Posted October 29, 2020 in News Articles
Author: Rowe Schnure
Three Sisters, a Podcast from The Well, debuts this October! Sisters Devona, Rana and DeAndra share stories of their family foundation to explore themes of change, suffrering, celebration, faith, love and the meaning of life.
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Learn more about the Sisters
Devona Anderson (neé Beard) is the first born of four siblings. She was born prematurely and breech at four pounds, seven ounces in the small town of Kokomo, IN. She is nearly four years older than the next child and was given responsibility by her parents to help with caregiving. She grew tall fast, which further reinforced her role, as she towered over her three younger siblings. She never resented her added responsibility, but cherished the opportunity to help her working parents. She was a focused and accomplished student throughout school and decided on medical school while in high school. Weary of small town living, Devona did not apply to any universities in her home state, because she was eager to see something new. She first landed at Fisk University, an HBCU in Nashville,TN, encouraged by her parents seeking a more personalized educational experience for her. Her second stop was Wayne State University School of Medicine in the Heart of Detroit, MI. Her last educational stop was In His Image Family Medicine Residency, where she learned the art of medicine within the context of her faith tradition. She now is the Founder and CEO of the newly formed Ahavá Direct Primary Care which provides compassionate, competent health care to each of its members. She met her husband, Ben, in 2007 and they married 5 years later in a vintage glamour themed wedding, with her sisters by her side. She became pregnant late in life and was labeled a "geriatric maternity patient". They suffered six miscarriages in the process of creating a family, but despite this pain, Benjamin Rashaad and Zora Imani were brought into this world. Both children are miracles. Benjamin was non-verbal and diagnosed with autism at age three. They were told he wouldn't know the meaning of please and thank you. Today he is an intelligent, fully-conversational seven year-old who is quite aware of manners. Zora was born at twenty three weeks and five days, weighing one pound, five ounces. She fought for her life and today is one of the fiercest two year-olds imaginable. Devona believes that there are many seasons to life and her current season is dedicated to providing a strong foundation for her children. Professionally, she is focused on providing a warm and inviting atmosphere in which to provide high-quality health care-- focusing on the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient.
Rana Dotson was born the middle child of three sisters with one younger brother. An entrepreneurial promoter of social and economic inclusion, she is a 4th generation daughter of Black Church pioneers who made their way from points south in the US to settle in Indiana during the Great Migration. She attributes her poetry, activism and grit to their genetic imprint and their prayers. Rana has worked for over 25 years at the intersection of human rights, public policy and economic and international development. Her current work at the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), the US Department of Labor’s international arm, has included research, writing, foreign policy engagement, and management of over $42 million in technical assistance projects to advance the global fight against labor exploitation worldwide. Her work has highlighted and addressed needs of historically marginalized people, including African-descendant and indigenous communities, in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. She co-launched her most recent project with her sisters, COGICgarden, an initiative promoting economic and food security in partnership with the Black Church Food Security Network. She was a co-founder and lead organizer for Border of Lights, a human rights collective she helped form in 2012, to honor victims of the 1937 Haitian Massacre (Parsley Massacre) and promote peace and collaboration between communities in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Prior to that, she co-founded the Organization of Dominican Haitian Cooperation (OCDH) with her sister, DeAndra, which supported development in extremely impoverished, rural communities in the Dominican Republic. Rana wrote her last paper for a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration while on bedrest during her final pregnancy. While earning a Master of Public Policy from the Maryland School of Public Policy, specializing in International Security and Economic Policy, she testified in court against a man who sexually assaulted her, in a trial resulting in his conviction; she bought her first home, and gave birth to her eldest two children. She attended Tuskegee University, where she met her best friend and would-be husband, Julian. Her college experience was bookended by the deaths of two beloved grandparents. She left home to attend college a few weeks after witnessing the sudden death of her maternal grandmother and graduated a few months after the death of her paternal grandfather. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science after rewriting and defending her undergraduate honors thesis paper on differing US policy responses to the genocides in Kosovo and Rwanda. She re-wrote the paper in the weeks following her paternal grandfather’s loss; the purse containing a semester’s worth of research and writing was stolen as she received news on a public phone of his imminent passing. She holds an advanced honorary degree from the School of Hard Knocks, specializing in Still I Rise, in Life, Marriage and Parenting. She is a fellow with the Institute for International Public Policy (IIPP), International Career Advancement Program (ICAP), and National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Graduate Fellowship. She is head over heels in love with Julian Dotson, her spouse of 18-years, partner in shaping three wonderful children-- Jaina (15), Caleb (13) and Isaiah (9)-- and late-night co-plotter in schemes to take over the world. For the last nine years they have been members of the historic Macedonia Baptist Church in Southeast Washington DC. In her leisure she enjoys meaningful conversation, music, writing prose and poetry, time with her family in nature and, above all, silence.
DeAndra Beard is the CEO and founder of Beyond Borders. Beyond Borders has been recently featured in local and national media, including The New York Times and HLN (live television). Her early entrepreneurial efforts helped subsidize her undergraduate degree. She is a former Spanish K-12 certified classroom teacher, now turned award-winning business owner, who holds a B.A. in Education and Spanish with Reading Specialist and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) endorsements from Bethune Cookman University. She is passionate about working to create common ground and connect with the world through the study of language and culture. In 2016, to further expand the mission of creating common ground, she opened a multicultural bookstore, Beyond Barcodes Bookstore and internationally focused cafe, Bind Cafe. Since opening this community space, she has facilitated difficult conversations about racism, discrimination and racial reconciliation in a community that was only beginning to openly acknowledge the necessity of such conversations. Her business model and experiences have opened opportunities to lead workshops, professional development and share her story in various venues. DeAndra's passion and focus on sustainable community development led to a mayoral appointment to the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance (GKEDA). Along with this prestigious appointment, in the first two years as a business owner, she was awarded with the EDGE Award for successful emerging business presented by the Lieutenant Governor & the 40 under 40 Award presented by the Young Professionals of Howard County. The same passion she has for the local community extends to the island of Hispaniola. In 2007, she and her sister co founded the Organization of Dominican Haitian Cooperation (OCDH) in the northern region of the Dominican Republic. The mission of OCDH was to empower the most marginalized communities of Dominicans of Haitian descent. Through the work with OCDH, they connected with and helped found Border of Lights, a collective working at the border of Dominican Republic and Haiti to increase solidarity between the two countries. In 2019, in response to increasing food insecurity in her community, she founded, The Refuge Community Garden, as an outreach ministry of her church. In 2020, alongside her sisters, she co-launched a project of passion: COGICgarden, which is an initiative promoting economic and food security in partnership with the Black Church Food Security Network. She is a co-founder of Impact Hub Port-au-Prince, and a fellow with the Institute for International Public Policy (IIPP).
Behind the Scenes
Music Director, Brian Raphael Nabors is a composer of emotionally enriching music that tells exciting narratives with its vibrant themes and colorful harmonic language. A charming southern upbringing exposed Nabors to many deep-rooted musical ideals, many of which are rooted in spirituality; one of the main principles that inspires Nabors’ music. Nabors earned both a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degree in Composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). His music has been performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and ROCO Chamber Orchestra.
Audio Engineer, Claire Autran is a Brooklyn based multi-disciplinary artist. She earned her BFA in Acting from Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts in 2017. She has worked at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as a Front of House Engineer and Production Lead for artists such as Mumu Fresh, Grammy nominated Falu, Zeshan B, And Soul Science Lab. Additionally she has worked in the audio department at The Juilliard School across the dance, drama, and music departments as an A1 and an A2. Last fall she joined Anthony Ramos on his North America tour as both Production Manager and Front of House Engineer including appearances on The Ellen Show, Dick Clark's Rockin New Years Eve, Vevo, Billboard Live & James Corden.