Staff


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Krystal Ngene

Executive Director

Dada Krystal Ngene (pronounced n-ghen-nee) embraces her culture, authenticity, and life challenges to bring about learning opportunities and growth while using her passion, experience, and expertise to serve as a catalyst for positive change. As our Executive Director, Dada Krystal brings her understanding of the interconnectedness of the lives of people, and her strength in facilitating the connection of diverse groups of people that allows for the cross-pollination of ideas and unlikely sparks of enthusiasm, to foster an environment of unparalleled creativity and community for Kúkátónón.
 
Dada Krystal comes to Kúkátónón from the City of Portland’s Bureau of Development Services, where she was responsible for program development and project management of the Bureau’s recruitment and hiring program from trainings and outreach strategies, to the coordination of new employee hire processes. In that position, Dada Krystal used an equity-focused lens and led the development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Prior to her work at the Bureau, Dada Krystal worked at Ronald McDonald House Charities, Roger Williams Medical Center, The Therapy Collaborative, and Sunshine House.
 
Dada Krystal has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Portland State University (specializing in community-based practice and racial equity work), and a B.S. Ed. in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University.
 
Joining Kúkátónón is also a personal commitment for Dada Krystal and her family. “We understand that the African and African American communities have a need that society in a larger context has not been able to meet. It is important that our communities and children have a safe place that encourages and instills a great sense of pride, confidence and education of our culture. Kúkátónón is critical in addressing this need. It also allows for our communities to create their own narrative and tell our own stories to counteract and educate mainstream society. This will help to create a more informed society that will benefit generations to come.”
 
Dada Krystal enjoys spending time with her husband, Baba David, a designer at Nike; 2 year old son; and mother, Lisa. She loves sports, especially fútbol, hanging with her ‘Mamaz’ group and is a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’. She is also a member of the international, historically Black sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

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Danielle Ali-Cassim

Operations Manager

 

Dada Danielle is a passionate humanist, a proud advocate, and a true believer in justice and equality for all. At Portland State University, Dada Danielle co-founded the re-creation of Black Student Union (BSU) in 2014 which still operates today. Additionally she served  as a Director in ASPSU, Portland State’s student government where advocated space for people of color and worked to increase student voting. She was also a program coordinator for the Multicultural center/La Casa Latina and the founder the Caribbean Community Connection (C∛). Dada Danielle studied Health Sciences B.S. with focuses in Business and Black Studies.

After completing her studies at Portland State, Danielle sought a career abroad. She taught in Kuwait where she was responsible for teaching Art and English.   

Never one to stray too far from her roots, during her time in Kuwait Danielle became a member of (LAPA LoYAC Hip-hop dance crew) where she performed at various events and ceremonies. During her time with the crew, her crew mates exposed her to East African, Indian and Arabian Hip-hop fused dance styles that showed the truly global reach of the genre. Upon returning back home Danielle continues to learn new cultures through dance.