Black VegFest Presenter Bios

Presenter Bios

Sala Cyril is a lead organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), the director of Little Maroons Childcare Cooperative and a Bedford-Stuyvesant native. She has been a vegan for more than 20 years. Liberation through education is her goal. 

Allison Guttu is a native New Yorker and lead organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), a Black organization focused on self-determination for people of African descent in the u.s. She is also a leader in National Women's Liberation (NWL) and co-chairs the group's Women of Color Caucus (WOCC). Allison has been organizing since 1999. She spend as much time as possible canoeing, kayaking, swimming and otherwise frolicking in any body of water she can find. 

Aph Ko is a decolonial theorist and co-author of the book Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters. Aph Ko is also the founder of Black Vegans Rock.
Jehina Malik

KR Vargas A queer (they/them) and bilingual public speaker and grassroots organizer of Central and South American descent, Karla has over 10 years of experience speaking in front of an audience, and has traveled across the U.S. and overseas working at educational institutions and social service organizations in community development, conflict resolution, human rights, sexual and domestic abuse, mass incarceration, and food justice. A first generation American and college graduate, Karla has published empowering stories of overcoming poverty and abuse to find strength in activism and social work. 

Seba Johnson made history as the first Black female to ever ski in the Olympics. At 14, during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Seba also became the youngest Alpine Ski Racer in Olympic History, a title she still holds today. Unlike many other Olympic skiers, Seba faced extra challenges - many people were not ready for racial barriers to be broken in what was considered to be a white man's sport. She received her first death threat only three days after arriving at the Olympic Village. Hate mail and even attempts to disrupt her safety continued through the following World Cup and World Alpine Ski Championship competitions.

Four years later, Seba also participated in the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France. As an animal rights activist, and a vegan since birth, Seba protested the following Winter Olympic Games. She qualified for the 1994 Games to be held in Lillehammer, Norway but decided to boycott because Norway had resumed the practice of commercial hunting for minke whale. She was once disqualified from a World Cup ski race because she refused to wear a ski suit that had a patch of leather sewn into it.

Scott Burnhard

Jerin Arifa is a multitalented leader whose award-winning work has changed millions of lives — from cutting-edge cancer research to community organizing.  

Founder and President of the National Organization for Women’s (NOW) inaugural virtual chapter, Young Feminists and Allies.  

Debra Diane is originally from Detroit Michigan she has been playing the guitar and singing since she was 12 years old. In 2017 she started writing original music. While tackling being a full-time student at Temple University and a musician She is the founder of an organization called lead the way that prioritizes community outreach through music. She is currently working on a fundraiser towards scholarships for Detroit area youth to go to college.  For more information check out @DebraDiane313 and her foundation LeadTheWay313  

Orvel Douglas is a Certified Nutrition and Diet Specialist with the International Therapy Examination Council (ITEC). He was born in Birmingham, England in 1964, and moved to the United States in 1993. His journey into nutrition started over 20 years ago, when he weighed about 198 pounds and did not like the way he looked or felt. So Mr. Douglas started reading books on nutrition and immediately started changing his diet and exercising. In about 8 week’s Orvel Douglas lost 50 pounds of fat and transformed his body into a lean, muscular physique. His journey as continued an his objective is to educate the Masses on the Importance and Value of Nutrition As a vehicle to a better lifestyle 

Will Tucker is America’s Vegan Trainer™️, 4 Time Natural Bodybuilding Champion, Owner WTF! (Will Tucker Fitness), Contributor to Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine, Author, Speaker 

Danielle C. Henry 

Dreamer, Culinary Educator, Food Blogger, Vegan Cooking Show Host, & Community Activist.  

Grey is one of the hottest emerging artists at the intersection between activism, urban style & hip hop. A growing Atlanta institution in his own right, Grey became one of the most talked about acts of 2016 after his Vegan Thanksgiving freestyle & music video took the internet by storm. A His superb, cerebral and soulful flow ensured that his message went global, earning him 75k new followers and nods from Russel Simmons, DL Hughley, Ellie Goulding, Unilad, Worldstar, and Baller Alert. Notching a total of 30+ million views, he was catapulted from local stardom to the global stage.  
Ramona Adelle Cadogan is a champion weightlifter. Support her.

Cynthia King Dance Studio  and Ms. King herself are staples in the community, having received numerous citations for her outstanding leadership in the arts, business, and community activism. Most recently, in 2015, she received the prestigious Boston Conservatory Distinguished Alumni Award. An activist since 1967, Ms. King is the only U.S.-based producer of ready-to-wear vegan ballet slippers.   Ms. King has lobbied, organized, and served as advisor and board member for many political, dance, and animal advocacy organizations, including the Coalition for Healthy School Food and DanceStudioOwner.com, and she has been a featured speaker at conferences and various events. Her dedication is also evident in her deeply personal choreography, and recent work explores issues of freedom versus captivity in the animal and human worlds.  In the fall of 2015, Ms. King established the Cynthia King Humane Artist Scholarship, awarded to an incoming Boston Conservatory student who embodies compassionate and cruelty-free living. 

Philly Stallone is an Animal Rights Activist and organizer of NY's 1st Animal Rights Music Festival. 

Pauline Stevens  is a certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor (aka Nutrition and Holistic Counselor), professionally trained vegan chef and a certified fitness professional.   She grew up in the heart of Brooklyn and now resides in Virginia where she champions living a healthy and organic lifestyle.  Her days are also filled with creating vegan meals and workout plans to share with her personal training clients.   She has been called upon to speak at various schools and organizations regarding healthy eating and to lead guided meditation sessions. 

Mark A. Torres is Vegan and 15 year public school teacher/30 year school, workplace and community organizer. 

Abioseh Cole is a poet, animal rights blacktivist, teacher, and hip-hop artist, producer, and recording engineer. He started writing in 1989, at the age of 9, and has since found poetry to be his truest form of expression, be it in rap form, spoken word or prose. While most of his career has been spent honing his talents in hip hop, he has been focused on spoken word poetry since 2015. He has performed at venues including the Vegan World Summit at UC Berkley, Connecticut College, Yale University, The Green Earth Poets Cafe in Brooklyn, NY, the 2017 National Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado; has won poetry slams at Poets Realm in Bridgeport, CT; Lizard Lounge and the Cantab in Boston, Ma; The Nuyorican in Manhatten, NY; and The Love Jones Experience at the Russell in Hartford, CT and is a member of the 2017 and 2018 CT Slam Team, Verbal Slap. He has also taught poetry workshops to students ranging from middle school age to adulthood, including a residencies at Yale University. His first book, I Am Not Food, is expected to be released by early 2019, through Vegan Publishers.  

Lena Di holds a BA in Psychology and Communication from Rutgers University, NASM & NPTI Personal Trainer Certifications, NPTI Nutrition Consultant Certification, AAAI Yoga Instructor Certification and will graduate from a 200 Hour RYT Baptiste Yoga Program in May 2018. 

Joshua Black aka URBAN BLACK VEGAN

Cathy Ramos  is a Naturally Vegan Life Coach. She helps people transition from their current diet to a plant based lifestyle by going through veganism. Cathy recently created the Naturally Vegan Movement to help people like myself who want to live healthy pollutant free lifestyles.  Through her DIY programs, coaching services, Creations product line, blogs and Naturally Vegan Movement she focuses on the mind, body and soul to assist people in transitioning from where they are to where they are meant to be. 

Jenn Ross/DaJen Eats, owner of DaJen Eats, where she focuses on vegan living with a Jamaican flair. She owns and operates DaJen Eats Cafe & Creamery, an all vegan eatery inside a gas station in Orlando, FL. Her cafe was recently voted Best Caribbean Restaurant in the 20th annual Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards. Her Rum Raisin' The Roof Irie Cream (part of her line of deliciously dairyfree ice creams) was listed by VegNews Magazine as one of the top 50 desserts in America. Chef Jenn does food demos across Florida and often gives food related lectures at local colleges. She is scheduled to open the first vegan restaurant in Eatonville - the oldest incorporatored all-black American municipality. 

Ayoola White is a mageirocophile (lover of cooking). In vegan cooking, she has found joy, creativity, and ease. In her professional life, Ayoola is entering her final semester in a graduate library science program. She plans to work as an outreach librarian or archivist. 

Osiris Wildfire is a folk troubadour singer/song writer. 

Patricia Drew  is a health supportive chef and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute For Health and Culinary Arts’ Chef Training Program in NYC.  She is owner of Healing Cuisine, LLC., focusing on translating dietary prescriptions into healthy good-tasting meals. She is a long time Brooklyn resident and a twenty-five year veteran of the New York City Department of Education where she began her career as a high school English teacher. 

Rahama Wright  started her company at the age of 23 after serving in the Peace Corps. Her entrepreneurial journey spans bootstrapping to landing deals with Whole Foods Markets & MGM Resorts International. Shea Yeleen is also a triple bottom line social impact company that is rooted in the financial empowerment of women in Ghanaian villages. Additionally, she's merged business and policy with her role on the President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa created during the Obama administration. She can provide insight on a wide range of topics including social entrepreneurship, women in business, fundraising, manufacturing, supply chain development, and retail distribution. Over the last five years she has completed 100+ speeches and panels globally.