Twenty-six year old, Cordelia Cranshaw, a former foster youth and now, foster system advocate; motivational speaker; and Licensed Graduate Social Worker; is the current Miss District of Columbia USA 2019. Cordelia earned her undergraduate degree from George Mason University and, graduated with her Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland’s Advance Standing Social Work Program.
Four years ago, she founded her nonprofit organization, Acts of Random Kindness (ARK), a program that provides programs and resources to children and families facing life challenges that include incarcerated parents, homelessness, and foster care. All adversities that Cordelia herself has faced in her life. Cordelia, who is one of 18 siblings, grew up most of her life in foster care, first at the age of five, and then at the age of 14 until the age of 21, where she was often bounced from home to home and at some point, was even homeless. Her mother was incarcerated for 10 years when Cordelia was just 12-years old and her father was an alcoholic. Cordelia was often told, she would most likely be a statistic and never make it in the world on her own, yet, she continues to defy the odds each and every day as her resiliency and her path in helping others, has earned her recognition throughout Washington, D.C. and the country with her inspirational story.
Cordelia’s first priority as Miss District of Columbia USA 2019 is to help inspire others to turn their dreams into reality. She states, “No matter what life challenges you face, no matter how negative the circumstances are, we can always turn negatives into positives.” Cordelia will travel to local schools and youth groups, sharing her experiences and tools for success. She wants to instill hope into those who feel hopeless and believes we are all only one resource away from reaching our dreams.
Cordelia had the honor to represent the District of Columbia at the 2019 Miss USA pageant in May. Although Cordelia did not bring the crown back to the District, she placed Top 10 out of the 51 contestants. Cordelia continues to show that no matter where your past has been, your future can be anything you can dream it to be.
Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA is the Chief Medical Officer & Executive Vice President of Ambulatory and Community Health Services at Children’s National Health System in the District of Columbia. In this role she leads the tri-state clinical operations of CNHS’ primary and specialty sites including regional outpatient centers, emergency departments, community health centers, pediatric practices, school-based health centers, mobile medical units as well as nursing services in DC Public Schools & Public Charter Schools. She also oversees the telemedicine program and the Clinically Integrated Network at Children’s National.
After finishing a Bachelor of Science degree at George Washington University Dr. Cora-Bramble completed her medical and pediatric residency training at Howard University and a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Medical Services Management from Johns Hopkins University. Her professional development also included a three year W.K. Kellogg Foundation Leadership fellowship. Dr. Cora-Bramble held several leadership positions at the George Washington University Medical Center and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr. Cora-Bramble is a Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics. She is the recipient of the highest national honor in community pediatric education, the Academic Pediatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Pediatric Community Teaching Award. In 2016 she was recognized by the Washington Business Journal with a “Woman Who Means Business” Award. She was also featured in the book Against All Odds: Celebrating Black Women in Medicine, as one of 100 of the most prominent historical and contemporary Black women physicians in the US. In 2017, she was selected by the Washingtonian Magazine as one of Washington’s “Most Powerful Women”. In 2019, Dr. Cora-Bramble was awarded the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Award by the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Center for Faculty Excellence in recognition of her significant achievements in the field of diversity and inclusion.
As an engineer, community servant, and researcher, Richard Ezike employs his expertise to engage the community on issues related to environmental protection, transportation equity, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) advocacy. He is currently at the Urban Institute as a senior policy associate in the Research to Action Lab, where he manages a directive to ensure innovative technologies are accessible and inclusive of all communities. He was previously at the Union of Concerned Scientists, where he conducted research and engaged community groups on the potential social and economic impacts of autonomous vehicles, and at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) in the Center for Policy Analysis and Research, where he researched the impacts of transportation on African American communities. He has contributed to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board’s (TPB) Long Range Transportation Plan, has organized and moderated transportation-themed panels at the CBCF’s Annual Legislative Conference, and has been published in media such as The Washington Post, Futurism.com, and The Washington Informer.
Ezike has served on several local transportation advisory groups, including the Riders Advisory Council of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the Access for All and Air and Climate Public Advisory Committees of the TPB. He also serves on regional leadership of the National Society of Black Engineers. Ezike holds a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and a BS in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University.
Sara Mora is a national immigrant rights activist who began her activism at the short age of 14. Now 22 years old, Sara spends her time leading national campaigns and efforts to build consciousness and a call to action immigration reform matter.
Known as @MissSaraMora on social media globally, Sara has become a sought-after voice in the work of social change and community empowerment. In high school, Sara led conversation around the importance of empowering young students who like her were in need of role models. When she graduated high school she debuted as an activist when interviewing at the time President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis(2014-2018) on DACA and questioning external countries role in supporting young people with DACA.
After the Trump administration terminated the DACA program in September 2017, Sara Mora decided to come out publicly as undocumented, a leader for young people who are beneficiaries of the DREAM act. She is an organizer, digital guru and media strategist.
A DACA recipient herself, Sara has been a model for many young people who are facing one of the most uncertain and frightening times in their lives. In May 2017, Sara Mora obtained her International Relations A.A and is preparing to enroll in the Political Science program at Rutgers Newark.
Recognized by The Washington Post as one of “seven leading lawyers” in Washington, D.C., Jan Pederson has been dedicated to the practice of immigration and nationality law for over twenty years. Ms. Pederson has successfully represented thousands of clients – including renowned physicians, Fortune 500 companies, television networks, entertainers, and healthcare providers of all sizes – and is masterful at resolving complex immigration issues.
Ms. Pederson is a leading advocate for the rights of J-1 Physicians in the United States and has been key to the passage of legislation to benefit them. She is also the publisher of J-1 Physician News and lectures nationally and internationally to foreign physicians. She seeks solutions for her clients beyond the immigration laws and does not hesitate to seek assistance from the White House and Congress if necessary. She has been a key advocate on the restoration of the National Interest Waivers for J-1 Physicians and in increasing the Conrad State 20 J-1 Waiver Program within the Conrad State 30 Program.
Ms. Pederson served as president of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA); and as an elected director of the national Board of Governors of AILA for eighteen years. She has served as a chairperson of the Physicians Task Force of AILA for many years and has also served as chairperson of the AILA Visa Office Liaison Committee and Refugee Committee. In 1997, she received the Edith Lowenstein Award for excellence in the advancement of the practice of immigration law. The national media has recognized Ms. Pederson’s expertise in immigration law and called upon her to comment on important issues and legislation. Ms. Pederson has been interviewed by CNN, ABC News, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Times and The Legal Times of Washington, D.C., to name a few. She is the founder and Editor of J-1 Physicians News, a newsletter focusing on issues of concern to J-1 physicians.