Tracy African American
TAAA 2021 Officers
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 POC Youth Director.
Yolande has been a TAAA member since 2015. She has served on several committees including the Juneteenth Festival and Activities Committee. She was TAAA Vice President 2016. She was honored with the MLK, Jr. Image Award in 2018 and in 2020 she was a recipient of a Women of Color Honor from the African American Chamber of Commerce of Stockton.
Yolande is a published author and poet, columnist for Golden Gate Newspapers in particular, The 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 is one of the founding members of the Black Employee Collective of East Bay Regional Park District and is a Notary Public.
She has been employed at East Bay Regional Park District for 29 years and is the Clerk of the Board.
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 40 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 study 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.
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 graduated 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 Drivon 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 member. She is the former owner of a travel agency. During that time, she enjoyed her 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 Ameni Alexander for 24 years, and has adult children.
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 Advanced Resolution Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Visa, Inc., where her responsibilities include managing operations for credit risk products offered. The 32-year VISA 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. The 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.
Mishelle Neverson is mother of six and grandmother of two (ages 9 years 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 Neverson holds a BS Degree in Social Service and a Master's in Business Administration, and plans to attend college in January to earn her Ph.D. She is Western Regional Director of Uopsi Sorority who proudly crossed over in 2011.