Living in diverse communities across the US, our staff understands sustaining a strong working team is imperative to success.
Lori Adams has worked for most of her adult life with church-related and other not-for-profit financial and service organizations in the areas of leader and organizational development. Beginning in 1997, she co-staffed her denominational antiracism initiative, partnering with Crossroads’ staff to organize and train people to dismantle systemic injustice in the church and communities they serve. In three national organizations, she also co-led organizational antiracism transformation teams. Lori graduated from Vanderbilt University with degrees in sociology, theology, and religion and personality. In early 2015, Lori was invited to join with Crossroads’ staff to engage in national training, facilitation, and organizing. She lives in Boone County, IN with her spouse, youngest daughter, and a few critters. She is especially happy when her granddaughters come to visit.
Kara Bender is a National Organizer and Trainer with Crossroads Anti-Racism. For seven years she worked at the Jane Addams Senior Caucus (JASC), a grassroots organization of older adults working on affordable housing, health care, and economic justice campaigns. Throughout her tenure she served as the Affordable Housing Organizer working on local, state, and national campaigns, and as the Lead Trainer and Racial Justice Organizer which included co-directing the Women’s Legislative Leadership Project, a training program on how to pass state level legislation, and organizing a JASC Anti-Racism Team. During this time, she also helped to develop the Chicago based Regional Partner of Crossroads called Chicago ROAR. Kara holds a BA in Social Work and Sociology from Eastern Mennonite University. Animated by the intersections of structural racism, environmental justice, and liberatory theologies, Kara serves on the Board of Word and World and as an Organizer for the Carnival de Resistance, both of which work to foster spaces where these intersections are explored. Biking, gardening, and traveling feed her spirit and keep her centered.
Derrick Dawson is a member of the AntiRacism Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, and served as its Co-Chair for three years. He is the Training Manager at the Chicago law firm of Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg in Chicago, and is a graduate student and teaching assistant in English Composition at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Derrick was also a broadcaster and journalist in the United States Navy, where he served for eight years on ships in Asia and the Pacific.
Robette has been Executive Co-Director and a Core Organizer/Trainer since 2002. Prior to that she was an antiracism program coordinator for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Faith In Action Department, providing training, technical support and advocacy for the Journey Toward Wholeness antiracism initiative. As a Karuk Indian, Robette brings a specifically indigenous perspective to antiracism organizing. She is a founding member and past president of Diverse & Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM), the continental support and advocacy organization for UUA People of Color. She is currently Board President of Oyate, a Native American resource and advocacy organization.
Joy Bailey is a national organizer for Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training as well as the co-program coordinator for Chicago ROAR, a regional program of Crossroads. She has been a Core/Organizer Trainer since 2008. Joy has her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Education and her Master’s in Socio-cultural Studies in Education, both from Western Michigan University (WMU). Formerly, Joy taught high school Spanish for six years in Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) and also taught courses on race and racism in education at WMU. Although originally from North Dakota, Joy currently lives with her partner in Chicago, IL.
Director of Management & Resources
Debra joined Crossroads in September 1998. She coordinates training events, is responsible for financial administration, and is on Crossroads Leadership Team. Debra is also a member of the antiracism team in the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She and Michael, her life partner of more than 25 years, are parents of two sons and a daughter. Debra fantasizes about using her spare time in community theater, filming documentaries, and creating a stand-up comedy act, but would be satisfied to read the stack of books near her bedside, weed her flower garden and finish a quilt.
A native of Puerto Rico, Jessica identifies as a “1.5 generation Queer ESL Latina of Puerto Rican descent.” From 1999 until the Spring of 2006 Jessica worked in the Office of [Racial] Reconciliation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis, IN. From 2006 to 2008 she worked as National Religious Outreach Coordinator with Interfaith Worker Justice, and from 2008 to 2010 as Director of Master Level Recruitment and Admissions at McCormick Theological Seminary (both in Chicago, IL). Currently, Jessica is working on a Masters of Theological Studies at the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. When not studying she works as a consultant and core/organizer trainer for Crossroads. Rev. Vazquez Torres holds a BA in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL and a Masters of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN.
Racism is a system of oppression linked to other systems of oppression that robs each of us of our full humanity and impairs our ability to create just and sustainable community with one another both locally and globally.