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SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES

Conference speakers are well-known Christian leaders and authors involved in issues of racial justice and the church. 

FRIDAY: TWO CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE AMERICAN CHURCH’S COMPLICITY IN RACISM

Jemar Tisby

Jemar Tisby (B.A. Notre Dame; MDiv RTS Jackson) is an author, speaker, and president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, where he writes about race, religion, and culture. He also co-hosts the podcast “Pass The Mic,” which amplifies dynamic voices for a diverse church.

Bringing his message to the masses, Tisby has accumulated a long list of speaking engagements at prestigious festivals and universities across the nation, including the National Antiracist book Festival (Washington, DC), the University of Notre Dame, Washington University (St. Louis), Princeton University, Wheaton College, and Baylor University, to name a few. With a focus on topics including racial injustice, U.S. history, and the church, he has also addressed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly, the conference on Faith and History, and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. 

His writing has been featured in The Atlantic, the Washington Post, CNN, Vox, and the New York Times. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book, The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, which received the 2019 honors for Book of the Year from the Englewood Review of Books, and Best Religion and Spirituality Books from the Library Journal.  

Jemar is a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of Mississippi studying race, religion, and social movements in the 20th century and working with The Witness Foundation to raise $1,000,000 for an endowment to financially support the on-going work of Black Christian ministries.

Michael McBride

Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) is a native of San Francisco and has been active in ministry for more than 20 years. Pastor McBride’s commitment to holistic ministry can be seen through his leadership roles in both the church and community organizations. A graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School, with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Ethics and Public Policy, Pastor McBride founded The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor. 

In March 2012, he became the Director for the LIVE FREE Campaign with Faith in Action, a campaign led by hundreds of faith congregations throughout the United States committed to addressing gun violence and mass incarceration of young people of color. He is one of the national leaders in the movement to implement public health and community centered gun  violence prevention programs, which have contributed to a 50% reduction of  gun-related homicides in Oakland and many other cities across the country. He is a co-founder of Community Justice Reform Coalition and the National Black Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium which work to center black and brown gun violence prevention practitioners and scale up life-saving interventions related to urban and communal violence. 

Regarded as a national faith leader, active in the Ferguson uprisings and many subsequent uprisings, he helps bridge, train and support millennials and religious institutions working on racial justice and black liberation. Pastor McBride has served on a number of local and national task forces with the White House and Department of Justice regarding gun violence prevention, boys and men of color and police-community relationships. In 2016 he was appointed as an Advisor on President Obama’s Faith Based Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the  Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN,  the Huffington Post and many other media outlets providing commentary on issues related to faith and racial justice.  

He is married to Cherise McBride and they have two beautiful daughters, Sarai and Nylah. 

SATURDAY: A PANEL DISCUSSION ABOUT FAITH AND RACIAL INJUSTICE

Alexia Salvatierra

Rev. Dr. Alexia Salvatierra is the author with Dr. Peter Heltzel of “Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World” (Intervarsity Press). She is a Lutheran Pastor with over 40 years of experience in congregational (English and Spanish) and community ministry, including church-based service and community development programs, congregational/community organizing and legislative advocacy.  She serves as Assistant Professor of Integral Mission and Transformational Development for the School of Intercultural Studies for Fuller Theological Seminary as well as Coordinator of a Professional Certificate program for Hispanic pastors and church leaders at Fuller’s Centro Latino.  She coordinates the Ecumenical Collaboration for Asylum Seekers and serves on the leadership team of Matthew 25/Mateo 25 (a bipartisan Christian network to protect and defend families facing deportation in the name and spirit of Jesus.)  She serves as a consultant (training, facilitating, organizing and leading strategic planning) for a variety of national/international organizations, including World Vision, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and the Christian Community Development Association. 

She has been a national leader in the areas of working poverty and immigration for over 25 years, including co-founding the national Evangelical Immigration Table in 2011, the 2007 New Sanctuary Movement, the Guardian Angels project for unaccompanied migrant minors in 2014, and Matthew 25/Mateo 25 in 2016.

From 2011-2014, she served as the Director of Justice for the Southwest California Synod of the ELCA under Bishop Nelson. From 2000 to 2011, she was the Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice—beginning as the director of CLUE in Los Angeles and then as the first CLUE-CA director.  CLUE-CA is a statewide alliance of organizations of religious leaders who come together to respond to the crisis of working poverty by joining low-wage workers in their struggle for a living wage, health insurance, fair working conditions and a voice in the decisions that affect them.   Under Alexia’s leadership, CLUE-CA became known for its young leaders’ project, the New Sanctuary Movement and the “Our Children” project in Orange County which engaged immigrant and non-immigrant evangelical congregations in joint ministry to immigrant youth facing deportation. 

Before CLUE-CA, Rev. Dr. Salvatierra founded multiple programs and organizations, in the US and overseas. These included a gang prevention program for at-risk immigrant youth, a community computer center and an intergenerational community garden where the elderly taught at-risk youth to grow produce for sale, as well as a collaborative of UC students, homeless leaders and congregation members providing emergency services in the streets of Santa Cruz and the migrant farmworker camps in Watsonville. She was founding director of the Berkeley Ecumenical Chaplaincy to the Homeless, a program that integrated social services, community organizing, pastoral care, and economic development for the homeless that was replicated in six US cities. In the Philippines, she trained urban poor women in Manila to serve as chaplains to their neighbors.  

She has been awarded the Fuller School of Intercultural Studies 2019 David Allan Hubbard Achievement Award, the Changemaker award from the Liberty Hill Foundation, the Stanton Fellowship from the Durfee Foundation, the Amos Award from Sojourners, the Giants of Justice award from CLUE LA and the Prime Mover fellowship from the Hunt Alternatives Fund.

Dominique DuBois Gilliard

Dominique DuBois Gilliard is the Director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is the author of Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores, which won a 2018 Book of the Year Award for InterVarsity Press and was named Outreach Magazine’s 2019 Social Issues Resource of the Year. Gilliard also serves as an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary and on the board of directors for the Christian Community Development Association. In 2015, the Huffington Post named him one of the “Black Christian Leaders Changing the World.”

Raymond Chang

Raymond Chang, President and Co-Founder of the Asian American Christian Collaborative (AACC)

Pastor Raymond Chang is the president of AACC, a pastor, and writer. He regularly preaches God’s Word and speaks throughout the country on issues pertaining to Christianity and culture, race, and faith. He has lived throughout the world (Korea, Guatemala, Panama, Spain, China), traveled to over 50 countries throughout the world, and currently lives in Chicagoland, serving as a campus minister at Wheaton College. Prior to entering vocational ministry, Ray worked in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, and served in the Peace Corps in Panama. He is currently pursuing his PhD. He is married to Jessica Chang, who serves as the chief advancement and partnerships officer of the Field School. 

SUNDAY: DEVELOPING A COMMITMENT TO MENDING THE TEAR IN OUR SOCIAL FABRIC

Kamal Hassan

Pastor of Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church in Richmond, CA, the Reverend Kamal Hassan firmly believes that “The church must be engaged in efforts to mend the tear in our social fabric that has caused so many of us to focus solely on our individual needs and ignore the sufferings of others. To be true to our prophetic calling the people of God must act locally for justice, peace, and freedom, while also considering the global implications of our work. We must take seriously the urgent need to participate in the building of a new heaven and a new Earth because in a faithful and relevant church there is hope for the entire world.” 

Although Sojourner Truth is his first call as a Presbyterian pastor, Rev. Hassan has more than 20 years of experience as a religious worker and more than 10 years as an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a powerfully gifted preacher and Christian educator whose message is rooted in the African American prophetic tradition. He is a community organizer who has toiled for decades in low-wealth communities of color for social justice. He is a sensitive and supportive counselor and visitor of those in need. He is a visionary leader who can see beyond the now to the “not yet.”

Rev Hassan holds an AA degree in Radio Broadcasting from Los Angeles City College, a BA in History from Cal State University Los Angeles and a Master of Divinity degree from the San Francisco Theological Seminary.

FACILITATOR BIOGRAPHIES

FRIDAY EVENING

Mark Labberton

The Rev. Dr. Mark Labberton was named the fifth president of Fuller Seminary in 2013, after four years as Fuller’s Lloyd John Ogilvie Associate Professor of Preaching and Director of the Ogilvie Institute of Preaching. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), he served in pastoral roles for 30 years prior to coming to Fuller, most recently as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, California, for 16 years. He also has served as cofounder of the Christian International Scholarship Foundation (now ScholarLeaders International), chair of John Stott Ministries, senior fellow of International Justice Mission, and in a number of other roles of service. He holds an MDiv from Fuller and a PhD in Theology from Cambridge University.

Labberton is committed to strengthening the intersection of the academy, church, and culture, and brings to his presidency a deep desire to enact justice, love, and grace on both a global and local level. A popular speaker at churches, conferences, educational institutions, and other contexts, he often uses these talks to reflect on what it means to act biblically in challenging, often divisive cultural times. On his podcast Conversing, he further explores a broad range of topics—civility, race, suffering, gender equality, storytelling, and many others—with a diversity of guests.

Books Labberton has written include Called: The Crisis and Promise of Following Jesus Today, The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus, and The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice. Most recently he served as editor for the book Still Evangelical? Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning, a collection of essays on the meaning of evangelicalism in a contentious era.

Serving as president during a time of significant upheaval in theological education, Labberton has worked to help Fuller shape new, fruitful ways of carrying out its mission of “forming global leaders for kingdom vocations.” Through such endeavors as the Fuller Leadership Platform, FULLER studio, innovative forms of online instruction, strengthening traditional degree programs, he is leading Fuller in a process that will design the path ahead for seminary education.

SATURDAY MORNING

Charlene Han Powell

The Rev. Dr. Charlene Han Powell is the new Senior Pastor Elect at the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley. For the last ten years, Charlene has served as a pastor at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in midtown Manhattan. During her time there, she has served as the Associate Pastor for Education and Engagement overseeing the Young Adult Ministry, Family Ministries, Community Groups, and Adult Education; and most recently as the Executive Pastor, overseeing the programmatic and administrative areas of the church.

Building on her passion to help people understand and articulate their faith in a diverse, multicultural, multifaith world, Charlene received a Doctor of Ministry from New York Theological Seminary. Her dissertation focused on the intersection of faith and culture for Millennials and offered a pedagogical process by which members of this generation could explore their own beliefs and questions with the goal of writing their own confessions of faith.

Charlene has guest preached and lectured at churches, seminaries, and conferences across the country, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Montreat Conference Center, the Institute for Youth Ministry, and Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church. She has served on the strategy team of Next Church, the national movement centered around envisioning a more diverse, collaborative, and relational future for the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Charlene is a proud second-generation Korean American; honored daughter of immigrants, Wha Lim Han and Dr. Hye Kyung Kim; beloved wife of her high school sweetheart, Jordan Powell; and adoring mother of her two daughters, Amelie Han and Noa Han. A native of the East Bay, Charlene is a life-long fan of the Oakland A’s.

SUNDAY MORNING

First Pres Racial Justice and the Church Working Group (RJC)

The Racial Justice and the Church Working Group was formed by the First Pres Session in May 2018 “to lead the congregation in a long needed conversation on racial justice and the church” and to “lead the congregation in a process of study, reflection, and action with regards to racial justice.” 

Our vision is that all members and friends of the First Pres congregation—of all racial identities—respond to the Gospel’s call to actively engage in racial justice. The group endeavors to consider how race, racism, and racial justice are enacted both inside the church and within the larger society. And, in response to God’s love, to consider the ways that we, as people of faith—individually and as a collective—can “love our neighbor,” across racial lines in both interpersonal and systemic ways.
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MORE INFORMATION

Main Page
Schedule
Speaker and Facilitator Bios

Resources

Jemar Tisby

On Race and the American Church – Conversing with Mark Labberton
Color of Compromise videobook on Amazon Prime
First Pres Color of Compromise study guide

Michael McBride

Let’s Go Upstream: Unleashing Justice in Our Cities – 2015 Fuller Forum
On Discipleship – Conversing with Mark Labberton

Alexia Salvatierra

Rev. Alexia Salvatierra – Siebert Foundation Lutheran Ministry Conference 2016

Dominique DuBois Gilliard

On Rethinking Incarceration – Interview with Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo February 2018

Raymond Chang

Community Healing: Disarming Racism & Developing Cultural Partnerships – with Pastor Watson Jones, UMI  September 4, 2020

Kamal Hassan

Love’s Languages – Sermon Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church May 31, 2020

OTHER RESOURCES

First Pres Racial Justice Page
Reading, Listening, Viewing

QUESTIONS? 

Please email Beth Thomsen at betht@fpcberkeley.org.
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