S. Hope Altkin — Peace House Host and Events Coordinator
Hope comes to FOR as a lifetime environmental activist and animal advocate, New York State-licensed massage therapist (Swedish Institute, 2000), poet, singer/songwriter, folk musician, writer, photographer, and explorer of this creative life. Born in New York City and raised in Rockland County, Hope is a graduate of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Since returning to the Hudson Valley 30 years ago, she has volunteered extensively for the Hudson River through Clearwater, the Beacon Sloop Club, and River Pool at Beacon.
Hope’s spiritual journey has touched many paths and has led to a belief that peace is possible, every day, especially in those quiet moments when our awareness of our true nature and of our true relationship to nature and the beings that we share this planet with is clear.
Hired in May 2013, Hope looks forward to learning about the people and efforts of FOR’s past as the Fellowship’s centennial celebration approaches, and she is also excited about the possibilities to come: bringing community together to continue this work, both locally and abroad; supporting and encouraging connections at FOR’s headquarters, Shadowcliff; and continuing the tradition of welcoming visitors and creating space for people to gather in celebration, contemplation, and enjoyment.
Rev. Hillary Gaston, Sr., D.Min., PHR — Interim Director of Operations
Dr. Gastin joined FOR’s staff in 2007, serving as its chief operating officer until May 2012. In January 2014, he returned to FOR’s team as interim director of operations, drawing on his distinguished and multifaceted career in finance, education, law enforcement, and the ministry. His past positions include president of the New York Theological Seminary (NYTS), area minister for the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, financial advisor at Ameriprise, pastor of Parkchester Baptist Church (Bronx, New York), educator and department chair at Samuel Gompers High School, postal inspector, and police agent.
Following U.S. military service in Vietnam (1965-1968), Dr. Gaston went on to earn several college degrees, including two masters and a doctorate, and to receive many awards for his accomplishments, including the NYTS Distinction in Ministry Award, the NAACP Community Service Award, and a Distinguished Educator Award. He brings a wealth of talent and experience to the management of finances, human resources, legal liabilities, facilities, and staff support at FOR.
Rev. Lucas Johnson — Southeast & Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator/Organizer
Lucas was born in Erlangen, Germany, and grew up in Coastal Georgia with family roots in Live Oak, Florida. He has studied at Mercer University, Emory University, and the University of Goettingen (Germany), and was ordained to ministry by Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia.
Lucas identifies strongly with the tradition of freedom fighters who engaged in what is often known as the American Civil Rights Movement. In that spirit, he has worked with such organizations as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, The Veterans of Hope Project, and the National Council of Elders. He was a member of the historic delegation of veterans of the U.S. civil and human rights struggles lead by the Dorothy Cotton Institute to meet with Palestinian nonviolent activists and their Israeli allies.
Lucas serves on the International Committee of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) and the board of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Find Lucas on Twitter @LucasLJohnson.
Linda Kelly — Communications Associate
As a creative writer whose first grade-school poem was a quatrain written in crayon with an alternating love and peace dove rhyme scheme, Linda is delighted to be a part of the expression of FOR’s venerable work toward realizing the beloved community. Her contributions include social media campaign coordination and content creation, writing and editing articles for online and hardcopy publication, creating brochures, press releases, member and donor correspondence, collaborating on special projects, and organizing the selection process and presentations of FOR’s annual peace awards.
In her spare time, Linda enjoys yoga, zumba, tennis, and scratching away at a second novel after completing a 2 1/2 year blog project called Lump Lessons: a Healing Odyssey. She lives a stone’s throw from FOR’s national headquarters in Nyack, New York with her husband, Reade, teenaged daughter, Acadia, and adored though quirky dogs, Bert & Cody. Find Linda on Twitter @ElleKelly3.
John Lindsay-Poland — West Regional Coordinator/Organizer and Research Director
John edits FOR’s Latin America update; founded the FOR’s Colombia peace team; and is author of numerous articles, reports, and books on U.S. military policy and history in Latin America, including Military Assistance and Human Rights: Colombia, U.S. Accountability, and Global Implications (2010), Emperors in the Jungle: The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama (2003), and Inside Panama, with Tom Barry.
Previously, John served with Peace Brigades International in Guatemala and El Salvador, and co-founded PBI’s Colombia project. He lives and works in Oakland, California.
Jonette O’Kelley Miller, M.P.A.— Development Director
Jonette’s professional career began in dance and theatre. As an actress-dancer, she appeared in the Broadway and National Tour productions of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, and Shange’s off-Broadway production of Spell #7. As a writer, her essays on African-American artists Nina Mae McKinney and Beulah Woodard were published in African American National Biography, edited by Drs. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. Her articles have also been published in ArtSpace and SpiritLed Woman Magazine.
Jonette presented her research on the impact of historical, racist stereotypes on people of color during the 2007 Eastern Psychological Association’s annual conference. Currently, she is also an adjunct at Nyack College, teaching courses on African American art and public speaking. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Society of Community Research and Action, and the National Council of Artists.
Meredith Krashes Nicolich — Administration Assistant
Meredith was pleased to start working at FOR in 2011. Her experience working for a number of international and local nonprofit organizations serves her well as she assists her colleagues at FOR’s national Shadowcliff offices and beyond on an ever-growing variety of tasks.
Meredith has taught English as a second language in Chiangmai, Thailand; coordinated a job skills training program for youth in Westchester County, New York, and has studied at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, while working in the Office for the Advancement of Women at the Bahá’í International Community’s United Nations Office. She currently splits her working time between FOR and her local library, where she enjoys being an assistant children’s librarian.
Shauen V.T. Pearce — Midwest Regional Coordinator/Organizer
Shauen is an educator, organizer and strategist with training in the critical analysis of race and ethnicity, cross-cultural communication, anti-violence education, program development, campaign organizing, and program and capacity development.
Stemming from a place filled with beauty, progress, rebellion, wise elders, visionary leaders, and constant struggle marked by corruption, violence, and displacement, Shauen a vocal advocate and keen organizer for justice, self-determination, authentic love, and fearless community building. She enjoys the intersections of life and encourages everyone to think critically about what makes us who we are and how that will help us bring about justice and harmony.
Susana Pimiento Chamorro — Southwest Regional Coordinator/Organizer and Western Hemispheric Liaison
Susana serves as liaison with FOR’s campaign to transform U.S. militarism in the Americas, undertaking grassroots outreach and raising awareness on the impact of militarization. She is the U.S. representative at the Continental Campaign Against Military Bases coordinating committee, which works throughout the western hemisphere. Susana also supports regional coordination and organizing in the Southwest United States, where she is based.
A Colombian attorney with a M.A. in public policy from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Susana’s previous experience includes advocacy work in the fields of environmental justice, arms control, and indigenous peoples’ rights. Before joining FOR, she led successful civil society efforts to bring changes in policy. As a co-founder of the Sunshine Project, she was involved in the design and implementation of the Agent Green campaign, which halted U.S.-led plans to use biological agents in the eradication of illicit crops in South America and Asia. Susana also worked at the Colombian 1991 constitutional assembly and has contributed to several publications on human rights. She resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Edward Hammond, and daughter, Amelia. Find Susana on Twitter @SPimiento.
Rev. Kristin Gill Stoneking — Executive Director
In August 2013 Kristin joined FOR as the organization’s 24th executive leader and its first to be based outside of New York State. Deeply rooted in Northern California, Kristin lives and works in Davis, California, where she previously served for 14 years as executive director of the Cal Aggie Christian Association at the University of California, Davis. During her tenure at “CA House,” the historic organization gained renown for launching a Multifaith Living Community, clarified and focused its mission, and grew multifold in staff and budget. Kristin’s diverse gifts in strategic planning and moving organizations through change, as well as her deep experience in working side-by-side with youth and young adults, will be critical assets as FOR approaches our centennial celebration (2014-2015).
A vocal advocate for the Occupy/Decolonize movement, Kristin achieved national attention in November 2011 for her role in a situation with violent overtones. Police officers pepper-sprayed activists who had joined a large Occupy Davis protest. Kristin successfully mediated between the parties and, when video footage of the dramatic incident “went viral” via social media, promoted the disciplined, principled use of nonviolent action.
Kristin is an ordained United Methodist minister and coordinates a social justice network in the California-Nevada Conference of her denomination. Her previous service includes pastoral work on gang and gun violence, and research and advocacy for immigrant rights. Kristin is also nearing completion of a Ph.D. in interreligious studies and nonviolence education at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She and her spouse, Elizabeth Campi, have two children. Find Kristin on Twitter @KStoneking.
Nicole Taylor — Data Entry Assistant
As the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s data entry point person, Nicole facilitates the labor-intensive duties of inputting donations, handling donor inquiries, processing acknowledgement letters, and updating donors’ mailing and email addresses. Nicole was excited to join FOR’s team in 2008 and is fortunate to be a part of an organization that continues the vision of educating and advocating peace in all nations.
Besides working with her FOR family, most of Nicole’s time is spent with her family at home, which includes her husband, four-year-old son, and two-year-old daughter. Nicole enjoys keeping up with current events, fashion magazines, and the tranquility of the beach.
Ethan Vesely-Flad — Communications Director
Ethan is FOR’s director of communications and editor of Fellowship magazine, FOR’s journal since 1918 on peacemaking, human rights, and interfaith understanding. Ethan became a “full-time” justice activist as a university undergraduate in the late 1980s, when he was involved in movements for racial justice, South Africa divestment, and prisoners of conscience.
For the past quarter-century — and since 2005 at FOR — Ethan has worked to strengthen faith-based justice networks promoting anti-racism engagement, environmental justice, LGBTQ rights, and demilitarization. His commitments have taken him throughout the Americas, Southern Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific Rim. He serves on the North American board of the Institute for Healing of Memories and is an active member of several organizations in the Anglican/Episcopal church working for justice and peace.
His writings have appeared in ColorLines, The Source, The Witness, Episcopal Life, the Huffington Post, and other national publications. Ethan, a devotee of global soccer and old hip-hop, moved in 2013 from his home state of New York to the “Land of the Sky” — beautiful Asheville, North Carolina — with his beloved spouse Rima and son Matai. Find Ethan on Twitter @ethanvf.
Leila Zand — Northeast Regional Coordinator/Organizer
Leila is an Iranian-American who lived in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian reconstruction period following the war, and the Iranian reform years. In 2006 Leila joined FOR to help to create bridges of understanding between the diverse peoples of Middle East and the people of the United States.
Since immigrating to the United States, Leila has shared her experience of war in academic settings, peace rallies, and community gatherings. She has written numerous articles and essays, some of which have been translated into other languages and received international publication. Through writing and public speaking, Leila raises awareness about U.S. militarization in the Middle East and the impact it has on the lives of ordinary people, and she strives to make inroads to reconciliation. She is based in the Albany, New York area. Find Leila on Twitter @leilaFORpeace.
FOR COLOMBIA PEACE PRESENCE
Candice Camargo — Colombia Peace Presence Coordinator
Originally from southern California, Candice graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics. Prior to joining FOR in June 2013, she spent the previous six years as an activist and organizer, including working with Witness for Peace in Colombia and most recently with CODEPINK.
Candice currently lives in Bogotá and is excited to build on FOR’s solidarity work with Colombian communities, organizations, and movements forming part of the collective process to nonviolently undermine systems of oppression. She hopes to support and strengthen the physical and political accompaniment FOR began with the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó over ten years ago. She will continue the project’s commitment to conscientious objectors and explore opportunities to accompany communities threated by multinational corporations and the extractive industry.
Passionate about social and environmental justice, human rights, corporate accountability, and the power of stories to inspire people to action, Candice is thrilled to be part of the FOR family.
Click here to access bios of current and past members of FOR’s Colombia human rights accompaniment peace team.
CONSULTANTS, FELLOWS, and INTERNS
Rev. Patricia Ackerman — Freeman Fellow
The Rev. Patricia Ackerman is senior trainer of Gender-Sensitive Active Non-Violence & Masculinities for the Women Peacemakers Program in the Netherlands, a former program of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR). She is an accredited U.N. representative for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (USA) and IFOR.
Patricia is also director of women’s studies at The City College of New York (CUNY), located in Harlem, Manhattan. An Episcopal priest, her other work experience includes serving as director of environmental programs at the Garrison Institute. She is currently completing a doctorate in political science/ international relations at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York City.
Shervin Boloorian — Freeman Fellow
Writer and peace activist Shervin Boloorian (M.A.) serves as a policy advisor to the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He is a former government and community relations coalition strategist for Middle East peace, pro-environment, and nuclear disarmament campaigns in Washington D.C., serving the Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Iranian American Council. Shervin has organized meditation meet-ups at the U.S. Congress and supported advocacy groups such as Peace Action USA, the Communities of Peace Foundation, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and United for Peace and Justice, among others.
Shervin is also a certified sound therapy practitioner and graduate of the Tama-Do “Way of the Soul” Academy (started in 1988). He recently co-founded the Bali Sound Healers Collective and currently practices sound therapy in Ubud, Bali. A former media manager for the BaliSpirit holistic group, Shervin is also the author of numerous articles and still serves as writer and communications consultant for BaliSpirit.
Ivan Boothe — Online Communications Associate (consultant)
Ivan works with FOR to maintain and improve the website, oversee and author email messages to supporters, and coordinate online actions.
Ivan is the creative director of Rootwork.org, working with nonprofits and social change groups in similar capacities. He is a community organizer with Casino-Free Philadelphia, and co-founded the Genocide Intervention Network. Despite having moved to the west coast, Ivan continues to help facilitate Philadelphia NetSquared, which brings together nonprofits and tech experts for discussions about using social technology for social change.
Ivan has presented on technology and activism at the U.S. Social Forum, Nonprofit Technology Conference, New Organizing Institute, Internet Advocacy Roundtable, Peace and Justice Studies conference, DrupalCon and the National Press Club, and authored a chapter in the textbook Online Social Networking.
Ivan holds a degree in peace and conflict studies and authored a thesis on third-party nonviolent intervention. He also serves on the board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association and the American Friends Service Committee Nobel Peace Prize committee. He is a professional handbell ringer and an enthusiastic member of his local member-owned food cooperative. Find Ivan on Twitter @rootwork.
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb — Interfaith Peacewalks Coordinator (consultant) & Freeman Fellow
Rabbi Lynn is author of She Who Dwells Within: A Feminist Vision of Renewed Judaism and coordinator of the Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence. Lynn celebrated her 40th year in rabbinic service in 2012. She is a storyteller, author, and peace activist who has received several human rights awards. Her writing appears in more than 40 publications and she has performed her work throughout the world.
Lynn is cofounder of the Muslim-Jewish Peacewalk and was a founding elder of The Community of Living Traditions. She currently works with the Fellowship of Reconciliation as coordinator of the Interfaith Peacewalks project, a co-leader of Artist Delegations to Palestine, and as a contributing editor to Fellowship magazine.
Lynn’s newest book is Trail Guide to the Torah of Nonviolence (2013, in French and English). She lives in Berkeley, California.
Fakhira Halloum — Freeman Fellow
Fakhira Halloun is a Palestinian woman and citizen of Israel. She holds degrees in social work and criminology from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is currently undertaking Ph.D. studies at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, where she also serves as public relations associate for the Center for World Religions Diplomacy & Conflict Resolution.
Fakhira has acquired considerable professional experience in conflict transformation, and specializes in facilitating dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian mixed groups. She is an educator and advocate for human rights and democracy, as well as a social and political feminist activist, who strives to bring about change within the Arab community and to achieve equality for the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel.
Rabia Terri Harris — Fellowship magazine guest editor (consultant) & Freeman Fellow
Rabia Terri Harris is an essayist, editor, peace activist, public intellectual, practicing chaplain, freelance theologian, sometime translator, and aspiring servant of Allah. In 1994, Rabia founded the Muslim Peace Fellowship (MPF), the first organization specifically devoted to the theory and practice of authentically Islamic active nonviolence. She serves as director of MPF and resident elder at Dar Anwar as-Salam, the Muslim component of the Community of Living Traditions, a tripartite Abrahamic residential peace community located in Stony Point, New York. She is also among the organizers of a new venture in Islamic pastoral care; the Muslim Chaplains Association.
Rabia holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in the field of religion, a master’s from Columbia University in Middle Eastern languages and cultures, and a graduate certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy from Hartford Seminary.
Rev. Michael Harrington — Freeman Fellow
Michael has spent almost 40 years as a youth minister, Christian educator, campus minister, and camp director. He has been responsible for the development and organization of broad youth programs for students (pre-K through college) that included curriculum design, service project models, seminars, and summer mission work. As a campus minister and chaplain he instructed peer leaders, taught sociology, comparative world religions, and ethics.
Michael is the director of The Culture Zone which he describes as “a virtual gathering place for social comment relating to human behavior and beliefs. It stands to engage the institutions that will continue to affect all of creation throughout the 21st Century. The Culture Zone is a post post-modern shelter in the storm-of-ambiguity toward the human condition. The Culture Zone is distinguished by our unwavering stand for the poor and marginalized of our world. Care for the ‘other’ is a sacrament in the Culture Zone.”
Michael is an author, illustrator, and journalist, and he publishes the Occupy Faith web site. He works in New Orleans in conjunction with Tulane University and was a program director of “The Other America” project. He was a recent TEDx featured speaker at Seattle University.
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou — Freeman Fellow
Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou is an author, documentary filmmaker, public intellectual, organizer, pastor, and theologian. Considered a leading religious leaders of his generation, he has published two books on the moral and spiritual crises facing our world, Urban Souls (2001) and Gods, Gays, and Guns: Essays on Religion and the Future of Democracy (2012).
Rev. Sekou served as the founding director of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq and was the faith community organizer for United for Peace and Justice. He has given more than a thousand lectures throughout the country and abroad, and his writings have appeared in numerous publications, including Fellowship magazine, for which is a contributing editor.
Rev. Sekou is pastor for formation and justice at the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and serves as editor of Spare Change News in Boston, a publication led by homeless and economically disadvantaged people. He is recipient of the Keeper of the Flame Award from the National Voting Rights Institute and Museum in Selma, Alabama. Find Sekou on Twitter @RevSekou.
Rev. Sam Smith — Freeman Fellow
Reverend Sam is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. He holds a diploma from Moody Bible Institute in pastoral studies, a B.A. from Wheaton College in sociology, and a master of divinity with an emphasis in peace studies from Bethany Theological Seminary.
Sam is deeply engaged with the Fellowship of Reconciliation at local and national levels. He chairs FOR’s Chicago chapter and also served six years on FOR-USA’s National Council, concluding in 2011. He is also a member of the prestigious Historic Peace Churches/Fellowship of Reconciliation Consultative Committee. Sam has been a primary promoter of the I Will Not Kill campaign and currently directs students at DePaul University as service learners regarding this FOR-led national counter-recruitment campaign.
Currently, Sam is a youth speaker/ peace activist with Heavy Light Ministries and is available nationally as well as internationally for speaking engagements, workshops, and seminars. He lives in West Chicago, Illinois. Find Sam on Twitter @RevSamSmith.