Darkness RISING is a mental health 501(c)3 nonprofit. We offer free community wellness workshops geared toward the Black community, a Black Mental Health Resource Packet, a Black Mental Health Provider Database, inspirational cover songs, visual albums, and live concerts created by Black Broadway and theatre professionals, many who have experienced a mental health condition. Our goal is to inspire conversations about mental health, address issues which directly affect the Black community, connect attendees to resources, and erase the stigma.



the health and wellness of the Black community


awareness about mental health in our community


and engage our community via resources, events and services.


the negative stigma of mental health issues

Board Members

Tamar Draughn, LPC

Programs Director

Sherenne Simon, MPH

Board Member

Lillias White

Advisory Board Member

Shani Graves, LMHC

Board Member

Delicia Dawson, JD

Director of Governance and Compliance

Collin Howard

Advisory Board Member

Tuesday P. Brooks


Cathey Ector-Cox

Grants Specialist

Tamala Baldwin

Advisory Board Member


carlita victoria

Founding Executive Director

What We Do

Wellness Workshops

We offer free wellness workshops throughout the year, including: Meditation, Fitness, Yoga, Adult Coloring, Community Forums & more

Mental Health Resources

Our free Black mental health resource packet includes databases of Black therapists, apps, podcasts, blogs, advocates and more.

Music & Mental Health

Our Broadway singers perform at live events and virtually, singing songs of hope. Our video series includes singing, dancing + conversations about mental health

Tamar Draughn




Tamar Draughn began her work in therapy with military families with the US Army overseas in Germany. A dedicated clinician. She achieved her goal of providing optimal treatment to her clientele when she opened Phoenix Professional Services in early 2014. Phoenix Professional Services provides an array of mental health and community-based services. Tamar also conducts humanitarian missions to countries where she provides essential requested needs, psychotherapy & groups to those struggling with the effects of trauma. Additionally, she conducts community events “Teen Summits” for teens 2-3 times per year. The Teen Summits are focused on the issues in the community, the needs/barriers presented in adolescent’s development, and ways to overcome them.

Tamar is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Connecticut. She holds her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Bowie State University Europe, and a B.A. in Psychology from University of Maryland Europe. She is trained and practices Eye Movement Desensitization Re-Processing Therapy and utilizes other innovative models such as Botanical (Horticultural) therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 

She has extensive experience in providing direct and administrative services to children and families. While living in Europe, Tamar worked 2 years as a Human Resource Specialist with the United Stated Department of Defense (US Army), and 4 year as a Family Welfare Manager servicing military families overseas. Since relocating to Connecticut 2009, she worked 6 years for The Village as an Intensive Trauma Focused Therapist. Since 2014, Tamar has been the sole proprietor with noteworthy success at Phoenix Professional Services. Tamar provides an array of behavioral health services to children and families in Hartford county. 

Sherenne Simon

Board Member

Sherenne simon, MPH

Sherenne Simon is an artist and public health professional. She is a leader, advocate, and innovator for mental health, health disparities and equity. Sherenne holds a dual MPH in Epidemiology and Health Education and has spent the last 15+ years leading large-scale domestic and global initiatives for Black and under-resourced communities. Sherenne is a Modern and African dancer. She has performed with various professional dance companies. As a yoga and dance instructor, Sherenne has taught students throughout the U.S and abroad.



Lillias White

Advisory Board Member

Lillias white

Described by The New York Times as a “one-of-a-kind performer who combines the sass of a classic blues mama with the skill of a Broadway star,” Lillias White is world-renowned for her glorious voice and extraordinary ability to communicate the heart of a song. Lillias joined Darkness RISING as the headline performer in Darkness RISING: Live 4, The Block Party, and has been a committed advocate for Black mental health. 

Her performance in Cy Coleman’s Broadway musical, The Life, won her the TONY® AWARD for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. She was nominated for a second TONY® AWARD for her brilliant work in Fela!  Additional Broadway credits include: Barnum, Dreamgirls, Cats, Carrie, Once on This Island, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Chicago. Other Off-Broadway and Regional Credits include The Public Theater’s Romance in Hard Times, for which she won the OBIE® AWARD, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (directed by Phylicia Rashad), for which she won the NAACP AWARD, and the Carnegie Hall Concert version of South Pacific, starring Reba McEntire, which was also broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances. 

In addition to receiving Broadway acclaim, Lillias is internationally-recognized for her TV and film work. Lillias received the DAYTIME EMMY® AWARD for her role as Lillian Edwards for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series on Sesame Street in 1992, and is beloved by audiences around the world for voicing the lead muse Calliope in Disney’s animated feature Hercules. Film credits include Pieces of April (starring Katie Holmes) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (starring Jim Carrey). Recent TV credits include the Baz Luhrmann-directed NETFLIX series The Get Down, as well as Russian Doll and Search Party. She has appeared in cabarets and concert halls around the world, including The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House. She can be heard on several Broadway cast albums, in addition to her acclaimed From Brooklyn to Broadway.

Get Yourself Some Happy! which is Lillias’ first solo studio album, is being released on July 23, 2021 via Old Mill Road Recording.  It’s a modern mix of Motown, Standards, Rock-and-Roll, Broadway, and Jazz – all re-invented for today’s audiences.  The tracks all center on the theme of happiness.  Titles range from a soulful When You Wish Upon a Star to a lightning-fast The Twist to a sweet, tender version of You’re My Best Friend.  Her disco-inspired, orchestral You’ve Made Me So Very Happy will inspire dancing, and her tropical Put on a Happy Face will make listeners grin from ear to ear.

Board Member

Shani Graves, LMHC

Shani Graves, LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and speaker. She is passionate about providing safe spaces for BIPOC individuals to grow and heal. Shani is the owner of SG Wellness PLLC, a group psychotherapy practice located in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. SG Wellness PLLC provides therapy, workshops and support to adults for stress management, self-esteem, anxiety/depression and interpersonal relationships. Shani has been featured in online publications such as Bustle, Books for Better Living and Allure Magazine. 

For more information: sgcounselingnyc.com 

Delicia Dawson

Director of Governance & Compliance


Delicia Dawson has been an advocate for youth and mental health for 15+ years. She developed a keen interest in community outreach and has always been intentional in her advocacy. 

Delicia has provided community outreach consultation and development assistance to Darkness RISING since its inception. As a Guardian Ad Litem, she has been a voice for children experiencing abuse and neglect in Durham, NC for the last 13 years. She also volunteered with North Carolina Boys and Girls Clubs for 15+ years. Recently, Delicia spearheaded a toiletry drive during the pandemic and an independent living and healthy lifestyle program. 

Delicia supports nonprofits such as the Women’s Shelter, Habitat for Humanity as well as other organizations. Delicia holds a Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central University School of Law, a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, and a minor in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She also studied Sociology abroad in London, England.


Director of Creative Content

Collin L. Howard

Collin L. Howard is a performer, producer, hospitality expert and an overall culture enthusiast. Originally from Piscataway NJ, Collin graduated from the prestigious Hartt School at The University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT where he earned his B.F.A. in Music Theatre and now resides in Harlem. He has performed Off- Broadway, regionally as well as in film and television. A proud member of Darkness RISING since its inception, Collin is an inaugural member of its Board of Trustees as well as Director of Creative Content. He firmly believes in making mental health and self-care awareness more accessible to the Black community; with a strong emphasis in the destigmatizing of addiction.



Tuesday P Brooks, MBA

Tuesday P. Brooks, MBA is a business owner, educator, trusted tax & accounting advisor, and proud US veteran. Her role with a self-help housing advocacy organization, boutique CPA tax firm, and private equity investment firm precipitated the launch of a financial management firm of her own. Her company, AJOY, is committed to improving profitability of micro and small business enterprises. Tuesday’s vision is to foster exponential growth of financially-sound wxmen-led companies that employ, across the US, both for profit and non-profit. As such, she works tirelessly providing direction to aspiring entrepreneurs on how to start and grow. Her keen knowledge in the area of accounting for small business, makes bookkeeping, tax compliance, credit readiness, and cash flow management accessible to early-stage business owners. To date, she has educated more than 2800 aspiring entrepreneurs, and has developed strong relationships with community-based organizations and government agencies that provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs and freelancers primarily through one-to-one coaching, workshops, and business curriculum development. Tuesday is a frequently sought panel presenter and workshop facilitator and has been honored multiple years as a Best For New York Changemaker.

Tuesday holds a Master of Business Administration from Metropolitan College of New York in Media Management, Master of Arts degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Her financial management firm, AJOY, specializes in ventures in media, sports, entertainment, beauty, fashion, and wellness.

Program Director

Cathey Ector-Cox

Cathey EctorCox has been involved with youth, community advocacy, and volunteer initiatives for more than 27 years. She currently serves as the Youth Services Director in the City of Raleigh Community Engagement Division, and is a Nonprofit Consultant. 

Cathey oversees the Raleigh Pathways Center, which houses a portfolio of workforce development programs, services and resources meant to increase opportunity and provide clear pathways to success for young adults. 

Cathey plays a vital role in the facilitation, organizing and planning of youth programs, community offerings, and services.  She is knowledgeable in the areas of community development, strategic planning and administrative management.  She works with youth service organizations by finding real time solutions to community issues, while simultaneously working with local government, grantors, and other stakeholders in order to create collaborative partnerships in bringing those solutions to fruition.  


Director of Marketing

Tamala Baldwin

Tamala is an award-winning filmmaker that writes stories designed to excite the imagination. She is known for the series, Bubbly Brown Sugar, which has taken home accolades for Best Series at major festivals including the International Newark Film Festival in 2019. Her work has also won awards at the Austin Revolution Film Festival, the Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival, the International Black Film Festival, and others. Tamala holds a MBA in Media Management and currently teaches business on a collegiate level. Tamala is the founder of Soul Kisses Productions, a production company based in NYC. Tamala has worked with Billboard Charting artists like Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent, Mandy Moore, and Snoop Dogg; with major record labels like Warner Brothers, Columbia, Universal and for mega brands such as Energizer, Vans, Photobucket, Myspace, and Eventful throughout her career.