Board Members

PAN Board of Directors

Progressive African Network's (PAN) Board of Directors

Hashim Siraji

Co-Founder of PAN

President / Treasurer

Hashim, originally from Somalia is a longtime resident of Cambridge, MA. He is one PAN's original Co-Founders.

Hashim is currently a technology entrepreneur, Co-Founder of a tech start-up based in Newton, MA and a long time community organizer in Boston, esp. in Roxbury neighborhood. Hashim has a long history of volunteer work in voter registeration drives in multiple political campaigns. In 2009, Hashim was Co-Founder and President of United Somali Youth, Inc. and was most recently the Interim Executive Director of Africans in Boston, Inc.
Tech & Social Entrepreneur

Leonard Tshitenge

Co-Founder of PAN

Vice President / Clerk

Leonard, originally from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a long Massachusetts resident (Boston & South Shore), is one of the original Co-Founders of PAN

Well known as “Afroblues” in the Boston Poetry Community, Leonard Tshitenge is a dynamic and engaging Poet, Master of Ceremony, Speaker, Youth Worker, Community Organizer and dedicated Father. Leonard uses his poetry to advocate for underprivileged Continental Africans and for the people in the Eastern Congo impacted by the Congo’s Wars, The deadliest War since World War II. He is currently involved with Stand with Congo Campaign launched by House of Cards Star Robin Wright; a campaign with Congolese and American activists to end the pillage of Congo’s vast mineral resources. He is the Founder of Consciously Exposed Café, a monthly community forum in Boston's African-American and African Diaspora community, open to all demographics.
Poet, Activist & Social Entrepreneur

Abdul Y. Hussein

Founder & CEO of ACEDONE

Board Member

Over Nineteen years of experience in: • Development and grants management. Developed comprehensive fundraising strategies for national and local organizations involving foundation grants, corporate contributions, and individual donor programs. • Strategic planning and facilitation. Led various strategic planning processes for both national and local organizations. Well-versed in translating missions and goals into operating plans with clear benchmarks and annual objectives. • Organizational development and capacity building. Design and provide technical assistance to community-based organizations in the areas of board and program development, community assessment, and Leadership and process/outcome evaluation. Co- Chair English Language Learners task force sub-committee for the Boston Public Schools. • Budget management. Extensive background in developing and monitoring program and organizational budgets. Designed financial protocols and procedures to control costs and monitor disbursements. • Policy development and analysis. Well-versed in assisting ethnic community based organizations as well as Boston Public Schools to develop policy positions. • Advocacy work and constituency building. Extensive experience in articulating issues in resettlement for immigrant and refugees and public education as they relate to economic and social development.
Community Leader

Mary Canning

Founder & CEO of Follow the Honey

Board Member

Mary, founder of the "human rights" inspired company, *Follow the Honey*, saw a critical need for providing a commercially sustainable outlet for marginalized beekeepers in poor countries, a pursuit that encourages land conservation, best beekeeping practices, and eco-tourism in places where farming tobacco and maize, or mining, are often the only alternatives. With a popular brick n’ mortar store in Harvard Square - recently awarded Best Green Business by Scout Magazine - Mary’s staff daily see proof that the empowerment story of the terroir of honeys to help alleviate poverty, convinces consumers to pay a premium price that can support higher commercial payments to honey producers.

Before starting her company, Mary apprenticed as a 'bee tender' in Massachusetts and visited rural bee keepers in the Western Ghats of Kerala in India, where she first saw the potential for 'honey money’ in remote areas. She is the co-founder of a majority-African held venture - Follow the Honey Tanzania - that is putting these ideas into practice, developing a rural honey collection system and an FDA-certified export facilities in Dodoma & Dar es Salaam. Included in this enterprise, is the Nyuki Safari Company.

Prior to following the honey, Mary worked in documentary film at WGBH-Boston, on the staff of FRONTLINE, NOVA & *Interactive Projects*. While on assignment at BASIC BLACK, Mary produced for the *Eye on Education* series, programs shedding light on the punitive impact of MCAS standardized testing on African-American children & their teachers at Madison Park High School in Boston. She produced a TV pilot for the NPR syndicated, “Says You” and helped produce the WGBH Independent Film Showcase, Indie Select. Independent projects with Underbelly Films include a physician’s spiritually transforming journey with terminal cancer and “Inside Out”, a story about prison inmates practicing Buddhist meditation as a path towards rehabilitation.

Mary serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Square Business Association, is a member and sponsor of Africans in Boston, and sits on the Committee for the Good Foods Awards, Honey Division, out of UC Davis.

Mary earned a BS degree in Film & Mass Communications from Emerson College, and studied Comparative Religion at Harvard Extension School and Critical & Creative Thinking at UMass Boston.

Dr. Aminah Pilgrim, PhD

Professor at Univ. of Massachusetts-Boston

Board Member

Dr. Aminah Pilgrim, PhD is a Senior Lecturer of Africana Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Aminah Pilgrim (or Aminah Fernandes Pilgrim) is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies (African-American history) at UMass Boston. She is a historian, an Oral History practitioner, and a community organizer/activist. Her work focuses on African Diaspora Studies, Cape Verdean Studies, critical education studies, hip hop and youth empowerment, immigrant communities, women & gender, and identity. She is the founder of the HIPHOP Initiative at UMass Boston, an organization that uses hip hop to increase critical media literacy among youth in the greater Boston area and offers consciousness raising events to college students and the public.

Through work with the Cape Verdean Association of Brockton, she co-founded (with Anita “Leny” Monteiro) the “YEP We Can” Summer Camp–a Cape Verdean cultural enrichment camp for youth. In July 2014, the summer program is reborn as “SABURA” through her work as an affiliated faculty member at the Bridgewater State University Pedro Pires Institute for Cape Verdean Studies. Besides youth, her other passion is oral history; in 2004 she began the “Return to the Source” oral history project. She has lectured widely on Cape Verdean history in the US, African-American history and youth and women’s issues. She has also conducted media literacy workshops on hip hop pedagogy. Most importantly, she is the mother of a three-year-old boy, Akin (pronounced “akeen”).