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By Social Justice Learning Institute, 12/14/2020

Farewell from Dr. D’Artagnan Scorza, Executive Director and Founder

Dear Friends and Supporters,

First, thank you for your support of the Social Justice Learning Institute. Without you, we could not have done the much-needed social and racial justice work, could not have reached more than 2,000 youth through our educational programs, supported communities of color through our HEAL classes and policy and advocacy work, or expanded to serve new communities.

During this unprecedented pandemic, we have truly grown together as a community to help and support one another. As we move into our second decade, I am moved by our progress and the lives we impacted.

After 14 years of leadership, I will be transitioning out of my Executive Director and Founder role on December 14 and into a new role as the Executive Director of Racial Equity for Los Angeles County.

This new position will allow me to continue to do the racial justice and equity work I have dedicated my life to. SJLI will always be a part of who I am and I’m certain that it will continue to thrive and build the next generation of leaders.

Although I will miss the team and community members who, together, have helped build SJLI into the organization it is today, I know that I am leaving the organization in fantastic hands.

Derek Steele, Associate Director of Operations and Finance, will lead the organization moving forward and serve as interim Executive Director.

Derek has been with the organization for over 10 years and has been instrumental to its success thus far.

As a co-creator of SJLI’s Health Equity programs area, one of his many accomplishments was leading the team that implemented SJLI’s “100 Seeds of Change”, which created opportunities to transform health in the built environment and improve health outcomes within our community.

Angela Johnson Peters, Associate Director of Programs and Development, will support Derek as the Transition Action Team’s co-lead.

Angela has been instrumental in overseeing our Urban Scholars school site expansion, including our Houston site.

Their leadership, along with the support of the Board Chair and Co-Founder Dr. Omai Garner, will help make this transition period as seamless as possible.

They are true believers in what we’ve built over the years and have a clear vision for how much more we can still achieve.

Additionally, we hired The Hawkins Company, a national executive search firm, to find the next leader who will help guide the organization to even greater success and embrace our core values. We have also retained Paul C. Hudson to work with the Board on strategic direction, a communications/PR team, and Clark Souers from Expert Effect.

Thanks to your support, the organization is in a strong position to sustain and grow our programming, which means improved outcomes in our community and reaching more community members.

I look forward to our continued work together as fellow supporters. I can’t wait to see what our future holds.


With gratitude,

Dr. D’Artagnan Scorza

Executive Director and Founder

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