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BWPSJ Team

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman, Ed.D.
Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a visionary cultural curator with over two decades of experience transforming spaces into vibrant centers of artistic and educational engagement.  As the founding CEO of Black Writers for Peace and Social Justice (BWPSJ), Dr. Ali-Coleman leads the charge in providing transformative learning experiences for writers dedicated to advancing principles of peace and social justice through their work. Her commitment to empowering voices on the margins is evident in her multifaceted career as an award-winning performance artist, multi-genre writer, playwright, and filmmaker. She is the current Poet Laureate of Prince George's County, Maryland.

Dr. Ali-Coleman's professional writing career began as a freelance journalist in the late 1990's, writing for community publications such as The Washington Informer, The Baltimore Times, The Afro, The District Chronicles, and East of the River, published by Capital Community News. She covered local and national news specific to education, youth and the arts. Throughout the 2000's she has written professionally for digital publications, including Ebony, Soul Train.com, Honey Magazine, SoulBounce.com, The Grade, Romper and more. She has covered issues ranging from education and parenting to music and politics.

Her creative work as a poet and playwright began flourishing in the early 2000's, leading to her work being showcased on prestigious stages and platforms, including the John F. Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, Baltimore Theatre Project, and Anacostia Arts Center. She is the author of the poetry collection The Summoning of Black Joy (2023), the children's book Mariah's Maracas (2018), and co-editor of Homeschooling Black Children in the US: Theory, Practice and Popular Culture (2022).

A trailblazer in arts and education, Dr. Ali-Coleman founded the multidisciplinary arts group Liberated Muse in 2008 and co-founded the national education research group Black Family Homeschool Educators and Scholars, LLC (BFHES), during the COVID-19 quarantine in 2020. BFHES has provided vital support to over 3000 families, offering annual teach-ins and workshops.  Dr. Ali-Coleman's impact extends beyond the stage and classroom. She has been featured in prominent media outlets such as The Washington Post, USA Today, The Guardian, and The Financial Times for her pioneering work in arts and education. Her expertise as a performer, presenter, and curator has been sought after by institutions including the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum, DC Public Library System, and The United States Peace Corps.

As a teaching artist and educator, Dr. Ali-Coleman has created and led educational programs for over 20 years at institutions such as The Hurston Wright Foundation and Montgomery Community Media (MCM). Her innovative approach to education includes the development of virtual media training curricula, youth mentorship programs, and media literacy initiatives.

Dr. Ali-Coleman holds a doctorate in education from Morgan State University, a Master of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Towson University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). She is a professional member of The Dramatists Guild, The Recording Academy, and the Association of African American Museums.  A recipient of numerous grants and fellowships for her writing, performance, and teaching, Dr. Ali-Coleman's accolades include awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council, and Poets & Writers. Her dedication to amplifying marginalized voices and fostering creative expression continues to inspire and empower communities nationwide.

Benjamin B. Dawson, Jr.
Founding Board Member

Benjamin B. Dawson, Jr. is a technologist, illustrator, musician and producer who has served as webmaster for a historic national nonprofit located in Washington DC since 2011. Under his pen name Hook E. Free, he illustrated the 2018 children's book, Mariah's Maracas and he has produced numerous musical projects for film and the web. 

 

Khari Dawson
Founding Board Member

Khari Dawson is a multigenre writer and musician based in Maryland. She has enjoyed support for her work through grants and fellowship opportunities with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' Art Under a Minute program, the Martha's Vineyard Creative Writing Institute, and the Smithsonian exhibit project,  "Gen Z Speaks: A Right, to the City."