Florida Disparity Rally

Bio for Dr. Angela Adams

Dr. Angela Adams is the Founder and Executive Director of the Central Florida Pharmacy Council. She is also the Community Engagement Core Director for Florida Health Equity Research Institute.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Adams has addressed health equity by creating culturally appropriate health education initiatives that serve as tools for eliminating health disparities. She founded the Black Men’s Health and Crossing Bridges: Hip Hop Teen Health Summits in Orlando, Florida. Over a span of 20 years, these summits attracted more than 50,000 men and teen boys. Dr. Adams is currently serving as the principal investigator for a novel research project called Participatory Design of an Artificial Intelligent Digital Assistant to Improve Shared Decision Making for African American Men.

Dr. Adams also founded the Health Outreach & Prevention Education (HOPE) Training Academy, a provider of the Community Health Education Advocate certification. She is the publisher of Community Health Research Digest and has published eight editions of the African American Health Resource Directory. Dr. Adams is the creator of the wellness education initiatives “Food-4-Thought,” an interactive nutrition program for teen boys that empowers them to learn to cook and eat healthy; Medication Information Safety for Seniors (MISS); Med-U-Cation; and Managing Your Medicines (MyRx). 

She has a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Xavier University-New Orleans and is a retired Commander of the United States Navy where she served as a Medical Service Corp Officer.

Bio for Dr. Keith Crawford

Dr. Keith Crawford joined PHEN in 2019.  As Director of Clinical Trials and Patient Education, he is responsible for implementing programs in these areas as well as working with patients and PHEN partners.

Dr. Crawford has more than 20 years of experience in the Life Sciences and completed his graduate and post-graduate training at Harvard Medical School where he developed competencies in the area of genomics, proteomics, immunology, microbiology, infectious diseases, and regenerative medicine.

During his post-doctoral training, Keith was selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a Harold Amos Fellow. His work in the field of immunology caught the eye of the Department of Defense where he received funding to develop antidotes for chemical and biological weapons exposure as well as create a high throughput platform for the detection of biological weapons and emerging infectious agents.

After completing this directive, Dr. Crawford became the Director of the Center for Molecular Orthopedics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He was responsible for leading research efforts at the center, which gave rise to the discovery of a novel population of early lineage adult stem cells.  Dr. Crawford and his colleagues were responsible for the preclinical studies, which laid the foundation for a spinal fusion therapeutic. 

Dr. Crawford is a graduate of Prairie View University, the University of Texas Medical School in Houston (Medical Doctorate), and Harvard University (Doctor Philosophy) where he studied cell biology and immunology.

Bio for Jane Castor

Mayor Jane Castor is a lifelong Tampa resident who began her public service working as an officer for the Tampa Police Department. She rose through the ranks in the Tampa Police Department, becoming Tampa’s first female Chief of Police in 2009. During her six years as Chief of Police, Castor reorganized the department and reduced major crimes by 70% citywide.

She was elected as Mayor of Tampa in 2019 and began implementing ambitious programs by establishing the Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow (T3) advisory teams. These advisory teams created roadmaps for fixing major problems within the city including affordable housing, transportation, resident services, workforce development, and sustainability.

Mayor Castor is also implementing major infrastructure projects, such as rebuilding the aging water and wastewater systems of Tampa. She has also secured more than $90 million in state and federal funding to improve transportation and mobility systems. Mayor Castor has also created the Sustainability and Resilience Officer position and the first Climate Action and Equity Plan in Tampa.

She graduated from Chamberlain High School in Tampa and completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Tampa. She was a volleyball and basketball scholarship recipient and Hall of Famer. She enjoys spending time with her family, including her partner Ana Cruz and sons, Sergei and Seely, whom she adopted as infants from Ukraine.

Bio for Mr. Parnell Dickinson

Mr. Parnell Dickinson is the owner of Parnell Dickinson & Associates Insurance Agency as well as a licensed uniform and equipment inspector for the NFL since 1993. He has also acted as owner and Vice President of Children’s Discovery Childcare Centers, Inc. for more than 30 years as well as owner and President of The Payment Center, Inc. from 2001 to 2007. Further, Mr. Dickinson is a board member and athletic chairman for the Mississippi Valley State University Foundation Board, a committee member of the NFL Super Bowl Task Force, and a board member of the NFL Youth Education Town Centers Executive Board.

Mr. Dickinson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master of Science degree in Sports Administration from Mississippi Valley State University. He has also been awarded the Independent Life Insurance Agent Rookie of the Year and the Black College Football Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee.

Bio for Mr. Thomas Farrington

Thomas Farrington founded the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) in 2003 after receiving treatment for prostate cancer in 2000 and publishing his first book Battling The Killer Within in 2001. Under Mr. Farrington’s leadership, PHEN is recognized as the leading prostate cancer education and advocacy organization with national programs and initiatives focused on the needs of African Americans.

A key foundation for PHEN’s success is its national network of prostate cancer survivors and their loved ones who support the organization’s efforts within their communities. PHEN partners with hundreds of churches across the nation to bring education and awareness programs into their communities and recruit local prostate cancer medical specialists as educators for these events.

PHEN also makes extensive use of online programming to reach and support individual educational needs. Mr. Farrington’s background is in Information Technology.  Farrington currently serves as a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s (NCCN) Prostate Cancer Treatment Guidelines Panel and the NCCN Prostate Cancer Early Detection Guidelines Panel. He serves as a trustee of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and as an advisor to a number of other healthcare organizations and programs. Mr. Farrington received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1966.

Bio for Councilman Terrance Freeman

City Council Member Terrance Freeman, a principled leader and passionate advocate for Jacksonville, is a father of five and a dedicated husband. He currently serves as the Senior Program Manager of Workforce Development and Strategic Initiatives.

Working as the Senior Project Manager of Apprenticeship Programs at the Miller Electric Company, he spearheads talent and workforce development initiatives. Previously serving as an Executive Council Assistant (ECA) for former City Council Member Aaron Bowman, Terrance is the first person in Jacksonville history to have served as a Council ECA, a District Council Member, and now a Council Member At-Large.

Appointed by Florida Governor Rick Scott to City Council District 10 in 2018, Terrance was elected to a full term in 2019 to the At-Large Group 1 seat. He was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2023 with 65% of the vote. He was selected by his colleagues to serve as Council Vice President in 2021 and was unanimously elected to serve as City Council President for the 2022-2023 legislative term. He currently serves as Chairman of the City Council’s Rules Committee and as a Member of the Finance Committee.

While serving on the City Council, Freeman has prioritized workforce development, fiscal responsibility, and support for first responders. He helped increase the city’s participation in workforce development programs and spearheaded full funding of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue as well as the first property rate tax cut in nearly a decade. Freeman also championed the creation of the Jacksonville Upward Mobility Program (JUMP), which provides apprenticeship and workforce training opportunities.

Following a successful career in professional baseball, Freeman pursued higher education, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education and sports psychology. With a passion for nurturing young minds, he dedicated more than a decade to teaching, school administration, and coaching.

Bio for Coach Leonard Hamilton

Mr. Leonard Hamilton has held the position of head coach of the Florida State Seminoles basketball team since 2004. He has led the team to win the most games in the Seminoles’ entire history. For example, in 2019, he assisted the basketball players in winning 29 victories, which was a record for the school. In 2020, Coach Hamilton led Florida State to the first ACC Regular Season Championship in the college’s history.

His experience also includes recruiting the best players and top talent to the Seminoles’ program. Hamilton’s coaching career began at Austin Peay State University where he worked as a graduate assistant from 1971-1973 and as a full-time assistant from 1973-1974. In addition, Hamilton played college basketball at the University of Tennessee at Martin. 

He has won numerous awards including being named the United Press International National Coach of the Year in 1995, the Big East Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1999, and the Black Coaches Association (BCA) Coach of the Year in 2000. The Tallahassee Democrat named Coach Hamilton as one of Tallahassee’s Top 33 Citizens in 2004. 

Mr. Dickinson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master of Science degree in Sports Administration from Mississippi Valley State University. He has also been awarded the Independent Life Insurance Agent Rookie of the Year and the Black College Football Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee.

Bio for Rev. George Hardy

Rev. George Alen Hardy is a father, husband, pastor, episcopal leader, business owner, and, most importantly, a man of God. Pastor Hardy is an advocate for the homeless, elderly, and those who were incarcerated in addition to education. He has worked tirelessly to help provide funding, locations, and guidance for both early education childcare centers and elementary schools. In October 2006, he was assigned to Saint John A.M.E. Church of Pompano Beach, (Collier City) Florida.

In 2011, Rev. Hardy was relocated to Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oakland Park, Florida. Under his pastoral leadership, the church membership had grown to more than 125 active members. That growth made it necessary for the church to expand its sanctuary. In February 2011, Rev. Hardy held ground-breaking services for the new edifice.

He was officially appointed Pastor of Mt. Zion AME Church of Oakland Park in April 2011. He quickly assessed the growth potential and financial status and implemented an aggressive plan to coordinate talents of the membership. He increased the potential for finances by connecting the church with the community and local government. 

Rev. Hardy has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He also obtained a Bachelor of Theology degree from the Vision International University and a master’s degree from Trinity Theological Seminary.

Currently, Reverend George Alen Hardy serves as the 11th Episcopal District Coordinator for the Sons of Allen. 

Bio for Senator Tony Hill

Senator Tony Hill is a fighter for the working people, a public servant, a veteran of the United States Army, and a devoted Christian. Born in Jacksonville on September 9, 1957, Hill served in the United States Army before being honorably discharged. As a longtime labor leader, Hill served as the Executive Board Member of ILA Local 1408 and as the Secretary Treasurer of the Florida AFL-CIO. He was elected to represent Jacksonville in the Florida House of Representatives from 1992 to 2000 and the Florida Senate from 2002 to 2011. He served as the Federal Policy Director for Mayor Alvin Brown from 2011 to 2015. Starting in 2019, Hill has worked on the staff of U.S. Representative Al Lawson and helped thousands of constituents in Congressional District 5 connect with federal agencies, such as Veteran Affairs, HUD, and the IRS in Washington, D.C.

He has received the Lester Granger Award from the Montford Point Marine Association, Inc., and the Public Official Award of the Year from the Children’s Home Society in Jacksonville in 2010. That same year, Senator Hill was honored with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Public Service Award.

Senator Hill has been married to Patricia Hill for 17 years. He is the proud father of four children, grandfather of eleven, and great-grandfather of one. Senator Hill is a graduate of Jean Ribault Senior High School in Jacksonville, Florida. He attended the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Labor Studies. Hill is a Life Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Theta Phi Chapter) and holds other prestigious honors including the Chair of the NAACP Florida State Conferences.

He is a longstanding member of the Greater Macedonia Baptist Church, where he founded the Men’s Usher Board, serves as a Deacon, and teaches Sunday school. His legacy of service is a testament to his faith and a symbol of his desire to inspire by actively pouring into the lives of others.

Bio for Ms. Lynette Jones-Turpin

Lynette “Lynn” Jones-Turpin’s career spans across 30 years in the area of broadcast journalism. Lynn is the Associate Editor and Sales Team Manager for the Jacksonville Free Press (www.jacksonvillefreepress.com). Lynn publishes and reports on local, national, entertainment, and travel news impacting the African Diaspora. Lynn’s production broadcasting experience includes hosting and producing her hit TV show The Lynn & Friends Show. With a successful 10-year run, Lynn catalogued more than 100 episodes (www.lynnandfriends.com).

Additionally, Lynn is a community scientist for the University of Florida Cares 2 program and a partner with the PHEN (Prostate Health Education Network) team focusing on prostate cancer and the detriments of health in the African American community. Lynn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. She is the President of the local Northeast Florida National Association of Black Journalists (NEFLNABJ) chapter and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Bio for Mr. Dale Landry

Dale R. Landry is the CEO of Village Architects, Inc., a consortium of multi-disciplinary professionals who work with communities to overcome the challenges of community-based crime. As a consultant on Restorative Community Justice, he has worked on several national and state initiatives, specifically the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and National Institute of Corrections, and the National Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ) Project. He led the development and implementation of the Florida DJJ Neighborhood Accountability Board Training and Technical Assistance Program through the Florida Atlantic University.

Dales’ area of expertise is in developing community capacity and strategies to overcome crime by adopting and implementing community and restorative justice philosophy and practices. Dale has more than 46 years of experience in the criminal justice system, including 21 years in the US Army Military Police and 26 years in the civilian sector in which he spent more than 20 years working on restorative justice programs. He has served in various capacities including patrol, criminal investigations, juvenile delinquency, domestic violence, and child abuse behavioral units. 

His continued service includes international/national, state, and local community efforts in building community capacity to overcome crime-related problems. He has served as Chair, Co-chair, and member of the International Victim-Offender Mediation Association (VOMA) Board of Directors (2000-2007), 2nd Vice President, and chaired both the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Committee and State Legislative Affairs Committee in the Florida State Conference (FSC) NAACP.

Dale has an A.S. degree in law enforcement technology, a B.S. degree in management, and a master’s degree in social work. He has received specialized training in Restorative Justice, Domestic Violence Intervention, Juvenile Delinquency and Gang Violence, and certification as a Restorative Justice Trainer.

Bio for Rev. Julius McAllister

The Reverend Dr. Julius Harrison McAllister, Jr. is the 35th anointed Senior Minister of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tallahassee, Florida. A fourth-generation minister, he answered the call to the ministry in 1992. Previously, he distinguished himself as an outstanding pastor in the Detroit and Chicago areas. He was a youth minister at Oak Grove AME Church in Detroit, Michigan. He also served as pastor of the Payne Chapel AME Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the Greater Institutional AME Church in Chicago.

His devotion to community growth and development led to the creation of Come Home for Christmas, which serviced nearly 5,000 homeless, poor, and underprivileged adults and 2,000 children as well as raised $700,000 to support needy families in Chicago during the Christmas season. As President/CEO of the Bethel Community Development Corporation (Bethel CDC), an affiliate church ministry, Reverend Julius has supervised the construction and rehabilitation of 80 homes for low-income families in the city of Tallahassee for $14.8 million and led the church in building 10 single homes for rental for low-income families. Under his leadership, Bethel’s annual Thanksgiving Basket Project provides hearty meals for nearly 2,500 people annually, and the “Families Reaching Families Christmas Project” provides toys, bicycles, clothes, and gifts to thousands of needy children in the community.

Reverend Julius McAllister received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1993, and a Master of Divinity degree from the Turner Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996. In 2007, he earned a Doctorate in Ministry degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary in Chicago.

He is married to Deana Elizabeth Young, a committed educator and school administrator. They are the proud parents of three children: Julius Harrison McAllister, III, Colin McKinley Young McAllister, and Dylan David Jeremiah McAllister.

Bio for Arnold Merriweather

Mr. AJ Merriweather had to learn firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate through the health care system and how important it is to be your own advocate after being diagnosed in 2011. As a survivor and after overcoming his prognosis, AJ made it a lifelong mission to be an advocate and a voice in the pursuit of finding the cause and the prevention of prostate cancer. He seeks to truly make a difference in the mission to end prostate cancer and educate men about the disease.

AJ is the co-founder and president of the Black Male Prostate Coalition of Florida. In addition, he is the ambassador for the Prostate Health Education Network in Jacksonville, FL. He has been actively involved since his diagnosis as a patient advocate, speaking on multiple occasions, and is a stakeholder of UF Proton Center’s clinical trials. He is very excited to continue to grow as an advocate and to be able to have his voice heard throughout science, research, and policy with the amazing opportunity that the Florida Prostate Cancer Disparity Rally is providing. He has been married to Callie Merriweather for 24 years and has four children.  

Bio for Lesley Miller

Born in Tampa, Florida on April 21, 1951, Lesley “Les” Miller, Jr. served as a member of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, representing the 3rd District from November 2010 to November 2020 and serving as the Chairman for three terms. He strived to make Hillsborough County a better place for all citizens to live, work, and play.

Les Miller began his public service by serving as a member of the Florida Senate and representing the 18th District from 2000 to 2006. During his tenure in the Senate, he served as Democratic Minority Leader (2004-2006), Democratic Leader Pro Tempore (2002-2004), Democratic Whip (2000-2002), and Vice Chair of the Ways and Means Committee (2004-2006).

Before being elected to the Senate, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1992. Les Miller served as the Democratic Leader (Minority Leader) from 1998 to 2000. He also served on the Tampa City Council in 1991. He has received numerous awards, including The University of South Florida Distinguished Alumnus Award, The University of South Florida President’s Distinguished Citizen’s Award, the Florida A&M University President’s Award, the Florida Democratic Party’s Distinguished Service Award, and the American Cancer Society’s Legislative Award.

He and his wife, Gwendolyn “Gwen” Miller, are the parents of four children and the grandparents of six. He graduated from Middleton High School and served his country honorably in the United States Air Force from 1970-1974. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from The University of South Florida in 1978. Les Miller and his wife, Gwen Miller, have established The Honorable Lesley “Les” Miller, Jr. and Honorable Gwendolyn “Gwen” Miller Scholarship at Florida A&M University and the University of South Florida. Miller also serves on the Board of Deacons at the New Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church.

Bio for Barney Morris

Barney Morris is a member of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Patient and Family
Advisory Council and Community Advisory Board. He is the current vice
chairman for Oncology Research Information Exchange Network’s (ORIEN)
Patient Advisory Council where as a cancer survivor and advocate he frequently
uses his public speaking skills and real life experiences to bring home the
importance of being purposeful and intentional in eliminating health care
disparities and inequities particularly as it relates to prostate cancer.

He is the Past President of 100 Black Men of Tampa Bay Inc’s chapter and
Chair of their Health and Wellness committee. Barney is an alumnus of the
University of Georgia (Bachelor of Science in Computer Science), University of
California Riverside ( Certificate in Governmental Accounting and Budgeting),
Air Force Squadron Officer School and Air Force Air Command and Staff
College. He’s a decorated retired Air Force Officer, (Major), having served a
combined total of twenty years between active and reserve forces. Barney
recently retired as an Assistant Inspector in Charge, United States Postal
Inspection Service where he was responsible for the investigative efforts in
Georgia and Florida.

More recently Barney joined the Prostate Health Education Network, PHEN, as
a PHEN Ambassador.

Bio For Rev. Charles Morris

Reverend Charles A. Morris was born in Tampa, Florida, and raised in Tallahassee. In February 1991, while still in seminary, he was employed with Trinity (United Methodist Church) Community Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia where he served as Transition House Manager. Rev. Morris became pastor of Mount Ararat AME Church where he served from 1995 to 1998. In April 1998, he became pastor of Anderson Chapel AME Church in Tallahassee, Florida for 10 years. In November 2008, Bishop Young assigned Pastor Morris to Bethel (Pensacola) where he led that congregation for the next five years, culminating in hosting the 48th session of the Florida Annual Conference.

In September 2013, Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson brought Pastor Morris closer to home to New Bethel (Quincy) where he now serves a progressive group of believers. Additionally, Pastor Morris has served as Director of Christian Education-Eleventh Episcopal District (Florida and the Bahamas) from 1999 to 2004. He was also awarded the Gadsden County Community Servant’s Award. He is a certified Pastoral Counselor, a certified U.S.G.A. Performance Auditor, a Christian educator, a bible teacher, and a workshop facilitator. 

Pastor Morris was initiated in the Alpha Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. in May of 1972. He was voted the Tallahassee Alumni Chapter Man of the Year in 1998-1999. Pastor Morris received his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Florida A & M University in 1975. He also earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Florida State University in 1976 and a Master of Divinity degree (Summa cum Laude) at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia in 1991. 

In July 2006, he received the Certificate of Completion at the Summer Leadership Institute at Harvard Divinity School. In 2012, Pastor Morris completed the prestigious Foundations of Christian Leadership program at Duke University. In addition, Pastor Morris is well-traveled and takes the message of hope worldwide.

Bio For Dr. Folakemi Odedina

Dr. Folakemi Odedina is a professor and the Enterprise Deputy Director for Community Outreach & Engagement at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. In addition, she is Co-Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research (CHCR), and a member of the Mayo Clinic Clinical Trial Strategy and Governance Leadership team, leading the Community Engagement/Health Equity Clinical Trials Strategy. She is the PI and Program Director for the NCI Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP)-supported Prostate Cancer Transatlantic Consortium (CaPTC) and the Research Core Director for the Florida Health Equity Research Institute (HERI).

For more than 30 years, her research, education, training, and community outreach activities have exclusively focused on addressing health equity in minority and underserved communities globally. Her research program (funded primarily by NIH/National Cancer Institute and Department of Defense) focuses on the predictors of cancer health disparities and cost-effective, community-based behavioral interventions to improve the health of minority populations, especially Black men globally.

She has directed more than 50 research projects, primarily using a community-based participatory approach, a mixed-methods approach, and translational behavioral research principles. As far back as 2009, the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacy and the Association of Black Health-System Pharmacists recognized her leadership in health disparities with the Inaugural (1st) Leadership Award. Her effort in training underrepresented minorities was recognized through the INSIGHT Into Diversity 2016 Inspiring Women in STEM Award. In 2005, her research program evolved into a global program that includes increasing the participation of people of African ancestry in clinical trials.

Through NIH/National Cancer Center awards, her research program has implemented a Community Research Registry for the Black and Latinx population, community education programs on clinical trials, and clinical trials research training webinars. Dr. Folakemi Odedina is committed to eliminating cancer disparities, especially in ethnically diverse Black populations globally.

Bio for Justice James E.C. Perry

A native of New Berth, North Carolina, Justice James E.C. Perry was appointed as the 85th Justice to the Florida Supreme Court by Governor Charlie Crist in 2009. Before his appointment, he served as the first African American Circuit judge of Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit. For this role, Governor Jeb Bush appointed him in March 2000. He also served as the first African American Chief Judge of the 18th Circuit, by unanimous vote, overseeing a 49-judge circuit for a two-year term beginning July 2003. 

After becoming a lawyer and moving to Florida, he spent 21 years in private practice and built the largest African-American-owned law firm in Central Florida practicing business law and serving as general counsel for clients like the Greater Orlando Airport Authority and the Florida Chapter Branches of the NAACP. 

A dedicated father, Justice Perry managed his son’s AAU basketball team, the SanLando Greyhounds, and traveled the country supporting his sons’ many athletic endeavors. He was also the founder and president of the Jackie Robinson Sports Association, a baseball league serving at-risk youth. Justice Perry is a former member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Saint Augustine’s University, was a member of Carter Tabernacle CME Church for more than 30 years, and is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.     

After his high school graduation, he was recruited to play football for St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina. Upon graduating from college with a degree in business administration and accounting in 1966, he volunteered for the Vietnam War draft and attended officer training school, where he rose to the rank of first lieutenant in the US Army in two years. Afterward, he attended the prestigious Columbia Law School in New York City and earned his Juris Doctorate degree in 1972. Justice Perry met his future bride, Adrienne M. Perry, Ph.D., while at Columbia Law School. They have three children: Jaimon, Kamilah, and Willis Perry. 

After graduating from Columbia Law School, Justice Perry moved his family to Augusta, Georgia, and prepared to take the Georgia bar exam. He sat for the Georgia bar exam in 1972 with 50 other African American students. Photographs had to be submitted with all exams. Justice Perry was shocked to learn that he and all other African American students who took the bar had failed. Conversely, 850 White students passed the bar that year. Justice Perry decided to sue the Georgia Board of Bar examiners for racial discrimination, bringing attention to the blatant systematic discrimination. After Justice Perry’s lawsuit was filed, Georgia more than doubled the number of African American attorneys in the state in one year.

Bio for Mr. Kran Riley

Kran Riley is a native of Bartow, FL, but grew up in North Carolina. He returned to Florida in 1970. Kran Riley is a retired manager of Wayne Densch Charities. He also served as the President of the Orange County Branch of the NAACP from 2010 to 2016. During this time, he hosted the NAACP national convention in 2013 in Orlando, Florida. 

Further, Kran serves in leadership positions for many community organizations that reach children and families in Central Florida and advocates on their behalf. He is a member of Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, the 100 Black Men of Greater Orlando, the YMCA of Central Florida, the Epilepsy of Central Florida Foundation, and a lifetime member of the NAACP. He was elected President of the Orange County Branch of the NAACP again in 2022 and the Vice President for the Florida State Conference in 2023. 

Bio for Dr. Floyd Willis

In May 2007, Dr. Floyd B. Willis was appointed as Chairman of the Department of Family Practice at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and served in this capacity until 2017. During his 31 years as a staff physician in Florida, he has served on the Personnel Committee, the Diversity Committee, and the Florida Lead of the Mayo Clinic Enterprise Office of Population Health Management. He is currently the Director of the Wilson Scholar Program, which seeks to help enrich Mayo GME programs with a diverse pool of learners.

Dr. Willis obtained his medical degree from the Morehouse School of Medicine in 1986 after graduating from Yale College in 1982 with a B.S. degree in Biology. He completed the Mayo Clinic Family Practice Residency in 1989 and joined the Faculty at Mayo Clinic Florida in 1992. He is licensed to practice medicine in the states of Arizona, Florida, and Georgia. Dr. Willis also obtained board certification via the American Board of Family Practice in 1995 along with the distinction as a Certified Medical Review Officer (MRO) via the Medical Review Officer Certification Council in 1998.

Dr. Willis has been honored to receive the Teacher of the Year Award for Full Time Faculty from the Florida Academy of Family Physicians. His research interest focuses on the impact of neurocognitive diseases on cross-cultural populations. He has participated in and led multiple community-based projects on risk factors for dementia in underrepresented minorities.

Bio for Dr. Samuel L. Wright, Sr.

Dr. Samuel Lamar Wright, Sr., the only son born to the late Samuel Louis and Rovina Deal Wright of Boynton Beach, has had the pleasure of working in government and the State University system. While in Palm Beach County, he worked for the Board of County Commissioners in the Community Action Agency. In Tampa, he worked as Director of Multicultural Admissions for the University of South Florida (USF) for 27 years. Upon completing his doctorate in 1999, he served as the Associate Dean of Student and Parent Relations, Director of Multicultural Affairs, and Student Ombudsman, respectively. Part-time, he taught as an adjunct professor in the Department of African Studies.

In February 2013, he retired after 35 years in the Florida Retirement System and was highlighted in the Congressional Record by Congresswoman Kathy Castor for his contributions both to USF and the Tampa Bay community. He is credited with changing the dynamics of the campus for non-majority students in a positive way and, because of that, the Black Alumni Society gives awards in his name each year. Since his retirement, Dr. Wright has become an entrepreneur and established the Dr. Samuel L. Wright Consulting, LLC. 

At an early age, Dr. Wright accepted his calling as a freedom fighter. He fought for progress in his schools and continued the quest for justice at UF. In 1980, he was the first black person to be elected to Boynton Beach City Council. After relocating to Tampa, he founded the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival in 1999. He has held leadership positions in organizations such as the NAACP, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Hillsborough County Government, and the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Association. Currently, he serves as a board member for the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and the Dr. MLK Parade Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Wright was educated in Palm Beach County public schools and earned degrees from the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. He is listed in many editions of Who’s Who in Black America and was named the Lightning Foundation Community Hero. Dr. Wright is also the father of two adult children: Samuel Lamar, Jr. and Samaria Elizabeth. 

Bio for Dr. Kosj Yamoah

Dr. Kosj Yamoah is a board-certified radiation oncologist and physician-scientist with expertise in cancer health disparities spanning clinical care and translational research. Dr. Yamoah is Chair and Director of Radiation Oncology Cancer Health Disparities Research at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr. Yamoah served as Co-Leader on the Precision Interception of Aggressive Prostate Cancer in African American Men NCI pre-SPORE project. 

He is the lead principal investigator for the Prostate Cancer Foundation – Veterans Affairs Precision Oncology Center of Excellence in the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network, which has established Prostate Cancer Centers of Excellence within two Tampa VA hospitals. Dr. Yamoah currently directs a global laboratory that focuses on the identification of clinically relevant environmental and biological contributions to advanced disease and poor survival in men of African origin with prostate cancer. 

He is a principal investigator on an NCI D43 Global Cancer training grant as well as an R37 MERIT grant focused on studying the tumor microenvironment of prostate cancer. He has established international research partnerships with academic centers in Africa to study prostate cancer. His research utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that combines methods from epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, pathology, molecular biology, and genomic studies.