about The Editors

Kersha Smith, Ph.D.

is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at the City University of New York, Queensborough Community College. Kersha has been published in Pedagogy, Culture & Society, The Journal of Social Issues, Transformative Dialogues, among other journals. She is a recipient of the Spencer Foundation’s Discipline Based Studies in Education Fellowship, Calvin W. Ruck Award, and The Larry Murphy Award by the Adult Higher Education Alliance.

Marcella Runell Hall, Ed.D.

is Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students at Mount Holyoke College, and serves as a Lecturer in the Religion Department. Marcella has previously authored four books including Love, Race & Liberation and The Hip-Hop Education Guidebook, and contributed to several publications including VIBE, Equity & Excellence in Education, and the New York Times Learning Network. Marcella is named in the JFK 50th anniversary legacy gallery, was the recipient of the K. Patricia Cross Future Scholar’s Award given by the AAC&U (Association for American College’s and Universities).



With contributions from 30 women representing multiple racial and ethnic identities within the United States, UnCommon Bonds is intended to provide a window into the often invisible struggles present in cross-racial friendships. The editors clearly state in the anthology’s introduction that they were “…guarded against positioning the book as a collective Kumbaya moment.” Instead, they sought to “honor the uniqueness of each story while uniting them under a common bond that exposes conflicts, celebrations, and everything in between that exists in cross-racial friendships.” They believe that their gathering of “first-person accounts which challenge assumptions, disclose struggles, and celebrate sisterhood” will shift the authenticity of our conversations about race and intersectionality.


The contributors include a range of writers, from seasoned to novice and include Joicelyn Dingle; Stacey Gibson and Jessica Havens; Robin DiAngelo; Nelle Mills; Liza A. Talusan; Jodi Van der Horn-Gibson and Christina Marín; Thembisa S. Mshaka; Amber Buggs; Millicent R. Jackson; Felice Belle and Anne Murphy; Jennifer M. D. Matos and Gail E. Norskey; S. Lenise Wallace, Eman Mosharafa, and Joni Schwartz; Mira Sengupta and Samantha González-Block; Paulette Dalpes and Berenecea Johnson Eanes; JLove Calderón; Roberta Samet and Imani Romney-Rosa; Rani Varghese, Allia Abdullah-Matta, and Hye-Kyung Kang; Deinya Phenix; Keisha L. Green and Jamila Lyiscott.

Allia Abdullah-Matta is an Associate Professor of English at CUNY LaGuardia Community College. Her scholarship primarily focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century African/African Diaspora literature and visual culture. As an educator and writer, she strives to address the power and thepolitics of creative expression and voice as essential instruments of social justice practice and transformation.

Felice Belle is a poet, playwright, and pop culture enthusiast. She holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from Columbia University, an M.A. in individualized study from New York University’s Gallatin School, and an M.F.A.

in creative writing from Long Island University.


Amber Buggs lives in southern California and is a higher education professional within the University of California system. She is a proud alumna of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and New York University where she earned a Master of Arts degree in humanities and social thought.

JLove Calderón is an Art-ivist, author, and conscious TV, film and digital producer and director who has spent over two decades working on issues of social justice, race and gender.

Paulette Dalpes has 30 years of experience as a Student Affairs professional, including 18 years working at community colleges. Her career in student affairs includes senior level and systems administration; facilitating federally funded TRiO grant programs; training and development on issues of diversity and inclusion; and work in residential life at large universities. Dr. Dalpes is the coeditor of The Handbook for Student Affairs in Community Colleges and a forthcoming special issue on Student Affairs for the Community College Journal of Research and Practice. Dr. Dalpes attended Colorado State University as a first-generation college student, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in college student personnel administration. She earned her doctorate in education at the University of Massachusetts. She and her wife, Dr. Kathy Obear, recently relocated back to Colorado after 8 years in New York City and over 20 years in Massachusetts. They celebrated 30 years together in 2016.

Robin DiAngelo is a former Associate Professor of Education. Her scholarship is in White Racial Identity and Race Relations. In addition to her academic work, Dr. DiAngelo has extensive experience as a workplace consultant in issues of race relations and racial justice. She has numerous publications and books, including What Does it Mean to be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy. Her work on White Fragility has influenced the national dialogue on race and been featured in Alternet, Salon, NPR, the New York Times, the Atlantic, Slate and Colorlines.

Joicelyn Dingle is a writer and photo editor/producer of 18 years. After receiving her degree in Marketing from Hampton University, she worked in management and marketing for Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule Merchandising and then, Russell Simmons’ Phat Farm. She is the cocreator of Honey magazine and the columnist for Ebony.com’s The Coolest Black Family in America series. Joicelyn lives and works between New York City and Savannah, Georgia.

Stacey Gibson is a parent, educator, and consultant who teaches English in the Chicago-land area and works to help students and adults understand how oppression is covertly normalized and replicated. In addition to presenting at numerous conferences, her writing has appeared in Lee Mun Wah’s Let’s Get Real and her antioppression curricula for the PBS documentary American Promise can be found at Teaching Tolerance. She would like to thank the nameless ones who preceded her as she knows she could not be without them.

Reverend Samantha González-Block serves as the Associate Pastor at Grace
Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina. A graduate of Barnard College and Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, Samantha has focused her studies on interreligious engagement, 
interfaith families, and education. She has worked in a number of different fields in the United States and abroad, and continues to use Latin dance as a medium to bring people together. Samantha is the recipient of the Auburn Seminary Maxwell Fellowship for promise of excellence in parish ministry.

Keisha L. Green, PhD, is assistant professor of secondary English education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and her publications appear in Race, Ethnicity and Education, Equity & Excellence in Education, Reading African American Experiences in the Obama Era: Theory, Advocacy, Activism and Humanizing Research: Decolonizing Qualitative Inquiry With Youth and Communities.

Jessica Havens is an educator and consultant who works with youth and adults to develop their critical consciousness about identity, power and privilege. She holds a B.A. in Secondary Education and an MA in Women & Gender Studies with a focus on antiracist feminisms. In all her work, Jessica aspires to integrate love and mindfulness as essential tools for social change.

Millicent R. Jackson is a fiction writer based in Western Massachusetts. The recipient of 2008 Archie D and Bertha Walker scholarship at Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, her work has been published in Today’s Black Woman, The Power to Write by Caroline Joy Adams and Peregrine (literary journal).

Berenecea Johnson Eanes enters her fifth year as Vice President for Student 

Affairs at California State University, Fullerton and 28th year as a professional in higher education. Responsible for running a division that supports the personal, social, and academic development of a diverse institution with nearly 39,000 students, Dr. Eanes has served as an executive at several universities, including John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Hamilton College, Columbia and Morehouse College. Dr. Eanes, a member of the Presidential Cabinet at CSUF and leader within multiple student affairs professional associations, earned a Ph.D. in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University, a Master of Social Work from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Dillard University in New Orleans.

Hye-Kyung Kang is an Associate Professor and Director of the Social Work Program at Seattle University. Dr. Kang’s research focuses on postcolonial social work practice, community organizing and mobilization in immigrant communities and communities of color, cultural citizenship, and critical pedagogy. She is concerned with the interconnection between personal struggles, environmental problems and societal oppression and inequalities, and continues to teach clinical social work practice that integrates multiple contexts and narratives.


Jamila Lyiscott is currently a visiting assistant professor of Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she also serves as an affiliated faculty member of the W.E.B. Du Bois Afro American Studies department. Coupled with these appointments, Jamila was recently named a Senior Research Fellow of Teachers College, Columbia University’s Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME). Across these spaces, her research, teaching, and service focus on the intersections of race, language, and social justice in education. The recently awarded Cultivating New Voices among scholars of color fellow also serves a spoken word artist, community organizer, consultant, and motivational speaker locally and internationally. Her scholarship and activism work together to prepare educators to sustain diversity in the classroom, empower youth, and explore, assert, and defend the value of Black life. As a testament to her commitment to educational justice for students of color, Jamila is the founder and codirector of the Cyphers For Justice (CFJ) youth, research, and advocacy program, apprenticing inner-city youth, incarcerated youth, and preservice educators as critical social researchers through hip-hop, spoken word, and digital literacy. She is currently preparing a book manuscript about her work within Predominantly White Institutions across the nation, helping educators to confront white privilege within and beyond the classroom.

Christina Marín, Ph.D. is Professor of Theater/Drama Director at Central Arizona College. She is an Applied Theater practitioner who works in diverse communities in the United States and abroad.


Jennifer M.D. Matos holds a doctorate in Education with a concentration in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a founding member of the Social Justice at Work Consulting Group, an agency that provides social justice training and resources to K-12 schools, colleges, and private organizations. Currently, she is a Lecturer at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA where she teaches in the department of Psychology and Education. She resides in Western Massachusetts with her wife and their daughter.

Nelle Mills is a New Orleans based writer, educator, and activist. Currently, she teaches creative writing at 826-New Orleans to youths aged 6–16. And serves as the lead writer of “Alleged Lesbian Activities,” a play about New Orleans’ disappearing dyke bars.


Eman Mosharafa, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at October University of Modern Sciences and Arts (MSA), which is located in Cairo, Egypt. Before joining MSA in the Fall of 2016, she taught for six years at The City University of New York (CUNY). Dr. Mosharafa is an expert on Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures and their media portrayal. She worked in news, advertising and drama production. Her research interests include mass communication, political and cultural communication, and new social media. Her current project is an exhibit in New York City called “Beyond Sacred: Unthinking Muslim Identity.” She is fluent in English, French, and Arabic. Dr. Mosharafa aspires to graduate ethical and skilled mass communication students and to create bridges between American and Egyptian media professionals.

Thembisa S. Mshaka is a 25-year veteran of the entertainment industry and a multiple award-winning creative campaign writer/producer. Ms. Mshaka is the author of the career guide Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business and contributed to the anthologies Icons of Hip Hop by Mickey Hess and Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues by Taigi Smith. She is now writing, directing and producing for TV and film.


Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture, College of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Sonia Nieto has devoted her professional life to issues of equity, diversity, and social justice. She has written extensively on multicultural education, teacher education, and the education of students of diverse backgrounds. Her most recent books include Why We Teach Now (2015), and Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Justice Practices in U.S. Schools (2013), as well as a memoir, Brooklyn Dreams: My Life in Public Education (2015). She is the recipient of many awards for her scholarship and advocacy, including six honorary doctorates.

Gail E. Norskey holds a doctorate in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. For over two decades she lead Smith College’s

outreach and community engagement efforts, and was the founding director of the college’s Center for Community Collaboration. A highlight of Norskey’s work was the Smith College Summer Science & Engineering Program for high school girls, promoting the advancement of over 2000 young women from around the globe in science study. She resides in southern Maine and Florida with her husband, and is the proud mom of two daughters.

Deinya Phenix, PhD, is a sociologist and quantitative criminologist who has worked alongside policymakers, community organizers, and other change agents. Her career passion is diving deep into the social forces behind human behavior, including culture, life course development, and urban policy.

Imani Romney-Rosa is a founding trainer with Romney Associates and an educator and school administrator with more than 15 years of experience working in public and independent schools. Ms. Romney-Rosa’s focus is on creating safe and inclusive learning environments. She also served as co-chair of the Race Task Force at Kolot Chayeinu: Voices of Our Lives Synagogue in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Romney Rosa received her undergraduate degree in Communication Education and Performing Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her Masters in Spanish Philology from Middlebury College, Madrid, Spain.

Marcella Runell Hall is the Dean of Students at Mount Holyoke. She is a social justice scholar and accomplished author. She previously spent seven years at New York University, where she was the founding codirector for the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership and served as a clinical faculty member in the Silver School of Social Work. She was the recipient of the NYU 2013–2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty Award. She has edited three award-winning books and she has written for Scholastic Books, the New York Times Learning Network, VIBE, and various academic journals, including Equity and Excellence in Education. She and her husband live in the Pioneer Valley with their two young daughters.

Roberta Samet is a Social Worker in private practice in NYC. She is a second
generation antiracist and stands on the shoulders of her father, Seymour Samet, who was a civil rights pioneer and activist. She is the cochair of Kolot Chayeinu’s Task Force on Race and is an active member of the Anti-Racist Alliance of New York. She formerly was the mental health program director for the September 11th Fund, where she developed the mental health recovery plan for NYC. Prior to that she was an AIDS activist, developed new housing for People With HIV/AIDS in the Lower 
East Side and developed mental health programs when she was a consultant to the NYC Department of Mental Health.

Joni Schwartz, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies, social activist scholar, and founder of three NYC adult learning centers. She is coeditor of Swimming Upstream: Black Males in Adult Education, reflections editor for Dialogues on Social Justice and author of numerous journal publications. Her documentary, A New Normal: Young Men of Color, Trauma and Engagement in Learning, is utilized in college classrooms and is the executive producer for an upcoming documentary about post-incarceration and learning. ePortolio: https://lagcc-cuny.digication.

Mira Sengupta graduated from Barnard College, where she studied English and Religion, before earning a Masters in Literature at City College (CUNY). She is now pursuing a PhD in 18th Century British Literature at Fordham University, where she teaches literature and composition, and is currently writing her dissertation entitled “Devilish Thoughts: Echoes of Satanic Persuasion in the Eighteenth-Century Novel.” Her articles have appeared in The Marvell Society Newsletter and ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews (forthcoming).

Kersha Smith, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in Psychology in New York. Her primary research investigates curricula and pedagogies responsible for the construction of critical knowledge and transformative learning. Kersha has been published in various edited books and in journals such as Pedagogy, Culture & Society and The Journal of Social Issues. She is a recipient of the Spencer Foundation’s Discipline Based Studies in Education Fellowship. She was granted the Calvin W. Ruck award, which recognizes scholars committed to social justice and The Larry Murphy Award by the Adult Higher Education Alliance for her work on transformative learning in non-traditional student populations. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two young sons.

Liza A. Talusan, Ph.D., is a mother, writer, educator, facilitator, and teacher. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Connecticut College; her M.A. in Higher Education Administration from New York University; and her Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Liza’s work spans nearly 20 years in educational settings in both K–12 and higher education as well as public and private institutions. Liza identifies as Filipina American and as a partner in an interracial and interreligious marriage. As the mother of multiracial children, Liza has learned to speak race and friendship openly about identity and the impact of identity on our lives. To learn more about Liza, please visit www.lizatalusan.com.


Jodi Van der Horn-Gibson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech Communication & Theatre Arts. Her research focuses on intercultural communication, and the representation of race in film and theatre.

Rani Varghese is an Assistant Professor at Adelphi University School of Social Work. Given her training in clinical social work, women, gender & sexuality studies and social justice education, she brings an interdisciplinary approach to her teaching, consulting, and research. Her research focuses on clinical social work education, social justice practices and principles, and intergroup dialogue.

S. Lenise Wallace, Ph.D., is a motivational speaker, college professor and public relations professional. She is an Associate Professor teaching communication courses in New York City. Her research interests include public relations and race, gender and sexuality in mass media. Due to her prominent work in the field, Dr. Wallace was featured in editions of The Practice of Public Relations by Fraser Seitel, one of the nation’s leading public relations textbooks.


© 2018 UnCommon Bonds. Cover Art by Christy Herbes. Website by Loryn Design.
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