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Join nycoba NOMA at The Africa Center as we focus on how wealth has been created, sustained, and being developed in the black community. The three case studies we are focusing on are Sag Harbor in Long Island, Striver's Row in Harlem, and Africatown in Mobile Alabama, three different locations where WEALTH and COMMUNITY were built after the emancipation proclamation.



Our speakers will both present and participate in a panel discussion on their respective community's experience/research. The second half of the evening will be a discussion with you the audience to advance the dialogue on ideas and initiatives to sustain and build WEALTH IN OUR COMMUNITY. 


Everardo Jefferson:

Everardo Jefferson co-founded Caples Jefferson Architects in 1987.


His firm specializes in community-based civic, educational, and cultural buildings. CJA has won numerous distinctions including AIA national and state awards, a NYC Art Commission award, an Historic Districts Council Design Award, and multiple Municipal Arts Society MASterworks Awards. In 2009, CJA was named as NYC's MWBE of the Year; in 2012, the firm was honored as New York State AIA Firm of the Year; in 2014, the firm’s Weeksville Heritage Center received New York State AIA’s Best in New York. 

His work has been featured in publications including Architect, Architectural Record, and The New York Times. He has served as visiting faculty at Syracuse, NJIT, and Columbia.

Renee Simons:

Renee V. H. Simons is President of SANS Sag Harbor, a not for profit organization pursuing National and State recognition of SANS as a Historical District founded and developed by African Americans in the Post WWII and Jim Crow eras. She is also very engaged in community activism to make a difference today and for all future generations in America and the world. She is President of The Harley Simons Group, Inc., a Marketing and Communications consulting company and is an Adjunct Professor at Mercy College's School of Business. Ms. Simons has a wealth of senior level business experience managing billion dollar brands and has directed marketing efforts across several marketing categories including beverages, paper products, technology and financial industries. Ms. Simons' career experience includes executive global management as a Managing Director (SVP) at JP Morgan Chase, marketing, sales, and media management at Philip Morris Companies, as well as brand management over 7UP/Diet 7UP and Dixie products. Ms. Simons is a past Vice Chair of Covenant House Board of Directors, past Board Chair and President of the Advertising Club of New York, and is a Taproot Foundation Pro Bono Account Director. Ms. Simons has received numerous awards and was recognized in the past by Black Enterprise, Women of Power and Influence, YMCA's Outstanding Women of America, and Excellence in Enterprise from Monroe College. Ms. Simons has a Columbia Business School MBA, a Fordham University MS in Ed., and a CUNY Hunter College BA.

Chelsea Banks:

Chelsea Banks received her B.F.A in Interior Design at Kean University. After completing internships at several well-established design firms during the pursuit of her undergraduate education, she landed her first post-college corporate job in New York City at The Switzer Group. There, she contributed to various high-profile design projects. Always maintaining a strong commitment to supporting efforts to assist various populations who are in need, Chelsea designed an ornament that has been used to raise $42,000 for a not-for-profit organization, Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless.


Chelsea has a very rich family history in Sag Harbor and Easthampton. Her great-grandparents were among the initial home builders in Azurest. Her great aunt and uncle went on to build another home in Azurest. Her grandparents bought a home immediately down the road from Sag Harbor Hills. Chelsea’s mother, aunt and cousins grew up spending summers with the other children of African-American pioneers who came to this area to provide a safe and relaxing haven for their families. Having spent her own entire childhood visiting Sag Harbor and East Hampton, she understands the value of maintaining this history and the importance of working together to promote a strong community. She presently helps to maintain a family home in East Hampton. 

Renee Kemp-Rotan:

Renee Kemp-Rotan, CEO studiorotan, Urban Designer, Master planner; 1st African American female to graduate Syracuse University, B. Architecture/cum laude; attended Architectural Association, London; graduated Columbia University, MS Urban/Regional Planning; Member: American Institute of Architects; AIAs Diversity+ Inclusion Council; National Organization of Minority Architects. RKR has Directed AIA’s Design, Education, Practice Division and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Design Demonstration and National Design Competition Programs. She has served ten mayors as urban policy/designer advisor: DC, NYC and Atlanta including master planning 8 communities for the 1996 Olympics and went on to serve as Director of Economic Development of Atlanta, and Chief of Urban Design and Development where works included master planning for the Atlanta Aquarium, Olympic Park and construction liaison to the construction of Philips Arena. She now resides in Birmingham, where she directed planning for $200M Capital Projects, The Railroad Reservation Park, Crossplex, SPARK@Sloss and The Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail. Her works are included in the African American National Biography, editor Dr. Henry Louis Gates; Harvard University, WEB DuBose Center and Oxford University, African American Research Center. She has lectured worldwide on issues of design and social impact, i.e. National Museum of African American History and Culture, Sorbonne, Cairo University, MIT, Harvard, Cooper Hewitt, Howard, FAMU, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Michigan, Tuskegee, etc. She is contributing editor, Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, Ed. Paul Oliver, Cambridge Press/Bloomsbury, London. Her work as lead designer for the international Grand Egyptian Museum Competition placed 21st among 2000 worldwide entries. Presently, Kemp-Rotan is working with MOVE, the community, AIA and NOMA to develop an international design competition for the design of a new town in town in Africatown, site of the last African slave cargo ship, in Mobile, Alabama.

Maryam Greenidge:

Maryam Greenidge received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, and a bachelor of arts from New York University, where she studied Anthropology and Art History.  As a trained dancer, Maryam was inspired to go to law school by her desire to help artists and entrepreneurs have access to legal services. She launched The Law Studio in 2017 where she specializes in wealth management which involves intellectual property law, estate planning, and small business solutions.  Maryam is a trained mediator and speaks conversational Spanish and Italian. Maryam's knowledge, experience, leadership and clients range far and wide in areas of entertainment where she is fortunate to represent recording artists, publishers, dancers, and singers. 

Catered By:


Inspired by Co-Founder and Executive Chef Pierre Thiam’s mission to share African culture through food, Teranga reflects the depth, richness, and vibrancy of Africa’s diverse culinary traditions in a modern, fast casual setting.



For additional information email us at 

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