The Middle Project

Staff & Board

Staff & Board


Jacqueline Lewis, president

Jacqueline Lewis is Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City. Lewis is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and earned her Ph.D. in Religion and Society/Psychology and Religion at Drew University. Lewis, ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), serves on the Multiracial Congregation Task Force of the Reformed Church in America. Lewis has been Adjunct Professor at The Graduate Theological Union and Union Theological Seminary, and is currently on the Doctor of Ministry faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary. She is a nationally recognized speaker and preacher on the topics of racial justice and reconciliation, and has been interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition, in Forbes Magazine, and has been a featured speaker on 30 Good Minutes. She blogs for the Huffington Post and is the author of The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leaders in Multi-Racial and Multi Cultural Congregations.


John Janka, Co-Founder

John Janka is a consultant to congregations and non-profits, and is an experienced trainer and coach with a focus on systems intervention, educational design, training models, staff supervision, coaching and evaluation. He has trained, coached and led teams in diverse settings and across racial/ethnic, generational, gender and socio-economic lines. Janka’s experience includes strategic planning and visioning, managing change and resistance, dealing with difference, cultural diversity, human relations training and conflict management. He is currently on the Doctor of Ministry faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary. Janka is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.


Christina Fleming, Director of Communications

Christina Fleming is an editor, producer, and community organizer. She has served on the production teams of Frontline, The Center for Investigative Reporting, and public radio’s New Dimensions. She independently produced a public radio documentary, Kenya: Taking It Personally which featured Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Kenya: Taking It Personally aired nationally and was honored by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Fleming earned her master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and her bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College.

She is a Certified Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church. She guest preaches and leads classes on prayer and spiritual growth. She organizes recruiting and communications for The Middle Project.




Erica Hunt (Chair) is a  poet, and essayist, author of Local History and Arcade, Piece Logic, Time Flies Right Before the Eyes and A Day and Its Approximates. Her poems and essays have appeared in BOMBBoundary 2, Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions, The Los Angeles Review of BooksPoetics Journal, TripwireRecluseIn the American Tree and Conjunctions. With poet and scholar Dawn Lundy Martin, Hunt is co-editor of an anthology of new writing by Black women, Letters to the Future, forthcoming in 2018 from Kore Press.

Hunt has received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Fund for Poetry, and the Djerassi Foundation and is a past fellow of Duke University/University of Capetown Program in Public Policy. She is now the Parsons Family University Professor of Creative Writing in the MFA Program at Long Island University--Brooklyn. 

Before assuming her current post, Ms. Hunt worked for more than 25 years in social justice philanthropy, first as a program officer at New World Foundation, and later as president of the Twenty-First Century Foundation, a leading public foundation dedicated to advancing Black community change. 

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Carlos Pinero (Director) has been a proud “minority” his whole life. As a gay protestant Venezuelan, his commitment to political activism began when he participated in the organization of the first LGBT pride march on December 2000 in his native Caracas. 

He’s currently a newly-minted Venezuelan-American who serves as a freelance advisor to small businesses growing though social media development

Carlos has volunteered as a passionate educator of all things related to immigration justice and he advocates for a multicultural, multiethnic America that sets an example in an increasingly mobile, migrant and globalized world 

Being among the first alumni to receive social justice training in the Middle Project Young Adult Leadership Lab, he has become an educated leader on social entrepreneurship and sustainable development. 

Carlos holds a AAS degree in Advertisement from Instituto Universitario de Tecnología Venezuela and he’s happily married to Jeff Mummert with no pets, yet.

He lives in New York City.


Michael Dinwiddie (Director) is a playwright and associate professor at the Gallatin School NYU. His teaching interests encompass cultural studies, ragtime music, dramatic writing, African American history and filmmaking. Michael’s plays have been produced in New York, regional and educational theatres, and he is a contributing editor of Black Masks Magazine. He is currently a producer on Marta Effinger-Crichlow’s documentary film Little Sallie Walker and writer/producer on Maxine Powell and the Motown Mystique. Michael is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the Writers Guild of America.


Rev. Karen Jackson (Director) serves as the Director of Recovery and Community Initiatives at Project Hospitality in Staten Island. Since September 2012, she has worked in various capacities on social justice issues and is well networked in the community.  She is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church of America, a 2012 graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and a member of Middle Church.

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Susan Davis (Treasurer) is a civil society thought leader on social entrepreneurship and sustainable development. She is currently a senior adviser to the Reynolds Program for Social Entrepreneurship and adjunct professor at New York University. Susan serves on multiple boards and advisory councils including the United Nations Fund for International Partnership, the Segal Family Foundation, Focus for Health Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Center for Social Innovation, Be More America and AshokaU. Susan Davis holds a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an MPA from Harvard University. She is married to Claudia Slacik and resides in New York City.

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Yusuf George (Secretary) works as the Director of External Engagement at JUST Capital, an independent, nonprofit organization that makes it easier for people, companies and markets to do the right thing by tracking and researching the business behaviors Americans care about most. He is responsible for corporate engagement, investor-related engagement, and assists in managing strategic partnerships. Prior to joining JUST Capital, Yusuf worked at Barclays Capital as a part of the Global Capital Markets division, where he curated investment and risk management strategies and established and managed client relationships with international hedge funds and global asset management firms. 

Yusuf serves on the board of directors of Princess Chambers, a nonprofit that awards college scholarships to young women in Brooklyn and The RedHen Collective a feminist led worker owned, wine importer/distributor based in Oakland. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.