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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Marc Wurgaft                           Born in 1947, Marc Wurgaft is a White male who grew up in the small northern New Jersey town of Verona.  Almost exclusively White, Verona did allow People of Color to live in town, but on only one street:  Martin Road.  The greatest athlete in town history, William ‘Bucky’ Hatchett, an All American in football and basketball at Rutgers University, and Marc’s high school basketball coach, lived on Martin Road.  Marc Wurgaft has spent 40 professional years working as a clinician, supervisor, and administrator in the field of outpatient substance abuse counseling and mental health treatment.  He has seen first-hand how quality clinical services are not as accessible to People of Color as they are to Whites.  Today Martin Road in Verona, N.J. is home to diverse neighbors.  Marc would like to see more of the world follow suit. Marc is the founder of PRN.

Meet the Group

Jimmy Fleming

My name is Jimmy Fleming, a White male of late middle age.  I have lived in Brooklyn, NY, for almost forty years, but I was born and raised and educated in the deep South and I think of myself more as a Southerner than a New Yorker.  I have family roots in South Georgia that go back several generations on both sides.  Although my immediate family members are all Brooklynites, my nuclear family, small in numbers, all live in Georgia.  My ancestors before my great-grandparents are unknown to me.


I grew up dreaming of becoming a writer or an editor and I moved to New York in 1982 almost on a dare to try to make that happen.  But I dreamed, too, in some unspoken way of rendering my discontent, of leaving the South and its stifling way of separating out those who are not comfortable in its cultural strictures.  North towards home, as Willie Morris put it.  I found a job with a college textbook publisher and for a big chunk of my working life I was their composition specialist, a role I reprised with an educational software company a few years ago.  Most of my professional life has been spent talking to college faculty who teach writing.  Recently much of my work has been with scholars who advocate anti-racist teaching and assessment practices, a development in research strategies that seems long overdue.

Maryanne Mazzola



                    Francis J. Dixon

Deacon Francis J. Dixon as a member of The New Hope Baptist Church (TNHBC) for over 30 years has had the honor to serve in several leadership positions within the ministry. In 2006, he was appointed as the Executive Director of New Hope Now Community Development Corporation (NHNCDC), the social service division of TNHBC and in November of 2020 he was transitioned from the day-to-day responsibilities of NHNCDC to utilize his experience and expertise to broaden resource development and community engagement. 


Deacon Dixon and his team have been responsible for the creation and implementation of initiatives and services that have yielded positive outcomes collectively for approximately 20,000 individuals and families yearly throughout the state of New Jersey. To achieve their goals NHNCDC built strong collaborations with other faith and community-based organizations, as well as, local government, corporate and private entities to address the underlying and chronic barriers that persist in our communities such as: health disparities, education and employment opportunities, substance abuse, domestic violence, poor nutrition, mental health, lack of affordable housing and a myriad of other social and economic disadvantages during his tenure as director. 

He is currently a member of Paying Reparations Now and has over the years served on many boards and held memberships with organizations geared to addressing social justice and racial equality issues through organizing, increasing community awareness and fundraising.

Deacon Dixon has been married to his lovely wife Jo Ann for 32 years and finds her to be his greatest joy and comfort. They enjoy serving and studying God’s Word together while looking forward to every opportunity to nurture a host of young children that have come through birth, adoption or just miraculously appeared at their door.


                  Carolann Nelson Perez

Is the founder of 3tresors, a Fashion & Interior Design Consulting Company. She has spent the past 35 years working with luxury fashion brands in NYC specializing in Textile Research & Development. Through her work, she has traveled throughout Europe & Asia sourcing products & makers, working with many artisans in small villages where she developed a love & appreciation for different cultures & experienced firsthand economic & social diversity. She has been a lifelong advocate & activist for equal rights. After the George Floyd murder in 2020, she joined PRN in pursuit of an education on race specifically focused on America’s history of slavery and white privilege & supremacy. In addition to her advocacy, Carolann serves as a volunteer with a local soup kitchen, Soup to Nuts, on Long Island where she resides, distributing food to the community. She worked with Willing Hearts Helping Hands, an Alzheimer Support Program with Parker Jewish Institute on LI for many years until Covid abruptly ended the program.  She is a Certified Reiki Practitioner, an avid gardener, a yoga, travel, music, beach & book lover. An amateur chef, astrology enthusiast & animal advocate.

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                         Deborah Sands

Debbie Sands is an Award winning  fashion designer and creative director who designs childrens clothing  for well known brands and licenses for major retailers. She is a White Female and was born and raised in the Bahamas, with her family history going back many generations. Moving to the US to attend college at Parson’s School of Design in NYC, where she earned a BFA in fashion design. She met and married her husband, who is a Black American after moving to NJ when she graduated college. They have a young son together who is 9 years old. 
She has  always had a passion for Children's causes and Racial Justice. Being a long time member and contributor to many organizations including Save the Children, The Southern Poverty Law Center and The United Negro College Fund. Equal rights for all people, regardless of race or gender has been very dear to her heart, trying to advocate in any way she can to help these causes.
A lover of swimming and anything to do with the ocean, she also enjoys boxing and karate and earned her rank as a Second Degree Black Belt in Goju Karate. 


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                        Chelsea Hepburn

Is a 30-year-old black female that identifies with she/her/hers pronouns. Chelsea is currently living in Connecticut, but was born and raised in Washington Heights, New York and later moved to Montclair, New Jersey in her early teen years. Chelsea played softball with Marc Wurgaft’s (founder of PRN) daughter through High School and established a fruitful and close bond with the family.

  Being well integrated in environments that foster diversity and inclusion has always been paramount for Chelsea. This standard encouraged the pursuit of education in urban areas. Initially, her undergraduate studies in Psychology at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York. Chelsea later went on to study Clinical Social Work at Fordham University, also in New York where she received her master’s degree. Chelsea works as a therapist for acute mental health patients. Her work also encompasses working with underserved and underrepresented populations, to advocate for their well-being and optimal health.

  Being a member of PRN is important to Chelsea. Largely because advocacy is a platform in which she is comfortable. Especially while having personal experience navigating the overt and subtle effects of internalized, interpersonal, institutional and structural racism as a woman of color. Although challenging, she feels her personal experiences are ultimately a source of empowerment to stand behind movements and coalitions with the intention to promote change on a micro, mezzo and macro level.

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