Karen Reece

My day job is director of research and program evaluation at the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development. Our mission is to empower and support African American families, and we do this largely through programs in six key areas: youth leadership, healthy neighborhoods, justice and reconciliation, economic empowerment, arts and culture and leadership development.

My most memorable caffeine was inadvertently introducing my nephew to coffee. When he was four, my nephew would often ask to try my black coffee. I was finally annoyed enough that I let him try it because I was sure he would hate it. I was wrong. He is now 10, and if I leave my coffee unattended in his presence it will disappear!

My current caffeine of choice is black coffee. My great-grandfather always said, “If you have to put something in it, it ain’t worth drinking!”

My favorite place for caffeine is the more local the better!

The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is my grandfather, whom we always called “Bub” because he told me he was too young to be a grandfather. He was in the Navy in World War II and I’m sure he would have had a lot of great stories to share but he passed away before I was old enough to appreciate the opportunity to hear them.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  Our criminal justice system. I’d like to see us head more in the direction of justice and to have an element of humanity in the corrections process instead of just punishment. When we hear that someone has a criminal record, it conjures up images in our head of a horrible monster, not a person. But the reality is that formerly incarcerated people might be our friends, our family, the people we interact with on a daily basis. Our current corrections system is designed to punish, not to rehabilitate. And we all pay a price for that.