Faculty and resource people will be added below as they are confirmed.
Nekeisha Alayna Alexis
Nekeisha Alayna Alexis is an independent scholar with wide-ranging interests connected to human and other animal oppression and liberation. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University, New York with a concentration in Africana Studies, and her Masters of Arts: Theological Studies degree from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart Indiana with a focus in theology and ethics. She is currently the Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism coordinator at AMBS where she assists the institution in it's strategic goals in this area, and a graphic designer and website specialist on the seminary's marketing and communications team.
Nekeisha has presented and published extensively on a number of topics such as animal liberation, veganism and Christian peacemaking; the inextricable relationship between human violence toward other animals and violence among humans; intersecting oppressions of race, gender and/or species; and anarchist politics and alternative Christian faith and ethics. Her most recent writings include “But isn’t all of creation violent?” in A Faith Encompassing All of Creation: Addressing Commonly Asked Questions About Christian Care of the Environment (Cascade Books, 2014) and "Table Talk: The violence of grace and gratitude" (The Mennonite, September 2016). She makes music in her spare time and writes poetry in unpredictable bursts.
Duane Hollow Horn Bear
Duane is on the faculty of Sinte Gleska University, where he teaches Lakota History & Cultural Studies. He is also a Vietnam veteran and a recognized elder and spiritual leader in his community.
Laura L. Brenneman (Ph.D., University of Durham) is a hospital chaplain and visiting religion professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (IN), and Eastern Mennonite Seminary (VA). Her work is at the intersection of theological studies and peace studies, combining theory and practice. Laura, who holds a master’s degree in conflict transformation, has been a human rights advocate to members of the U.S. Congress, a restorative justice practitioner, and directed peace and conflict studies at Bluffton University (OH). She now sits on the boards of the Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice Program and the Iraqi Student Program, and serves as the New Testament editor of the Studies in Peace and Scripture series with the Institute of Mennonite Studies. Laura enjoys biking, reading, traveling, hiking, and spending time with interesting people.
At an early age, Andrés Thomas Conteris was given the name “Shooting Star” by an elder traditional member of the Oneida nation. He later became involved with nonviolent activism with members of his family in Uruguay imprisoned by the military dictatorship in the 1970s and 80s. While doing Peace Studies at Earlham College he participated in a study program in India co-sponsored by the Gandhi Peace Foundation and later with the Nonviolent Alternatives program, “Learning Harmony with the Lakota/Unlearning Racism.” Andrés founded and directed the Americas Program of Nonviolence International with a focus on ending U.S. bombing of Vieques, Puerto Rico; closing the Pentagon's School of the Americas; and, resisting the military coup in Honduras. He has participated in a number of long-term open-ended fasts. M.K. Gandhi called fasting the “prayer of a soul in anguish,” the final stage of a satyagraha campaign. Andrés is founder of Democracy Now! en Español, independent news aired in Spanish on over 500 radio stations around the world. He is completing a novel weaving together the wisdom of the cosmos with the need for radical revolutionary change on planet Earth.
Fernando H. Ferrara
Fernando founded Mesa de Paz, a network of 16 NGO’s in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, working to create a more peaceful culture through nonviolent social change. This organization now has a youth activist network working on a variety of projects, such as: Nacidos para Triunfar (working with 22 gangs to bring them into nonviolence and social commitments); Cruzada Cabal (150 volunteers educating youth to bring them out of alcohol and drug dependence); Arte Urbano (supporting urban art, performing art, music and painting in high risk communities); and Despierta (a peace newsletter for youth). Fernando has worked as General Manager of Industrias Ferrara, Manager of Fabrica de Papel Monterrey and Empaques de Carton Hercules, Manager of Artes Graficas Integradas, CEO of Grupo CHRISTUS Muguerza, and CEO of Hexagonos Mexicanos. Fernando traveled to India to study the philosophy of Gandhi at the Institute of Gandhian Studies for a year in the city of Wardha (Servagram) Mahajarashtra. That same year (1994) he was named a lifetime member of the Gandhi Peace Foundation in Cochin, Kerala, India.
Kazu Haga is the founder and coordinator of the East Point Peace Academy and is a trainer in Kingian Nonviolence, a philosophy developed out of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the organizing methodologies of the Civil Rights movement. Having received training from elders including Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Rev. James Lawson and Joanna Macy, he teaches nonviolence, conflict reconciliation, organizing and mindfulness in prisons and jails, high schools and youth groups, and with activist communities around the country.
Kazu has been active in various social change movements since 1998, when at the age of 17 he participated in the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage, a 6-month walking journey from Massachusetts to New Orleans to retrace the slave trade. He has since spent a year studying nonviolence and Buddhism in South Asia, has over 10 years working in social justice philanthropy and played leading roles in various movements such as the Global Justice Movement, Occupy Oakland and the Movement for Justice for Oscar Grant.
He is a co-founder and board chair of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), sits on the, Peace Workers and 99Rise, and is a member of the Metta Center for Nonviolence’s Strategic Advisory Council. He is the recipient of several awards including the Martin Luther King Jr. award and the Gil Lopez Award for Peacemaking.
He currently resides in Oakland, CA.
The Rev. Renee L. Hill, Ph.D. holds both an M.Div. and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York. Her scholarly focus is on contemporary liberation theologies (including Black, feminist/womanist and LGBTQI theologies); anti-oppression theory and practice; world religions and religion and social change. She has taught both theology and feminist studies in several graduate institutions including the Episcopal Divinity School and Drew University. She is currently a co-facilitator of Auburn Seminary’s Sojourner Truth Leadership Circle. Dr. Hill is also currently a Columbia University Community Scholar working on a three-year project entitled, “The Religious Landscapes of Harlem.” The focus of this project is a study of Harlem’s non-Christian religious communities and practices.
Dr. Hill was ordained priest in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. She has served congregations in the South Bronx, Harlem and in Los Angeles. As a person of “multiple religious belonging,” Dr. Hill is a current member of Romemu (a Jewish Renewal congregation), New York Insight (Buddhist sangha) and an Ile (temple) in the Santeria/Lucumi traditions.
In addition, Dr. Hill is involved in anti-oppression and justice work including leading anti-racism trainings and teaching self-defense and empowerment and working to end family and intimate partner violence. She is also a textile artist and is beginning to learn to play the banjo.
She currently lives with her family in Harlem, NY.
Chas Jewett is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She grew up with her sisters on a cattle ranch along the Moreau River. She attended the College of St Benedict in Minnesota. She became an organizer for the Sierra Club in Rapid City, SD on a grasslands wilderness campaign in 2002. Since then, she has organized for national and local organizations on reproductive justice--two abortion bans in SD since 2006, for health care reform, for racial justice, for the Native Vote, and is working currently with the Rapid City Community Conversations, a Lakota led effort to improve relations with the city, and its police. She has served on several boards, and through her organizing work--was a field producer on fantastic documentary about reproductive justice in Pine Ridge called Young Lakota. She’s been camping at the Kul Wicasa camp at Standing Rock, working with the Women’s Council to promote peace and unity. In her spare time she can always be found hiking around the Black Hills or the Badlands with her boxer puppy, Nunpa.
Lyla June Johnston
Lyla June Johnston was raised in Taos, New Mexico and is a descendent of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) lineages. Her personal mission in life is to grow closer to Creator by learning how to love deeper. This prayer has taken her on many journeys and materializes in diverse ways.
She is a student of global cycles of violence that eventually gave rise to The Native American Holocaust and the destruction of many cyclic relationships between human beings and nature. This exploration birthed her passion for revitalizing spiritual relationships with Mother Earth and cultivating spaces for forgiveness and reconciliation to occur between cultural groups. She is a co-founder of The Taos Peace and Reconciliation Council, which works to heal intergenerational trauma and ethnic division in the northern New Mexico. She is a walker within the Nihigaal Bee Iiná Movement, a 1,000-mile prayer walk through Diné Tah (the Navajo homeland) that is exposing the exploitation of Diné land and people by uranium, coal, oil and gas industries. She is the lead organizer of the Black Hill Unity Concert which gathers native and nonnative musicians to pray for the return of guardianship of the Black Hills to the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota nations. She is the also the founder of Regeneration Festival, an annual celebration of children that occurs in 13 countries around the world every September.
In 2012, she graduated with honors from Stanford University with a degree in Environmental Anthropology. She is a musician, public speaker and internationally recognized performance poet. Lyla June ultimately attributes any achievements to Creator who gave her the tools and resources she uses to serve humanity.
She spends her free time learning her engendered mother tongue, planting corn, beans and squash and spending time with elders who retain traditional spiritual and ecological knowledge.
Mathai is a Professor at Gujarat Vidyapith, the university founded by Gandhi in Ahmedabad, India. He is former Dean of Gandhi Research Foundation and former Professor and Director at the School of Gandhian Thought and Development Studies, M.G. University, Kerala, India. He is author of Gandhi’s Worldview and an editor of Gandhi Marg. Mathai is a well-known speaker in the East and the West, and he recently spoke at the signing of a peace pledge between some 400 members of rival gangs in Monterrey, Mexico.
Chris Moore-Backman has worked with a variety of human rights, peace, and social justice organizations, including the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Christian Peacemaker Teams, the Alternatives to Violence Project, and Right Sharing of World Resources. He has served on international peace teams in Colombia and Palestine, and is the producer of Bringing Down the New Jim Crow, a radio documentary series exploring race and mass incarceration in the U.S.
Darlene is a Dakota elder, pipe keeper, and sun dancer. She is also a gardener. She is a former Instructor at the Institute for Dakota Studies, Sisseton Wahpeton Community College. Darlene is steeped in Dakota philosophy, culture, language, history, and environment. Her work emphasizes the importance of oicimani (relationship) and the contribution that Dakota culture makes to life on this planet.
Lisa Wagner-Carollo is the Founder of Still Point Theatre Collective. She acted as the company’s executive director for 18 years and currently serves as the theater's artistic director. She founded Still Point in 1993, motivated by a strong desire to combine ministry, social justice, and theatre. For over two decades, she has toured the country and overseas with the one-woman play Haunted by God: The Life of Dorothy Day. Along with performing in several Still Point productions, she has also co-authored four plays for Still Point, including the one-man show, Visionary at the Helm, for Catholic Charities USA.
Prior to starting Still Point, she lived in the L’Arche Heartland Community in Kansas City and St. Catherine’s Catholic Worker in Chicago. In 1998, Lisa began Still Point’s theatre program for women in prison at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. Today, the program also includes workshops at Cook County Jail and Lake County Jail. In September of 2016, Lisa moderated the panel discussion, Shakespeare in the Criminal Justice System, for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Lisa is also the founder of The Imagination Workshop, a series of weekly theater and music workshops for adults with developmental disabilities throughout the Chicago area.
In 2010, she completed her certification as a spiritual director at Siena Center in Racine, Wisconsin and has recently begun a spiritual direction practice in the Chicago area. For the last four years, she has worked as a youth leader with a bilingual, multi-cultural congregation. In summer of 2017, Lisa will be publishing a book of poems, prayers, and reflections entitled Above, Along, Inside, and Through.