December 2022 | Baltimore, MD
Rev. Dr. Dietra Wise Baker
The Assistant Professor of Community Engagement and Contextual Education, Director Contextual Education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO Dr. Baker. Dr. Baker is certified anti-racism trainer for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and a trainer of faith-based community organizing in the Gamaliel network.
Dr. Dietra teaches Church Planting, Youth Ministry, Preaching, Faith Community Organizing, Anti-Racism/Anti-Caste, Vocational Resilience and Formation. Rev. Dr. Dietra built in collaboration MCU’s Break the Pipeline Campaign dismantling the school to prison pipeline In Missouri. Dr. Dietra is a respected trainer and community leader who often consults and collaborates around her sustained work in community organizing, youth justice, detention/prison/jail, and faith justice movements. Like many in St. Louis Rev. Dietra was deeply engaged in the Ferguson Uprising through Metropolitan Congregations United Clergy Caucus, organizing churches and leaders in rapid response to front line leaders protesting in the streets. Dr. Baker has a Bachelor of Science degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.; a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO; and her Doctor of Ministry in Preaching degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO. Dietra is mother to a son Cornell A. (Deuce) Baker II, and they live in St. Louis, MO.
After organizing with the janitorial staff on her college campus at William and Mary over a decade ago, Brower got her start in the labor movement with SEIU 1199 New England where she was part of a successful campaign to win collective bargaining rights for over 6000 home care workers in CT.
After 1199, Brower became the Domestic Campaigns Director for United Students Against Sweatshops, where first learned the power of community-labor partnerships. Before joining the BCG/CIWO team, KB ran new organizing and & ‘common good’ bargaining campaigns with AFSCME 3299 and the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals and has consulted with a number of national and local unions. She is now in her second year at Union Theological Seminary where she is pursuing ordination.
Sr. Janice Brown
Sr. Janice Brown, OP, is a General Councilor for the Dominican Sisters of Adrian Michigan. The Adrian Dominican Sisters recently enacted a resolution to become an “anti-racist” community. To fulfill that resolution the Adrian Dominican Sisters understand the need for multiple and diverse resources to conduct their anti-racism work.
Sr. Janice has served the Detroit-metro region as Executive Director of two of the Congregation’s adult literacy programs – Dominican Literacy Center and Siena Literacy Center – for more than 15 years. She has been involved in adult education at the city and state level.
Bianca Cunningham is the Campaigns Director for Bargaining for the Common Good. She is a former Verizon Wireless worker who led her coworkers in 7 stores across Brooklyn, NY to join CWA in 2014, making them the first unionized retail workers in the company.
She later led her coworkers on a 49 day strike to secure their first contract. Verizon fired her for organizing, and during the Verizon strike, picketers across the country chanted “Bring Back Bianca!” Bianca was on the bargaining team to help secure their first contract for stores in Brooklyn as well as a store in Massachusetts. Bianca co founded the DSA’s Afro Socialists and Socialists of Color caucus, a caucus for Black Indigenous and people of color within the organization. She also served as co-chair of the NYC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America for two terms. She most recently was on staff at Labor Notes where she sometimes wrote and more often facilitated training on Race and Labor.
Jordan Estevao (he/him)
Director of Programs at Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund since 2018. Jordan has been an organizer for over twenty years, organizing campaigns to advance racial justice, community economic development, affordable housing, community benefit agreements, and immigrant rights in the United States and England.
Jordan led National People’s Action’s financial reform work following the 2008 financial crash, leading a staff team and affiliates across the country that organized upwards of 100,000 people to take action in the streets, leading to $26 billion for bank-funded mortgage relief and contributing to the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. Jordan developed and oversaw People’s Action’s People and Planet First Program, which grew to be one of the largest climate justice organizing programs of its kind. Jordan speaks English, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese. He lives in Baltimore with his dog Clover and plays bass.
Delmar Gillus, Jr.
Delmar Gillus is the Chief Operating Officer of Elevate, located in Chicago, Illinois. As part of the Elevate team,
Mr. Gillus is responsible for implementing operational, workforce development, and project management
processes in support of Elevate’s growing portfolio of clean energy projects.
Mr. Gillus currently leads Elevate’s core operational functions and also supports business development, program design, project coordination, engineering support, and contract management for Elevate’s diverse energy efficiency and growing renewable energy programs.
Mr. Gillus played a critical role in passing Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), the nation’s most equitable and comprehensive climate legislation. As a representative and negotiator for the IL Clean Jobs Coalition during the drafting of CEJA, Mr. Gillus was responsible for ensuring the legislation centered equity throughout and provided programs that created project opportunities and jobs in underserved environmental
justice communities. Through CEJA and other Elevate programs, Mr. Gillus works to increase contractor diversity, deliver workforce development programs, create opportunities for diverse contractors in community solar programs, and ensure smart grid programs are accessible to all Illinois utility consumers. He also supports on-going efforts to improve Elevate’s internal systems through the development of IT, cyber security, HR, legal,
project management, and quality systems in support of Elevate’s clean energy programs. Lastly, Mr. Gillus is
active in industry boards and advisory councils such as the IL Future of Work Task Force, the Building Performance Association, and the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC), where he serves as board treasurer, and
provides on-going mentorship and support to emerging energy leaders within and outside of Elevate. Outside of work, Mr. Gillus volunteers and supports the Chicagoland National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Alumni chapter, where he mentors and develops young engineers mostly through NSBE’s Pre-College Initiative (PCI)
Prior to joining Elevate, Mr. Gillus worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois in the information technology
division leading human performance and process optimization efforts for internal customers and members.
J.C. Kibbey is the Senior Illinois Clean Energy Advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He analyzes and advocates for policies to expand clean energy and protect our climate including in the power, transportation, and building sectors. He has been deeply involved in the development, passage, and now implementation of Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). He was born and raised in a frontline community in Lansing, Michigan, and is passionate about supporting people impacted by pollution and charting a just transition away from fossil fuels.
He previously helped pass clean energy legislation in two states as an organizer in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ climate and energy program, fought alongside service workers for fair pay as a researcher at Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, and provided direct service to people impacted by high bills and other utility issues at the Michigan Public Service Commission.
J.C. holds a master’s in public policy from Northwestern University, where he received the Distinguished Thesis Award for his work on the politics of climate change, and a bachelor’s in political theory from Michigan State University’s James Madison College. He is an Eagle Scout and enjoys reading, bouldering, biking, and camping. He lives in Chicago with his wife Emma, and their rescue dog, Bernie.
Dr. Deborah Krause
Deborah Krause began as Eden Seminary’s president in July 2020. An ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Deborah serves the church through social justice advocacy work, teaching, preaching and scholarship.
Her teaching and scholarship focus on methods of biblical interpretation and their roots in critical theory, theology, and politics. She teaches courses in the gospels, early Jewish exegesis, the Deutero-Pauline and pastoral epistles, and feminist-womanist, post-colonial, and postmodern biblical interpretation.
Students engage scripture critically in Dr. Krause’s classes to gain understanding of what the Bible has meant in the history of the church, and to gain insight into what it means and how they proclaim it today.
“My goal is for students to examine their assumptions, and to develop a sense of how their view of scripture coheres with their view of God, the church, and the mission of the church in the world. I also want them to be able to interpret other peoples’ assumptions and views in order to help them navigate their contexts of ministry, and to be the most effective pastors they can be.”
Mary J. Novak, J.D., M.A.P.S
Mary J. Novak serves as Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. In
April 2021, she became the sixth woman, and first lay leader, to guide the organization, which
was founded by Catholic Sisters 50 years ago.
Mary’s experience as an organizer and activist as well as a trauma-informed lawyer, educator,
chaplain, and restorative justice practitioner, informs her ability to integrate all aspects of the
organization to advance NETWORK’s mission and they inspired her to initiate a shared
leadership model for the first time in NETWORK’s history. Together, the leadership team is
positioning NETWORK for the future, strengthening relationships with partners who serve the
common good, and ensuring that the NETWORK community flourishes in the shared pursuit of
Prior to leading NETWORK, Mary served as Associate Director of Mission Integration, , and law
professor at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. In this role, she worked
at the intersection of spirituality, psychology, and the work of justice, creating the conditions for
820 First Street NE, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20002 | 202-347-9797
[email protected] | networklobby.org | networkadvocates.org| facebook.com/NETWORKLobby | twitter.com/@NETWORKLobby law students, staff and faculty to grow in trauma-informed lawyering and pedagogy in the
A graduate of Santa Clara University (SCU) Law School, Mary practiced water, energy,
environmental, and natural resources law, and served on teams pursuing capital appeals for
men on California’s death row, first at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and then at Ellison &
Schneider. After serving as a member of the Clinical Law Faculty at SCU’s East San Jose
Community Law Center, Mary later served as Director for Faculty Development in what is now
SCU’s Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education.
Mary studied theology and spirituality at SCU and then Washington Theological Union (WTU),
earning a Masters of Arts in Pastoral Studies. She has served pastorally, including as a spiritual
director, in hospitals and universities for two decades. After studying peacebuilding at Eastern
Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Mary focused her final project at
WTU on Catholic Peacebuilding learning circle processes from the Maryknoll Sisters in the
context of Kenya’s post-election reconciliation. Upon returning to the U.S., she served the
Leadership Conference of Women Religious as they navigated the Doctrinal Assessment with
the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
From 2014-2020, Mary served as the founding Chair of the Board of the Catholic Mobilizing
Network (CMN) which is part of the Congregation of St. Joseph Mission Network and she
continues to serve on the Board. Mary’s leadership helped grow CMN into a strong and stable
non-profit working to end the use of the death penalty and promote restorative justice.
After her formative experience with the Congregation of St. Joseph (CSJ), Mary made her
lifetime commitment as an Associate in 2019. She finds the CSJ community and its charism of
unifying love a constant source of support, inspiration and wisdom. She serves as Chair of the
Advisory Board of the Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing at University of St. Thomas
School of Law and is the author of “Forming Restorative Justice Practitioners: Learning to Make
Meaning of our Trauma Exposure Response,” University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Volume
17-1, 2020. Mary continues to serve as a restorative justice practitioner in faith-based contexts.
Rev. Adam Taylor, Sojourners
Rev. Adam Russell Taylor is president of Sojourners and author of A More Perfect Union: A New Vision for Building the Beloved Community.
Taylor previously led the Faith Initiative at the World Bank Group and served as the vice president in charge of Advocacy at World Vision U.S. and the senior political director at Sojourners. He has also served as the executive director of Global Justice, an organization that educates and mobilizes students around global human rights and economic justice. He was selected for the 2009/2010 class of White House Fellows and served in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs and Public Engagement. Taylor is a graduate of Emory University, the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology. Taylor also serves on the Independent Sector Board, the Global Advisory Board of Tearfund UK, and is a member of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute Civil Society Fellowship. Taylor is ordained in the American Baptist Church and the Progressive National Baptist Convention and serves in ministry at the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va.
Follow Rev. Adam Taylor on Twitter @revadamtaylor.
Jim Wallis is the inaugural holder of the Endowed Chair in Faith and Justice and the founding Director of the Georgetown University Center on Faith and Justice.
He is a globally respected writer, teacher, preacher, and justice advocate who believes the gospel of Jesus must be transformed from its cultural and political captivities; and always be “good news” to the poor and oppressed. He is a New York Times bestselling author, widely recognized public theologian, renowned speaker, and regular international commentator on ethics and public life.
He served on President Obama’s White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and has taught faith and public life courses at Harvard and Georgetown University. He also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs
Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.
Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Weingarten served for 11 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, representing approximately 200,000 educators in the New York City public school system. Weingarten was included in Washingtonian’s 2021 Washington’s Most Influential People, and in 2013, the New York Observer named Weingarten one of the most influential New Yorkers of the past 25 years.
Rev. Dr. B. De Neice Welch
Rev. De Neice serves as a board member of Federated Guardians, a non-profit organization serving the needs of patients in need of informed decisions makers concerning quality of care and the management of resources to ensure the best possible healthy outcomes for individuals unable to make these decisions on their own.
Rev. Dr. B. De Neice Welch was born in West Virginia and grew up in New Jersey. She received a BA in business administration from Robert Morris College and a BS in Community Ministry from Geneva College. She earned her Masters of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2004. Dr.
Welch is a Bioethicist, earning her doctorate degree in Bioethics from Duquesne University in 2019. She was first ordained as a Presbyterian minister and installed as an Associate Pastor for Mission and Outreach for the Shadyside Presbyterian Church in 2005. She accepted a call and was installed as Pastor of Bidwell Presbyterian Church in May, 2007, where she continues to serve the congregation as a senior pastor.
Rev. Dr. John C. Welch, MDiv, PhD
Rev. Dr. John C. Welch comes with a wide variety of experience in corporate, ecclesial, and higher education environments. Most recently, Dr. spent almost 14-years as Vice President for Student Services, Community Engagement and Dean of Students at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where he oversaw the administration of over $1 million in annual student grants and scholarships. Dr. Welch also led seminary students in cross-cultural, socio-political engagement opportunities in the Caribbean, Mexico, Colombia, and South Africa with the hope of expanding student global awareness and improve cultural competence.
Beyond this work, John recently completed a 5-year strategic business plan for a faith-based nonprofit, conducted seminars and trainings to church leaders, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in the areas of ethics, burnout, moral distress, long term care, implicit bias, and institutional racism.
John has served as an adjunct professor of Business Ethics at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business and the University of Pittsburgh’s Consortium Ethics Program as well as an adjunct professor of Theology at Carlow University. Currently, he sits on the Ethics Committees for major health networks and has offered his expertise in response to Covid-19 infections by designing engagement strategies to low-income communities of color and other marginalized populations including immigrants and LGBTQ, addressing vaccination hesitancy and community spread.
Furthermore, John has led several nonprofit boards and currently is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Gamaliel Network, an international organization specializing in faith-based community organizing. Additionally, John has over 22-years of experience as a consultant in the field of Information Technology, 27-years in ordained ministry serving Presbyterian and Baptist congregations.
A native of Pittsburgh, John holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering Economics, a Master of Divinity degree, and a PhD in Healthcare Ethics.
Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson
Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson is president & CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and CDF Action Council. CDF envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. Wilson is board chair for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE).
From 2011 through 2020, Rev. Wilson was president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based philanthropy for child well-being and racial justice in St. Louis. From 2008 through 2018, Dr. Wilson also pastored Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community), a multiracial congregation in the city. Under his leadership, the foundation constructed and established the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, a community action tank engaging thousands of citizens annually. After the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., the church hosted the #BlackLivesMatter Freedom Ride to Ferguson and other mobilizations. Wilson was appointed co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, which released the ‘Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity’ Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility in 2015. He currently serves boards for Duke Divinity School, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Ministry from Duke University. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Starsky is married to Dr. LaToya Smith Wilson, a dentist and child advocate. They are raising four children.
Follow Dr. Wilson’s activism, philanthropy, and ministry at @RevDrStarsky and @ChildDefender.