My personal story is not unlike that of many people who became victims of crime,
poverty and tragedy growing up. My life required me not only to “pull myself up by my
bootstraps,” it required me to tan and cut the hide, stitch the soles, and weave my own
When I was one year old my mother was murdered at the age of 16, leaving me to be raised by
my grandparents. Starting at the age of four, I was sexually abused by my father which later
took my life during my teen years into a dark place of the female adult entertainment industry,
and what we call today- sex trafficking. By the time I graduated from high school I became the
mother of two children. During college, I was diagnosed with dyslexia- resulting from a work
related closed-head injury which hindered my abilities to take classes. It was clear that I would
never be able to complete my education.
After the untimely death of my 24 year old son, Emilio in 2014, and the tragic murder of my
father shortly thereafter, I showed my resilience and faith, even through grief, by allowing God to
direct my path of overcoming these challenges – so I thought! The struggle allowed me to birth
another arm of ministry that is focused on helping others swallowed by loss and death; to help
those seeking to find healing through pain and hardship to cope with trauma by grabbing hold of
a better tomorrow each day at a time.
My journey into public service and advocacy came as a personal mission growing out of my
various life experiences. For over 20 years, my career in political advocacy and organizing
allowed me to serve as the African-American & Faith Coordinator and Detroit Delegation
Organizer to the Michigan House Democrats. Currently, I serve as a senior adviser to Mayor
Mike Duggan of Detroit, with a portfolio of responsibility that includes public engagement,
advance & logistics management, faith-based, senior citizens, returning citizens, gang
intervention, and homeless affairs. I also served as the Director of African-American and Faith-
Based Engagement for the State of Michigan during the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign.
In the past 10 years I’ve had the pleasure of becoming a published author of several books,
most notably & "Saving the Best Dance for Last” and most recent release, “You Never Walk
Alone.” I am the host of an informational cable television Talk Show called “On the Floor” with
Dr. Terra DeFoe airing on The Impact Network and WADL Detroit 360.
Having faced many challenges, I am honored to be a Certified Professional Coach and Peer Support Specialist. In 2004 I became a licensed Minister and earned my Doctorate degree from Bethel Christian University in Religious Studies in 2012. Currently I serve as the CEO and founder of “Vessels of Hope," and "District For Change."
In my duty to the community, I serve as a Board Member to several organizations. I have the pleasure of serving as a Chaplain with the Detroit Police Department, and a Wayne County Sheriff Deputy Reserve. I serve on the Executive Board of the Michigan Democratic Party 13th Congressional District, and as Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Faith Caucus.