About us

Since our founding in 2003 our diverse leadership teams have consulted with local communities across the region about how to reverse a southern legacy of racial violence, endemic conflict, and impaired civic relationships.

Principal Partners

Theophus Thee Smith

Rev. Dr. Theophus “Thee” Smith
Dr. Thee is a retired professor of Religion at Emory University, with academic and teaching specialties that include philosophy of religion, African American religious studies, liberation theology, and religion and violence. For his book Conjuring Culture: Biblical Formations of Black America, he received the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence. Thee Smith is also the co-editor with Mark Wallace of the book, Curing Violence: Essays on René Girard. From 1991 to 1998 Rev. Thee Smith directed the Atlanta Chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute™, an international consulting and training organization based in Washington, D.C. that specializes in diversity training, prejudice reduction, and intergroup conflict resolution. His consulting practice includes LocalMotivators.com and Thurman Reconciliation Initiatives, a research and consulting partnership that provides faith-based resources for conflict transformation and social change. He is also a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.


Andrew M. Sheldon

Andrew M. Sheldon
Dr. Andrew M. Sheldon retired as a principal partner of SheldonSinrich, LLC, from a trial consulting firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Andy holds a law degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology. He was actively involved in the retrials of civil right cases from the 1960s and selected the juries in eight of those cases, all of which resulted in convictions. A co-founder of Southern Truth and Reconciliation, he continues to serve on STAR’s Advisory Board. 


 
Trent Frank

Trent Frank, Executive Director Rev. Trent Frank is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Regent University, a graduate of the Candler School of Theology (M.Div.) at Emory University, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, a certified community organizer, and a former pastor. Contact the Executive Director: Your phone call to our number at 404-931-5062 and your e-mail posted from our Contact Us page linked below, will reach Trent.

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Veronica_Hart

Dr. Veronica R Hart, Acting Executive Director & Board Member

Veronica R. Hart, a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology from the Harold Abel School of Psychology at Capella University with a specialization in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. She holds a Master of Business Administration(MBA) with a Project Management degree from Kaplan University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Communication, (Media Studies) from Kennesaw State University, (KSU).

Her research, aiming to leverage academic experience and proven knowledge of leadership, project management, consulting, and independent theory, includes research methods and skills, race relations, racial discrimination to various forms of racism (systemic, institutional, structural, scientific, cultural, individual), micro and macroaggressions (covert, overt, passive, subtle, colorblindness, colorism), perceptions of racism, anddiversity and sensitivity training.  Further research includescommunity relations, employee working styles, work-life balance and satisfaction, coaching, change management, individual and organizational healing and wholeness, employee-employer relations, leadership perceptions, bright and dark personality traits/styles, leadership styles, leader effectiveness, leadership development, equal employment opportunity and compliance (i.e. hiring, pay/compensation, position types and levels, promotions, terminations, etc.), employee retention, racially-inclusive recruiting, selection and testing, and individual and team leadership, motivation, and well-being in order to effectively, holistically, wholistically, and thus efficiently and successfully, fill a broad range of Human Resource Management (HRM) needs as well as the spirit of industrial and organizational needs to increase and improve racial intelligence, respect, unity, equitability, fairness, productivity, morale, personality, quality of life, and best practices of individual, organizational, and community needs-locally, nationally, and globally.

Dr. Hart’s published work is Dissertation: “Perceived Racism and Perceived Leadership from Subordinates Based on Race and Gender Differences” accessiblevia https://www.proquest.com/openview/453e9cbc057dc17208145e08ca85b8e7/1.pdf?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

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Kwesi DeGraft-Hanson

Dr. Kwesi J. DeGraft-Hanson, Board Member

Kwesi DeGraft-Hanson holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory University. He has a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Georgia, and a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Ghana. He is a practicing Landscape Architect, licensed in Georgia, North Carolina and Louisiana, and an educator. His research explores intersections of African American history, culture, and literature in colonial and antebellum slavery in the American South. His focus is on what he terms “Hidden Landscapes of Slavery,”—places and spaces, like some former plantations and slave auction sites in the American South that are unmarked and without commemoration. 

Since 2017, Kwesi DeGraft-Hanson has worked with concerned citizens in Savannah, Georgia, to annually commemorate the 429 former Butler enslaved persons who were sold on March 2ndand 3rd 1859 at the Weeping Time slave sale in Savannah. The annual gathering remembers and pays tribute to the men, women, boys and girls who were sold at this, the largest, slave sale in recorded American history and scattered throughout the American south. Since 2020, the celebrations, in Savannah and Darien, Georgia, have also included citizens from Darien, St. Simons Island and Brunswick, Georgia, some of them descendants of former enslaved from Butler Island Plantation, near Darien, and Hampton Plantation, St. Simons Island.

Dr. DeGraft-Hanson’s published works are, “The Cultural Landscape of Slavery at Kormantsin, Ghana,” Landscape Research, Vol. 30. No. 4: 459-481, October 2005; “Unearthing the Weeping Time: Savannah’s Ten Broeck Race Course and 1859 Slave Sale,” Southern Spaces Journal, 18 February 2010; a sidebar essay, “‘Torn Asunder’: Savannah’s 1859 ‘Weepin’ Time’ Slave Sale,” in Slavery and Freedom in Savannah, edited by Leslie Harris and Daina Ramey Berry, University of Georgia Press, February, 2014, pp. 61-63, and “‘The Weeping Time’: The story of the largest slave auction and a descendant’s homecoming journey,” in Jamil’s Georgia, the Saporta Report, an online publication of the Georgia Humanities Council, Atlanta, Georgia, August 3, 2015, accessible via http://saportareport.com/the-weeping-time-the-story-of-the-largest-slave-auction-and-a-descendants-attempt-to-return-home/

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Catherine ‘Cappy’ Harmon, Diversity Training Consultant

Catherine “Cappy” Harmon has a wide range of experience working in corporate, non-profit and faith-based organizations. For 23 years, Ms. Harmon worked at EastmanKodak Company in a variety of positions. Following her work in the corporate sector, she spent the next two decades working in the non-profit sector. Ms. Harmon was employed by Communities in Schools of Atlanta (CIS) for 4 years as both a Volunteer Coordinator and Assistant to the Director of Development. CIS aims “to build relationships that empower at-risk students to stay and perform well in school and become good achievers not just academically but also in life.”

From 1998-2007, Ms. Harmon was the Director of the National Coalition Building Institute of Atlanta (NCBI Atlanta). NCBI Atlanta and its parent organization NCBI International have offered leadership training for welcoming diversity, conflict resolution and violence prevention since 1984. Ms. Harmon then worked for Atlanta Habitat for Humanity for 5 years as an in-kind donation consultant after which she decided to shift her interest to volunteer activities. She has been an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta for almost 30 years and has been involved with the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta’s trainings for Dismantling Racism. Additionally, she has participated in numerous discussion and activism groups which focus on building bridges across divisions of race, class, gender, etc. Cappy Harmon is passionate about social justice, equity for all and diversity training.


Additional Advisors:

Dr. Susan GlissonAtty. Seth KirschenbaumMr. Curtis Michelson
Prof. Oliver Nathan Greene Rev. Darryl RobertsMr. Earl A. Daniels


Former Partners Include:

Dr. Mark AuslanderDr. Natasha BarnesDr. Meridith GouldDr. Matthew Bersagel-BraleyMr. Rich RuskDr. Suzanne MinarcineMr. Dan DusterDr. Jody Usher
Dr. Robert FranklinMs. Cappy HarmonDr. Norman HarrisMs. Jesse Harris-BathrickThe Hon. Susan TateDr. Sherrylin IfillAtty. Charles LesterMs. Sheryl R. Wilson