Marsha Jones is a Dallas, Texas native and Co-founder and Executive Director of The Afiya Center. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and is graduate of the Black AIDS Institute’s African American HIV University (Science and Community Mobilizing Fellowship Program) and Tyndale Theology School. Marsha serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Equal Access Fund and is a member of the following national women-focused initiatives to advance gender and racial equity and eliminate health disparities: 30 for 30 (Steering Member), Texas Black Women Initiative Dallas Team (Co-chair), US Women Working Group on PrEP, National Women AIDS Coalition (Steering Member) and Rockwood Fellowship for Racial & Gender Justice Leaders in the HIV/AIDS Movement (Fellow). Marsha is a national grassroots organizer, community mobilizer, professional speaker, group facilitator, and health educator. Marsha’s life commitment is to positively transform the lives of women and girls via leadership development and activism. Marsha challenges harmful systemic and political constructs to advance the economic, health, and safety of women and girls.
Deneen Robinson serves as the Policy Director for The Afiya Center. Deneen’s commitment to service began at an early age— as her mother likes to say, she has always been helping someone. Later in life, Deneen navigated homelessness, motherhood, continuing her education, and eventually an HIV+ diagnosis. Along with the diagnosis, she was told she had a short time to live and decided, “I want to plant seeds so my daughters will remember me.” Over the last 25 years, rooted in Dallas, Deneen has embarked on a journey toward living with, understanding, educating, and ultimately becoming an advocate for herself and others impacted by HIV. One of her most noted accomplishments is starting the Dallas-based women’s group At the Kitchen Table, founded in September 1999 with support from fellow staff at Resource Center Dallas. In March of 2000, she participated in the African American HIV University Fellowship in Los Angeles, CA. The Fellowship provided the additional skills needed for Deneen to educate, write and teach others on many aspects of HIV. Today, Deneen is a highly-accomplished author and consultant, and she continues her work as an educator through The Afiya Center’s Living Out Loud with Purpose program that provides educational and psycho-social support for women living with HIV.
Inspired, at once, by radical philosophers and tulips, Emma Robinson is looking for beauty. As a mechanism for change, and source of inspiration, Emma uses beauty as the driving force behind her activism.
With a focus on consciousness raising and creating “insurgents” Emma pilots the Afiya Talks program using media of all forms to change how Black Women interrogate culture and the systems we interact with on a daily basis. From the big boogeyman of Capitalism to Abortion there is no subject too taboo for conversation. The AT program is a foundation for world building in the truest sense.
A Texan at heart, she’s especially impassioned about bringing this energy in the South, as a means of completing ancestor business and working in a long line of women committed to making the world suck less for their families and communities.
HIV programs manager
Helen Zimba is a Dallas based, international HIV and reproductive justice leader. Ms. Zimba’s professional background encompasses both business management and communications, as well as extensive experience in the field of community health. She has served on the grant review committee for HRSA, SAMSHA and the NIH over the past twenty years and as a board member and trainer for AIDS Alliance. Ms. Zimba earned a certificate in nonprofit leadership from Southern Methodist University in 2010. Since that time, she has served as a Case Manager to people living with HIV, chaired the HIV Planning Council, and is an active member of the Positive Women’s Network USA. In addition, Ms. Zimba is a dedicated volunteer to a number of causes, including mission work to Malawi with her church, assisting with AIDS Walk South Dallas, and many Texas Black Women's Initiatives. Helen’s dedication to advocating to end the stigma and isolation plaguing women living with HIV, has lead her to be selected to participate in the national Love Your Life Campaign. Ms. Zimba is the recipient of numerous awards, such as, the Gigi Nicks - AIDS Alliance, Neighborhood Hero recipient by WFAA Television, and Women that Soar. In 2018, she presented solutions for creating access and navigating services for Black women at the Texas HIV/STD Conference. Helen is currently managing HIV services at the Afiya Center, a GLOW Trainer for NMAC, and participant in the AIDS United Training Program.
Te’Quan La’Shelle Penny
Te’Quan La’Shelle Penny is a fiercely independent woman who, after raising children through adolescence and into adulthood while successfully managing legal blindness, is working as the receptionist at The Afiya Center. She has two girls; one by marriage a son she gained after the death of his mother and a 2nd son who is also her nephew. Mrs. Penny declares these are her bright spots. She says her children are the highlight of her life. And her husband she says makes her smile ‘sometimes’.
Te’Quan describes her work at The Afiya Center as a learning experience. Mrs. Penny further shares that The Afiya Center has been a gateway to educate other young women about Reproductive Justice. She sees this as an opportunity for her to make a difference in the lives of women. She wants to make sure she gives everything she faces her best effort no matter the outcome. Her main hobby is cooking. She loves to cook. Her future goal is to have her own restaurant.