We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Cummings and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christina, how does your business help the community?
I currently serve as the VP of Operations for the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE). Our mission is to advance policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all in the growth of metropolitan Atlanta and the American South. Through our work, we believe that we can and will permanently disrupt structural racism by centering frontline communities and helping them organize power in 3 ways: Organized People, Organized Money, and Organized Data. The project that I am most proud of since joining PSE has been the Justice40 Accelerator project. Through the formation of the J40 Accelerator, we believe that communities who are at the frontlines of climate, environmental, and social injustices have the wisdom and the solutions to create systemic transformational change. Due to historic structural racism and bureaucratic inadequacies, these same communities lack access to the capacity and resources to implement their solutions. The Justice40 Accelerator will share information, resources, and capacity with frontline community organizations. These communities will be able to formulate projects and successfully apply to the Federal funding opportunities presented by the Biden-Harris Administration Justice40 Initiative. Our inaugural cohort served 52 frontline organizations with $25K predevelopment funding and wrap around support to help these organizations compete for federal funding.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I joined the Partnership for Southern Equity in January of 2021 as VP of Operations. I insist that my best skills have been gained through community service and I care about building stronger, healthier, and more prosperous communities. I came to PSE from a career in local government where I led the Office of Housing and Community Development for the city of Atlanta and the Community Development and Regulatory Affairs Department for the city of South Fulton. Because I am most passionate about issues of social justice and equity in under- served communities, it only made sense to work in and organization that designs programs that help close the wealth gap for black and brown communities using the intersectional issues of health, economic opportunity, land use and development, and climate and energy. I have completed numerous regional leadership programs and serves on several non-profit boards such as the Clayton County Meals on Wheels Board, the GA Center for Employee Ownership and formerly Ladies of Favor Mentoring Program. Prior to COVID-19, I was often asked to serve as a guest speaker regarding my work in Economic Development. I consider myself a solutions driven leader and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across multiple professional sectors. I am well versed in federal programs, fiscal policy, economic development, strategic planning, community organizing, and coalition building. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, I also served 8 years in the United States Marine Corps as a Financial Analyst and hold numerous awards from the military that include a Navy Achievement Medal and several meritorious commendations. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Sociology, a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology all from GA State University. My career path has been very untraditional to say the least but I see everyday as a challenge and relish every opportunity to serve. The project that I am leading currently at PSE is the Justice40 Accelerator. It is a cohort accelerator designed to get frontline communities ready to compete for federal funding. Through this work we have mapped the federal resource delivery system and offered over $2.5M in support to cohort members via predevelopment grants and technical assistance. More information about the J40A can be found at www.justice40accelerator.org. I would want the world to know that my brand is fighting for the liberation of Black and disinvested communities of color. I consider it my calling and my destiny to help businesses and nonprofits led by Black and Brown folks thrive.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A great weekend for me in Atlanta would be taking in all the local treasures that Atlanta has to offer.

*We would eat at the Beautiful Restaurant on Cascade to get some soul food.
*Murphy’s in Virginia Highlands for dinner and dessert.
*We would take in a concert at City Winery – Brian McKnight and Fantasia were my favorite so far
*We would visit the campuses of Clark, Morehouse and Spelman to see where they filmed part of Hidden Figures and take in the energy and brilliance of the AUC.
* We would stroll down Peter’s street to take in the Art scene and tour the future home of PSE’s corporate offices.
*We would finish out our evening with cocktails at one of the many Spice House restaurants.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout my husband of 10 years Mr. Roy Cummings. His commitment to our family and his support allows me to have a meaningful and impactful career in the nonprofit sector. Aside from being a communications genius, he is a friend, a confidant, a life partner, and an incredible role model to our 4 kids. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Roy decided to return to school to secure a second Masters Degree in Communications and has maintained a 4.2 GPA while balancing a full time career, family and other responsibilities. It only seems fitting for me to shoutout my husband as a part of my journey.

My next shout out is to my organization the Partnership for Southern Equity. The Founder and Chief Equity Officer Nathaniel Smith is not only the visionary and leader that started this organization, but he is my friend. It was the best professional decision of my career to come and help him build and grow this phenomenal organization that remains on the frontlines of liberating all people in Atlanta and the American South. PSE has been recognized for so many awards that they would not all fit in this story, but I want to thank Nathaniel for creating a space where Black excellence can thrive. At PSE we practice empathy as a bridge between love and action. We seek to transform people and places through love in the pursuit of what Dr. King called the “Beloved Community.”

Website: www.psequity.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/psequity/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/partnership-for-southern-equity

Twitter: https://twitter.com/psequitymatters

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PSEquity/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/PSEquityMatters

Image Credits
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. COVID-19 Vaccine Drive Partnership for Southern Equity Judge Cassandra Kirk

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