A diverse group of twelve people has been selected from more than 100 applicants as the members of CT Mirror’s inaugural Community Editorial Board (CEB).
The members of the new CEB reflect racial, ethnic, gender, geographic, and age diversity and bring a full range of expertise and experience to CT Mirror’s pages, including community development, education, justice, human rights, leadership, and more.
Over the next 12 months each CEB member will publish four to six opinion essays in our Viewpoints opinion section. Under the guidance of Mercy A. Quaye, CEB essays will amplify a range of voices on issues that are important to Connecticut communities and offer perspectives that we may not have considered.
The first CEB-authored essay will publish next week. CEB reflections will be published regularly throughout 2022.
As you read CEB essays please let us know your thoughts. And if you’re interested in participating in next year’s CEB, applications for 2023 will open this fall.
Meet The Community Editorial Board
Weruché George, a Nigerian-born writer, relocated to the United States in 2005 and has made Hamden her home since then. She graduated cum laude from Quinnipiac University and has degrees in English, Communications, and Studies in the Law. Her master’s in journalism capstone project ‘Is This Home Now?’ is a 30-minute documentary film about refugee immigration and resettlement.
She graduated on May 20, 2020, from Columbia University with a master of arts degree in Human Rights Studies and will teach as well as carry out research on the rights of African WWII Veterans to be Seen, community development, gender, and sexual violence, women’s rights, and education.
She was a delegate to the 13th Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Warsaw, Poland with the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University where she participated in workshops with Nobel Peace Laureates Muhammad Yunus, Mairead Maguire, and others. She is also a United Nations Association-USA representative to the United Nations 62nd Commission on the Status of Women. She supports the Gbowee Peace Foundation and recently began grants and fundraising volunteer work. She is also a spokesperson for refugees in New Haven.
She currently serves as a Human Rights and Relations Commissioner in Hamden, and on the Board of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services – IRIS, in New Haven. Her writings have also been published in the Hartford Courant and the Edge Magazine.
David Blitz is a faculty member at Central Connecticut State University since 1989, where he is professor of Philosophy and co-coordinator of the Peace Studies program. He is vice-chair of the statewide Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System and is President of the international Bertrand Russell Society.
He resides in Colebrook since 2010 and has been involved in past bookstore and news projects in the area. He currently works with university and college faculty and staff on COVID-19 policies.
Dice Oh is a resident of Stamford with a strong interest in city planning, housing affordability, and sustainable transportation.
Dice believes that many of society’s biggest problems are directly linked to our current land use and transportation paradigm: housing unaffordability, climate change, environmental destruction, air pollution, and racial/economic segregation. He is particularly passionate about the need to reorient our built environment around multi-family housing centered around walkable, transit-oriented neighborhoods, in contrast to the car-dependent suburban sprawl that has predominated in the past several decades.
He is a member of People Friendly Stamford, a local community group devoted to making Stamford and Connecticut more walkable and bikeable, economically vibrant, affordable, and less reliant on cars.
As the current Policy Director of the Connecticut Justice Alliance, Iliana began her work with the Alliance in late 2017 as one of the founding members of the Justice Advisors. In July of 2018, Iliana joined the full-time staff of the Alliance and has since played a critical role in recruiting, training and supporting the Justice Advisors as well as determining the policies and practices of the organization’s work.
Iliana is a 2017-2019 Youth First Initiative’s Youth Leaders Network Alum, a 2019 CT Public Allies Alum, and a 2019-2021 Annie E Casey Foundation Youth Advisory Council Alum and currently serves as a member of the 2021 World Congress on Justice with Children Child and Youth Advisory Group.
She is a frequent panelist for national organizations, speaking to her expertise around youth and young adult partnership and advocacy based on her personal experiences and professional success.
Gus is a lifelong resident of Connecticut who grew up in Mansfield and now calls Farmington home. His parents were both public school teachers in Windham, and his two sisters also work in public education. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and is a Licensed Master Social Worker and Recovery Support Specialist.
Gus currently works with the ACLU of Connecticut as the campaign manager for the Smart Justice campaign where he is passionate about promoting the civic and political engagement of people who have been directly impacted by Connecticut’s criminal legal system.
Away from work, Gus enjoys working out, being a compliant human companion to his dog, Dexter, and a doting uncle to his nieces and nephew.
Nanee Sajeev is an Ezhava Malayalee-American writer, educator, and anti-violence worker living on Paugussett land. They care deeply about justice and healing and is often thinking about the ways that marginalized communities create safety for themselves. She received a BA in Economics from University of Connecticut in 2017 and a MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago in 2021. They find delight in good books, pastries, expensive coffee, and cheap wine.
John M. Jaramillo
John M. Jaramillo is founder and leadership performance coach and consultant at Coach It Out, LLC. In that capacity he helps clients throughout the organizational hierarchy break through to their next level of leadership performance and effectiveness. He is able to help clients maximize who they truly are so they can evolve toward their overall performance and fulfillment goals. By working with John, clients realize just how much more of their abilities, experiences, and goals they can bring to the table.
The foundation of John’s work is his mish-mash of educational disciplines and experience working and coaching in various industries. John holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Hofstra University; master’s degrees in each Organization Psychology and Business Administration from the University of Hartford; a certificate in Mediation from the Quinnipiac University School of Law Center on Dispute Resolution & University of Connecticut; and a certificate in Systems Thinking from eCornell. His professional experience in the public and private, profit and non-profit sectors complements that education, allowing him to transfer lessons across business industries, organizational structures, and leadership needs.
In addition to coaching, he enjoys writing, presenting, and speaking on leadership as well as hosting two podcasts — The Book Leads: Impactful Books For Life & Leadership and Mindset Talks: Life Beyond The Checkboxes.
John is Principal Budget Specialist for the state’s Office of Policy and Management.
John lives in Berlin with his wife and two sons.
Liam Brennan is the incoming Inspector General for the Civilian Police Review Board in Hartford. A former legal aid attorney. he has served as the Executive Director of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center and as a staff attorney at New Haven Legal Assistance Association. He was a federal prosecutor from 2007-2018, serving first as a Trial Attorney in the Fraud Section in Washington, DC, and then as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Financial Fraud and Public Corruption Unit in Connecticut and as Director of the Federal Public Corruption Task Force.
A former visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, he has also served on the boards of Junta for Progressive Action, Elm City Cycling, Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, and the Community Placemaking Engagement Network.
In addition to the CT Mirror, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, Just Security, Newsweek, The New Haven Independent, and other publications. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut with his wife, Rebecca Borné, and their four children.
A community activist and nonprofit leader with 15+ years of experience, Maybeth Morales-Davis currently serves as the Deputy Director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury. With a strong passion for social justice, housing, community, and the arts; Maybeth is adamant about working with residents and local/state/national partners to transform her community into a more equitable place.
When she is not busy with work, you can find Maybeth de-schooling her 2 boys with her husband, hitting the trails with her dog, or spending time creating abstract pieces of art.
Throughout his career, Mark has been a passionate and effective change agent in both public and private sector settings.
His first real opportunity to step up and make a difference came in 1980, at the beginning of his career. Fortunate to find his first studio apartment in a high-rise doorman building just three blocks from the office and one block from the United Nations, yet other tenants in the building were not so lucky. The other tenants were mostly U.N. workers from around the globe, including the entire Egyptian delegation to the U.N. Because they were foreign nationals and unfamiliar with New York rent regulations, the landlord was vastly overcharging on their rents. Mark organized a Tenants Association and led over 80 tenants on rent strike for 14 months. When the group finally got their day in court, they won and received dramatic rent rollbacks and retroactive rebates.
Over the years, Mark have been an active part of many organizations and initiatives, focusing his efforts and energy on his community (both Ridgefield and the State of Connecticut), his profession (advertising) and for communities of color.
Dr. Sana Shaikh
Sana Shaikh, Ph.D., has had an extensive career in education, non-profit & for-profit spaces. Born in Pakistan and raised in California, Dr. Shaikh began her career teaching 11th-grade English in Baltimore. She has had the privilege of working with Teach for America, Achievement First, Voices for Children, the Aspen Institute, the Rappaport Institute at the Harvard Kennedy School and Springfield Public Schools.
She holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science and Near Eastern studies with a minor in Global Poverty & Practice, two master’s degrees, one in Urban Studies from Johns Hopkins and one in Social Policy & Management from Brandeis University, and a Ph.D. from the Heller School of School Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
A 50Can National Voices Fellow and owner of her consulting company, TimeED, Dr. Shaikh’s most important job is being a mom of two and life partner of Dr. Rayhan Shaikh. She lives in Farmington.
Timothy is passionate about redeveloping neighborhoods and downtowns through innovative design that creates a sense of place and contributes to the development of thriving communities.
He is a 4x entrepreneur with a background in real estate and economic development He accumulated much of his experience from his position at FBE Limited. FBE Limited is a privately held real estate and capital management company consisting of over 25 million sq ft of industrial and office properties and over 4,000 residential units throughout the United States; where he focused on operations and development. His personal network of investment and real estate professionals swelled from this experience.
Most recently, he worked for Shelbourne Global as Director of New Markets & Development overseeing 1 million sq ft of office and retail space and is now Manager of ULI Boston/England where he oversees their Technical Assistance Panel, UrbanPlan, and Pathways to Inclusion programs.
In his spare time Tim enjoys working on his jeep and off grid cabin in the Catskills, spending time with his family.