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Urban Equity Collaborative Launches First Cohort of the Community Fellows Program

Grand Challenges initiative connects community-based activists with university resources

The Urban Equity Collaborative (UEC) Grand Challenges initiative launched the inaugural cohort of the Community Fellows Program in February 2024.  This program is the first of its kind at the University of Maryland, connecting community-based activists with research support and university resources.

Urben Equity Collaborative Fellows 2024

Community Fellows 2024 Orientation. Photographed by Christine Cestello Hinojosa Director, Communications & External Relations

The UEC Community Fellows Program supports a one-semester fellowship that sparks collaborations between community activists, practitioners, and researchers to tackle the pressing issue of urban displacement and urban issues.

Rooted in the principles of equitable community-university partnerships, the program places a strong emphasis on non-hierarchical co-creation and knowledge sharing. The first cohort of the Urban Equity Collaborative Fellows brings an array of experience from immigrant rights advocacy, small business support, and tenant advocacy. Each fellow receives a stipend and access to UMD Resources through the program. The Fellowship will run from February 1 to June 1, 2024.

Meet the 2024 Fellows

Jourgette Reid-Sillah

Ms. Jourgette Reid-Sillah

UEC Senior Leader: Nancy Raquel Mirabal
UEC Graduate Assistant: Jacqueline Partida

“Ms. J," retired from a 30-year career in the hospitality industry and has been a member of ONE DC since 2017. With extensive experience as a shop steward in Unite HERE Local 25, she returned to school after a cancer diagnosis and graduated from the University of the District of Columbia in 2017. Ms. J aims to learn about tenant leadership research to document the experiences of  tenant leadership in Southeast DC.


Rev. Roosevelt Toussaint

Rev. Roosevelt Toussaint

UEC Senior Leader: Devon Payne-Sturges
UEC Graduate Assistant: Wesley Wiggins

Rev. Toussaint serves as the Executive Director of the Haitian Development Center of Delmarva Inc., in Salisbury, MD. The organization is on a mission to empower Haitians on the Delmarva Peninsula towards self-sufficiency, positive change and progress. Rev. Toussaint, plans to collaborate with the UEC to conduct a formal Census of the growing Haitian population in Salisbury.


Jenn Tran

Jenn Tran

UEC Senior Leader: Willow Lung-Amam
UEC Graduate Assistant: Eric Burnstein

Jenn is an architecture and planning professional working in the Vietnamese community of Falls Church, VA. She is an organizer with Viet Place Collective, advocating for immigrant businesses, and addressing gentrification and cultural erasure. Collaborating with the UEC, Jenn plans to explore creative outreach strategies to empower immigrant businesses in the Eden Center facing displacement from development pressures.


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