Blog | February 22, 2023

Celebrating Black History Month

Highlighting members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation who work diligently in their fields to improve the lives of kids

Sheriff Vernon Betts

St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Missouri
Sheriff Vernon Betts earned an A.S. degree from St. Louis Community College and received his B.A. from Harris Stowe State University. He first worked as a teacher in the St. Louis Public Schools district for many years, and then moved to a career in management for Ameren. He is also an ordained minister and deacon in his church, Shalom Baptist Church. He is the first elected African-American Sheriff in St. Louis History, and was appointed to the City of St. Louis in January 2017 to a four-year term.

Attorney General Anthony Brown

Attorney General Anthony Brown

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Maryland
Attorney General Anthony Brown has committed his life to public service in Maryland and has held a number of leadership positions, but his current position as attorney general makes history. Brown was sworn in Tuesday to become Maryland’s 47th attorney general, the first Black person to hold the office. Brown has said that he is ready to work, and one of his goals is to right inequities.

Vice Admiral (Ret.) Manson Brown, U.S. Coast Guard

Vice Admiral (Ret.) Manson Brown, U.S. Coast Guard

Mission: Readiness, Virginia
Vice Admiral (Ret.) Manson Brown is an inspirational leader and the most senior African-American officer in the history of the United States Coast Guard. Mission: Readiness Membership Director Jake Ferreira had the honor of seeing his inspirational leadership first-hand, while working for him at Coast Guard Pacific Area and supporting him during several Mission: Readiness activities. Listen to Admiral Brown’s Mission: Readiness podcast episode here.

Chief Mitchell Davis

Hazel Crest Police Chief Mitchell Davis

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Illinois
Chief Mitchel Davis is involved in multiple layers of service to his community, to the IL Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and other groups. His commitment to Fight Crime: Invest in Kids has been outstanding, serving as both the Co-Chair of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois’ Executive Committee and participating in the National Leadership Council. He is a hero and mentor to many, in Illinois and beyond!

Willie Jones

Willie Jones, President and CEO, Dependable Source Corporation

ReadyNation, Mississippi
As a member of Mississippi’s Early Childhood Investment Council, Willie Jones uses her voice and influence to advocate for children across the state. From interviews with Fox News on getting mothers back in the workforce, to speaking at the state capitol in support of early childhood education and the child care crisis, she is always available and willing to do her part to support Mississippi’s youngest learners.

Allyson Solomon

Brigadier General (Ret.) Allyson Solomon, U.S. Air Force

Mission: Readiness, Maryland
Brigadier General (Ret.) Allyson Solomon began her military career by enlisting in the Maryland Air National Guard. She is the first woman and first African American to be appointed as a senior commander in the Maryland National Guard. In 2003, she was the first woman to be promoted to colonel in Maryland Air National Guard history. She also made Maryland National Guard history as the first African-American woman promoted to colonel. She became the first female and African-American brigadier general, as well as the first female and African-American assistant adjutant general in the Maryland National Guard’s 374-year history. In addition to her accomplishments in her career, she is also a dedicated Council for a Strong America board member. Through meetings on Capitol Hill with members of congress, she is able to help shape policy for kids and the future of our nation.

Sheriff Dawanna S. Witt Headshot

Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna S. Witt

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Minnesota
Sheriff Dawanna Witt is the first woman and the first Black person to lead the Hennepin County department. She took the helm following a period of deep scrutiny of law enforcement and a year of high crime. Sheriff Dewitt has 30 years of experience in law enforcement and is a dedicated champion for Minnesota kids.