The visibility of end-of-life options among the African American community is historically low. Compassion and Choices’ African American Leadership Council is taking an active role in changing that, by engaging with organizations that speak to and for African Americans, bringing greater diversity to our volunteer base, and sharing the experiences of African Americans facing end of life issues.

The Compassion & Choices community mourns the loss of Dr. Omega Silva, African American Leadership Council member, who died on April 2, 2020. Read more about her life here and our tribute to her here.

Khadine Bennett

Director of Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs, ACLU of Illinois

A recognized advocate inside the [Illinois] State Capitol, Khadine is responsible for advancing a wide range of issues under the ambit of the state and federal constitution, from privacy and technology issues, to policing, criminal and juvenile justice, first amendment, LGBT, and reproductive justice matters. As part of her work in the legislature, Khadine has drafted a number of pieces of legislation that have been successfully moved to the Governor and signed into law. She regularly testifies before Committees in both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate. And, she works with individual members of both bodies, both as sponsors and in seeking support for the ACLU’s initiatives and priorities.

Khadine has led ACLU efforts to win passage of the freedom to marry for all Illinoisans, a measure to place modest regulations on so-called Stingrays (cell site simulators), drones and other location tracking devices and a modernization of comprehensive sexual health education in the State of Illinois. Khadine has been recognized for her efforts by legislators and other organizations.

Khadine began her ACLU of Illinois career as a Legal Fellow with the Reproductive Rights Project where she was involved in the Project’s litigation and advocacy efforts.

Khadine began her social justice career in the California Bay Area where she worked as an organizer, program director, consultant and director of various human rights, juvenile justice, youth development and reproductive justice organizations including WILD for Human Rights, Youth Force Coalition and the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

Khadine serves on the board of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, and previously served on the boards of the Restore Justice Illinois Third Wave Foundation, WILD for Human Rights, Exhale, and the Chicago Abortion Fund.

Jason Gaulden

Communications Director – America Succeeds, Principal, The Gaulden Group

Jason Gaulden is the Communications Director of America Succeeds, responsible for providing communications, fundraising, and operational support to the home office and affiliates in his role. He is also the founder and principal at Gaulden Group LLC, a consulting firm specializing in strategy, communications and fundraising services to public and private institutions. Jason draws upon fifteen years of professional experience in varying roles: executive leadership, philanthropy, marketing, technical writing, fund development, and nonprofit board service. Jason is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and graduated with honors. He later served two terms as Chair of the University’s Alumni Board.

Channte’ Keith

Director of Programs – National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN)

Channte’ Keith, director of programs for National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN), received her master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina Central University and has dedicated most of her career to tobacco control. Keith has served in capacities including program development, community outreach and grant management. She is responsible for the My Doc Cares Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program which supports doctors in their efforts to address patient tobacco use. Today, Keith continues in public health with NAATPN by developing the strategic direction for its tobacco, cancer and HIV programs.

Christy Davis Jackson


As Chief Executive Officer and partner of City Strategy Group, the first in class company providing its corporate, non-profit and government clients with the tools necessary to transform and revitalize cities across the country, Ms. Davis Jackson is a sought after strategist, speaker and thought leader. As part of her 25 year career in strategic management, public affairs and public policy analysis in New Jersey, Ms. Davis Jackson has served as chief counsel for the first African American woman in the state legislature, the late Dr. Wynona M. Lipman, as state director for the late US Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, as Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs for Warner Lambert Company, as campaign manager for former US Senator Jon S. Corzine’s US Senate campaign, as founder and chief executive officer of Davis and Partners, a leading public affairs company, as Vice President of the largest health sciences and medical education organization in the country, and as chief executive officer of the premiere education reform organization in the state of  NJ, Excellent Education for Everyone. Her client roster included but was not limited to Verizon, Eli Lilly Companies. Newark Housing Authority, Roizman Development, Traffic Plan Company and PKF MARK III.

Reverend Charles W. McNeill, Jr.

Senior Pastor

Reverend Charles Winston McNeill, Jr., is a native of Erwin, North Carolina.  He is one of five children and the oldest son born to Charles Winston McNeill, Sr., and Bessie Campbell McNeill. He has been married to the former Audrey McDonald for 22 wonderful and magnificent years. From their union, they have a lovely daughter named Jade Noelle.

Ottamissiah “Missy” Moore

National Trainer & Consultant

Missy Moore was born in Philadelphia, PA, and is a resident of Washington D.C. Her wealth of experience and knowledge in nursing spans over 30 years. She currently is the Staff Development Specialist for the Deanwood Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, a 296 bed long term care facility in Washington, DC. Prior to this position, she was the Director of Staff Development at the Capitol Hill Nursing Center. She is a Master of business development, mentorship, and networking. She owns a consulting agency that provides conference planning and trainings to include leadership, Certified Nursing Assistance training, and other various topics.

Beverly Morgan

Beverly Morgan, BS, LPN, CIC, WCC, GC is a Master of Business Development, mentorship, event planning and networking. She is the owner of two private duty home care agencies which provide comprehensive home care services to seniors by providing caring, compassionate caregivers to seniors with dignity and respect. Ms. Morgan’s passion and commitment to the nursing profession is demonstrated through her philanthropic giving of nursing scholarships. She also works tirelessly as faculty for Vitas Innovative Hospice traveling the country providing education on End of Life Care and Palliative Services. She also provides community outreach and education to churches and senior centers in the Washington, DC on Medicare vs. Medicaid and Advanced Senior Planning. Beverly currently serves the nursing profession by serving as a board member for several healthcare organizations such as: President of the National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses, President of the NALPN Education Foundation, Vice President of the Maryland Licensed Practical Nurses Association, Treasurer of the Black Nurses of Southern Maryland, National Treasurer for Black Nurses Rock, Foundation and member of National Association Health Service Executives, Washington, D.C., chapter.

Shawn Perry

Executive Producer & Host – The Senior Zone

Shawn Perry executive produces and hosts The Senior Zone, a weekly radio program dedicated to serving the needs of the older adult community. Since 2012, Shawn has worked tirelessly to promote the wellbeing of older adults and champion their causes. He attributes his reverence for the older adults to his late grandmother, Rosa Perry, who instilled a profound sense of empathy for the vulnerable, frail and elderly. Shawn is a retired military officer; serving nearly 22 years in the U.S. Air Force, has a B.S. from the University of Maryland, and has lived in the Washington, D.C., area for the past 32 years.

Dr. Lucille Ridgill

Site Medical Director at AltaMed

Dr. Ridgill is a Site Medical Director at AltaMed, the nation’s largest network of community-based primary care clinics and senior care programs, overseeing clinical patient care. AltaMed is headquartered in Commerce, California. Dr. Ridgill is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine. She is also a visiting physician at VITAS Healthcare in Coastal Cities, California. Dr. Ridgill completed her residency at UCLA-Charles Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Creighton University and a medical degree from Creighton University Medical School, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Reverend Madison Shockley

Pastor – Pilgrim United Church of Christ

The Rev. Madison T. Shockley II is the pastor of the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, CA. He brings to Pilgrim Church a wealth of experience from his work in the political, non-profit and media environments. Originally ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1979, he served churches in St. Louis, Denver and Seattle. In 1990, he joined the United Church of Christ when he accepted the call to the Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship, UCC, in Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, he became a leader in the aftermath of the 1992 riots by organizing and hosting an interracial dialogue to heal the broken community.

Shirley Tabb

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker & Host – Social Work Today on BBS Radio

Shirley Tabb is a preeminent Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW – Washington DC and Licensed Clinical Social Worker – Clinical tract (Maryland) advocate who has assessed and helped over 1000 people in the District of Columbia access community resources and home health services under the Home and Community Based Medicaid Waiver for the Elderly and Disabled. Shirley has history of hosting her own talk show on DC Cable Television where she discussed pertinent issues facing poor, elderly, and disabled people receiving or in need of Medicaid or private-pay home health care. These shows are available for viewing on YouTube and Vimeo.

Al Thomas

Media Visionary

Thomas co-founded the South Jersey Journal, a monthly publication which serves a culturally diverse footprint in Southern New Jersey. He currently operates as President & CEO of the South Jersey Journal. Thomas began his distinguished career as the Associate Publisher of Grio’ Magazine. He then joined the Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper as Director of Marketing & Advertising where he directed unmatched success of leading local, regional, and national business partnerships. Thomas continues to extend his successes beyond publishing. He was a selected member of the Wilt Chamberlain Stamp Committee, founder of the Alice Coachman and Paul Roberson Field Day, member of the Mid-Atlantic Community Publishers Association, National Newspapers Publishers Association, and Gloucester County NAACP. Thomas is currently a board member of the Philadelphia Tribune Trust.

Ricardo D. Thomas


Ricardo Thomas is a graduate of Loyola University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance. He is a Registered Financial Consultant and Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant. He also became a fully licensed investment broker at the age of nineteen.

He is a practicing financial consultant and is the president of THOMAS-WADDELL & Associates, Inc., a financial consulting and asset management firm with clients across the country. He has also, worked as a Divorce Financial Analyst, served as an expert witness and consulted on divorce cases where expert opinions were needed on divorce settlements. He is also a former contributing financial writer for both Perspectives Magazine and Women of Excellence Magazine. In addition, he is a former adjunct instructor at Delgado Community College in New Orleans and taught financial-related classes as a part of the University of New Orleans’ Project Pass program.