Alan Skerrett, Chairman of the Board, has lived in Columbia County for 25 years and retired from the Office of Mental Health after 31 years of service in a variety of direct care and administrative positions. Upon retirement, he assumed the role of Executive Director of the Philmont Hearth, a 14-bed community residence rehabilitation program for severe and profound mental illness clients. He was a co-founder and Rehearsal Director of the Capital District Psychiatric Center Mental Health Players, a volunteer education project using role play to educate the community addressing, among other issues, mental health stigma.
He is also a local photographer who has provided local photographic services to a variety of entities in the area. His photos have been exhibited in group-exhibitions in Hunter Mountain, Catskill, Albany, Cohoes, Hudson, and more.
Currently, he does portrait photography. As a trade specialist, Alan participated in a variety of audio visual projects and productions, conducted by the Office of Mental Health and the Capital District Psychiatric Center.
Quintin Cross, President and Executive Director of Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center, is a founder of the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center. It engages diverse populations in a common mission to empower marginalized black men in Hudson, NY to change the systems which oppress them and to become role models for a future generation of high achievers.
Born and raised in Hudson, Quintin is a formerly incarcerated black man who served time in New York’s prison system for a non-violent felony. He successfully completed parole in 2011.
Prior to his incarceration, Quintin was a member of the city of Hudson, NY’s local legislature, called the Common Council. He was elected in 2001 as the youngest member in its history. During his nearly six years on the Council, Quintin also rose to the position of Majority Leader at age 20. He chaired the Legal, Police, Youth & Aging Committees as well as being the Chairman of the Hudson Industrial Development Agency. He also served on the Hudson Development Corporation Board which administered SBA loans, The Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency which administered Section 8 Housing funds and the Columbia County Empire Zone which gave incentives for business to come into the county. During this time Quintin was deeply involved in community work as the Vice-President of the local chapter of the NAACP, and founder of the Hudson African American Leadership Alliance.
Alexis B. Keith, Vice President and Vice Chairman of the Board, is a lifelong resident of Hudson, NY. She began serving her community in church and student government as a young adult. Alexis brings a wealth of experience working in government and caring for others. Alexis became a CNA at a local nursing home helping our elders with activities of daily living as a student in high school. She continued her employment while attending SUNY Oswego for Business Administration.
On campus her desire to help her campus community continued and she became Business Manager for two student programming boards; bringing large scale programming to her campus. Alexis also served as a Resident Assistant helping to create an atmosphere of student appreciation and involvement in a diverse student body and community. Upon returning to Hudson, NY Alexis became employed with the Dept. of Social Services in the Day Care Subsidy Department, then the Medicaid Department. She has since returned to Day Care Subsidy as a Specialist.
Alexis continues to enjoy serving her community and hopes to become more active; especially working with the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center Inc. She is also an active member of the executive board (Vice Chairman) and a member of our Nominating, Events, Community Service and Fundraising committees.
Brandon Santos, Secretary of the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center Inc., is a lifelong resident of Columbia County, and was raised in the City of Hudson. He graduated from Questar III BOCES. Upon graduation Brandon attended the Masonry Institute of Maryland. He received certification in masonry, basic carpentry and painting.
Brandon is a General Contractor by trade and has a keen interest in providing opportunities through trade programs for black men and boys to work in the field as he has known for a long time. Brandon’s training also extends to drawing and stone carving which has been useful in developing his craft. Brandon wants to make the community a safe and positive place for families, friends and visitors alike. In addition to the Executive Committee, Brandon serves on the Radio, Fundraising, Community Service and Events committee.
Juwan Morrison is the Founder and Treasurer of the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center Inc. lifelong resident of the City of Hudson, and graduated from Hudson High School. He attended a 1 year Culinary Arts Program at Questar III BOCES. After some time in the field, Juwan went back to school and attended Columbia Greene Beauty School. He received the designation of Master Barber and Cosmetologist. After getting his state license, Juwan opened M&J Unisex Hair Studio. He has been a business owner for the past 7 years. Juwan has already had a number of young men come in as apprentices.
He has provided employment opportunities upon being licensed. Juwan wants to create as many opportunities as possible for our youth within the community. In addition to the Executive Committee, Juwan serves on the Community Service, Fundraising and Events Committee of the Board.
Vernon Cross, a founder, is a graduate of Hudson High School. He attend a Historically Black College (Morris Brown College) in Atlanta, GA for one year. He is a proud father of 4 children: 3 boys and 1 girl. Vernon has lived in Pittsfield MA, as well as Pelham, Alabama. He decided to return to Hudson NY to help his daughter who was expecting her 1st child. He’s now currently employed as an Inbound Freight Coordinator.
His duties include scheduling all inbound trucks for delivery, accessing each truck and charging the appropriate price for each truck to be unloaded, which he has done successfully for 5 plus years. Vernon is the Chairperson of the (Nominating & Radio) Committees, and is also a member of the (Events & Community Service) Committees.
With duties ranging from planning events, choosing topics to be discussed on a monthly radio program, to working first hand with other Board members and the community to achieve both short-term and long-terms goals such as Self Awareness and many others.
Karen Jackson-Gray is a graduate of The State University of New York at Old Westbury. She has a B.A. in Communicative & Creative Arts. Karen brings over 25 years of experience in counseling, management, mediation, behavioral therapy, personal health, disciplinary guidance, administration in non-profit, government, corporate and private industries, providing a variety of services in mentoring, counseling, administrating, managing and educating through practiced leadership. Prior to joining the Board, Karen worked in many different positions where she saw firsthand the issues affecting black males.
Some of the previous positions Karen held were: Youth Care Counselor at Berkshire Farms Center & Service for Youth, Senior Correctional Officer at Walnut Grove Correctional Facility, and Recreation Supervisor for the City of Mount Vernon. Karen is currently the Chair of the Media/Fundraising Committee of the Board and also serves on the Radio, Events and Programming Committee.
Ellis Richardson is a graduate of Poughkeepsie High School. He was the first African American Chief of Police for the City of Hudson, and is currently retired.
Chief Richardson brings over 25 years of law enforcement experience. He knows all too well the issue that affect men of color.
Chief Richardson has served in many positions in law enforcement. They include: Jailer at Columbia County Jail, Dispatcher for NYS Park Police, Patrolman for NYS Park Police, and Deputy for the Dutchess County Sherriff’s Department. He rose through the ranks of the Hudson Police Department having served as a Patrolman, Juvenile Aid Officer, D.A.R.E Officer, Lieutenant and ultimately Chief.
Chief Richardson brings to the board a wealth of knowledge in budgeting, finance, and leadership and management. He is responsible for a budget of over $2 million with over 30 employees who report to him. The Chief is a member of the Board’s Programming, Events and Fundraising committee.