Coalition For Racial Equity And Social Justice
Founder & CEO
Dr. Bernadine Ahonkhai
“The time to act is now. We must work together to build a safe, healthy, more equitable and just society where everyone is welcome and valued.”
Dr. Bernadine E. Ahonkhai, Founder/CEO.
Dr. Bernadine E. Ahonkhai is a long-time community advocate and activist for justice and equity, founded Coalition for Racial Equity and Social Justice (Coalition4Justice) in 2020 in response to the horrific killing of George Floyd. As a result of its immediate impact in the community and beyond in illuminating the societal issues of racism and injustice, Coalition4Justice was recognized in 2020 by the Biden-Harris Inaugural team. Coalition4Justice provides a safe space for people to engage in meaningful conversations about racial equity and social justice. Ahonkhai is an education policy influencer, a seasoned educator with expertise in Multicultural and Early Childhood Education, and the recipient of several awards and recognitions, including the Pennsylvania Governor’s Family Engagement Recognition & Human, and the Human Rights Award from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She obtained her advanced degrees in Educational Policy, Administration and Leadership from Columbia University, New York. She has taught Multi-cultural and Early Education courses at the university and college levels in Pennsylvania. After several years of teaching, including owning and successfully operating an Early Education program, Ahonkhai went on to serve as the Higher Education Director at the Pennsylvania Key, Office of Child Development and Early Learning in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As the Higher Education Director, Dr. Ahonkhai provided leadership in the revision of the curriculum for the teacher training program in Pennsylvania to better prepare educators to work with students from ethnic, multicultural, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Dr. Ahonkhai, born and raised in Nigeria, now resides in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania with her husband, Vincent I. Ahonkhai, MD. They have four children and five grandchildren. She has been an enthusiastic and impactful leader promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools, teacher education, and the community for decades. Coalition4Justice was founded on the belief that every American deserves an equal opportunity to thrive and be successful and that this happens when we value each other and work together. Yet due to deeply rooted systemic racism and prejudicial institutional and societal mores, people of color are discriminated against, marginalized, and denied equality and justice. Extremist ideology is on the rise in the country and threats to our democracy, civil rights, safe schools and communities, and public health have intensified. Coalition4Justice provides a safe space for individuals to come together and engage in authentic conversations about racial and social inequity and injustice. The Coalition aims, through its twice monthly educational programming and training, and youth diversity education to create awareness about racism and discrimination as a catalyst for transforming attitudes and behaviors and consequently resulting in safe and healthy communities and schools for all people.
Dr. Ahonkhai is a positive change-maker, helping to amplify the voices of those who have been marginalized for decades. Under her prudent leadership, Coalition4Justice also serves as a venue for people to share inspiring stories that validate their lived experiences. With the goal of finding purposeful and effective solutions to these challenges, she leads Coalition4justice in partnering with people and organizations who believe that the hitherto status quo is not acceptable, and therefore must change. The Coalition is collaborating with the Montgomery School Districts to bring a Diversity Ambassador Educational program to students in grades 6 through 9. It is also collaborating with the Hispanic Heritage Association in creating a training curriculum on the history of Latin American countries. And the Coalition is working with the BucksMontCollaborative in developing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) framework that organizations and institutions can use to help make their workplaces more welcoming and embracing of our diverse population. Coalition4justice also partners with the H.O.P.E. Alliance, which comprises a dozen African American organizations that provide various services to the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania residents.
Dr. Bernadine E. Ahonkhai, Founder/CEO