Black History Month Virtual Panel - The Phoenix

Event Details

Tuesday, February 28 | 5-6:30pm EST

Join Bryce the Third and Byron Thompson for a 90-minute discussion with three leaders doing impactful work in the Black community. Join us as we discuss the work these leaders are currently doing, the barriers they have faced, and gain insights on how we can continue centering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the recovery industry.


Panelist Bios:

Melvin Thompson, MBA is a Chicago-based consultant and serves as Executive Director of the Endeleo Institute, a faith-based nonprofit 501c3 that focuses on health, education and community development.  Through the lens of health and racial equity, Mr. Thompson’s area of expertise finds root in the Social Determinants of Health, with laser focus on the built environment as it relates to equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD).  Mr. Thompson successfully spearheaded a community-led, $10M restoration of a regional public library and is currently leading corridor revitalization via Community Ownership in the predominantly African-American community of Washington Heights.  A seasoned community builder, Mr. Thompson’s vast consulting expertise in Community Engaged Research (CEnR) empowers him to liaise academic researchers and health professionals with community to improve overall quality of life.


Ariel “Air” Britt received her Master’s in Social Work from The University of Michigan. Most of her career has been focused on developing substance use prevention, intervention, and recovery support services for youth and young adults. Air’s interests are public relations, community building, and service. In 2019, she created an award-winning podcast Beauty in the Grit. It shares true stories from her own journey in recovery and others that have inspired her along the way.  In 2021, she served as a political appointee for the Biden-Harris Administration at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Currently, Air is an Adjunct Professor and the Associate Director of Policy and Community Impact at the Addiction Research Institute (ARI) in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin.


Christina is a change maker, a connector and a disruptor to the status quo. She understands the business of helping people and has been learning every aspect of the treatment world for almost ten years. While there is no mission without money, the focus is always on improving treatment outcomes and fearlessly addressing issues facing historically excluded communities.

In January of 2022, Christina became only the 4th Executive Director of Friendly House. Established in 1951 Friendly House was the first women’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation program created for women by women. For 71 years, Friendly House has been saving women’s lives. She is one of the few women of culture to hold an Executive level position.

As a student at Arizona State University, Christina founded Students Against Discrimination (S.A.D.). This group held the largest social justice rally on ASU’s campus and was responsible for creating social justice policies and changes that still stand today. She graduated with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication and was recognized by her alma mater and various organizations including the Lambda League for her work.