Hillary Bridges

Hillary is dedicated to helping young Black people discover their rich histories of resilience and brilliance along with the root causes of the racial disparities they see around them. Her drive to create Telling Our Story comes from her own continued journey from ignorance and feelings of inferiority-- to liberation. While in high school Hillary co-founded the African Education Program (, a non-profit dedicated to helping improve educational opportunities in Zambia. She was a John B. Ervin Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, where she spent a year as a student at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and a Danish Government Scholar at the University of Copenhagen. Hillary is originally from the Philadelphia suburbs and is happy to have called New Haven home for the past six years.

Elizabeth Kinnane-Smith

Elizabeth grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. She discovered her passion for learning about the African diaspora in high school when she became involved in her school's Black Student Union. With her school's BSU she organized lesson plans for other high school students on "Forgotten Black History", planned student protests, and participated in professional development trainings. She is currently taking time off from studying African American Studies at Northeastern University to work with BHA as program coordinator.

Chinedum Nnodum

Chinedum Nnodum (he/him) has had a variety of job and education experiences that formulated a global perspective on the African diaspora and Black issues over the years; he has studied at Cornell University, Ithaca College, Sacred Heart University, and the University of Bridgeport. Mr. Nnodum has built his career utilizing all his talents towards the goals of educational justice and Black economic success, focused on methods of achieving equity on a systemic level. Born and raised in Bronx, New York to Nigerian immigrants, Chinedum has been a permanent resident of Bridgeport since 2009.  He envisions a world in which melanated people worldwide are enabled to function autonomously. 

Kierra Turnbull

Kierra (she/her) is a first generation Afro-Caribbean, born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She moved to CT as a child and attended New Haven public schools. While attaining her B.B.A. from Temple University, she became dedicated to the movement surrounding teaching an accurate, all-encompassing version of Black Studies in classrooms. She was a co-organizer with the Black and Brown Coalition at Temple and an active member of The Saturday Free School in North Philadelphia - where she began studying the Black radical tradition. She began substitute teaching after graduation, in order to continue her life-long role of working with youth. She became involved with BHA due to her passion for social justice and educational equity, especially pertaining to Black youth of the diaspora. 

Kerry Lord

Over the last 28 years, Kerry Lord has enjoyed an exciting career as a public educator. She spent 10 years teaching elementary and middle school in the Bay Area, then began her Administrative career as an Assistant Principal at the Middle level. As a school leader in Denver, Kerry served as a principal at the elementary level for 10 years, and then became the Executive Director at a K-12 Expeditionary Learning public school of choice. In 2009 Kerry was recognized by the Commissioner of Education for her school’s outstanding student growth. She was appointed by the Governor of Colorado to sit on the High School Graduation Guidelines Council, and contracted by the Colorado Department of Education to review school improvement plans for the alternative high schools in Denver. Kerry holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, a Master’s in Education from San Francisco State University, and is an instructor for the Residency Program for School Leaders. Kerry is the project manager for the Center’s annual Equity Institute, works with district leaders to address systemic inequities, coaches and mentors school leaders, and facilitates communities of practice designed to support school leaders.

Crystal Feimster

Crystal N. Feimster, a native of North Carolina, is an associate professor in the American Studies Program and the departments of African American Studies and History at Yale University, where she teaches a range of courses in 19th and 20th century African American history, women’s history, and southern history. She has also taught at Boston College, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Princeton. She earned her Masters Degree and Ph. D. in history from Princeton University and her BA in History and Women’s Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is the author of Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching. She is currently completing her manuscript, Truth Be Told: Rape and Mutiny in Civil War Louisiana.

Michelle King 

Michelle King is a learner first and foremost and as well as an instigator of learning. Professionally, she is a middle school teacher and has taught over 22 years in public schools in Western Pennsylvania. She learned and honed her craft in Mt. Lebanon with a fantastic crew of educators and students for over 16 years. In her quest to instigate courageous conversations about learning and children, she ventured to The Environmental Charter School and their principles (Catalyst. Character. Collaboration. Commitment.)  She co-taught Cultural Literacy, an integrated social sciences and English/Language Arts course. She is constantly seeking to create dynamic learning experiences and opportunities that inspire wonder, discovery, contradictions, frustrations, and joy. In making connections locally and globally, Michelle pushes the envelope and boundaries of where learning should occur for all students. Her current interests are in game based learning, design, restorative justice, equity, social justice, the environment and teacher empowerment.  Through her partnerships with the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, Center for Urban Education, UrbanKind Institute, Green Building Alliance, SocialVR, Carnegie Science Center FAB Lab, Girl Up, CREATE Lab, Carnegie Museum of Art, the Remake Learning ecosystem, ThinkZone Games and other provocateurs; Michelle is helping to create equitable, empathetic, learning experiences for all Pittburghers.

Nataliya Braginsky is a high school teacher living and working in New Haven. Certified in both Social Studies and English, Nataliya has worked in public schools for the past ten years. She has designed and led workshops on culturally relevant pedagogy and restorative justice practices, developed and published curriculum with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, and co-organized the Education for Liberation Track at the Allied Media Conference. Nataliya is also a core organizer with the New Haven Educators’ Collective, a group that works to protect public schools from privatization, and that fights for racial, economic, and social justice in schools and communities. Currently, Nataliya is teaching Contemporary Law, Journalism, and American Studies at Metropolitan Business Academy.  

Nataliya Braginsky