“All Hands Meeting” – Nov. 16

The Center for Diversity and Reconciliation (CDR) is holding an ‘All Hands Meeting’ on Saturday, November 16 from 9:00am – 12:30pm at MSU’s Karls Hall room 103. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the future of the CDR. The CDR is at a critical juncture in its growth and development as a non-profit organization in Springfield. It will take an investment of time, money, and resources to move to the next level of growth. What does that future look like? What will it take to get there? To what level do we have the commitment, people, resources, and passion to fulfill the CDR’s potential as a viable and impactful non-profit? If you are interested in attending this meeting, please RSVP by Monday, November 11 by contacting Lela Panagides at lela@panagides.com or 305-903-3900.

“The George Zimmerman Verdict: A Faith-Based Response” – July 24 at 7pm

You are invited to a panel discussion sponsored by the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation this Wednesday, July 24 at 7pm at Brentwood Christian Church (1900 E Barataria, Springfield) featuring faith and community leaders from the Springfield area, including Dr. David Knox, Rev. Vallory Williams, Wes Pratt (J.D.), Jim Harriger, and Chris Taylor. The Zimmerman verdict has led to a variety of responses and emotions, and during this time participants will reflect on the best ways to move forward in order to avoid the loss of more innocent and precious lives, no matter their age, race, or socioeconomic status. Phil Snider will moderate. This event is free and open to the public.

For a related video from the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, please click here.

David Knox

David Knox

Vallory Williams

Vallory Williams

About the panelists

David Knox, a native of Kansas City, currently resides in Springfield, MO and is a graduate of Hillcrest High School. He is a parent of five children. His background is founded by his parents Bishop David and Bobbie Knox of Deliverance Temple Ministries, Springfield, MO. David holds both doctorate and master’s degrees in Sacred Theology as well as a master’s degree in Religious Education from United Christian College, St. Albans, NY. He is currently studying for an additional Bachelors in Instructional Design and Technology at Walden University, and he has been ordained by Deliverance Temple Ministries and Divine Faith Ministries International. In addition to writing an academic book entitled Effective Prayer: and it’s not what you think!, he operates his own business, DNK Studios where they offer Photography, Graphic Design, Video Editing, Web Development, Computer Consultation, and Marketing. He is the 2nd VP of the NAACP Springfield, Web Designer for Ozark Race & Faith Collaborative, and severed as the Writer/Editor for the Computer Technology section of the largest Christian newspaper, the NY Love Express. He leads seminars, workshops, educational seminars, and develops curricula in the subject of Eschatology and Prayer.

Pastor Vallory Williams says that her “dream was to become a preacher, but the pastor at my family church in Texas told me God did not call girls into the ministry.” He suggested she rethink her dream, so she did. For 30 years, she directed her energies toward helping people, working as a substance abuse counselor, a life skills trainer and counselor at a youth correction facility. But the dream never faded and she finally decided to pursue her ministerial calling. After completing an undergraduate degree in Health Sciences and Consumer Services from Texas Southern University, she moved to Kansas City to pursue a Master’s of Divinity Degree from Saint Paul’s School of Theology. Pastor Vallory is currently the Senior Pastor at Pathways United Methodist Church in Springfield. She spent her last year of seminary as pastor of a reconciling congregation in Kansas City, MO In addition to these experiences, she had the privilege of being able to work with one of the only Native American UMC congregations in Kansas City.

H. Wes Pratt received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1979. He is currently the Missouri State University Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance/Equal Opportunity Officer. He formerly served as the Coordinator, Diversity Outreach and Recruitment and is also an instructor in Introduction to African American Studies at the university. He and his wife Francine are also principal partners in Pratt Consultants based in Springfield, Missouri.

Wes worked at the state, county and local government levels before serving as a City Council member for the City of San Diego from 1987-1991.  During his term, he chaired the National League of Cities Housing and Economic Development Committee and the League of California Cities Administration Committee. He led the effort to establish the Housing Trust Fund, the Small Business Incubator Center, the Neighborhood Pride and Protection Program, the Human Relations Commission, the Urban Corps of San Diego and the Clean Water Minority/Women’s Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE) Program and also served on the California Coastal Commission from 1989 to 1991.
Following his service on the City Council, Mr. Pratt started his law practice as a partner in Kemp and Pratt, Attorneys at Law, with an emphasis in corporate, business and real estate law.  Pratt’s expertise included municipal and local government consulting, public law, and employment law. In July 1998, Mr. Pratt was appointed Chief Executive Officer of a local conservation corps, the Urban Corps of San Diego, an employment training, education, and community enhancement program for young adults, ages 18-23.  Previously, Pratt served as President of the Urban Corps Board of Directors for ten years. On November 10, 1999, Mr. Pratt was appointed as Director of the California Conservation Corps by Governor Gray Davis.  Mr. Pratt served as Director until September 2004.  Thereafter, Mr. Pratt served as Deputy Director for the Maryland Woodstock Job Corps Center and the Woodland Job Corps Center from December 2004 to March 2007.

Jim Harriger has worked in inner city rescue missions across the United States for over 40 years. He has ably served as Executive Director for Springfield Victory Mission from 1993 to present. He has also served as Director of Education, Asst. Executive Director, Program Director, Youth Director for other rescue missions as well as being a part of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. Jim has been married 39 years to Mary with two daughters, Sarah 32 and Annah, 28. Additions to the family are grandchildren Elizabeth (10), Zane Thomas (7), Elissa (1) and Claire (2 weeks). Both Jim and Mary are highly involved in our community and share the bounty of abundance of their lives in our community. Jim quickly shares the abundance of Victory Mission with many other nonprofits in the community. He holds degrees from Messiah College and Seattle Pacific University.

Christopher Desmond Taylor, originally from St. Louis, MO, has been a resident of Springfield, MO for 7 years. As an experienced and accomplished athlete, coach, and mentor Chris has helped countless youth identify, outline, and achieve their goal of success. Chris is an efficacious entrepreneur and leader making waves here in our city. In addition, he is the owner of Apogee Wear LLC and Queen City Breeze Track Club. Most importantly Chris is a proud father, brother, son, uncle, and member of Brentwood Christian Church who is devoted to making Springfield a comfortable place for everyone.

Along with closing comments from Cheryl Clay

Cheryl Clay

Cheryl Clay

Cheryl Clay was raised in Springfield, Missouri and attended Boyd Elementary School, Pipkin Middle School and graduated from Central High School. She has lived in Chicago and Denver. Ms. Clay has been employed with City Utilities as a Department Administrator for Electric Transmission and Distribution for nine years with a focus on administrative support for substation engineers and the database administrator for the electric transmission and distribution areas.

Ms. Clay is an active member of Gibson Chapel Presbyterian Church. She serves on several community executive boards. She is the current President of the Springfield NAACP Chapter where she is the Executive Board’s Chairperson. As committee chair of the Women in the NAACP, Cheryl, chairs and organizes an annual Breast Cancer Awareness Tea in October. The tea focuses on minority women and breast cancer survivors to raise awareness and educate about preventive measures. This event will celebrate it’s 5th year in September.

Her hobbies include reading mysteries and crocheting in her spare time. She also enjoys traveling and visiting her grandchildren.

Faith’s First Step – This Friday at MSU

Faith’s first step
Friday, April 19, 2013
10:00 – 10:50 a.m.

Location: PSU 312

This engaging presentation (which is part of Missouri State University’s Statewide Collaborative Diversity Conference) will introduce participants to leaders from the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation, a Springfield faith-based organization developed to be a catalyst for communities of faith for healing and reconciliation. Presenters, leaders and participants represent gender, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, socio-economic and religious diversity. Presenters will discuss the development and role of a faith-based organization in community diversity engagement, including specific programs developed to combat racism and heterosexism.

Session presenters:

Camielle Famous
Drury University

Camielle Famous is a mental health counselor and adjunct faculty member at Drury University. As a team leader of the Brentwood Christian Church Anti-Racism Pro-Reconciliation Team, she works to raise awareness of diversity topics through community events and workshops. Famous also serves on the founding committee of the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation. She has participated in and facilitated numerous diversity-training seminars, including Facing Racism through the Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

Lela Panagides
Leap Into Leadership

Lela Panagides is CEO of Leap Into Leadership, a leadership-consulting firm. She has more than 20 years experience in the areas of management consulting, leadership, learning and development, and organizational change. Panagides began her career working with multilateral development banks and international agencies, and has lived and worked in six countries. She is certified in a number of tools including: Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Leadership Strategies Facilitator, Respect in the Workplace – Diversity Awareness, Lominger Leadership Architect.

Charles Abernathy
Center for Diversity and Reconciliation of Greater Springfield

Charles Abernathy is the prevention specialist for 
AIDS Project of the Ozarks in Springfield. His primary duties include community outreach, counseling services and testing services for HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

Jeff Munzinger
Center for Diversity and Reconciliation of Greater Springfield

Jeff Munzinger is president and co-owner of Munzinger & Company, a Springfield-based, exclusive sales agent for 16 manufacturers, representing products to customers in 11 midwestern states. Munzinger’s unique sales experience has garnered a wide array of customer service practices. A past participant of the Center for Diversity and Reconciliation racism awareness presentation, now Munzinger holds a post on the group’s leadership team. He is an active member of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

CDR Straight for Equality Event – April 6 at Drury University

We are pleased to sponsor our second CDR Straight for Equality event at Drury University, in conjunction with their Subverting the Norm conference. All activities will take place in the Hoblit Room in Freeman Hall and are free and open to the public. Presenter bios can be found here.

9:15 to 10:30am – Teresa Hornsby, “How Queer is Queer? Queer Theory and the Bible” and Karen Bray, “Disidentifying with God: Queer Theory and the Future of Postsecular Theology”

2:00 to 3:00pm (Keynote) – Christena Cleveland, “The Social Psychology of Exclusion & Embrace: Loving well across cultural differences”

3:00 to 4:15pm – Phil Snider and Camielle Famous, “Why I am a Straight Ally”

4:30 to 5:30pm – “Where Do We Go From Here?” Center for Diversity and Reconciliation roundtable with Christena Cleveland, Melissa McGarrah Sharp and Camielle Famous