Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr, First Vice President
Rashidah Ismaili AbuBakr; 1st Vice President, was Co-Chair of the African Heritage Month Celebration, Chair of Poetry and Performing Arts, is originally from West Africa. She has had an extensive and long academic career in both college/university and cultural institutions. Her teaching experiences have been in African and African Diaspora Culture and Literature, and her administration activities have included: group therapy, criminal justice reform, intercultural studies and interfaith activities. Her retirement from Pratt Institute as the Associate Director of (HEOP) Higher Education Opportunity Program has allowed her more time to pursue her writing career. The second novel in her trilogy; An African Woman in New York is due in the Fall 2021.
Ismaili AbuBakr is a founding faculty of the MA/MFA Creative Writing department at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She is a mentor for the Poetry division and conducts workshops from her home as well. Ismaili-AbuBakr is a founding member of (OWWA) Organization of Women Writers of Africa, PEN, African Literature Association, Badenya, and is active in community affairs. She hosts Salon d’Afrique, a gathering of visiting artists, cultural activists and scholars to exchange ideas and information with local community and artists. She is a staunch advocate of women artists.
During her graduate studies, Ismaili AbuBakr worked at Job Corps, Essex County College and Rutgers University. She has worked in group homes for juveniles in need of supervision for the Children’s Aid Society, New Jersey. She was the Associate Director of (HEOP) Higher Education Opportunity Programme at Pratt Institute. All during her long career in academia, she did community work and was writing and active in political forums on behalf of Africa.
She is a member of many organizations, including: ALA, African Literature Association; CSA, Caribbean Studies Association; AHSA, African Heritage Studies Association; ASA, African Studies Association; OWWA, Organization of Women Writers Association; PEN International Writers Organization, an NGO at the United Nations.
Ismaili AbuBakr has been a member of Pen +Brush for over thirty years and on the Board for twenty. She supports the mission of Pen + Brush and advocates for gender inclusion in the arts. She participated in the Poetry and Prose workshops and readings. Eventually, she began organizing the exhibitions for Women Artists of African Descent, which were very successful and supported by Pen + Brush to the fullest extent. On the governing board nd is very active in pushing the mission of the organization, expansion and securing the legacy of this historic organization. She looks forward to working with other organizations to help forge relationships that will make Pen + Brush a dynamic force in the community of women artists.