Joseph Donahue is a lawyer in private practice in Annapolis. He grew up in Annapolis and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2004 and later became a lawyer. He filed a 111-page lawsuit against the City of Annapolis and the Housing Authority of Annapolis on behalf of his 15 clients who live in subsidized housing in the city. “Why is the city trying to come up with reasons not to inspect its citizens’ apartments?” Donahue said. “They pay rent, they work, and their landlord doesn’t maintain their properties.” Donahue won his case in September 2020 against the city and the plaintiffs were awarded $900,000.
25th Annual Fannie Lou Hamer Award Recipients
Venus Bradford of Annapolis is the Family Self-Sufficiency & Homeownership Manger, for the Housing Authority, City of Annapolis. She began her career with the Annapolis Housing Authority in 1977, where she held various positions. Her most impactful position to the community, has been Director of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Bradford was very instrumental in removing barriers and stigmas related to Section 8 and public housing tenants by reaching out to landlords and hosting landlord workshops to encourage new landlords to register their property and come on board as participants. During the HUD budget cuts, she helped to foster strategies and partnerships with the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County so that no Housing Choice Voucher participant lost their voucher and retained their homes. She currently manages 83 families and households through the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) and Homeownership Program to promote and assist families to become self-sufficient and homeowners.
Octavia Brown of Annapolis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Certified (LCSW-C) and the founder and lead clinician of the Urban Institute for Mental Health. Brown specializes in racial trauma therapy, trauma-informed care, cognitive behavioral therapy, and behavioral modification. She received her MSW from the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work in 2015 but has served in the urban community for over 10 years.
Brown is specifically trained in working in urban communities and has extensive experience working in racial trauma, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and child welfare. Brown also serves the community as a political social worker, working to advocate for urban communities, eliminate social issues which greatly impact the populations, and implement new and progressive policies which aid in the fight to dismantle systemic racism and discrimination. In June 2020, Mrs. Brown created a Black Health & Wellness Guide of health and wellness providers in Anne Arundel County. Brown also trains clinicians, educators, and social workers on how to effectively work with urban and Black populations, and help organizations establish a culturally competent, safe, and antiracist environment for their employees and clients.
Emma Buchman is the deputy director of March On Maryland, a member of Connecting The Dots, and a huge asset to Community Actively Seeking Transparency (CAST.) She is a community activist and an unapologetic anti-racist. Emma has always been at the forefront of serving in any capacity required, and she has pushed herself to the point of personal exhaustion on behalf of our community. Buchman organized myriad marches and events for racial justice,
civic engagement, women’s rights, and vigils for those we’ve lost. She travels between office locations across the state of Maryland. Buchman hosts, moderates, or facilitates meetings for multiple organizations, including the Caucus of African American leaders, CAST, March On Foundation and Showing Up For Racial Justice. She is a multifaceted community and civil rights activist. Her support comes with a passion for not only her neighbors in this country, but also those around the world. She has served under a member of the UK Parliament, and she has been heavily involved in both local and state politics.
Delegate Shaneka Henson is a native Annapolitan, who has a history rooted in Maryland, specifically Anne Arundel County. Delegate Henson received her B.S. from Coppin State University and J.D. from University of Maryland School of Law and admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2010. Delegate Henson has worked for Anne Arundel County States Attorney Office, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and Maryland Office of Attorney General. Delegate Henson is a strong advocate, leader, mentor, and activist who is truly dedicated to working for her constituents. Her first term as Alderwoman she was appointed to the Maryland General Assembly after the tragic loss of Speaker Michael Busch. As a community activist, she has faced racism, sexism, and countless negativity, and never backed down. She is a true fighter for “Civil Rights”.
Carolyn Jane Meushaw “CJ” is an activist and dedicated member of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a national network of groups and individuals working to undermine white supremacy and to work for racial justice. CJ has been a core organizer in the SURJ chapter in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, where she workers tirelessly encouraging other white people to live out the SURJ values of Calling People In, Not OUT; Accountability Through Collective Action; Take Risks, Make Mistakes; Learn and Keep Going; Organize Out of Mutual Interest; There is Enough for All; Growing is Good; and Center Class. CJ has helped many white people to help realize that racial justice is core to our liberation. CJ has clutched the meaning of “social revolution” and committed to it, she is actively involved in the fight against racism and feels her life depends on it. CJ serves as the Co-Chair of the Economic Empowerment Committee for the Anne Arundel County Branch of the NAACP, where her devoted efforts has made a tremendous impact throughout the county.