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Young African-American leaders make their marks in community

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by Victor Calderon, Reno Gazette-Journal

When you think of leaders in Northern Nevada’s African-American community, several names might come to mind, including the Rev. Onie Cooper of Second Baptist Church; Lonnie Feemster, president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP; and Evelyn Mount, whose annual holiday food drive has helped thousands of residents.

But with Black History Month coming to an end today, the Reno Gazette-Journal introduces you to three young, up-and-coming leaders.


Jody Lykes, 32, is a man of many hats.

As a student services specialist at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, he organizes student orientation, offers outreach, recruitment and academic advising services and is a co-

adviser for the Umoja Society, a black student group.

Lykes also is treasurer of the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society, a leader for Boy Scout Troop 576 in Sparks, in the Hispanic Leadership Network, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and the Latino Lions Club.

He also teaches a class for the education alliance in the Washoe County School District parent involvement resource center.

“I like serving people,” Lykes said. “I like to get to know who’s out there, and how I can help them.”

Lykes lives in Reno with his wife, Sofia, and their two daughters.

He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah’s Brigham Young University and is taking graduate school classes in education leadership at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Lykes said Black History Month is a time to reflect on the progress Americans have made as a people.

“Hopefully, that progress will continue in the future,” he said.


As executive director of Accepting Community Cultivation & Enhancing Progressive Transformations, Sherria Taylor leads an agency that provides HIV prevention and intervention services.

“We directly work with people, families and young people,” said Taylor, 30, a Reno native. “You get the reward immediately by knowing you’ve helped them.”

She also assists in the music and dance ministries at Greater Light Christian Center in Reno.

Taylor lives in Reno with Chico, her pet Chihuahua.

She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., a master’s degree in community counseling at the University of Nevada, Reno and is working on a doctorate in human services with a focus on nonprofit management through the online Capella University.

“Sherria is a dynamic and charismatic lady who has dedicated a large portion of her life to AIDS prevention in the community,” said Napoleon Haney, vice president of the NNBCAS.

With Barack Obama as the nation’s first African-American president, Taylor said Black History Month means more now.

“All the sacrifices by our ancestors are being seen now,” she said. “It’s a time to honor those people that have paid the costs for us.”


Napoleon Haney said he’s a people person.

It comes naturally in his roles as special assistant to Reno City Manager Charles McNeely and vice president of Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society.

“I enjoy working directly with people from different organizations and backgrounds and entities,” said Haney, 39. “It’s fun working for the Biggest Little City.”

He also is first vice president for the Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest and is a musician in the choir at Greater Light Christian Center.

Haney lives in Reno with his wife, Pamela, and their sons Justin, 6, and Jacob, 3. Haney has a son, Rashad, 21, attending an Ohio college.

Haney has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Norfolk State University in Virginia and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

“Black History Month reminds me of how far we’ve come as a nation with the opportunities afforded to all Americans,” he said.


Written by Symphony

February 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Are they the ones who Jesse Jackson said he feared when walking down a dark street! Is this the “mark” they’re leaving?


    March 1, 2009 at 2:55 am

  2. I have two sons that the justice system is taking for a ride when you are poor justice don’t service you i thank its time for our black leaders to stand up and fight for them to stop letting them be victims of police brutality stop being coerced to prepare fair justice for the poor to stop the government from spending billions of dollars keeping them in jail when the system can take those billions and put on education to teach our young blacks to read at grade level i am looking for someone to help me and my boys if you cam help please email me or call 7049190668

    Teresa Neal

    February 16, 2010 at 11:51 pm

  3. Dear sir/or to whom it may concern.
    My name is Larry Pelzer. A poor widows son traveling in north amerikkka in search of a justice lost to just/us i have two youths presently housed in one of amerikkkas many entermaint centers better knowen to society as jail i am writing to you at this time for they both have been falsely accussed by the law of man.but since we are the sons of god i now appeal to you and god.for as being the sons,we have the right to annuale the laws of man.therefore i pray a sincere prayer while facing the east,that you will come to the assistance your brother in this time of need. i leave you as i came in peace contact or call 7049190668

    larry Pelzer

    February 17, 2010 at 12:19 am

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