Our goal is to eliminate racism and all forms of oppression.

Mission.

We exist to educate and nurture leaders to become powerful cross-cultural allies in eliminating prejudice, oppression, and other forms of mistreatment.

01

Vision.

We will be a trusted voice in facilitating leadership development and training for diversity, cultural humility, and community building in the greater Rochester, NY area.

02

What We Do

We train young people as well as adults to see themselves as leaders who take initiative to stop mistreatment in any form.

We conduct workshops that open participants’ minds and hearts to the challenges and pain that individuals have experienced as a result of mistreatment because of life circumstances, including race, nationality, religion, gender identity, sexual identity and orientation, disability, and socioeconomic class, age, and occupation.

Participants gain insight into their relationship to their own intersecting identity groups as well as to groups different from their own. The result is a greater sense of belonging and shared responsibility for creating thoughtful and welcoming workplaces and communities.

Participants learn how to counteract prejudice by dispelling misinformation, building pride, intervening effectively in difficult situations, and becoming strong allies to others.

Meet The Team

All board and team members live and breathe NCBI's desire for equality and inclusivity. This core belief allows our organization to thrive in guiding and inspiring the Rochester, NY area to feel the same.

Former Director

Steve Jarose

People are more likely to confront issues of injustice over time when motivated by possibility and hope rather than fear. I bring deep caring and gentleness to NCBI along with a playful spirit. My joy comes in helping others live life authentically and with zest! I am amazed how relationships can flourish when distinctions between teacher and learner disappear.

Why NCBI?

Befriending people of different identities, backgrounds and experiences enriches me greatly. I see the missing pieces to myself in them, and this makes me whole.

Team Member

Venora Rodgers

My hometown is Rogersville, Tennessee and as a former Human Service Project Manager I am passionate about early childhood education. I bring the gift of being calm no matter what happens. It is a gift that served me well raising three children and allows me to celebrate the exuberance of my eight grandchildren. I frequently remind them that ‘we stand on the shoulders of many great people. We must build on the work they did and we must work each day to make the world a better place.

Why NCBI?

NCBI give individuals an opportunity to talk about the experiences that shaped their lives in supportive, caring atmospheres. Our culture does not provide enough of this type of experience. We must rid ourselves of old hurts in order to move forward.

Team Member

Laura Robinson

I am always open to new ideas, knowing I don’t have all the answers. My family consists of my three boys, my partner and my sweet dog. My passion is people, we are all here for a reason- each other. Maybe even more than my kids, I enjoy playing video games but team sports, gardening and reading are also some of my favorite ways to spend time.

Why NCBI?

It just makes sense: in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. ‘There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a permanent attitude. When we remember this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

Board Member

Christine Sibilio

Christine Sibilio is passionate about communications and community building!  As an 18 year veteran in Advertising Sales & Marketing she works with business and civic organizations large and small to communicate the difference they seek to make for each of us.  The work of NBCI Rochester cuts to the heart of making the world a better place through mutual understanding and better communication.

Christine’s desire to seek out diversity of thought has made her passionate about the work of NCBI Rochester.  The fundamental belief that our strength as a society comes from mutual respect, understanding and breaking of barriers will drive her work on the NCBI Board.

In an ideal world Christine would like to see people who are empowered to be the very best version of themselves.  This would be a world where history, language, and perspective of each of us are better understood and valued.

Team Member

April Dixon

My passion is people! I live to meet, connect, love, and interact with others. I was extremely shy as a child. I hid my smile and my inner light until I reached my 40s. As as adult extrovert, I believe all should shine gloriously and live out their purpose. My personal brand is what I want people to feel after an encounter with me—to know they are seen and experience authentic connection.

Why NCBI?

NCBI creates safe spaces to learn about each other and grow together through dialogue and sharing our stories.

Team Member

Pat Willis

I grew up in a military family and lived at times in California, Washington, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Virginia. I was adopted by Rochester in 1967. I bring a sense of quietness, curiosity and fairness to my relationships, and do a lot of supportive advocacy for people with developmental disabilities. I like humor and whimsy in all their forms.

Why NCBI?

NCBI enables me to apply my learning and experience to pursue racial justice. I like recognizing that I am part of history. I’m amazed to consider my evolution from dependency in a constricted, homogenous space to freedom to celebrate all of my diverse identities.

Associate Director

Navlette James

I live with a generously open mind, door and heart and have a passion for creating spaces where ALL voices are heard. In my free time, I enjoy reading, traveling and spending time with friends, my adult children Devon and Kayla, my grandson, Ayden and my amazing siblings and father. I was born in Jamaica and spent three years during elementary school in speech class due to my accent; it created a lisp.

Why NCBI?

I believe that NCBI forwards the principles that it takes each of us to make a change for all of us and we must stay engaged to become allies to each other.

Team Member

Rose Nichols

Team Member

Ronieka Burns

Team Member

Anne McAndrew

Past Board Chair

Luticha Andre Doucette

I’m passionate about NCBI because in these hard times where racial and disability injustice have skyrocketed, folks need actual tools to be able to use to resist. It’s not enough to do your homework, it also needs to be practiced. NCBI gives the tools, the lessons, and the opportunity to do practice in a safe environment.

As a disabled, black, queer woman who is also a relationship anarchist, I can honestly say I was born for NCBI and its mission. I have learned to be a self-advocate as well as an advocate for others and have personal experience in how intersectionality is critical to any social justice movement. I have experienced discrimination throughout my life and have been successful at making sure the next person even remotely like me, doesn’t experience the same. It also runs in the family. I have heard stories of my grandmother, who I am named after, helping register blacks to vote in New Orleans, and my aunt also has been prominent in social justice in Rochester.

My favorite way to spend an unplanned day off is with a wonderful glass of gin and tonic (local gin, of course!), with a good book to read in bed with my two cats snuggling me.

My ideal world is one where all can lead their lives in the manner of their choosing, it is accessible to all, and everyone’s autonomy is respected and honored. There will be conflict, but I hope that conflict is resolved with rational thinking and reason, not anger and violence

Founder / Team Member

Joyce Herman

Getting close to people of all backgrounds and identities is very important. I especially helping to build connections amongst people of different religions and racial or cultural backgrounds. I am devoted to bringing a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling.

Why NCBI?

Everyone has experienced some mistreatment. NCBI offers a space that enables people to be real, shed their protective covering, recognize their own resilience and commit to becoming allies to others.

Team Member

Albert Dickerson

My passion is supporting a team of positive minded people, including my friends, my cat, Dulce and my wife, Betty. Thoughts are powerful, we change our behavior by changing our thoughts. We have the capacity to change everything. People might be surprised to find out that I was incarcerated for 30 years.

Why NCBI?

NCBI is diverse and inclusive. Because the organization practices the walk and walks the talk, NCBI members are family. NCBI provides tools to change hearts.

Team Member

Patti Goodwin

I am a retired high school English teacher who has been living in Rochester nearly half a century, so I call it my hometown. I am passionate about the arts so I take classes, quill, knit, garden, and play music. In addition to being an aunt and a great aunt, I never had any children, so being a grandmother is an unexpected joy I share with my husband.

Why NCBI?

There are so many people in the world who are hurt. NCBI has a mission to heal people. In this world, we all need to be healers. Respecting and listening to all people is a way to help heal the world. We heal ourselves to heal the world.

Board Member

Terry Platt

I’m known by many as a caring, positive problem solver. As co-director of the Center for Workshop Education at the University of Rochester, I welcome creativity, consensus-building and strive for outcome-directed learning. My hometown is Chicago. After several stints on the East and West Coasts, my family moved to Rochester in 1985. I enjoy swimming, mentoring, music and outdoor activities as well as exploring languages and culture. I still know some Swahili from my Peace Corps time in East Africa.

Why NCBI?

NCBI is about caring, collaboration, inclusion and promoting harmony among people everywhere.

Board Member

Tom Niles

Team Member

Joan Zeller

Team Member

Brion Erikson

Team Member

Elisa De Jesus

Board Member

Charles Farris

I was born in the South and raised in a very diverse neighborhood in New York City. Race, ethnicity, or religion were not criteria in determining who my friends were or why. My family lived in a tenement row house when I was young and through hard work and pursuing the “American Dream” my parents were able to move us into an upper middle class neighborhood. I realized later in life that the same could not be true of many of my friends and neighbors. Today, I live with my partner and her children. We have five grandchildren and we love spending time with them. My passion is riding my motorcycle through the Finger lakes and beyond. I am also a certified SCORE mentor who is committed to helping minority and woman-owned businesses succeed.

Why NCBI?

We all recognize that discrimination is wrong. Through our work with NCBI Rochester, we strive to right those wrongs and build awareness so that future generations have equal opportunity.

Team Member

Stanley Byrd

What makes you passionate about the work of NCBI Rochester?

Stanley has been associated with NCBI in various capacities since 1992 when he first met Joyce Herman and soon after attended his first NCBI workshop. He describes the workshop experience as a glorious unfolding of the Hu-man that he was truly meant to be.  His deepen understanding of the how to move beyond the wall of his own internalized racism, homophobia and sexism; led to greater peace with himself and the world. Evolutionary!

How has your life experience prepared you to forward the mission of NCBI Rochester?

As a gay, black man in the United States, the intersectionality of how both of these identities struggle speaks volumes to the disparities, inequities and marginalization and the importance of NCBI’s central mission of ending racism.  Racism in the US is connected and inextricably embedded to many other isms.

What would your ideal world look like?

For Stanley, an ideal world is difficult to imagine; given all the world’s challenges…. From Desiderata (Latin: “desired things”) is a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann: “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be”.  So, his ideal world, one where every moment he feels he belongs and am loved.

Team Member

Sady Fischer

My enthusiasm and passion for social justice motivates others to be a part of positive change. As an out and proud queer Latina, I use my voice to be visible and let others like me know that anything is possible. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world and I am fortunate to have so many roles that impact change. Being a mom is top on that list! I am solar powered- the sun and water feed my soul!

Why NCBI?

NCBI is unique in its approach to address all forms of oppression. It’s not an “us vs. them” approach.

Board President

Joyce Strazzabosco

What makes you passionate about the work of NCBI Rochester?

Two things excite Joyce about NCBI.  The first is NCBI’s mission to eliminate racism and all forms of oppression and discrimination. The second is the way NCBI trainers and facilitators model the accepting and respectful behavior necessary to accomplish the mission. The environment for an NCBI discussion is a safe one, and that is so important to engaging people in a personal way.

How has your life experience prepared you to forward the mission of NCBI Rochester?

Growing up, Joyce describes herself as having a naïve, idealistic outlook on life.  In the late 1960s she met someone who said she was racist. That put her on a path of learning. In the early 1970s she joined the Rochester Panel of American Women, which presented discussion programs on racism and religious bigotry. She took an anti-racism seminar, read books, and thought about what she read and heard.  Joyce encountered NCBI in the early 2000s, and attended two workshops. Her career was a series of upward steps in four nonprofit agencies. As a manager, she eyed policies, procedures and practices to assure fair access to all.  Today, she is retired, with a variety of organizational skills and a deep commitment to attain the “liberty and justice for all” that she pledged daily in school.

What would your ideal world look like?

In Joyce’s  ideal world, people’s differences would be celebrated. Differences of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion/spirituality, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, employment status, financial status, political affiliation, and any other barrier we set up to exclude others – all would be celebrated.

Team Member

Betty Jenkins

As a retired affirmative action administrator integrity has always been important to me. I grew up in Geneva, NY and enjoy singing, travel and art. Christian service and teaching are my passions and I live by the words ‘Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding.’

Why NCBI?

NCBI gives us an invitation to help diverse populations find common ground.

Team Member

Dorothy Barnes

Although I am visually impaired, I can do anything a fully-sighted person can do. I have a life-long love of learning and enjoy swimming. I love myself and those I encounter, especially my husband Al and our 2.5 children (we have 1 daughter, 1 son, and my god-son is the half-son!). A leadership quality I take pride in is my ability to delegate.

Why NCBI?

You can’t go wrong! Everyone is so loving, warm and accepting. NCBI is my extended family.

Executive Director

Sandra Katz

Sandra Katz hails from Tulsa, OK. According to folk musician and part-time humorist Hoyt Axton, “Oklahoma is the cultural center of the universe.” Sandra says, “Well, it was an interesting place to grow up Jewish.”

Why NCBI?

The core value of “Healing ourselves to Change the World” resonates with me. I have also experienced the power of “Changing Hearts through stories,” another core value of NCBI.

Contact Sandra

skatz@ncbirochester.org

 

Team Member

Sarah Hughes

Vice President, Board Member

Sim Covington

Team Member

Jason Blackwell

Behaviors We Strive Toward

  • Modeling in our individual relationships what we most yearn for in a community
  • Creating safe space to take risks, listen, and learn from each other
  • Linking individuals and groups to champion what is best for all
  • Demonstrating the transformative power of healing, individually and collectively
  • Breaking the cycle of fear that keeps us from our true selves and from each other
  • Knowing that we can achieve anything by remembering who we are and what we are capable of becoming

Land Acknowledgement

NCBI Rochester is committed to ending all oppressions that underlie the many disparities and injustices in our midst.

To that end, we take time to recognize the heritage and contributions of the indigenous peoples who stewarded the land we live on today. The six nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, known as the Haudenosaune, include the Cayuga, Mohawk Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. Areas in and around Monroe County are historically located within Seneca territory.

We acknowledge the hardships and atrocities that many indigenous peoples endured. It is necessary if we are to restore respect and equity between us despite a history of racism.

May this statement be our commitment to redress past injustices to all indigenous peoples and to work in harmony to create a society where everyone is valued, respected, and cherished.