155 Merrimack Street

Lowell, MA 01852

Third Floor

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board members

Gordon halm

Founder and Executive Director

Gordon is the Founder and Executive Director of the African Community Center of Lowell. He holds a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from UMass Lowell and now serves as a board member for the UMass Lowell Greeley Scholar for Peace and Conflict Studies. He previously worked at the International Institute of New England Lowell branch helping with refugee resettlement as a youth case specialist and community cultural orientation instructor.  Gordon also has experience working with children with developmental disabilities. He volunteers his time as a fence viewer for the town of Dracut helping to resolve disputes around boundaries and occasionally mediates at Lowell District Court. He is on the Board of Trustees for Innovation Academy Charter School and is also the founder of the African Festival in Lowell, a free annual festival that attracts thousands of community members and partners to showcase diversity and inclusion. He recently was chosen as the recipient for the Cultural Heritage Excellence award by the Lowell National Historical Park, and has also been elected as a board member for the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities for a three-year term starting September 2018. In May 2019, he was among the IINE 100 honorees which he received an award. Gordon would like to thank his mentor Afua AddaeAdoo from the UMASS Lowell Career Center, Jim Wilde of the Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership, Steve Joncas of Joncas Associates, and Darcie Coleman, LICSW. He would also like to give a special thanks to his wife Beatrice Stevens and his three sons Isaac, Raysam and Tyler. This would not have been possible without their support.


Awards received by Gordon Halm


Community Teamwork Inc, Local Heroes Award, Oct 26, 2006

For distinguished service to the Greater Lowell Community. 

The Lowell Sun’s 25 Most Fascinating People of 2008

African Cultural Association, for outstanding efforts in creating the African Festival and bringing awareness to the rich African culture and promoting cultural understanding among all people of Lowell.

UMass Lowell, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award, Jan 30, 2018

National Park Services Excellence in Cultural Heritage, May 3, 2018

Shannon Butler-Mokoro


Shannon Butler-Mokoro is the Department Chairperson and Professor in the School of Social Work at Salem State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy from Georgia State University and a Master of Social Work degree from Clark Atlanta University. Prior to teaching, Dr. Mokoro worked in the field of behavioral health and substance abuse treatment in Atlanta, GA.  She is a social justice advocate, educator, mentor, role model, and leader. She consults with schools and non-profit agencies around issues of diversity and cultural humility. She is an active member of Eliot Presbyterian Church. Her passion is working with first-year college students, and with newcomers to the U.S., especially parents and children.

Every community needs a place where people can go, gather, seek assistance, catch up on news, socialize, and promote culture. This Center will be a place for people of the African diaspora in Lowell and neighboring towns to come and support one another, support and educate our children, and provide cultural vibrancy to the city of Lowell.

Dr. samuel beh

Board Chair

With the closure of the African Assistance Center, the newly established African Community Center fills an important need for African refugees and immigrants in the Greater Lowell Area. The Center was established with the aim of promoting the educational, social, and cultural aspirations of its target population. My desire to serve on the board of the Center comes out of the conviction that my background and many years of experience as a public school educator can be useful in assisting the center in realizing its educational objectives. Developing partnerships between the home and school is crucial for academic success and as a result, I will encourage and support programs that foster parental involvement in the schools and education of their children. Additionally, I will work with the Center’s Executive Director and others in equipping our newly arrived parents with the skills that will help them better understand how to navigate the public school system.

Elizabeth wando


Born in Kenya, Elizabeth started her music / art career in the 80’s during her primary school days and through high school and college in Nairobi / Kenya. She was an active member of her school and church choirs. She also chaired both drama and journalism clubs throughout her high school and was often featured at the famous “Kenya national theatre” with her poetry.

A graduate of business studies, Elizabeth is multilingual and has excellent communication and administrative skills. She has served in leadership positions and volunteered in various faith based organizations in the worship, women and children’s ministries respectively. 

Rose agbede

Senior Board Member

The African Community Center of Lowell is our Village in Lowell. Remember the saying? " It takes a Village to a raise a Child." Our village is Lowell.

phala chea

Senior Board Member

I am honored to serve as a senior advisory board member of the African Community Center of Lowell.

As a former refugee, I understand the many difficulties and challenges of starting a new life in a new country, where language, customs, culture, rules, laws and expectations are so different. I am proud of Gordon Halm's leadership and appreciative of his work with the community to establish this very important Center. New immigrants and refugees will need the Center to connect and orient themselves to Lowell. In my capacity as a senior advisor, I will support and champion the Center's mission and services to promote the quality of life and citizenship of immigrants and refugees. I look forward to celebrating the Center's many accomplishments.

paula rayman

Senior Board Member

At this moment of history we need more than ever to celebrate diversity in our communities . As we launch this new Center we are saying "Yes We Can" in creating movement towards equality and respect and dignity for all.

george asamoah

Safety Officer

The foundation that is given to the new comers is what will help them to become resources for the future of our community.

Fundi Bisoka

Board Member

Mr. Fundi Bisoka is originally come from Democratic Republic of Congo. He came to the United States of America with his family as a refugee through the International Institute of New England, Lowell in 2015.  He taught as a teacher in Burundi for seven years then became a school inspector at a refugee camp called “Camp Nyarujusu” in Tanzania for 17 years before his arrival to the City of Lowell. He currently lives in Lowell with his family and he is a well-respected elder in the Congolese Community of Massachusetts.

Tobie Amani

Board Member

Mr. Tobie Amani is originally from Nigeria, West Africa. He is an Investment analyst for Brooking Aives Group, a company that seeks to promote small businesses and individual entrepreneurs both locally and internationally; with special focus on emerging economies like several African countries and beyond. Growing up in Africa came with its many challenges, but he has always been inspired by the drive and fortitude of well-meaning people who strive daily for the benefit of others and the community at large. This has always been his desire, that one day he would be able to serve his immediate community and beyond, as he has come to believe there is no greater calling. Tobie has worked in various positions in community-based organizations which has afforded him the privilege of learning and growing with the added benefit of being inspired by the amazing people he has met every step of the way. Since moving to the city of Lowell, he has continued on this path of service and community involvement. Being part of the ACCL has been a tremendous experience for him. It has helped him foster a continued longing for service and collective collaboration with all the amazing people he has been connected with through the organization, while striving to be that bridge between peoples of African origin and the city of Lowell. The city has provided that enabling environment and spirit for all peoples from everywhere to thrive and this has been very essential in building partnerships and guaranteeing success at all levels. He currently serves as a board member of the ACCL. He is humbled by this privilege as he continues to serve the organization and the city of Lowell at large.

George Joseph

Board Member

George Joseph is an Associate Professor of Accounting at the Manning School of Business, University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has a PhD in Accounting from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a Chartered Accountant from India.

Susanne Curry

Board Member

Suzanne Curry lives in Chelmsford with her husband and 18 year old daughter.  She graduated from Clark University with a B.A. in Government/International Relations. She currently works as an office manager and administrative assistant at PointRight, which is a healthcare data analytics company in Cambridge.

Previously she worked at The International Institute of New England in the Boston, Lowell, and Manchester Offices. For four years she was a case manager with refugees in NH, assisting them with all aspects of resettlement.


Suzanne loves theater, music, and dance and am working on The Lowell Dance Project to establish a dance collaborative here. She is a member of Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford and sings with them in a band called Shpiel, and has recently joined an acapella group in Medford.


She is excited to work with The African Community Center of Lowell as a member of your Board. She hopes to bring her enthusiasm, administrative skills, and experience working with diverse groups to further the mission of the Center.