Tracy African American
Association, LLC


Yolande Barial Knight is the mother of three fabulous children. Yolande knows that with God ALL things are possible. She is a member of People of Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Tracy where she is the Youth Director. Yolande is a published author and poet, columnist for Golden Gate Newspapers/Tracy Press. Her column, “Mother’s Corner,” appears monthly; where her focus and passion have come together to write about experiences from a mother’s perspective. Yolande has been employed at East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) for 26 years and is the Clerk of the Board. She is the primary liaison between 7 elected Board of Directors, the Executive Team and staff. She is a Notary Public. She is the custodian of the District seal and records, she conducts 2 public board meetings a month and provides responsible and confidential assistance to the Board. Yolande has been a TAAA member since 2015. She has been the Juneteenth Festival Committee Chair for several years and member of the Activities Committee. Yolande holds a B.S. Degree in Biology from Xavier University of New Orleans, Louisiana. /

Gwendolyn White was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where in 1981 she obtained an Associate's degree in Nursing from Columbus State University. In 1987, she relocated to Northern California where in 1999, earned a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from the University of Phoenix. Gwendolyn has served in various leadership positions. She currently holds certifications in Basic and Advanced life support of both adults and children, and is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. The Tracy, California resident is a Certified Registered Operating Room Nurse and currently works at the Tracy Surgery Center providing bedside and surgical care. Gwendolyn S. White feels her most fulfilling accomplishment has been raising her two children to be responsible US citizens; both having attended and graduated from Tracy Unified School District schools and having received Bachelor's degrees from accredited schools of higher learning.

Gary Cooper was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Bay Area. He retired after e40 years from UPS where he was charged with Transportation Services and Operations Management. Gary is an ordained minister and attends People of Christ Missionary Baptist Church (POC). He is a member of the ministerial staff, POC Brotherhood, a Sunday school teacher, and mid-week Bible stay teacher. Gary C. Cooper earned a Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems and Master's Degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. He is currently working to complete his Bachelor's Degree in Theology from the Bible based school of Theology. Gary Cooper and Renee, his wife of 38 years, have lived in Tracy for nearly 20 years.

Melyssa Barrett (Acting) has been a member of the Tracy African American Association since 1997 and is currently acting Secretary and Membership Chairperson.  

Benjamin Henderson is a field representative for CA State Senator Cathleen Galgiani. He works for the Senator in her Stockton District Office. He has worked for Senator Galgiani for about three years. Benjamin graduates from San Jose State University with a Bachelor's of Arts in Political Science, and a Minor in African American Studies. He was elected the student body president at San Jose State during his senior year. He is also a graduate of Humphreys College Laurence Driven School of Law in Stockton. While at Humphreys he was the president of the Black Law Students Association and served in the Student Bar Association. 

Olinga Yarber-Alexander has been a member of the Tracy, CA community since 1988, and has recently joined the Tracy African American Association as a member. She is the former owner of a travel agency. During that time, she enjoyed travels to Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Ghana, Namibia, and Malaysia. Her previous jobs have included research lab technician, retail sales and a security worker. She is presently a notary and notary signing agent for the State of California. The Alpha Kappa Alpha Soror earned her B.A. Degree in Social Science and Masters in Higher Education with an emphasis in Student Affairs. Olinga has been married to Dr. Ameni Alexander for 24 years, and has adult children.

Toni Beckham is President and CEO of PR, et Cetera, Inc. - a full service Public relations and Marketing Communications company that serves the communications needs of individuals, small public and privately held companies, and non-profit organizations throughout Northern California and beyond. PR, et Cetera, Inc. makes its home in the Tracy, California area. The Tracy resident is currently serving her third consecutive term as the organization's Chief Information Officer. A proud and loyal member of the Tracy Chamber of Commerce, Toni also holds other memberships including several civic and professional organizations, including National Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Public Relations Society of America - San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, and Bay Area Black Journalist Association (BABJA). Frequently recognized as one who contributes to and advocates for her community, Toni is a recipient of many awards including the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Community Service Award,  the KNTV NewsChannel 11 “Spirit of Excellence” Award, the Diversity Spirit Achievement Award, and the Ethnic Media Award to name a few. The Chicago native has resided in or near the San Francisco Bay Area for 35 years. She has two adult daughters and one very lovely and bright 24 year-old granddaughter (a Tuskegee University cum laude and Atlanta, Georgia resident).  

She is a literary contributor to the award-winning anthologies--"Gumbo for the Soul: the Recipe for Literacy in the Black Community” and "Gumbo for the Soul: Women of Honor." The books are compilations of motivational poetry, essays, quotes, personal reflections and delicious gumbo recipes.

​Additionally, Toni Beckham serves as church clerk for Good News Missionary Baptist Church in Tracy, CA.

Melyssa Barrett is Vice President of Identity & Risk Products for Visa, Inc. Her responsibilities include global subject matter expertise for optimizing fraud and credit risk products for client financial institutions. Melyssa is also the CEO of a wholly-owned subsidiary of VISA, where her responsibilities include managing operations for credit risk products offered. The 32-year financial services veteran has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Bankruptcy Institute and as an Advisory Council Member for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for BALANCE (formerly known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco). Melyssa holds a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. This Delta Sigma Theta Soror has three children and five grandchildren and has resided in Tracy since 1996. Melyssa has been a member of the Tracy African American Association since 1997 and operated in a number of leadership roles in the organization.

Lynette Jones is a dynamic Human Resources professional with fourteen years' experience leading human resource initiatives that support strategic business results. Lynette currently holds the position of Human Resources Business Partner for Fitbitm Inc. Originally from Southern Illinois, Lynette relocated to Tracy, CA in February of 2016. A humble servant gifted by God, Lynette believes in being active in both her church and community. This it he Volunteer Coordinator for the Breaking Glass Forums, an organization focused on addressing the lack of progress for underrepresented groups in leadership positions. Lynette Jones also serves in Media Ministry and as the Executive over Pastoral Operations at People of Christ Missionary Baptist Church (POC) in Tracy.

Mishelle Neverson is a mother of six and grandmother of two (ages 9 and 9 months old). She has been a TAAA member for more than 16 years, having held several board positions. Mishelle is married to Dr. Michael Neverson, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Los Banos, California. Mishelle stands by his side as First Lady with honor to serve the Lord, as well as director of the First Lady Corner. Mishelle is a Board Member of the Manteca Street Fair, serving as vendor chair. She is an impassioned advocate for non-profit organizations addressing foster children. Mishelle holds a BS degree in Social Service and a Masters in Business Administration and plans to earn her Ph.D. She is Western Regional Director of Uopsi Sorority who proudly crossed over in 2011.

TAAA Board of Directors


TRACY AFRICAN AMERICAN ASSOCIATION, LLC  is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization

P.O. Box 62, Tracy, CA 95376

209.249.6644 VM

Yolande Barial Knight, President

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