Meet our team of experienced policy analysts.
Olajumoke Obayanju, Esq.
Olajumoke “Jummy” Obayanju is the Director of the National Racial Equity Initiative (NREI) for Social Justice at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF). Passionate about racial justice, leadership development and educational equity, Ms. Obayanju is a skilled strategist, facilitator, educator, and lawyer. She oversees and manages the NREI to maximize its visibility and sustainability; ensures the implementation of program objectives and initiatives; and focuses on advancing racial equity, human rights, education, and economic development opportunities for the African American community.
Prior to joining CBCF, Ms. Obayanju was the Racial Justice & Juvenile Defense Fellow at the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Clinic & Initiative where she worked to improve the systems D.C. youth encounter through policy reform, developed resources to help juvenile defenders incorporate racial justice arguments into their youth advocacy, and created training materials on strategies to identify and correct racial bias. Ms. Obayanju also served as judicial law clerk to the Honorable Craig Iscoe in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Ms. Obayanju began her career as a middle school teacher in Charlotte, NC, where she taught 8th grade math and Algebra. In her first year, she led 96% of students to pass their End of Grade test and 93% of students to a 12.5% growth average.
Ms. Obayanju received her B.A. in Communications from Howard University, her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, and her LL.M in Advocacy from the Georgetown University Law Center. In 2016, she was awarded the GW Law BLSA Herbert Henderson Justice & Advocacy Award for her dedication and pursuit of social justice, community service, and advocacy for black law students; and the Michael Dillon Cooley Memorial Award—voted by her law school classmates—for sharing most generously her time, compassion, and vitality to aid the intellectual and spiritual growth of fellow students.
Ms. Obayanju currently serves as President of the GW Law Association of Black Law Alumni, member of the Alfred Street Baptist Church Governance & Legal Committee, and sits on the Board of Directors for the Educate ME Foundation. She is a current member of the Maryland State Bar.
Desirée Pearl Orr is the Research Program Coordinator at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF). She will be primarily responsible for assisting with managing CPAR programming and conducting general research and writing that will play a key role in advancing CPAR research agenda and initiatives.
Ms. Orr joins CBCF with an interdisciplinary background in human security and the legal field. Most recently, Desiree managed various projects for clients in the technology and healthcare sectors as an immigration paralegal. In that role, she analyzed legislative and regulatory changes to U.S. labor and immigration policy and liaised with companies and beneficiaries to relay complex policy changes while maintaining positive working relationships.
Before working in immigration, Ms. Orr studied Global Affairs at George Mason University with a focus on human security and the Arabic language. In addition to her studies, she facilitated campus and community policy change in her involvement in student organizations. Ms. Orr honed her policy research skills at Roosevelt at Mason, the University’s largest and most active non-partisan student policy organization. Her chapter hosted a regional conference that welcomed six other chapters to strategize on policy goals, plan lobbying events in Richmond, Virginia and engage with local, state and federal elected officials.
Additionally, Ms. Orr assisted in publishing student policies in the Roosevelt Institute’s 10 Ideas journal. During this time, Ms. Orr was selected to be a member of the University’s Global Health Fellowship program, where she researched human rights and global health ethics with a small team of students from George Mason University‘s law campus. During the fellowship program, she supplemented her studies with internships in the international trade sector at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and development organizations such as Peace Corps.
Ms. Orr is the founder and leader of Tea & Policy, a non-partisan policy research group for women that provides a forum to discuss issues such as education, health and energy and identify ways to get more involved in those issues.
In 2007, Ms. Orr relocated from Long Island, New York and currently lives in Reston, Virginia. She is happily engaged to fellow Mason alum Jared Theodros Solomon and is looking forward to celebrating their wedding in July 2021.
Dr. Regan F. Patterson
Dr. Regan F. Patterson is the Transportation Equity Research Fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF). Prior to joining the CBCF, Dr. Patterson was a postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, where she examined the linkages between racial residential segregation and air pollution. She earned her PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. While at UC Berkeley, she was a recipient of the US EPA STAR Fellowship, the Switzer Environmental Fellowship, and the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Fellowship. Dr. Patterson’s dissertation research focused on the impact of diesel truck emission control regulations and freeway routing policies on air pollution and environmental equity. Parts of her dissertation are published in the peer-reviewed journals Atmospheric Environment and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Additionally, she has conducted air quality research in Kenya and China. Dr. Patterson has taught courses on the environment, environmental justice, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In the past, she interned with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in their Community Engagement Office. She also interned with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Dr. Patterson is passionate about volunteering with environmental justice organizations. She has volunteered with Communities for a Better Environment on their Just Transition climate justice initiative. She has also volunteered with Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, where she served as a member of the Bayview Hunters Point Environmental Justice Response Task Force. Dr. Patterson is also passionate about her engagement with underserved youth by critically engaging environmental issues and STEM topics. She was awarded the inaugural Kapor Center Impact Award for increasing access to STEM education. Dr. Patterson holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from UCLA and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley.