|Board of Directors/Steering Committee
The Reverend J. Edwin Bacon, Jr.,
is rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena, California a 3500-member multi-ethnic urban Episcopal parish with a reputation for energetic worship, a broad variety of ministries, a radically inclusive spirit, and a progressive peace and justice agenda. All Saints strives to balance deep spirituality and bold social action. Ed’s energies focus on leadership, spirituality, interfaith relations, economic justice, and eradicating the varied expressions of bigotry. At the center of his life is his thirty-four year marriage to Hope Hendricks-Bacon, their two adult children and new granddaughter, and a prayer practice formed by Ignatian Spirituality.
Rick Banales was drawn to Peace and Justice issues through his father Jose’s work in the labor movement, and also at Chapman College in Orange, where he came into contact with activists like Phil and Daniel Berrigan, Paul Delp, and David Dellinger through Chapman’s Peace Studies program. He is also a past president of Pasadena Friends of Tibet. A lifelong fan and sometime participant of the arts, Rick is currently purchasing World and Latin music for Virgin Music in the U.S.
Bonnie Blustein, Ph.D.,
is a member of Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena, serving as co-chair of the Social Justice Advocacy Group and as an advisor to the Senior High Youth Group, among other responsibilities. She is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at West Los Angeles College, and is active in AFT 1521 (the Los Angeles Community College District Faculty Guild) as well as advising the WLAC Current Events Club and leading the NASA Scholars Program. She has recently served as co-chair of the WLAC Rosa Parks Memorial Committee and on the steering committee of Students and Educators to Stop the War. She received her A.B. in Philosophy from Harvard University, the Ph.D. in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters in Mathematics Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Rev. Ignacio Castuera,
is a United Methodist Pastor who serves St. John's UMC in Watts and also works as the National Chaplain for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Ignacio has published several pieces including a collection of sermons preached right after the Rodney King Riots is Los Angeles. The book, Dreams on Fire, Embers of Hope was recognized as one of the ten most important religious books of 1992.
Rev. Louis Chase (see above)
Grace Roberts Dyrness is the Director of Community Research and Development for the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. She has a Master of Arts degree in Urban Anthropology from the Ateneo de Manila University, Republic of the Philippines, and a doctorate in planning and development studies from the University of Southern California. Her doctoral work focused on the growth of the informal sector of the Los Angeles economy, particularly on a project with the city’s street vendors. She has had many years of experience working in the nonprofit sector in developing nations and inner cities within the United States. She has published numerous articles and chapters in edited volumes, including Coping Strategies of Urban Poor Women, in Serving with the Urban Poor (Marc Publications, 1998), Faith Works: Religious Communities Building Neighborhoods (2002), and Crisis on the Streets: Homeless Women and Children in Los Angeles (2004). Her most recent publication (co-authored with other colleagues) is Innovative Programs Servicing Homeless and Street-Living Children Around the World: A Compilation of Best-Practice Models from Los Angeles, Mumbai and Nairobi. (USC Urban Initiative 2005). She is a member of the several boards including of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace Interserve USA, Episcopal School of Theology at Claremont, the L.A. Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness, and the Advisory Council of the Hispanic Studies Center at Fuller Theological Seminary. She is married to William Dyrness. She resides in Altadena, California.
Ed Fisher became a peace and human rights activist upon his retirement from a long career in project management consulting, which took him all over the world. Working and living in many different countries -- rich and poor; highly educated and disadvantaged; peaceful and conflicted -- gave Ed an education he could never have imagined as a Stanford geography major in the late '50s, as a Navy officer stationed at an Army port in Inchon, Korea in 1960-61, or as a computer software developer at UCLA during the during the remainder of that decade. Ed is now also an active member of Veterans for Peace, and has special interests in military, constitutional, and international law.
is a writer, editor and book publisher and an activist who retired in 2001 from fourteen years as a professional fundraiser with the American Friends Service Committee. A practicing Jew, she also regularly worships with the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She lives in Altadena.
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey is a novelist and playwright. Her first novel A WOMAN OF INDEPENDENT MEANS has been adapted for the stage and also for television in a 6-hour miniseries starring Sally Field.
She is currently involved in a stage production of her third novel, JOANNA'S HUSBAND AND DAVID'S WIFE.
She lives in Studio City CA and works as a community activist, serving as a literacy tutor for the Beverly Hills Library and on the vestry of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.
Tom Honoré’s roots are in the African/French-Creole culture of Louisiana. At 17, he entered the seminary to study for the priesthood and in 1965 he was ordained a Josephite priest. Tom resigned from the priesthood in 1969 and began a federal public service career with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. Throughout most of his professional work life, Tom joined with other advocates and with non-governmental organizations to promote civil rights protections for poor people, especially people of color. In 1999, Tom retired from HUD as head of its largest field office, the Los Angeles Office. He now promotes peace and justice and Church renewal as a member of the national board of Call To Action-USA, as a weekly volunteer with the Los Angeles Catholic Worker community, as a member of the Steering Committee for ICUJP and whenever/wherever other opportunities to work with progressives become available. Tom has an MA degree in Urban Studies from Loyola University of Chicago. His memoir, Grace At Every Turn, the Journey of an African Creole into and out of the Priesthood, was published in the spring of 2004 by Xlibris Press, a subsidiary of Random House.
is Assistant to Director & Community Relations Manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR, the largest Muslim organization of its kind in America, is a civil rights/advocacy organization that helps to promote a correct image of Islam and Muslims in the Media and to build bridges of understanding in our communities. Sherrel was the first woman elected to the Board of Directors for the Southern California Consultative Council of Mosques (Shura Council), which represents about 70 Mosques in Southern California. She is also active on many other councils and advisory boards, including Los Angeles County Sheriff's Clergy Council, LAPD Religious Advisory Board, OCCORD (Orange County Communities for Responsible Development) and more...
is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and is a member of the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace sub-committee of the Pastoral Council for the San Gabriel Region. She has had a long career in international human rights advocacy and some experience in arms control issues. She currently serves on the Board of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA in Washington, DC and is a member of California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty. She is a member of Pax Christi, Los Angeles and a three and a half year member of ICUJP.
is a member of Sen. Sheila Kuehl’s Steering Committee for legislation to support Universal Single Payer Health Care for all Californians. He is also an active leader at the 1st Unitarian Church of Los Angeles where he serves on Social Justice Action Committee, Growth, Worship and Ministry Committees. In August of 2005 Mr. Ligon traveled to Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas to represent ICUJP and the efforts of activist, mother Cindy Sheehan. Mr. Ligon holds a BA in Music and a Masters in Human Resources and has served as both HR Officer and Senior Instructor in the U.S. Army.
is Associate for Communications and Public Affairs, Episcopal Diocese of Southern California. (more coming)
joined the Religious Society of Friends in 1985 and is currently editor of Friends Bulletin, the official publication of independent Western Quakers. The author has been involved in many Quaker projects. During the 1980s he helped to edit a Quaker-inspired anthology of writings by Soviet and American writers called The Human Experience which was jointly published in the USA and the former USSR in 1989. This effort at citizen diplomacy is described in a Pendle Hill pamphlet called Spiritual Linkage with Russians: the Story of a Leading (1991). Active in the interfaith and peace movement, has published pamphlets on Islam from a Quaker Perspective (2003) and Living the Peace Testimony: the Legacy of Howard and Anna Brinton (2004). He has edited three Quaker books, A Western Quaker Reader (2000), Compassionate Listening and Other Writings by Gene Knudsen Hoffman (2003), and EarthLight: Spiritual Wisdom for an Ecological Age (2007).
In 1993 the author helped to start a youth service program under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee and has led youth and adults on service projects to Mexico and various other places. He has published numerous articles in Quaker magazines. In 1971 he earned a B.A. from Boston University, where he studied poetry with Anne Sexton; and in 1984, he earned a Ph.D. in British literature from Rutgers University, where he studied with Paul Fussell. He has taught at various colleges and universities and published many academic articles. He is married to a Methodist minister whom he met at Pendle Hill, a Quaker study center. They currently live in Torrance, California.
Father Chris Ponnet,
Catholic priest ordained in 1983, Pastor of St. Camillus Center and Director of Pax Christi Los Angeles is part of the leadership team of ICUJP and one of the founders. He is a native from Temple City. He is Director of Interfaith Department of Pastoral Careat LAC+USC Medical Center and is a board certified chaplain with the interfaith Association of Professional Chaplains with his two MA's from St. John Seminary, Camarillo.
Rev. Dr. George Regas,
the founder of ICUJP, is also a co-founder of Progressive Christians Uniting. Rev. Regas is Executive Director of The Regas Institute, an organization dedicated to the examination of Progressive Christianity, and Rector Emeritus of one of the largest Episcopal Churches in America (All Saints Pasadena).
Stephen F. Rohde, Esq.,
is a constitutional lawyer, lecturer and writer. He is a past President of the ACLU of Southern California and the Beverly Hills Bar Association, and is a Vice President of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, PEN Center USA, and Death Penalty Focus. Mr. Rohde received his B.A. degree in Political Science from Northwestern University in 1966 and his J.D. degree from Columbia Law School in 1969. He is senior partner with the law firm of Rohde & Victoroff in Century City specializing in civil litigation and appeals, communications, media, intellectual property and constitutional law. He has written numerous articles and book reviews on civil liberties, separation of church and state, the death penalty and constitutional history, as well as co-authored the books Foundation of Freedom, American Words of Freedom, and Freedom of Assembly.
Lisa Smithline recently served ICUJP as Interim Executive Director. Ms. Smithline’s current position follows a career in marketing and distribution of documentary films in both independent and studio environments. She was responsible for creating alternative distribution strategies using film to reach diverse audiences by integrating a life-long commitment to community organizing and a 16-year career in film and television production.
is currently serving as Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council (federation of Mosques and Muslim organizations) and has been a resident of Southern California for about twenty years. He aspires to social justice and global peace and works for it through his activism and freelance writing. He is married with four kids.