The Center for Afro-Brazilian - American Cooperation

Board of Directors

Our Mission

Levantamos’ mission is to develop partnerships between Americans and Afro-Brazilians focused on eliminating inequality and provide technical and financial assistance to Afro-Brazilian community-based organizations


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Board of Directors

Levantamos’ founding board was comprised by a group of people who love Brazil and have strong ties to the country.

Simone Manigo-Truell dos Santos is the founder of Levantamos. Several years after graduating from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, she attended Columbia University Law School in New York City where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar. While at Columbia, Ms. dos Santos was a human rights fellow in Harare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. It was also while in law school that she began frequently traveling to Brazil and a new relationship was born.

Following law school, Ms. dos Santos clerked in the federal district court of the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. Later, as a litigation associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Covington & Burling, Ms. dos Santos worked on various civil rights cases concerning claims of race discrimination, and was a contributing editor to a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief in support of the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action program.  In January 2004, following a leave of absence from Covington & Burling to work in Brazil, Ms. dos Santos founded Levantamos: The Center for Afro-Brazilian-American Cooperation. She left Covington & Burling in June 2004 and served as Levantamos’ first full time Executive Director until 2009.

Luiz Barcelos is the Chief of Staff of Afro-Brazilian congressman, Luiz Alberto of Bahia, and is the former Executive Director of the Inter-Agency Consultation on Race Relations in Latin America (IAC).

Deidra Fair is the Country Director for Ghana for the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Kellee James is the founder & CEO of Mercaris, a company that provides up-to-date, accurate information on market conditions for organic and non-GMO commodities.

Tianna Paschel, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at the University of California – Berkeley.

Juliette Williams Pryor is the General Counsel of Cox Communications.