The Progressive Coalition of Amherst is governed by an Executive Board, on which people of color are a majority. The Board votes on all decisions, actions, and candidate endorsements. Although we are not affiliated with, and do not receive funding from any other organizations, we at times consult with other local progressive groups.
Pat Ononibaku, chair
Pat Ononibaku, chair of PCA, is a business owner, social justice advocate and community organizer. She has served on the Amherst Regional Public Schools Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) Executive Board, the Diversity/Anti-Bias Committee, the ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) Committee, and the the Fort River PGO. Pat participated in the ARPS Parent Center Study Circle on race and class dialogues, and was a founding member of Race and Discipline, Action, Rights (RADAR) to address discipline and academic gap in the school district. She helped create Multi-Cultural Families of Amherst (MFA). She now serves on the Town’s Community Safety Working Group (CSWG).
Dr. Demetria Rougeaux Shabazz
Dr. Demetria Rougeaux Shabazz earned a Ph.D. in Mass Communication focused on race, class, and gender in the media, and teaches courses in community engagement, film, and social justice. A trained videographer and oral historian, is a co-producer of Difficult Dialogues, a local cable access series. Shabazz is committed to creating a more inclusive and democratic culture, and has served on the Board of Directors at Amherst Media for seven years.
Allegra Clark, treasurer
Allegra Clark, treasurer of PCA, holds a Master’s degree in Social Work with a certificate in Urban Leadership. She has held clinical social work positions working with substance use, housing, and the criminal legal system. A graduate of Amherst Regional High School who returned to Amherst in 2018, Allegra has been involved in community organizing withDefund413Amherst. In 2021, she was appointed to the Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust.
Dr. Amilcar Shabazz
Dr. Amilcar Shabazz is a professor of history and Africana Studies in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass-Amherst. He served as the department’s seventh chair from 2007 to 2012, and as the Faculty Advisor to the Chancellor for Diversity and Excellence from 2013 to 2016. Shabazz has also served as an Amherst School Committee member and helped to create the School Equity Task Force (SETF) in 2014.
In 2019, Dr. Shabazz was inaugurated as president of the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS) at the group’s annual conference in New Orleans. He has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist and has done work in Brazil, Ghana, Japan, Cuba, and other countries.
Presently, Dr. Shabazz teaches at UMass with an emphasis on the political economy of social and cultural movements, education, and public policy, and is completing an historical biography of lawyer-journalist-entrepreneur Carter Wesley, among other projects.
Dr. Maria Kopicki
Dr. Maria Kopicki served on Town Meeting, the Special Education subgroup on the Enrollment Working Group, the Facilities Use Advisory Board (studying the middle and high schools), the Fort River School Building Feasibility Study, and the Crocker Farm Expansion Study. She is also a frequent contributor to the Amherst Indy, and has lived in Amherst since 1999.