A team consisting of one Person of Color and one White Person facilitate Crossroads trainings, as our experience reveals that a mixed-race training team creates a safe and more liberating space for participants. We also strive to maintain gender balance between co-facilitators when possible.
R. James Addington
R. James Addington is a training and organizational development consultant with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training. Previously, he was the co-director of the Minnesota Collaborative Anti-Racism Initiative (MCARI) – a long-time regional partner of Crossroads. He has 30 years experience in community development, leadership training, organizational development and strategic planning. He also serves as a service-learning consultant with the Institute of Cultural Affairs-USA. James spent ten years in a variety of international local and regional development projects including in Jamaica, Venezuela, India, the Philippines and Nigeria; he directed the Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy in Minnesota (an advocacy and public policy education arm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) for nine years; and served as adjunct faculty at Luther Seminary.
Joy Bailey has been the Director of Organizing and Training for Crossroads since 2011 and has been a Core/Organizer Trainer since 2008. She 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.
Ryan Bailey is a Content Specialist for the educational publishing industry. Ryan received his BA in English Education from Western Michigan University, his MA in Educational Leadership from Michigan State, and is a Nationally Board Certified teacher. He has participated in a variety of professional educational experiences including a Fulbright-Hayes exchange to Senegal and presentations to the National Council of Teacher’s of English. Ryan’s antiracism development began and continues within the context of the organizing work of Crossroads, his local congregation, and in the public schools. Ryan is also the co-owner of Two Birds Artisan Spirits, an artisanal spirits producer based in Southwest Michigan. An avid home-brewer, vintner, writer, reader, cook, traveler, niece/nephew spoiler, and tennis player, Ryan makes his home in Chicago, IL with his partner Joy.
Rev. Willard Bass, Jr.
Willard Bass is Director/Organizer of one of Crossroads’ regional organizing partners the Institute for Dismantling Racism (IDR) in Winston-Salem NC, and is also a Crossroads Organizer/Trainer Apprentice. In addition, he is Assistant Pastor of Outreach, Green Street United Methodist Church. Willard is engaged in a broad range of civic and church activities focused in various ways on building and enhancing community and dismantling racism including serving on Crossroads Board. He and Shirley Lewis Bass, his wife of more than 34 years, have three children who are making vocations in medicine and industry.
Laurie Beckman Yetzer
Laurie Beckman Yetzer is a diaconal minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She is a graduate of Augburg College and Luther Seminary. Laurie currently works as the Finance Director at Redeemer Lutheran Church and its associated community development organization, Redeemer Center for Life in north Minneapolis. She was instrumental in founding, and currently serves as the co-chair of the Unite Table of the Minneapolis Area Synod, ELCA, which is tasked with developing and evaluating strategies for growing diversity and addressing structural racism throughout the synod. She has previously worked as an organizer, trainer and program director with ISAIAH, Interfaith Children’s Advocacy Network, Lutheran Volunteer Corps and Partnership for Justice.
Kara Bender is a transplant to Chicago and a native of the south. Most recently she worked for seven years as the Lead Trainer and Racial Justice Organizer with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus (JASC), a Chicago-based grassroots organization of older adults working on affordable housing, health care, and economic justice campaigns. She co-directed the Women’s Legislative Leadership Project, a training program on how to pass state level legislation and helped to organize and staff the JASC Crossroads Team. She is also co-facilitator of a small group in her congregation focused on Racial Equity. Kara is an Organizer /Trainer with Chicago Regional Organizing for Antiracism (Chicago ROAR), a Crossroads Regional Partner, and is currently apprenticing to become an analysis facilitator with Crossroads. Biking, gardening, and traveling feed her spirit and keep her grounded.
Jyaphia is a community organizer, sociologist and community chef who lives in New Orleans. Her experience includes over 20 years of work in program planning, evaluation and facilitation in a wide range of human service and social justice contexts. She has served in the fields of workforce development, adult education, youth development, food justice, public health and disaster recovery. As an Antiracism Organizer/Trainer, Jyaphia works with Crossroads, with the Unitarian Universalist Association, and belongs to European Dissent, a collective of antiracist white people associated with People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. She is active in a lay ministry of “Radical Hospitality” that aims to foster strong multiracial justice-making networks.
Derrick C. Dawson
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.
Louise Derman-Sparks was a human development faculty member at Pacific Oaks College from 1974-2007 and has worked with young children and families as an early childhood education teacher and program director. She has authored and co-authored several books including 2nd edition of Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves (with Julie Olsen Edwards, NAYEC 2010) and the 2nd edition of “What if all the kids are white? Anti-bias, multicultural education for young children and families” (with Patricia Ramsey). Louise speaks, conducts workshops and consults widely throughout the U.S. and internationally. A former member of the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (1998-2002), she is currently working on a new book, “Building anti-bias early childhood programs: The leader’s role.” Louise has been an activist for social justice for over 50 years.
Robette A. Dias
Robette Dias 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.
Emily M. Drew
Emily Drew is an Associate Professor of American Ethnic Studies at Willamette University, where she teaches courses about race, racism, and social change. She received her education from Jesuit universities, as well as from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond in New Orleans as a youth organizer and activist with European Dissent. Today, Drew is actively engaged in the educational reform and immigrant justice movements, producing research and engaging in campaigns to create access to education, restore families, and abolish the prison-industrial complex. Her research agenda revolves around understanding how race and racism operate inside of social institutions, with the goal of helping to illuminate more effective strategies for building more equitable institutions and society.
Rev. Dr. William J. Gardiner
Bill Gardiner currently works as an antiracism consultant in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). He is also a member of the Board of Crossroads. Bill was the Director for Antiracism and Social Justice Empowerment Programs in the Department for Faith in Action at the UUA in Boston, Massachusetts from 1990 through 2004. Before that Bill served as a parish minister in Washington DC, Nashville TN and Philadelphia PA.
PaKou Her, a second-generation Asian American of Hmong descent, is founder and principal organizer/trainer of the Tseng Development Group, a training and consulting firm offering lectures, workshops, organizational development, and grassroots strategies rooted in People of Color’s histories and worldviews. TDG’s mission is to provide the skills and education necessary to fully engage and include People of Color in social change, and to assist organizations in becoming more equitable institutions. PaKou takes particular interest in the psychosocial trauma that internalized oppression creates in and among People of Color. She also has extensive experience in student, campaign, political, and online organizing. PaKou lives in Missouri with her spouse, Nathan, and daughters, Lola Shua Tseng and Felan Nou Kang.
Aliisa Lahti lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan where she has been engaging in anti-racism organizing with the local group, Eliminating Racism & Claiming/Celebrating Equality (ERACCE) for over five years. She studied Comparative Religion and Environmental Studies at Western Michigan University. Aliisa serves on the boards of Fair Food Matters and the Peace Center at WMU. Currently she is in the apprenticeship process to become an antiracism trainer with Crossroads. Bike riding and being outside are a couple of her favorite things to do. Aliisa became a parent in 2014 and loves being with her child, Weaver.
Mary Pat Martin
Mary Pat Martin has been an Early Childhood Education professional with experience as a director of an Early Childhood Program. She was a professor at Oakton Community College in Illinois, and a member of the Oakton antiracism team. She has an M.A. in Early Childhood and a Masters in Education. Mary Pat has also been an elementary and preschool teacher and an early childhood education consultant in the Chicago area. She has done extensive consulting and training in culturally relevant and anti-bias education. Mary Pat has been associated with Crossroads for more than 20 years.
Rev. Dr. B. Jo Ann Mundy
Rev. Dr. B. Jo Ann Mundy is the co-Executive Director, and Organizer/Facilitator with ERACCE (Eliminating Racism and Claiming/Celebrating Equality), a regional organizing partner of Crossroads in southwest Michigan. She serves on the boards of the People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo and Fair Food Matters and is a founding mentor of the NIA Project where she encourages the celebrations of identity, purpose and sisterhood in adolescent women of color. Enjoying over 25 years of pastoral ministry, Jo Ann currently serves as a solo pastor of On Common Ground: a community church in Three Rivers, MI and is a founding member of the Three Rivers Area Faith Community, an ecumenical and faith-based social justice network of churches where she completed her doctoral thesis “Sacred Action to Claim an Anti-Racist Identity in the Faith Community of Three Rivers Michigan.” Jo Ann enjoys reading, music, her guitars and computers and, most of all, the young people in her life.
Rev. Charles Ruehle
Chuck Ruehle is a member of Coming Together Racine, a local community-based antiracism organizing effort in Racine, WI. He is also the retired former Executive Co-Director of Crossroads and continues to serve as a core organizer/trainer consultant with Crossroads. Since 1971 he has led antiracism workshops and produced antiracism organizing and training curriculum and resources. Chuck is a Lutheran Pastor and he served an urban parish, Reformation Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, from 1986 to 1995. In 2010 he founded the Telescopes to Tanzania program. Currently he travels to Tanzania, East Africa for a month each year to teach astronomy, math, physics, and geography. He is also an artist. He lives in Racine with his wife, Pastor Susan Ruehle.
Sue Ruehle has been organizing, teaching and training on issues of oppression for over 25 years. She has worked as a teacher, congregational pastor and assistant to the bishop in the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). She recently retired as pastor from a Milwaukee area congregation. Along with her husband Chuck she has created antiracism training resources. She is also a poet.
Diane Rogers, Ph.D. is a Mathematics Consultant in the Instructional Center at Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency where she collaborates with K-12 teachers to implement mathematics instruction that integrates Anti-Bias Education pedagogy, technology, and formative assessment. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary mathematics education from Western Michigan University (WMU) as well as a doctorate in evaluation from WMU. Diane’s 13 years of service in the educational system includes experience teaching middle and high school mathematics, coaching elementary and middle grades mathematics, curriculum development, and school improvement efforts, as well as instructing teacher preparation courses at WMU. She is a member of the Kalamazoo Public Schools Antiracism Team and has been doing antiracism work for over eight years.
Dr. Victor M. Rodriguez
Victor Rodriguez is an educator, writer and trainer whose area of expertise is the racialization of Latino identity and its impact on political behavior. He is a sociologist, professor and former chair of the Dept. of Chicano and Latino Studies at California University, Long Beach. Victor has written extensively, and published “Latino Politics in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Class in the Mexican American and Puerto Rican Experience” in 2005. His most recent publication is “The Racialization of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Asians, 1890’s-1930’s” in Eds. John N. Tsuchida, Juan M. Benitez and Dean S. Toji Education, Youth, Leadership and Labor: Asian Pacific American and Latino Perspectives, Long Beach, CA Center for Asian Pacific American Studies, 2007. He is a former Co-Chair of Crossroads Board.
Rev. Michael P. Russell
Michael P. Russell has been involved with transforming communities and the lives of its residents for most of his life. Currently the pastor of a church in Country Club Hills, IL, he spent many years doing community organizing with Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc as a Neighborhood Director in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood . Michael is president of SOUL, a grassroots coalition of organizations focused on economic justice, leadership training and political responsibility in Chicago’s Southland. Michael has a B.A. in Communication/Philosophy from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, a Masters of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and has completed post graduate studies at the Keller Graduate School of Business Management in Chicago IL. Michael has been active with Crossroads for more than 15 years. He is partner of Debra, father of three adult children and “Big Papa” to his grandson. They are inspiration for his anti-racism work.
Anne Stewart has worked as an Organizer/Trainer for Crossroads since 1992. She believes that her life experience has prepared her to focus on systemic racism. That experience includes: growing up in Mississippi, teaching high school English on Chicago’s South and West Sides, counseling individuals and couples, teaching and social work in an Early Childhood setting, and parenting and grand-parenting African Americans.
Carmen L. Valenzuela
Carmen Valenzuela is Coordinator and former Co-Director of the Minnesota Collaborative AntiRacism Initiative (MCARI), a long-time regional partner of Crossroads. Born and raised in Arizona, she lived in Minneapolis for over 25 years and has recently returned home. She has a variety of management and training experience both in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Active in MCARI since its inception in 1993, she has a long history of activism in ecumenical church and community organizations that have worked to understand the dynamics and intersections of gender, class and “race.” In the last ten years she has worked on integrating the antiracism analysis and transformation lens to the organizational development process and participative strategic planning. Through MCARI, Carmen also brings particular experience in antiracism team development in the higher education and government sectors. She holds a masters degree from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minnesota. Carmen currently serves on the Board of Crossroads as the secretary/treasurer.
Jessica Vazquez Torres
Jessica Vazquez Torres is a proven leader with 15 years experience in antiracism, anti-oppression, and cultural competency workshop development and facilitation. She is active in peace and justice concerns, including worker justice, immigration reform and antiracism. Jessica is deeply committed to addressing social structures and cultural dynamics that marginalize and minoritize communities and limit their access to resources. Jessica, a 1.5-Generation ESL Queer Latina of Puerto Rican descent, holds a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida, a Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary, and a Master of Theological Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
Lillie Wolff is a Core Organizer and Trainer with Crossroads Antiracism and a Co-Executive Director of ERACCE (Eliminating Racism and Claiming/Celebrating Equality) in Kalamazoo, MI. Prior to working with Crossroads and ERACCE, Lillie spent seven years organizing around farmworker and immigrant rights and inclusion. She helped launch and coordinate the Welcoming Michigan initiative of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center from 2011 to 2014. Lillie is passionate about the intersections of social justice, eco justice, and art, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design (ISLAND) since 2009. She is also a member of the Antiracism Transformation Team of the People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo. Lillie earned a BA in Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College in 2004. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, hiking in the woods, and preparing meals with her anti-oppressive community.
Karen Ziech organizes and trains in the Chicago metropolitan area, where she serves as co-chair of Chicago Regional Organizing for Antiracism (C-ROAR) and works to build a network of antiracist partners and allies. Since 2008, she’s been organizing and training to dismantle systemic racism as a member of the Anti-racism Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. Karen spent 20 years as a professional volunteer, organizing women and parents around various issues. She moved into instructional design and training in the telecom industry where she worked for nearly 15 years. As an independent career consultant, she teaches laid-off employees job search skills, including resume writing, interviewing and negotiating skills. Karen loves spending time with her four children and 12 grandchildren, practicing yoga, reading and walking.
In November 2011 Crossroads lost a great friend and colleague. Art lived and worked as a social worker and community organizer in multicultural settings for over 30 years, most recently as an Organizer/Trainer for Crossroads. When he learned he had nail cancer (acral lentiginous melanoma) Art did what he always does – set out to educate, agitate and organize about this little-known and often undiagnosed cancer. Upon Art’s passing, Jessica Vazquez Torres shared these words “We celebrate the life of one who was a testament to hope, whose vision for a different world inspired, whose love for family and friends sustained, and whose capacity for solidarity will challenge me to work for an alternative future. Rest in peace dear friend.”