Cheryl P. Johnson, director general of the Coalition for Temporary Asylum, is the first black man to be elected chairman of the new Detroit.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl P. Johnson

In the nonprofit world, unrest is erupting after New Detroit, Inc. recently elected the Director General of the Coalition for Temporary Asylum (COTS) Cheryl P. Johnson as Chair of the Board.

Johnson, the leader of the nonprofit, is the first knee-jerk and black woman to lead a 55-year history of racial justice. Johnson succeeded Gardner-White President Rachel Tronstein Stewart, who also smashed the glass ceiling herself as the first woman on the board to hold the post since 2018.

“I’m excited about it and look forward to it,” Johnson said of her historic post, adding that she intends to appear in her new role with plans to help fight injustice locally and go beyond it through outreach. . “When you’re in something a little scary and really achieve it, it turns into excitement. For me, I am very excited about this opportunity. Fear is excitement without breathing. I’m breathing and … I’m inclined to this role. ”

New Detroit was created in response to the civil unrest in 1967, which revealed many deep social, public and community problems, the site said. At the request of then-Michigan Gov. George Romney and Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh, business chief Joseph L. Hudson Jr. formed a unique coalition – the first in the country – to determine what went wrong in July 1967, what needs to change and how to make a change. reality.

New Detroit is a coalition of 57 nonprofit, corporate and community leaders working to achieve racial understanding and racial equality in Detroit. Today, NDI fulfills its mission by providing leadership in thought, advocating for policy change, and offering direct services including racial conversations and individualized training on racial diversity, justice, inclusion, and equity (DEIJ).

New Detroit also appointed Reginald Dozier and Kevin Prokop as vice presidents, Andrew Stein as treasurer, and Peter Kellet as secretary; elected My Frey, Patricia McCann and Monique Stanton as new board members; and recognized outgoing members, Antoine Garibaldi, Hassan Jaber, Gilda Z. Jacobs and Paul Raiser Jr.

“Cheryl is focused and accomplished. She gladly went down in history, finally electing the first colored person and a black woman chairman. As COTS’s longtime CEO, she has transformed the organization’s business model into a complex non-profit enterprise, using the “Self-Sufficiency Passport” model to change the legacy of intergenerational poverty. Cheryl manages several facilities with a budget of $ 8 million, ”said New Detroit CEO Michael Rafferty.

“Cheryl is the perfect person to lead New Detroit as we transform and grow our organization and fight racism,” Rafferty continued. “Cheryl has demonstrated outstanding leadership during her 12 years on the New Detroit Council, most recently as one of our vice presidents. I believe that it will help us to continue our mission to eliminate racism and injustice in our meeting rooms, classrooms and throughout our society. ”

In addition to his role as chairman of the New Detroit Board of Directors, Johnson is also working on mission development and the growth of several local, regional and government organizations through dedicated service to boards. Johnson said that with her line of work, when people think about racism and the fight against injustice that is happening, which she calls “one of the world’s greatest sins,” it’s not easy when you discuss it.

“It’s scary for most people,” she said of hundreds of years of racism and discrimination against lawless groups. “But oh, believe you can change that. [To know] there is an opportunity to create a better world where this form of suffering does not exist for people – this is the biggest excitement … for me.

Johnson added that some of her priorities in the new role include holding a fall summit on racial justice to bring national opinion leaders to a hybrid October event.

“It’s going to be a great feat,” Johnson said, adding that she hopes to benefit from the event. “To really … create an opportunity for people to have racial understanding, especially [to put] the Detroit subway is on the national stage to make sure opportunities are happening. ”

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