Saturday, February 4 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Video up!  See below ⬇️  or watch on Youtube 📺

Breaking Down Barriers: The Importance of Firsts, the Importance of Representation

We have four distinguished speakers on our panel for the WCDP Black History month program. They are speaking about the issues of Black “Firsts” and Black “Representation” as they relate to breaking down historical and persistent, continuing barriers. We honor and respect the accomplishments of our panelists. We also honor and respect the past barrier-breaking efforts and achievements of our elders, those who came before us. These include Black Ypsilanti mayors George Goodman, John Burton, and Lois Allen-Richardson; the first and only Black Ann Arbor mayor Albert Wheeler; the first Black Judge in Washtenaw County, Nancy Francis, and the other Black judges who have followed in her footsteps; the Black County Board of Commissioners, including Christina Montague, who was the first Black female Chair of the BoC, and Conan Smith, who was the first Black male BoC male Chair. For this panel today we also included “first electeds” as “firsts” because historically, for Black women in particular, the path to a position of decision-making has often had to be through the appointment process and the resultant incumbency which facilitated re-election. (Please note: Any errors or omissions in this list are inadvertent. We are all volunteers, and appreciate your correcting the record for us through

The distinguished panelists discussing Breaking Down Barriers: The Importance of Firsts, the Importance of Representation are:

  • Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton Washtenaw County’s first and only African American Sheriff and the first and only of the 5 County-wide electeds
  • Arianne Slay, the first Washtenaw County African American woman to be elected countywide (without having been appointed first) and the only current African American Circuit Court judge
  • Justin Hodge, the second African American male and current Chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners
  • Nicole Brown, the first elected (without having been appointed first) African American female and current Mayor of Ypsilanti City