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Who We Are

Abdul Ali is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Words Matter LLC. Mr. Ali is a graduate of Howard and The American Universities where he studied American Literature and Theater (B.A.) and holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (M.F.A.) Since moving to the District of Columbia in 2005, Mr. Ali has worked for several major arts organizations (Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Foundation, The Writer’s Center, and Split This Rock)  and has written for a number of prestigious media outlets including The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Washingtonian magazine.

The wealth of experience Mr. Ali has gained working in the arts, nonprofit and media sectors has made him a sought after writer, consultant, and communications professional.

In the spring of 2013, Mr. Ali joined the Board of Directors of the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Foundation.

Board of Advisors:

Reginald Dwayne Betts is a husband and father of two young sons. In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Betts to the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. An award-winning writer and poet, Mr. Betts’ memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was the recipient of the 2010 NAACP Image Award for non-fiction. In 2010, he was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship to complete The Circumference of a Prison, a work of nonfiction exploring the criminal justice system. In addition, Mr. Betts is the author of a collection of poetry, Shahid Reads His Own Palm.  In addition to his writing, Mr. Betts is involved in a number of non-profit organizations, including the Campaign for Youth Justice for which he serves as a national spokesperson.  He received a B.A. from the University of Maryland and was recently a Radcliffe Fellow to Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies.  In the fall of 2013, Mr. Betts will attend Yale Law School.

Carolyn Joyner is a graduate of Cave Canem and has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from The Johns Hopkins University.  Prior to her creative writing career, she worked in education program management in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U. S. Department of Education (USED).  As an education program specialist, she managed grants and contracts in programs for the educationally disadvantaged, attainment of women‘s educational equity, school desegregation, and training of mathematics and science teachers.  She was a technical writer responsible for the preparation of Congressional testimony, policy guidance, program regulations, research summaries, and for the delivery of presentations, speeches and the conduct of workshops.

Currently Ms. Joyner freelances part-time as an educational consultant.  She evaluates elementary and secondary education grant applications, develops and organizes grant proposals, concept papers, conducts community outreach training.  She is a certified GED examiner and scorer of essays for the G.E.D. exam for the DC Office of the State School Superintendent of Education (OSSE).


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