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Meet Our Team

Our dedicated and diverse team of experienced professionals is committed to working hard to achieve GCHIC's noble mission. Get to know us by reviewing our biographies below! As you do so, please remember that GCHIC also very much needs YOU--your donations, your volunteer work, and your ambassadorship.

Find out how you can get involved with GCHIC! 


Bradley E. Heard

Founder and President

Bradley E. Heard is the president and founding board member of Greater Capitol Heights Improvement Corporation (GCHIC). A longtime civil rights attorney and citizen activist, Brad has lived in Prince George’s County since 2007. Brad currently works as the Deputy Legal Director of the Voting Rights Practice Group at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Previously, he was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Brad frequently writes on smart growth, walkable urbanism, transit-oriented development, and political governance and accountability issues in his blog, Prince George’s Urbanist. He also has significant experience advocating land use and zoning legal issues before the Maryland–National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the Prince George’s County Council, the Board of Zoning of Appeals, and various Maryland courts.

Brad has collaborated with numerous groups to put on public presentations and to engage county officials in positive dialogue around sustainable growth and community revitalization issues. He also frequently attends and offers public comments in connection with comprehensive planning efforts and individual development review proceedings.

Brad founded GCHIC in the belief that it embodies and manifests Margaret Mead’s wise counsel: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

A magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, Brad received his Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut. He is also a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.


Anika N. Gzifa

Vice President

Anika Gzifa is an experienced trainer, facilitator, and public interest lawyer.  She is the Director of Legal Training and Development at Earthjustice, where she spearheads programs that support the legal team as they advocate for sound and just environmental policies.  Previously, she was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a supervising attorney at the Children’s Law Center in Washington, DC. 

Driven by a strong belief in community engagement, accountability, and the great potential of the Greater Capitol Heights area, Anika joined the board of GHIC in January 2021.  She purchased her first home in Seat Pleasant, MD in 2008, and currently resides there with her husband and daughters.  

Anika holds a B.A. in English from Howard University, an M.A. in English Education from NYU School of Education, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.


Abraham Diallo

Board Member

Born in Washington, DC and later raised in Prince George's County, Abraham Diallo is a local native with great ambitions and desire to see transformation in Capitol Heights. He is a first-generation Guinean/Senegalese American and the first in his family to enroll and complete a K-12 and university education in the United States.


Inspired by his lived experiences in the County, Abraham earned a bachelor’s degree in urban planning with a minor in real estate development from the University of Maryland in an undergraduate program he developed via the approval of a board of college deans. His unique academic career included studying abroad in London, where he was exposed to exemplary city planning practices and robust transportation systems. Additionally, Abraham’s program included some graduate-level course-work and a 30-page capstone discussing the DC region’s housing plan, which included a case study of the Town of Capitol Heights. These experiences equip Abraham to advocate well for livable, walkable, and transit-oriented development that supports sustainable revitalization and economic development in Prince Goerge’s County’s inner Beltway communities.


Abraham is a transportation and governmental affairs professional currently serving as a community engagement specialist in the Office of Director for the District of Columbia Department of Transportation. In that role, Abraham works closely with residents, community groups, Council, the Mayor's Office, and Federal government entities to solve complex transportation issues and influence transportation policy to address various stakeholder interests in the nation’s capital.


As a GCHIC board member, Abraham seeks to be part of the force that brings overdue prosperity and opportunity to the Greater Capitol Heights area, where he has also purchased his first home at 25 years old.


Abraham is also a member of the Black Professionals in International Affairs, where he does work to increase involvement of African-Americans and those of African heritage in international affairs. In his spare time, Abraham enjoys spending a good time with friends and family, working out and taking trips.

Jamila Johnson


Communications Specialist

Jamila Johnson is a digital marketing professional with over a decade of experience expanding the online presence of nonprofits and small businesses across the country. She started her professional career working at an international digital marketing agency, Hibu (formerly known as Yellowbook), where she helped small businesses increase brand awareness, gain clients, and achieve their online conversion goals. Realizing she wanted to make more of an impact on her local community, she served as a staff writer at Al DíA News, the largest Latine newspaper in Philadelphia, where she focused on community politics. Jamila then went on to pursue a career in higher education, working at Drexel University.


Jamila is passionate about social justice, community empowerment, equity and access. Both professionally and personally, she takes opportunities to engage with her community and advocate for the underserved. During the pandemic, she served as a communications lead for the Faith in Vaccine initiative, an effort led by several local nonprofits and D.C. Government to address the testing and vaccination needs of Wards 5, 7, and 8. Through this volunteer work and her role at the Leadership Council for Healthy Communities, she served on the ground at vaccine clinics. 


A graduate of Temple University, Jamila studied advertising copywriting for her undergraduate degree, and strategic advertising and marketing for her master’s degree. She continues to build on that skillset in her role as associate director of digital content for the university advancement division of The Catholic University of America and her position as communications specialist for GCHIC.


In her free time, Jamila enjoys book discussions, boxing classes, and spending time with her cat Cafe.

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