Our Team

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Rashad Pearson

Chair

Rashad is a Financial Analyst with the Department of Navy. He is a Free Mason and is a proud member of Central Lodge #1 in Indianapolis. Politically, he is heavily involved with the Chesapeake Democratic Committee. Rashad was also a 2020 Democratic Party State Delegate for Bernie Sanders and was elected as a Bernie Sanders National Delegate for Virginia Congressional District 4.

Rashad has a deep affinity for racial and social progress in America and is very passionate about any humanitarian based cause. He specializes in housing and eviction racial disparities in Virginia and throughout the nation. 

Tyler J.D.
Begley

board member

Tyler spent years working as a Congressional Grant Officer before starting a digital media agency foucsed on helping lift the messaging of local activists and organizers. Tyler has experienc working on political campaigns and developing policy related to mental health. His volunteerism includes many Democratic Party seats including: Executive Board of Democratic Party of Virginia’s LGBT+ Caucus, Steering Committee of Fairfax County, VA Democratic Committee, and Executive Board for Braddock District Democratic Committee. He was also a Virginia State Delegate in 2020. 

Melissa Hartman

board member

Dr. Melissa Hartman is co-founder and managing partner for Hartman Consulting Group. Dr. Hartman was a member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service and served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Privacy, Transparency and Records for the Department of the Treasury. She was responsible for the performance and outcomes of a variety of programs including Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), records management, information collection and governance, privacy and civil liberties, open government, and library services.

Zeina Hutchinson

board member

Zeina Hutchison is an elected Bernie Sanders 2020 State and National Delegate to the DNC from Virginia. As a rights and political activist advocating for equality, justice and freedom, Zeina actively engages in grassroots movements to amplify women’s voices and elevate the causes of those who are oppressed, excluded, or marginalized. She was born in Jerusalem and raised in Ramallah. As a Palestinian American, she continues to highlight the parallels between the ongoing oppressions of Palestinians and American minorities.

Marwa Eltaib

board member

Marwa was an elected National Delegate for the National Democratic Convention in 2020 where she assisted efforts in building the National Democratic Platform. Marwa is a renowned activist in Virginia that has led many initiatives addressing criminal justice reform and focused on systemic change. She is also a Gilman Scholar from the Virginia Commonwealth University.

Stephen Spitz

board member

Civil rights lawyer for 35 years, now retired. Active as national Co-Chair of the End Corporate Rule Issue Organizing Team for Progressive Democrats of America, as well as PDA’s co-coordinator for Virginia. Co-Chair of the Election Law and Protection Committee of the Fairfax County Democratic 
Committee.
 

Susan Virginia Mead

board member

Dr. Susan Virginia Mead, a native of Lexington, Virginia, earned her B.A. in Sociology and Art from Agnes Scott College, and her M.S. and Ph.D.in Sociology from Virginia Tech. She has taught in a variety of settings in the Commonwealth, including Virginia Tech, Radford University, Roanoke City and Franklin County Public Schools, Floyd’s Blue Mountain School and the Floyd Center for the Arts; she is now in her 24th year of teaching sociology at Ferrum College.  In 2016, Susan established Diversity Serves, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to “connecting diverse communities through creating sustainable partnerships for cultivating prosperity and peace.”  Diversity Serves has focused on facilitating educational endeavors for South Sudanese youth, educating people of all ages about the rich heritage of Appalachia, and stirring community conversations about diversity everywhere.

Mary Ann White

board member

In Loving Memory...

Arthuretta Holmes Martin​

Our founder and voice for RASR, Arthuretta Holmes-Martin, passed away on July 3, 2021. Her energy and vision fueled the creation of the RASR organization and her contributions will be greatly missed. Arthuretta’s desire to make life better for all people, and to ensure those impacted most by the past wrongs in our society would be made equal, is reflected in our vision – to be the catalyst for the change we seek. Her aspirational yet practical approach to implementing our mission is advancing our efforts to identify and call out systemic and structural racism for the purpose of education and aiding in the elimination of societal racism.

An inspiring example of Arthuretta’s leadership is the effort that culminated in the ultimate passage of Virginia’s House Joint Resolution No. 537 Recognizing that racism is a public health crisis in Virginia. This resolution included relevant state entities be encouraged to consider steps to address systemic racism and its impact on public health. RASR is committed to continuing Arthuretta’s important work to help change systems and structures that contribute to disparate outcomes in health, education, financial stability, housing, and justice for Black and African Americans.