Who We Are
Rashida Govan, Ph.D
Rashida Govan is an educator, activist and writer who has worked for more than 20 years in education and youth development. Rashida is a graduate of the University of New Orleans where she earned her Ph.D. in educational administration. She completed a postdoctoral position as project director of the International Study on Youth Community Organizing. Her other research interests include African American girls’ adolescent development and college readiness, access and success. Rashida is deeply engaged in the New Orleans community and is credited with facilitating a number of community education programs including parent leadership trainings with the Fatherhood Consortium and the PRIDE Parent Leadership Academy, the Trayvon Martin Teach-In and the Assata Shakur Teach-In. She has published numerous reports and publications on family engagement, youth leadership, youth organizing, educational equity, public policy and other related topics. Govan is the founder and executive director of Project Butterfly New Orleans, an evidence-based, African-centered girls rites of passage program that has served over 200 high school girls since its inception in 2009. Rashida also has spoken nationally on hip hop culture and has spoken widely on issues concerning girls and women, and a wide range of social and healing justice issues. Govan is a proud alumna of Morgan State University.
Dominique Butler joined the New Orleans Youth Alliance Team through Public Allies, a 10-month AmeriCorps apprenticeship that develops strong community leaders. She received her bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama, where she studied film and television, sociology, and business. Dominique has lived in New Orleans since 2016. Her parents are in the Army, and her favorite hometowns include Burnsville, Minnesota; Norman, Oklahoma; and Prattville, Alabama. Dominique leads the NOYA Youth Leadership Fellowship, which prepares young people to assume leadership roles and to enact change in their communities. She also supports the organization’s communications and outreach, coordinates events and supports the NOYA team.
Zach Jackson is an activist, entrepreneur, speaker and advocate for social change. Zach joined the New Orleans Youth Alliance Team through Public Allies, a 10-month AmeriCorps apprenticeship that develops strong community leaders. Being selected for the role of Outreach Coordinator, Zach is now assisting NOYA in creating an outreach protocol and sustainable capacity plan for the youth, in the same city that raised him. Growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, Zach reflected on his role in the world, and he’s resolved to innovate, create, and ideate in order to maximize his impact. Zach is currently working to receive his associate degree from Delgado Community College where he’s studying business, political science and theatre. Zach focuses on sustainability and practices community empowerment. He’s been behind numerous food, toy and back-to-school drives within the community of his hometown. He’s organized fundraising campaigns in a “boots on the ground” approach to raise awareness to police brutality, wrongful convictions, war crimes, financial discrimination and human trafficking in a fight dedicated to protecting the human rights of indigenous Black people internationally. Zach is keen to use his voice to provoke dialogue, progress and change, and has done so through writing, speaking, and creative expression.
URBAN LEADER FELLOW
Brishaun is currently pursuing a degree in Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Social Policy and Economic Inequality at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to coming to the Brown School, she
completed her undergraduate studies at Illinois State University in 2016, receiving a Bachelors of Science in Family Relations. She has worked for four years in the nonprofit setting where she focused on program development and data management. While enrolled in the Brown School, Brishaun’s studies have focused on the social, political, and economic barriers that limit the mobility of African Americans. More specifically, she has conducted a geospatial analysis of black business ownership in the St. Louis region, researched the criminalization of African American Males and Individual Development Accounts as an anti-displacement strategy. Brishaun Hamilton currently works as a legislative intern for the Missouri House of Representatives. In her role, she works on drafting legislative briefs and bills that address economic inequality, social and economic disparities, and the social and economic implications of state policy and budgetary priorities for low-income families. Brishaun’s previous work as an administrative intern with the City of Ferguson’s Department of Economic Development informed her passion for human-centered economic development and family economic security. She gained valuable experience working with the director recruiting businesses and evaluating the cities workforce development efforts. Outside of work, Brishaun’s deep-rooted passion for addressing racial, social, and economic disparities has led her to facilitate civic engagement workshops for youth in the North St. Louis region.
NOYA SUMMER INTERN
Alexis Reed joined the New Orleans Youth Alliance team in February 2019 as a Youth Leadership Fellow, NOYA’s inaugural 10-month fellowship to connect youth to policy work, consulting, mentorship and leaders in the community. She is a rising senior at the University of New Orleans, where she majors in international studies with a concentration in business. She studied abroad with the UNO-Japan: Study at Doshisha University Program in the summer of 2017 and is a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program alumna. In addition, she served as a delegate at the 2017 National Model United Nations Conference in NYC. Alexis is a New Orleans native and joined NOYA to learn how to combat social justice issues in New Orleans, especially housing inequality and economic inequality. Her internship projects this summer include assisting the fellowship coordinator and supporting the development of a directory of youth-serving programs for youth and their families.