Michael Askew


Four presenters: Dr. Jonathan Lofgren (CAARD Board Member), Iisha Wesley (Vice President CAARD), Wardell Royal III (CAARD Project Coordinator), Joe Powell CEO/President, Association of Persons Affected by Addiction (APAA)

Wardell Royal:
Wardell Royal III is a young man affected by addiction. In his youth, Wardell saw the detrimental impact that drugs had on his community in the 8th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana. Wardell received his BA in Sociology from Morehouse College. He also received a certification from the CORe: Credential of Readiness program at Harvard Business School Online. His educational experiences have equipped him with the unique ability to analyze culture and interpret data from studies of social life. Wardell uses the knowledge he has acquired to advance the progression of African American culture and health.

Iisha Wesley:
Iisha Wesley, affectionately called Esha, is an Indianapolis, IN native who serves in many capacities with her community. As the Executive Director of Minority Recovery Collective Inc (MRCI, “mercy”) and first national Vice President for the Center for African American Recovery Development (CAARD), she strives to ensure that those who identify as BIPOC or minority have access to recovery resources that are done in top quality and care. Iisha is an advocate for non-traditional Stress & Harm Reduction efforts and the revitalization of impacted communities.

Dr. Lofgren:
Jonathan Lofgren, a native Minnesotan, lives a life of long-term recovery; establishing his recovery on Labor Day, 1987. Jonathan holds a Ph.D. in Education, specializing in Training & Performance Improvement from Capella University and a Master of Arts degree in Community Counseling Psychology from Springfield College. Jonathan is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Co-occurring Disorders Professional Diplomat. He is an active member of the Center for African American Recovery Development, the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, and the International Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT), and a is Lifetime Member of the NAACP Minneapolis Chapter.
Dr. Lofgren is the founder of the Collegiate Recovery Program at Minneapolis College where he also teaches in the Addiction Counseling Program. In 2022 Jonathan received the prestigious Sons of Bransford Educator Award for his dedicated service in supporting and educating the African American Community about addiction, treatment, counseling, and recovery.

Joe Powell:
Joe Powell is in long term recovery with thirty-three years free of alcohol and other drugs. Since 1998, President/CEO of APAA-Association of Persons Affected by Addiction in Dallas, Tx. APAA is a recovery community organization that provides peer-to-peer mental health and substance use recovery support services for individuals, families, agencies, stakeholders, Veterans, and community.
Mr. Powell is a U.S. Army Veteran, and a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor for over 25 years. Director of the first Recovery Community Organization’s (RCO) with a National Accreditation for Peer Recovery Support Services. Mentor, trainer, and technical assistance for national, state, and local recovery community organizations. Mr. Powell provides training, technical assistance, and consultation for Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRP) at University of North Texas-UNT Denton, Dallas and Eastfield College. He is Chairman of the Peer Committee for Texas Certification Board (TCB). Provides peer recovery-oriented practices and outcomes for Health and Human Services. Audits Training Entities for the Texas Certification Board. Mr. Powell initiated first African American NAMI-National Alliance on Mental Illness Chapter in Texas and is one of the Founding members of National Faces and Voices of Recovery. He is a Subject Matter Expert in Peer services in Divert, Drug, Re-entry, Veterans Court, and Community Court. Implemented APAA Recovery POD (63 men) in Lew Sterrett Jail. In 2019, Initiated the opening of “Dr. Louis E. Deere Behavioral Health Complex”, hospital and jail diversion supports with the North Texas Behavioral Health Authority. Mr. Powell provides recovery-oriented guidance on the Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Centers Regional Advisory Council (SWATTC). Governors’ appointment on the Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT) for people with Disabilities and provides training, technical assistance, and education to Texas Workforce Commission. He provides Medication-Assisted Recovery Specialist (MARS) training for MAT and treatment providers. He delivers technical assistance, and cultural congruent recovery-orient practices to reduce racial disparities on several committees including: NAADAC, National Association of Addiction Professionals – Critical Issues in the Black Community, Faces and Voices of Recovery DEI Committee. Robert Wood Johnson and the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at Morehouse College Health Equity Collective.
Mr. Powell currently serves as a Subject Matter Expert with the Peer Center of Excellence on a SAMHSA Initiative to optimize state funding for Recovery Community Organizations (RCO’s) and recovery support services. He is one of the founding members of the new Center for African American Recovery Development (CAARD).