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"Together - We Shall Overcome!"

Drumlins Country Club, 800 Nottingham Road, Syracuse, NY

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

6:00 PM - 9:00PM





Notice: Interpreter for the deaf available

Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP

President, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP was named the President of SUNY Upstate Medical University (Upstate) September 10, 2015 and assumed the role of President January 14, 2016.  She is also the Upstate Health System CEO.  Dr. Laraque-Arena is Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Public Health & Preventive Medicine at Upstate Medical University.  Dr. Laraque-Arena completed her medical studies at the University of California at Los Angeles.  

In August, 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the appointment of Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena, President of SUNY Upstate Medical University, to co-chair the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council. 

Dr. Laraque-Arena founded three separate child protection, multi-disciplinary teams evaluating and treating abused and neglected children.  She began (2011) the only child abuse pediatrics ACGME fellowship program in New York State.  Her community-based participatory research over the past 3 decades has focused on injury and violence prevention in children and youth. 


Dr. Laraque-Arena was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and immigrated to the United States in 1962.  She is multi-lingual (French, Creole, Italian, and English).  Dr. Laraque-Arena is married to Luigi Arena, MD, PhD and the mother of two, Marc Anthony Arena and Julia Marie Arena.  

Pastor Phil Turner & First Lady Janice Turner

Bethany Baptist Church

Pastor Turner became a member of Bethany Baptist Church in March of 1992 and served in various ministries, such as, Chairperson of the Men’s Fellowship and Minister of Music.  Pastor Turner also served as Assistant to the Pastor and as a member of Bethany’s Clergy Team. Reverend Turner holds a Bachelor of Science in History and Political Science from Columbia College and a Masters Degree in Theological Studies from Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, New York. 

Pastor Turner has had extensive experience in sales, marketing, counseling, and administration in large corporations and small businesses.  He has held recording contracts with Warner Brothers and Fourth & Broadway, a division of Island Records.  He feels that the greatest resources for relevant and effective ministry are Gods Word, Spiritual gifts and life experience. 

First Lady, Janice Turner is a native of Syracuse,  New York. She attended and received graduate degrees from SUNY Cortland and Syracuse University with a focus on Urban Education and Elementary Education. As an employee for the Syracuse City Schools she taught elementary school for many years before becoming a writing trainer for elementary teachers and students, an instructional specialist, professional development trainer, previous adjunct Professor for Instructional Planning at LeMoyneCollege , Reading Specialist and her current position as a Reading Coach for the Reading First Initiative.

Laurie Black

Executive Director, Early Childhood Alliance

Laurie Black is currently the Director of the Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) Onondaga.   The ECA is a cross-sector collaborative launched in 2015 as a result of the 2013 Onondaga Citizens League study “Early Childhood and School Readiness: Creating a Community Where All Children Thrive by Five.”  As co-chair of the OCL study, Laurie was directly involved in helping to create the ECA and after developing a passion for the work of the ECA, she became first Director in September 2016.  The overall goal of the ECA is that all Children in Onondaga County are healthy, thriving and ready to succeed in school. 


Prior to the ECA, Laurie worked for fourteen years for SYRACUSE 20/20, a unique civic Board comprised of business and community leaders that advocate for policies and programs aimed at improving the quality of life in Syracuse and throughout the region.  


Laurie did her undergraduate work in political science at Bucknell University and received her Masters in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in 1995.  After graduate school, she spent two years working for the State of Maryland as a Budget Analyst for the General Assembly responsible for the State’s education budgets and as a Finance Policy Analyst for the Maryland Higher Education Commission.  


After a couple years away from Syracuse, in late 1998, Laurie welcomed the opportunity to return to the community she was raised.  She secured a Legislative Assistant position with a local Assemblyman who was the Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly. She spent three and a half years working for the New York State Assembly, continuing her work on State education policy and other public policy issues.  

Click here for for the latest newsletter from ECA regarding their recent trip to Albany to advocate for increased support for child care.



Nancy Gwin

Co-Chair ACTS Criminal Justice Task Force

Teacher at public high school and middle school, English, Social Studies, Life Studies

Senior Project Manager in International Research Company

Project Director, Strategies for Success Youth Programs at Non-profit Organization



Member of Founding Congregation

Served as Vice President, Secretary

Board of Directors, Research and Action, Nominating Committee, Strategic Action Committee, Communications 

Task Forces: Transportation, Youth Opportunities, Community Violence and Youth, Criminal Justice: Chaired Criminal Justice Taskforce as it worked collaboratively to end Solitary Confinement, Isolation of Youth in Onondaga County 


Researched and filmed collaboratively for archival purposes elders of six indigenous tribes of Nebraska  

Witness for Peace ~ led regional delegations to Haiti, Colombia, Venezuela; served on National Board

International Election Observer in Haiti, Nicaragua and El Salvador

Peacekeeper at Vigils to Close the School of the Americas, served in Federal Prisonfor protest action 

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