ESLACC Board Members

Leverne Backstrom- President

Leverne Backstrom is the Executive Assistant of the Officer Funeral Home P.C. Her career experience also includes working as the Assistant to Mayor Carl E. Officer for three years and instructing 9th-grade students as a Language Arts Teacher for School District #189. Backstrom has served as the
President of the East St. Louis Planning Commission and the Olivette Park Neighborhood Association and as the President Pro Tempore of the Katherine Dunham Center for Arts and Humanities. She is a Member of the Dunham Museum Board, the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference as a Member of the Standing Rules Committee, and the Communications Committee. She is also a Life Member of
Black Methodists for Church Renewal and a Silver Life Member of the NAACP. Backstrom received a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, Speech, and Drama with a minor in English from Kansas Wesleyan University. She currently serves as the President of East Saint Louis Arts and Culture Coalition.

Carla Randolph- Treasurer

Carla Randolph is an extremely high-quality accountant and tax preparer. She has her own firm, which is second to none. Committed to providing close, personal attention to clients’ needs. Specialized in giving clients the assurance and the personal assistance they need. Her knowledge comes from years of advanced training, technical experience, and business acumen. She currently serves as a Treasurer for the East Saint Louis Arts and Culture Coalition.

Natavia Sanders-Mobley -Member

Natavia Sanders-Mobley is an Educator, Strategist, Community Organizer, Public Servant, and Cultural Activist. For over 28 years, Natavia has worked in the East Saint Louis community alongside various leaders as a freelancer, advocate, project manager, and volunteer. Natavia was born in Christian Welfare Hospital and is a graduate of McKendree University.

Natavia served as a Support Specialist for the Katherine Dunham Center for Arts and Humanities Board of Directors and as a Deputy Liquor Commissioner for the city of East Saint Louis. She is a founding board member of the East Saint Louis Art and Culture Coalition (ESLACC). The coalition was founded in 2018 and seeks to use art and culture to enhance the quality of life, advance equity, and promote economic development. She previously served as the Executive Board President of the East Saint Louis Historical Society.

In 2009, Natavia wrote an award-winning essay titled, “Get Hold and Pull for East Saint Louis”, It was during this time she had the opportunity to meet and study under Mr. Reginald Petty. Natavia was introduced to Mr. Marvin Teer who was just a young child during the 1917 Race Pogrom. The research evoked an even greater love within her for East Saint Louis history, and the possibility of it becoming an All-American-modeled city again. 

Natavia believes the economic driver the city so desperately needs lies within its unique sports, arts, and cultural assets. She has spent the last seven years independently studying Urban Renewal models, and cultural tourism while traveling between East Saint Louis, IL and Savannah, GA. Natavia is married to Gary Mobley, they have seven adult children and five grandchildren. She is a member of the New Jerusalem SDA church in East Saint Louis, IL.

Kevin Hopkins—Member


( Unavailable)

Lorenzo Savage–Member

Lorenzo Savage is the Executive Director and co-founder of I Am East St. Louis the Magazine, a magazine and community organization built to “invoke a sense of pride in current and former residents; change the minds of those who believe negative contemporary legends about East St. Louis; and attract new residents, businesses, investors, and developers.” He is a creative, collaborative, and committed leader who creates change through the humanities in his town and beyond.

Father Joseph Brown-Member-Member

Joseph A. Brown is a priest, educator, scholar, artist and “drum major for justice.”  A native of East St. Louis, IL, he entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained in 1972. He received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University and currently serves as Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Brown has also taught at the University of Virginia, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Creighton University.  He frequently speaks and writes about African American literature, culture, and religious life. His publications include: To Stand on the Rock: Mediations on Black Catholic Identity; Sweet, Sweet, Spirit: Prayer Services from the Black Catholic Church; and a collection of poetry.  From 1991 through 1994, Brown served as Director of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies, Xavier University of New Orleans.

Edna Patterson Petty-Member

Edna Patterson-Petty is an artist and an art therapist. She is an East St. Louis native and studied at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, earning M. F. A. in Studio Art and another M.A. in Art Therapy. She has exhibited her quilts and sculpture pieces nationally and internationally and designed mosaic pieces that adorn two Metrolink stations in East St. Louis, one in Fairview Heights and a third one in St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Childhood lessons in sewing from her mother gave her early preparation and skills that were honed into masterful craftsmanship. Surrounded by African Art collected by her husband, Reginald Petty, inspiration from the art pieces and society liberated and spurred her creativity. Psycho-healing prevalent in African arts and spirituality associated with the conjuration tradition are manifested in her works. Patterson-Petty’s creativity brings into focus the global character of African aesthetics: Her trips to Dakar, Senegal, further validated me in many ways, such as who she is as a person, an artist, defining the creative process, the visions, the dreams, the feelings of being one with the art until it is finished.

Jas Gary Pearson- Member


Jas Gary Pearson is the co-founder of the House of Miles (HOME). He also is a founding Board Member of the East Saint Louis Arts and Culture Coalition.

Honorable Walter Brandon- Member

Hon. Walter C. Brandon Jr. (Ret.) associate judge for the 20th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois in St. Clair County. He was appointed to the bench in 1997. Brandon retired on July 2, 2018. 

During his judicial tenure, he served as the main juvenile court Judge in St. Clair County since 2008. Prior to beginning his judicial career, Brandon managed his own law firm and represented the East Saint Louis municipal government and the neighboring town of Centerville. Before that, he handled civil matters as an attorney at the Cueto Law Firm. 

Brandon entered private practice after serving as a prosecutor with the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office and Public defender with the Public Defender’s Office. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Illinois State University. Brandon went on to complete a J.D. at Southern University Law Center. He was raised in East St. Louis, where his father worked as a police lieutenant. He currently serves as the East St. Louis Historical Society President. 

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