Kenya Kirkland, Executive Director

Los Angeles native Kenya Kirkland is actively building a legacy as a community leader through her roles as the Executive Director of A Step to Freedom, her contributions to the local fashion industry and through Public Speaking. Education and fashion design have been monumental in her career.

Kirkland has made giving back a part of her life's mission, she has committed to serving homeless individuals in African American communities across the U.S. Ms. Kirkland was recognized as one of Los Angeles’ Top 40 Under 40. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Kirkland sits as the Social Action Co-Chair of the Inglewood Alumnae Chapter. Kirkland's message of empowerment and overcoming adversity is shared through styling, speaking and business mentorship. 

 

Jimar Wilson, Board Treasurer

Jimar Wilson is Vice President & Community Reinvestment Act Officer (CRA Officer) at American Business Bank.

Jimar is responsible for managing the Bank’s enterprise-wide Community Reinvestment Act compliance and business development programs in small business and community development lending, mission-driven investments, strategic philanthropy, volunteerism and services benefitting low- and moderate-income individuals and households in Greater Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Mr. Wilson currently serves on the Board of Directors of Crenshaw Family YMCA, Ebony Repertory Theatre, Project Alpha of LA, Inc., Learning Culture, A Step to Freedom, and the Local Advisory Committee of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in Los Angeles.

Previous board and advisory appointments include Holman Community Development Corporation, 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, The Fringe at Center Theatre Group (now The Crew), John M. Langston Bar Association, and Summit Preparatory Charter School.

Mr. Wilson holds a Master in City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow) and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a graduate of the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate at the University of Southern California.

 

Maya Douglas, Board Secretary 

Maya Douglas has spent the majority of her career in the nonprofit sector working with two of the top nonprofits in both mental health and community health.

Maya is the founding Co-Chair of the Emerging Civic Leaders Committee of the Empowerment Congress and also served as the Chair of the Systems Change workgroup for the Community Advisory Coalition known as WeCanStopSTDsLA.

 

Kendel Croom, Board President

Kendel Croom, RN received her B.A. degree in Child Development from CSUN and her ADN from LATTC and is currently pursuing her Public Health Nurse certificate and MSN degree while working as a Registered Nurse for LAUSD. A strong advocate for community health and wellness, she’s involved in helping families prevent illness by working closely with public health and social service agencies in the community.

Her ultimate goal is to advocate for and promote health, wellness, and safety of at risk communities in Los Angeles to improve overall optimal health of mind, body, spirit, and emotions. 

 

Sebastian Lozano, A Step to Freedom Board Member

Sebastian Lozano, Board Member

Lozano first entered representative government as an intern for Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu in 2016 and was eventually hired on as a full-time Council Aide based at the Sherman Oaks Field Office until 2017. In 2018, he joined the office of Assemblymember Richard Bloom as an Office Assistant. Upon graduation in 2019, he was hired on as a full-time Field Representative and became responsible for Veteran’s issues, Transportation, K-12 Education, Labor, and Latino issues within the 50th Assembly District. Also he chairs the PCH Taskforce for the Assemblymember, which is a taskforce charged with overseeing safety improvements along Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to the Ventura County Line. Throughout his life and career, he has remained committed to public service and a belief in government to engage communities and create equitable and sustainable communities that nourish and support the people.

Lozano was born in the City of Los Angeles, between Northeast LA and South Pasadena. Son of a large Mexican family who taught him at an early age the importance of family and public service. He served in the U.S. Navy in 2010 and served as an Air Traffic Controller until 2015.

During his time in the Navy, he experienced the world and learned the importance of communication and teamwork to accomplish mission objectives. Concluding the Navy, he earned an AA in Social Behavioral Science in 2017 and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies.