Phillis Filer, Secretary
Phillis Filer is a native Floridian who has lived in Gainesville since August 1974. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida and Masters in Library Science from Florida State University. She is currently Public Services Administrator in charge of the Branch Libraries for the Alachua County Library District. She has been employed with the Alachua County Library District for 43 plus years. Phillis is a member of numerous civic and community organizations, including the Alachua-Central District Lay Organization and the East Conference Lay Organization of the AME Church, Florida Library Association, and Springhill Neighborhood Association. She is the recipient of the Anvil Award and the Hall of Fame Award from the 11th Episcopal District Lay Organization. She is a member of Mount Olive AME. Church where she serves in varying capacities. Her interests and hobbies include collecting African American figurines, reading, traveling, and mentoring young people.
Vivian Filer, Chairman
Vivian Filer is a long-time resident of Gainesville, Florida. Her professional career includes employment at Shands Teaching Hospital as both a Nursing Assistant and a Registered Nurse and at Santa Fe College as a professor of nursing. Vivian has served on a remarkably diverse number of committees, boards, and auxiliaries often as chair or president. She is also co-founder of the Springhill Neighborhood Association, and the Greater Gainesville Black Nurses Association. In her present role, she is founder and Chair of the Board of the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center. Vivian’s leadership role started and flourished at Mt. Olive AME Church where she has served all her adult life. Vivian enjoys singing with her sisters in the a’ capella trio known as the Washington Sisters and entertaining audiences of all age with her story telling skill. She is the widow of Delano Filer Sr. and the mother of two sons, four grandsons and two granddaughters.
Malcolm Kiner, Treasurer
Malcolm Kiner currently serves as the Vice President of Real Estate Development for the Gainesville Housing Authority. He comes back to Gainesville after serving as an Urban Development Manager with the City of Tampa where he acted in the capacity of the West Tampa – Drew Park Community Redevelopment Manager for 3 years. Kiner is a 2008 alum of the National Urban Fellows Program that develops professionals to be leaders and change agents in the public and nonprofit sectors. He received his Master’s in Public Administration in August 2008 from Bernard M. Baruch College School of Public Affairs and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. Kiner is active in his church and community, volunteering as a mentor, and working as a volunteer with nonprofit organizations.
Deloris Rentz, Financial Secretary
Deloris Rentz is a retired educator who taught in the public schools of Pinellas and Alachua Counties for more than thirty years. She currently serves as a community research coordinator with Dr. Carolyn Tucker’s Health-Smart Program through the Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program at the University of Florida. She is a member of the Gainesville (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, where she has served as parliamentarian, financial secretary, VP for programs, and VP for membership. She is a member of the board for Caring and Sharing Learning School, a charter school in Gainesville, and attends Open Door Ministries in Gainesville where she serves as director of several ministries. She is the recipient of several community awards. Her interests and hobbies include the theater, collecting African American art and artifacts, and mentoring children and young adults.
Evelyn Foxx is passionate about addressing racial discrimination and political, social, and economic inequity and injustice to ensure the rights of all people. Evelyn joined the Alachua County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 22 years ago when she moved to Gainesville. Today, she serves as president of that organization, a position she has held since 2010.
Evelyn has used the power and prestige of the NAACP to support many causes and address many issues, including the school to prison pipeline and racial discrimination and mistreatment by local businesses and government officials.
Evelyn has served as a member of the City of Gainesville Parks and Recreation Board and was a founding member and chair of the Digital Divide Committee where she led the push to open computer labs in east Gainesville. She served as Chairwoman of the Gainesville Housing Authority and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Girls Place, Inc.
Evelyn has been named the Alachua County Democrat of the Year and has received the Santa Fe College Women of Distinction Award and the Florida State Conference NAACP Award.
Rev. Helen Johnson-Ford
The Reverend Helen L. Johnson-Ford is the Senior Pastor of the Mount Olive AME Church in Gainesville, Florida. A native of Florida, Rev. Johnson-Ford was born in Tallahassee but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, receiving her primary education in the Broward County School System. She continued her education both nationally and internationally, having studied at Moda University in Istanbul, Turkey; Maryville College (Maryville, Tennessee); Edward Waters College (Jacksonville, Florida); and Anita Priest School of Interior Design (Miami, Florida). She has ministered throughout the states of New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida; and internationally in The Bahamas teaching and preaching the gospel and healing through the glorious power of God.
Barbara McDade Gordon, Ph.D.
Barbara McDade Gordon is Professor Emeritus, Geography and African Studies, University of Florida.
She is affiliate faculty in Center for the Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship (CAME) in College of Arts and serves on the UF African American Studies Advisory Board. She is a founding director of the Alachua County African and African American Studies Historical Society, member of the Alachua County African American History Task Force, President of Welcoming Gainesville & Alachua County, and Secretary of the United Nations Association - Gainesville.
She received her Bachelor of Arts from Texas Southern University; MCRP and Ph.D. from University of Texas - Austin. She was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Ghana 2012-2014. Her current research focus is on the Global African Diaspora. She is a Fulbright Scholar and founding member of African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA).
Dr. McDade Gordon has traveled throughout Africa pursuing her research and teaching interests; and
has also visited the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Gwenuel.W. Mingo, PhD
Dr. Mingo is a retired educator with 30 plus years of experience teaching, counseling, advising, and preparing young adults for success in secondary and postsecondary educational institutions. In his retirement years, he is still helping students and parents to learn strategies and success behaviors that aid in their educational pursuits. His interests include traveling domestically and internationally, attending and supporting the AME Church, advocating for Florida A&M University(FAMU), gardening, officiating track and field events, learning foreign languages, and exercising, eating well, and living well.
Porchia Moore, PhD
Dr. Moore is Department Head and Assistant Professor of Museum Studies at the University of Florida. In addition she serves as affiliate faculty of UF's Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship (CAME). She is a Critical Race Scholar interrogating the role and function of race in museums and the cultural heritage sector. She is the co-creator of The Visitors of Color Project. Dr. Moore speaks internationally on issues of race, equity, and inclusion. She presents regularly at museum conferences such as AAM, MCN, SEMC, Museums and the Web. Dr. Moore has served on numerous museum and museum professionals boards and committees. She previously served as Inclusion Catalyst at the Columbia Museum of Art where she also worked as consulting curator of African-American Art for the Spoken rotating art gallery. She served as project advisor for MASS Action, was one of the founding architects for Museums and Race and is Project Advisor and Regular Contributing Writer for Incluseum. She has partnered with museums across the nation on education, training, and workshops on race and anti-racism in museums. She has been a featured guest on NPR's "Here and Now", numerous podcasts and radio programs, and other media outlets. You can follow her on Twitter @PorchiaMuseM.
Jon Reiskind, PhD
Dr. Jon Reiskind was born and grew up on Staten Island, New York. He received his A.B. from Amherst College and PhD from Harvard University in Biology, studying spider evolution, behavior, and ecology. He is a former president of the American Archeological Society. He has lived in Gainesville for almost 50 years and is a retired UF faculty member. He was former president of the local faculty union and chair of the Alachua County Democratic Party (2004 to 2012). He currently co-chairs the Community Coalition for Older Adults and is on the boards of the Institute for Learning in Retirement, the Alachua County Library Foundation, and the Retired Faculty of the University of Florida. He is the father of two children and grandfather of five.
Regina "Casey" Smith
Casey Smith, currently a Community Relations Coordinator at Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), has an extensive background in resource development in the non-profit community. She is the past Resource Development Director at Alachua Habitat for Humanity where she also specialized in neighborhood revitalization. She was the Resource Development Director at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare for a number of years. She founded and was the Executive Director of the Cris Collinsworth Foundation for eight years while owning and running Special Events Unlimited, Inc., a special event fundraising company. She frequently volunteers with area non-profits and is most interested in low-income and affordable housing. Casey is a University of Florida graduate in Journalism – Public Relations.
Karen Cole Smith, PhD
Dr. Karen Cole-Smith is currently Executive Director of Community Outreach and East Gainesville Instruction at Santa Fe College where she has been employed for more than 30 years. She currently serves on a committee for GNV for All, the Saturday Academy at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, the Greater Duval Neighborhood Initiative, and several other boards and organizations that help to empower people and the community. She is passionate about her ongoing involvement in the community and remains committed to many outreach efforts including her partnership with faith based organizations in East Gainesville and professional women’s organizations. Her current focus is on narrowing the achievement gap for minority students in the areas of technology, literacy and STEM through mentoring, tutoring, and partnerships with educational institutions.
Otis Stover, Co-Chair
Otis Stover is a lifelong resident of Gainesville who grew up next door to the Cotton Club in Gainesville’s Springhill neighborhood. He is a graduate of Santa Fe College, a retired corrections professional, and a criminal justice educator. He is an avid history buff, especially African American history. Currently, he is vice president of the Lincoln High School Alumni Association and a member of the board of trustees for Mt. Olive AME Church.
Support Council Members
Sam B. Wesley