Grants Manager, Open Road Fund
Pronouns: he/him, they/them
Started at Nexus: 2023
Duaba is the Grants Manager for the Open Road Fund. He helps to coordinate everything related to grantmaking operations for the fund. Duaba also facilitates the process design of the fund, in collaboration with the ORF Team and community members. His work contributes to Nexus’ greater efforts in Community Wealth Building, Self-Authorship, and Ownership.
Duaba’s ancestors are African survivors of the Maafa and Native survivors of settler colonialism in the US Deep South. His heritage is what has motivated him to work in community development and organizing for over 15 years. He is most interested in using grantmaking as a tool to nurture powerful leaders and cultivate democratic, cooperative organizations. In his free time he is a culture worker, scholar, artist, and Blerd.
For the last 10 years, Duaba has been creating a writing system for Maafan peoples. In place of a headshot he has chosen to use one of the glyphs from that writing system to represent himself. The name of the symbol is Yuhuru, from the Swahili word “Uhuru”, meaning “Freedom/Liberation”. The spelling reflects the way Black AAVE speakers have adapted African languages to fit their tongues. One of the proverbs associated with this symbol is “Strong people don’t need strong leaders.” and the lesson of the proverb is “Do not worship leaders, make movements full of leaders instead.” These are inspired by the teachings of Ella Baker. Duaba strives daily to embody that teaching.