Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training began working consistently in the St. Louis region in 2013.
In collaboration with City Garden Montessori School, Crossroads began regularly facilitating Understanding and Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshops and from those early engagements more connections were formed with organizations such as US Bank Community Development Corporation, Forward Through Ferguson, and Crossroads College Prep. Since 2013 Crossroads has expanded its work and relationships with a widening network of institutional partners.
Crossroads continues to be an integral part of a growing group of institutions in the St. Louis region. These institutions are seeking to center racial equity in the St. Louis area, and through capacity building, community organizing, and collaboration enact strategic initiatives to end systemic racism. They are institutional actors in numerous sectors including education, healthcare, philanthropy, social services, community/economic development, the arts, government, and non-profit. They are committed to practicing anti-racism interventions and working for systemic change through attending workshops, seeking consultation, sharing promising practices and participating in regional racial identity caucusing.
National Program Manager
Debra Russell has been a member of the Crossroads staff since September 1998 and has held several positions with the organization. Currently National Program Manager, Debra is involved in both the programmatic and administrative areas at Crossroads. Recently, she joined the team responsible for developing new trainers. Debra has been a member of the Leadership Team for Chicago Regional Organizing for Antiracism (Chicago ROAR) and the Metropolitan Chicago Synod’s Antiracism Team. A native of Chicago, Debra and her life partner of more than 35 years have three adult children and two grandsons. When not engaged in Crossroads’ mission to restore all of creation, she volunteers with local youth programs. Debra continues to dream about getting involved 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 garden, and finish a quilt.
Michael P. Russell
National Organizer/Workshop Facilitator
Michael P. Russell has been training with Crossroads for fifteen years as an independent contractor but recently joined the staff as a National Organizer/Workshop Facilitator. Michael has a Masters of Divinity degree 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. He is also president of SOUL, a grassroots coalition of faith-based organizations focused on economic justice, leadership training and political responsibility in Chicago’s Southland. An ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Michael has a call from the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA to do antiracism work with Crossroads. He co-authored “Lazarus at the Gate: Writings and Reflections on Poverty and Wealth”, a resource of the ELCA Poverty Ministries Networking program. Michael’s inspiration for his antiracism work is his spouse, Debra, their three children and grandson. He enjoys riding his motorcycle, reading comics, and spending time with his family.
National Organizer/Workshop Facilitator
Grace Hagen is a facilitator and organizer with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training and has a small pediatric physical therapy practice. She has been attending Crossroads analysis workshops in her home city of St. Louis for years as a volunteer at City Garden Montessori, a local elementary school she helped found with her partner Bob and several other families. Grace helps design and facilitate a monthly anti-racism educational and community-building program at the school called ColorBrave. She has participated in program design, agenda creation and facilitation of social justice curriculum for NCCJ St. Louis and other local organizations such as the St. Louis Anti-Racism Collective and YWCA. Grace loves watching her teenage daughter Mila’s theater performances, going on family hikes, reading, and listening to podcasts while running.