Donna Pearl Cotterell, former Citizen’s Police Review Board member and Tri-Chair for the Florida Poor People’s Campaign, is an educator, writer, producer, director, actress and activist in Leon County. She is a proud resident of the Bond neighborhood and her family has lived in Leon County for five generations. Her father, Chief Morris Thomas, was the first police chief of Midway, Florida and the third person to desegregate the buses in Tallahassee in December 1956, while on military leave. She has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from UMass/Boston, a M.S. in Financial Economics from Boston University and a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Middle School Math from Lesley University.
Founder and Director of both Indaba Theatre of New England and Indaba Theatre of Florida; a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in Railroad Village, created her first theatrical production in Tallahassee at Cascades Park in 2015, titled Marigold Days. She wrote the play after completing two successful drama therapy workshops for the brand new Kearney Center in the summer of 2015. Her inspirational speaking has brought her to South Africa, India and Indonesia. She is also a published author, mother of two and grandmother to three.
Americans living below the poverty line face a wide range of unique challenges with many struggling to afford basic necessities such as food, housing, and health care. Other challenges include increased stress and often worse than average health outcomes. These problems can be compounded for those who live on poverty level incomes in communities of concentrated poverty — defined as Census tracts where 40% or more of the population live below the poverty line.