, research, and innovation at the NC Rural Center, leading the Center’s Rural Counts advocacy program. She previously worked for five years as the associate director of Rural Forward NC at the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation. In this role, she worked with the Director and program staff to manage, plan, organize, and direct daily capacity-building services of community initiatives in rural North Carolina. Prior to joining Rural Forward NC, she worked at NC Child for over twelve years, where she conducted research and data analysis, led policy campaigns, engaged elected officials, and facilitated numerous community-based projects.

A native northeastern North Carolinian, she graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, receiving a bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in sociology. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from NC State University, with a concentration in mental health policy. She enjoys spending her personal time with family and friends, especially when good food and fun are involved. 


Stacey Carless, Esq.                                                 Executive Director, NC Counts Coalition



Stacey is the Executive Director of the NC Counts Coalition. She began working with the Coalition in August 2017.

Stacey is an attorney and a member of the North Carolina State Bar. She earned her juris doctorate degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law (Eagle Pride Amplified). Stacey’s commitment to service and her passion for protecting human rights led her to complete a certificate program in constitutional law and civil rights. In that program, she focused her studies on the 14th Amendment and the resegregation of public schools in North Carolina. Following law school, Stacey hung her own shingle and opened Carless Law. There, she utilized her life experiences, legal knowledge and passion for justice to advocate for her clients in the judicial system.

Stacey is American bawn (born) and Jamaican raised; she is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants. She was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and is a proud UNC alumna! Stacey earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she double majored in Journalism and Mass Communications and Political Science. While attending law school, Stacey worked in transportation, project management, and public relations.




Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell
NC Department of Administration


Governor Roy Cooper named Pamela Brewington Cashwell Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Administration in April 2021.  As DOA Secretary, Cashwell oversees the state agency whose mission is to serve as a business manager for the state of North Carolina and a voice for underserved communities through its advocacy programs and boards and commissions.  Cashwell holds a B.A. in Economics from UNC–Chapel Hill and a JD from the UNC School of Law. In her role as Secretary she chairs the NC Commission on Inclusion, the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental and Health Equity Task Force and serves on the NC Commission of Indian Affairs, Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/ Latino Affairs, and NC Interagency Council for Coordinating Homeless Programs.


Bob Coats 
Governor’s Census Liaison, North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management


Bob Coats is an analyst in the Demographic and Economic Analysis section of the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), the Governor’s Census Liaison, and the coordinator of the North Carolina State Data Center network – a dissemination partnership between the US Census Bureau and 45 affiliate organizations statewide.  He was elected to two terms on the national State Data Center Steering Committee serving from 2010 – 2016, serving as Committee Chair from 2012-2016.  He also leads the NC Geographic Information Coordinating Council 2020 Census Working Group.   Mr. Coats has worked with data in state government for over 25 years, and he has also worked at the Raleigh News & Observer newspaper.  Bob is a North Carolina native and a graduate of North Carolina State University.

Tyler Daye                                                               Outreach and Engagement Organizer, Common Cause North Carolina


As a native North Carolinian, Tyler gained a passion for redistricting reform after learning about the gerrymandered voting districts he would be voting in when he first became eligible to vote.  Tyler graduated from UNCG with a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology.  Since then, he has worked with Democracy NC and the League of Women Voters of NC on redistricting reform initiatives. He previously served as the Project Management Assistant for Fair Districts NC, a coalition of organizations, led by the League of Women Voters of NC, working to end gerrymandering in the state. Last year, he joined Common Cause NC as a Redistricting Specialist focusing on educating NC voters and monitoring the North Carolina General Assembly’s redistricting process. Now, he is the Policy and Civic Engagement Manager for Common Cause NC.  While continuing to advocate for redistricting reform, Tyler monitors county boards of elections throughout the state and assists with Common Cause NC’s non-partisan election protection work.

Ryan Dial                                                                   Medical Laboratory Scientist and Chief Elder Brother, Phi Sigma Nu Fraternity Inc.



Ryan Dial, from Kernersville, NC, is a member of the Lumbee tribe and graduated last year from UNC with a Bachelors of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science and a minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. Before graduating, Ryan was a beloved member of the Carolina Indian Circle, serving as the Co-chair of the Powwow Committee and helped lead amazing annual Powwows. Ryan has actually been involved with the UNC Powwow for years, attending it with his family ever since he was 5 years old. Additionally, Ryan was also the President of the Gamma Chapter of Phi Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc, as well as the Treasurer, all of which showcases his dedication to his cultural roots and love for the Native community on campus.

Ryan is currently a Medical Lab Scientist at the UNC Medical Center in the Core Laboratory. He is also obtaining a Masters degree in Clinical Lab Science from UNC, with the purpose of advancing in his professional career. He is an amazing example of what a Native student is capable of and we are looking forward to seeing what he accomplishes next!


Angeline Echeverría                                                  Director of Partnership, NC Counts Coalition


Angeline is a passionate advocate for immigrant and worker rights, reproductive justice, and intergenerational civic engagement. She served as the executive director for El Pueblo from 2012-2021 and co-founded their affiliated organization, Fortaleza, in 2019. Prior to working with El Pueblo, she served as an organizer, outreach paralegal, and program director for different projects supporting women’s and immigrant worker organizing in the southeast and beyond.

Angeline’s roots are in Cuba, upstate New York, and the Piedmont region of South Carolina and she has lived in Raleigh since 2012. She credits Durham-based Student Action with Farmworkers for setting her on her path toward social justice work through an undergraduate internship program in which she participated while earning her Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Students from the University of South Carolina-Columbia.



Shalondra Greenlee                                                  Director of Recovery and Resiliency, NC Counts Coalition


Shalondra joins the NC Counts Coalition with over 10 years of hands-on experience in equity initiatives and capacity building. Her most recent work for the Department of Commerce in the US Census Bureau as a Partnership Specialist focused on building partnerships with local businesses, organizations and educational institutions in order to develop ongoing relationships and share information on the Census. She has worked with national nonprofit organizations and universities including Michigan State and North Carolina State for over ten years in program development and marketing.

From Detroit Michigan, the strait of Lake Erie and better known as Motown, Shalondra focuses on educating and serving others through equity work. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business from Wayne State University. She also holds a Juris Doctorate, Master of Library Science and MBA. Shalondra works on the motto to "think globally and act locally."  



Hilary Harris Klein                                                        Senior Counsel, Voting Rights, Southern Coalition for Social Justice



 Hilary Harris Klein joined Southern Coalition for Social Justice in 2020 and serves as Senior Counsel for the voting rights program, where her practice focuses on trial advocacy, anti-prison gerrymandering initiatives, and providing legal and other advocacy support to coalition partners throughout the South, including in redistricting and change-of-method-of election matters. She served as lead trial counsel, along with Allison Riggs, in the successful challenge to North Carolina’s 2021 state legislative and congressional maps as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders in Harper v. Moore on behalf of Plaintiff Common Cause.

Hilary graduated with honors from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Global Law Scholar and Pro Bono Pledge Recognition recipient. After law school, Hilary practiced commercial litigation, arbitration, and global investigations in the New York office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where she co-led the US Pro-Bono Associate Counsel and served as lead counsel in Prisoner’s Rights and Anti-Human Trafficking matters, for which she twice received the Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Public Award.

After moving to North Carolina in 2018, Hilary served as a term law clerk for the Honorable Catherine C. Eagles of the Middle District of North Carolina. Hilary also holds a B.S.E., magna cum laude, in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania before law school.




Dr. Iheoma Iruka, PhD. 
Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG at UNC-CH, and Census Advisor for the National Urban League


Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D., is a research professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) and the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at FPG.  Newly appointed, Dr. Iruka joins the US Census Bureau, National Advisory Council (NAC). As a council member, this 3-year appointment and the goal of the NAC is to provide strategic perspective and advice to the Census Bureau on the full range of economic, housing, demographic, socioeconomic, linguistic, technological, methodological, geographic, and behavioral and operational variables. Dr. Iruka has a B.A. in psychology from Temple University, M.A. in psychology from Boston University, and Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami, Florida.


Dr. Michelle Laws, PhD                                                    Chief Experience Officer, North Carolina Medical Society



Dr. Michelle Laws is the Chief Experience Officer for the North Carolina Medical Society. Prior to taking on this new position to lead the NCMS’s Communications; Marketing and Member Services teams, Dr. Laws served as the Assistant Director of Consumer Support Services and Community Engagement and the DEI Chair for the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services (MH/DD/SAS).

Dr. Laws’ distinguished professional career also includes serving as the Director of Policy and Public Advocacy for the NC National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-NC); Assistant Director of the Community Health Coalition, Inc., a nonprofit organization working to eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes for poor and medically marginalized communities in North Carolina; serving as the former Executive Director of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP; and teaching undergraduate courses in sociology, research methods, and introduction to statistic as an adjunct professor at North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and college-transfer courses in federal and state prisons.

Dr. Laws, a Chapel Hill native, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; a Master of Arts in Sociology from North Carolina Central University (Magna Cum Laude); and a Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine’s Department of Health Policy and Behavior.



Hyun Namkoong                                                          Deputy Director, Health Advocacy Project, NC Justice Center 


Hyun Namkoong is the Deputy Project Director of the Health Advocacy Project. Prior to joining HAP in July 2018, Hyun worked on reducing harms from mass incarceration, injection drug use, and opioid overdoses through direct service provision, media, and policy advocacy and coordinating key stakeholders. Hyun has worked on several policy initiatives including promoting second chances at employment for formerly incarcerated people, expanding legal protections to encourage people to call 911 during an opioid overdose, and legalizing access to sterile syringes to prevent infectious diseases.

Hyun worked as a health journalist for N.C. Health News and believes in the importance of meaningful storytelling through multimedia platforms to reach diverse audiences. Hyun holds advanced degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm in Public Health and Global Health.



Eliazar Posada
Organizing Director, Equality NC



Eliazar Posada (he/him), is a proud Latino son of working-class immigrants who grew up in Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and moved to North Carolina in 2007. Eliazar was raised to be an advocate and community organizer and his work began while still in school. From establishing an annual Hispanic Heritage Concert while in high school, to helping establish several student organizations at Campbell University for Latinx and LGBTQ students, to his work in the nonprofit sector, his goal has always been building community.  Prior to joining Equality NC, Eliazar was a part of El Centro Hispano team, where he started as a volunteer in 2015 to Acting President and CEO in 2021. He left to establish his consulting firm Posada Strategy Consulting and seek public office in Carrboro, North Carolina. Through his work, he has impacted policy and resources impacting the LGBTQ, Latinx and immigrant communities of North Carolina. He has served on numerous boards and committees, both for governments and nonprofit organizations, like Co-Chair of Raleigh’s Hispanic and Immigrant Board, the Carrboro Planning Board, Reimagining Community Safety Taskforce, member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill/Carrboro, PORCH Chapel Hill, and many more.

Maytée R. Sanz                                                         Majority Leaders Coach, Supermajority Education Fund



Maytée Rebecca Sanz, is a Puerto Rican business owner who moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2011 with her husband and three daughters. With her husband, Javier Andréu, she owns Griffin Roofing & Construction LLC. She has been active in NC politics since 2012 registering voters, volunteering with political campaigns and the Democratic National Convention. She occupies multiple leadership roles in the Democratic Party, most notably, State Executive Committee member since 2019, 3rd Vice Chair of Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County from 2020-2022, State Liaison for Indivisible NC District 9 (ID9) since 2021 and a Supermajority Education Fund Majority Leaders Coach, the only one in North Carolina. She currently serves in the NCDP Congressional District 14 Strategic Planning Committee.

She was appointed in December of 2018 by Governor Roy Cooper to serve as a member of the North Carolina Complete Count Commission for the 2020 Census where she was one of the Latinx commissioners in the State. After her term expired after the 2020 Census, she continued efforts around redistricting and making districts representative of the population of the state. Currently, she volunteers in the committee creating the language for an Independent
Redistricting Commission.

Although she went to the Interamerican University and studied mathematics from 1993 to 1996, being a business owner and a community advocate has truly been her life’s work.




Arturo Vargas
Chief Executive Officer of NALEO Educational Fund

Arturo Vargas is the Chief Executive Officer of NALEO Educational Fund, a national nonprofit organization that strengthens American democracy by promoting the full participation of Latinos in civic life. He also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of NALEO, a national membership organization of Latino policymakers and their supporters.  Arturo has held these positions since 1994.  Prior to joining NALEO Educational Fund, Arturo held various positions at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), including Vice President for Community Education and Public Policy. Before joining MALDEF, he was the senior education policy analyst at the National Council of La Raza in Washington, D.C.  Arturo is a nationally recognized expert in Latino demographic trends, electoral participation, voting rights, the Census, and redistricting.  Arturo holds a master’s degree in Education and a bachelor’s degree in History and Spanish from Stanford University.


Yuri Yamamoto                                                            Board Member, Raleigh Organizing Against Racism

Yuri Yamamoto (she/they) lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and is a hospital chaplain, musician, expressive art practitioner, and activist against intersecting systemic oppression. She holds a Master of Divinity from Shaw University Divinity School and is commissioned and endorsed as a Christian minister by Federation of Christian Ministries. Yuri co-led the publication of Unitarian Universalists of Color: Stories of Struggle, Courage, Love and Faith.




Panel and Discussion Topics Include:

  • Race and Ethnicity in Census Data
  • Redistricting
  • Mental health equity for ourselves and our communities




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