ERIC 'MUBITA' SHEPPARD
In September 2008, former U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader, Congressman John Boehner, appointed Eric to serve on the Commission on the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (H.R. 3432). This federal commission formed to coordinate activities across the United States to observe the 200th anniversary of the abolishment of the transatlantic slave trade. In addition, he served on the Maryland Slavery Commission before relocating to Virginia in 2006. In 2019, Eric became one of three founding leadership team members representing the American African Great Dismal Swamp descendants on the Great Dismal Dismal Swamp Stakeholders Collaborative (GDSSC). GDSSC is an organization created by the Wilderness Society (TWS) that worked with the office of late Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), the primary U.S. House of Representatives bill sponsor, to get the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area Act (H.R. 5853/H.R. 1154/S. 470) passed into law on December 21, 2022, and signed by President Joseph R. Biden on January 6, 2023. The Act will now authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating certain land as the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area, and for other purposes. Also in 2019, Eric began the Africa Homecoming Pilgrimages to Zambia, Ghana and The Gambia. The first Homecoming Pilgrimage was to the Barote Kingdom in Western Province, Zambia, to commemorate the 400-year milestone of the 20 and odd American Africans arrival in Virginia under British rule in the year 1619. During this Pilgrimage, Eric helped to connect the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk, VA to the Barotse Kingdom through a Strategic Tourism Partnership, due to the similar histories of being places of refuge for those who were escaping slavery. The Strategic Partnership will increase tourism and business opportunities between the entities. Eric's mission and vision are to provide short and long-term solutions that bring hope and restoration. Because of his commitment to restoration and reconnection, the Barotse Litunga (King) granted him 300 acres of land to develop the Restoration Center and the Wall of Return ancestors recognition projects. Both projects are meant to enhance United States and Africa cultural exchanges and explore mutually beneficial trade opportunities. Eric’s newest Mubita LLC program is called Economic Unity Force (EUF). EUF initiatives combat poverty and establish new options and opportunities in the USA and our Homecoming countries (The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, and Zambia) to encourage economic empowerment in various industry sectors that create employment, business, and investment opportunities. Maximum use of emerging technologies and organization are paramount to the overall effectiveness of our EUF concept. Eric also facilitates interactive conversations with groups interested in participating in homecomings in Virginia, North Carolina and Africa to reconnect families and communities separated previously by the institutions of slavery in the United States and Africa for social-economic restoration. Eric was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. His combined civilian and contractor career working with the various Department of Defense (DoD) agencies for over 25 years, including logistics and technical management. One of the highlights of his DoD career was working on the top secret Advanced Technology Bomber (B-2 Stealth) Program during its developmental, test, evaluation and initial production phases. Eric has also held a Professional Designation of Contract Management during his DoD career.
Eric earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) and holds Associate degrees from the Community College of the Air Force and Catonsville Community College (Baltimore County). Eric is the father of four adult children, grandfather of three boys and currently resides in Williamsburg, Virginia, with his wife Lisa.