Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center
Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center

Encouraging peaceful solutions since 1969

Our Board of Directors

Emmy Akin, Creating Peaceful Communities, Diablo For Peace

Emmy Akin, Creating Peaceful Communities, Diablo For Peace

Emmy Akin is a Walnut Creek native who graduated from Las Lomas High School in 2011. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Ethnobotany at University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where she began her career in the nonprofit sector, specifically in Indigenous Rights. After volunteering for a grassroots NGO in Peru in 2015, she returned to the East Bay where she teaches at an outdoor preschool and operates a non-profit dedicated to Native Californian language revitalization. Just before learning of the existence of the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center, she started the Facebook group Diablo For Peace, dedicated to cultivating an intergenerational intersectional anti-racism movement in the Diablo Valley as an answer to the cognitive dissonance that plagues the cities east of the Caldecott Tunnel. She stated that it has been a blessing for her to learn about MDPJC, and she hopes to continue organizing and collaborating in the future

Sonia Anich, Communications and Diablo For Peace

Sonia Anich, Communications and Diablo For Peace

Sonia Anich is a Peace Center office intern and Peace Gazette columnist. She is interested in researching and writing about criminal justice reform, ending poverty, and increasing mental health awareness, as well as the duty that we as a nation owe to the people who have fallen through the cracks. She maintains the strong belief that it is easier and more productive to invest in the life of a person who is at a disadvantage through quality education and healthcare for everyone rather than through spending on prisons. Sonia has been interested in peace and justice issues her whole life and attended her first peace rally, a candlelight vigil protesting the invasion of Iraq, at the age of 11. She campaigned for Obama in 2008, presiding over the Progressive Student Alliance at Northgate High (or the “Obama Club”) and volunteering at the Walnut Creek Democratic Headquarters. Sonia got involved at the Center in 2015 when she was looking for a place to publish her writing on homelessness and volunteer work. She currently attends Diablo Valley College with plans to transfer and continue her education.  In her spare time she maintains a blog, Persephone in Autumn for poetry, short stories, and social justice writing.

Thomas Edwards, Development and Nominating Committees

Thomas Edwards, Development and Nominating Committees

Thomas Edwards (aka “Tommy”) is a native of Texas, attended college in New Orleans and graduate school in Washington D.C. where he obtained his MBA from Howard University.   He has been a tireless worker for charities for a large part of his post collegiate life.  Starting with US Committee for UNICEF, Tommy has been actively fundraising since the 1990’s.  Until recently, the American Cancer Society has been his charity of choice.  Tommy is currently looking to diversify his time to help other outstanding non-profits achieve success in the realm of fundraising and visibility.

 

 

Norman Freitas, Treasurer

Norman Freitas, Treasurer

Norman Freitas (aka “Norm”) is a native Californian who received a BS in Finance from CSU Hayward and a MBA from John F. Kennedy University.  Having 16 years of accounting and finance experience, he now works at United Business Bank as a Senior Accountant.   Norm is now retired from the US military after serving in the Navy, Air Force Reserves, and California Air National Guard at Moffett Federal Airfield with a special operations squadron.  He has been active with a Concord HOA for 11 years in serving as President and Treasurer with a community having 17 buildings and 125 homeowners. He also served as a committee member and finance chair for the City of Concord’s Community Services Commission in reviewing non-profit funding requests, as well as serving as City of Concord’s Measure Q Committee to ensure that additional tax money was being used as described on ballot.  Norm also finds time to help with the local Habitat for Humanity building construction with the most recent building site in Martinez.  Norm is looking to help others in the community and make a difference in people’s lives.

Bob Hanson, Forums, Former Chair

Bob Hanson, Forums, Former Chair

Bob Hanson has been an activist member of the Peace Center since 1990.  Over the years he has served as Chairman of the Board, and chair of the membership, nominations, advocacy, fund-raising auction and forums committees.  Bob’s focus for many years has been advocacy in all its forms.  He has co-chaired three peace walks and organized rallies to commemorate the 3rd, 4th and 5th anniversaries of the Iraq War.  Along with Jeff Heaton and Louise Clark, he was responsible for the development of the Crosses of Lafayette. He has participated in dozens of non-violent actions and has been arrested at the Naval Weapons Station and Livermore Labs demonstrations.  Bob is a Professor Emeritus from SDSU and past president of the California Alpine Club.  His love of camping and the outdoors has led him to seek funding for an International Youth Peace Camp.  In 2009 the Center awarded him with a “Local Peace Hero” award at the 40th Anniversary celebration.  Serving in the board since the 1990’s.

Sergio Lub, Forums and Communications

Sergio Lub, Forums and Communications

Sergio Lub was born in Argentina from Russian parents. He moved to California in 1975 where he met his wife and started a family.  He is trained as an architect, has inventor patents, and has traveled to nearly 100 countries.  Sergio is primarily an artist, and has a business handcrafting bracelets, designs of which are sold  world-wide.  He has worked developing Business Executives for National Security, and volunteered as a citizen diplomat to help end the Cold War, travelling in the USSR and hosting Soviets at his home in Walnut Creek.  Sergio has worked with members of the Center since the era of its founding.   He enjoys meeting visionary people and has an extensive network of contacts locally and internationally.  In 1995 he designed a community-building online application entitled “Friendly Favors”, now interconnecting over 60,000 from around the world. This Internet tool allows him to organize gatherings at the Center and provides access to many interesting speakers.  Sergio works with the Forums and Communications committees at the Center.  Serving in the board since 2010.

Ivette Maruri

Ivette Maruri

Ivette Maruri was raised in San Francisco until her teenage years when she moved to Concord with her family. After attending Diablo Valley College for two years she transferred to SFSU where she received a BS in Business Administration (Finance).  She then returned to Diablo Valley College where she earned a license as a Dental Hygienist.

Ivette has helped create and organize students and community groups to work on a variety of political issues such as anti-war and immigrants rights while also working on events with MTDPJC.  Since becoming a dental hygienist she has worked with her local association, Mt. Diablo Dental Hygiene Society, to promote health by assisting in health fairs, smile days, free clinic days and organizing a 5k event. She is also part of an organization called Flying Doctors where she travels to Mexico to offer free dental services.

Taynay Matsumoto, Education & Development Committees

Taynay Matsumoto, Education & Development Committees

Taynay Matsumoto is a retired elementary school teacher with 35 years of experience, most recently in the Antioch public schools.  She currently serves as a district leader for the SGI Delta District Buddhist Organization. Her Buddhist faith awakened her to seek peace in the world through varied activities and she realized that as an educator, she could promote peace through education and advocacy for youth.  She has also volunteered for many years with the Ella B. Jenkins non-profit group in Oakland, serving the underprivileged community there.  And last but not least, Taynay has raised three children as a single mom!

Bob Maxwell, Secretary, Maxwell’s Musings Columnist

Bob Maxwell, Secretary, Maxwell’s Musings Columnist

Bob Maxwell holds a BA in Philosophy from U.C. Berkeley and an MA in Philosophy and Religion from S.F. State.  After discovering that there were no jobs in Philosophy, Bob went back to school and got a California teaching credential from Cal State at Hayward. He has over 18 years’ experience working with special needs children.  Bob is a life-long conscientious objector and was Associate Director of the East Bay Draft Information and Counseling Center for two years until he was drafted and sent to work at the University Hospital in Oklahoma City, widely known as the “Vietnam” of the Compulsory Work Program. Bob currently serves on the communications committee and has a regular column, “Maxwell’s Musings” in the monthly Peace Gazette.  Serving in the board since 1996.

Gordon Miller, Membership, Advocacy

Gordon Miller, Membership, Advocacy

Gordon Miller received a BA in Biology from Boston University and an MS in Public Health from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He retired from a long career in chemical safety in 2008 at Lawrence Livermore Labs and has lived in Walnut Creek since 1990. Gordon has been a political progressive for several decades, shifting his views on the peace movement since the end of the Cold War.  He is involved in regional progressive politics, including MoveOn, Move to Amend, and the California DISCLOSE Act campaign. Gordon is currently helping to form the $$$ Out! People In! campaign, a coalition of progressive organizations in the Bay Area that includes the MTDPJC and the Brady Campaign’s Contra Costa Chapter.  He has been instrumental in getting new members through tabling where he has made many contacts.  His focus has been on the membership and advocacy committees. Serving in the board since 2012.

John Menard O’Connell, Jr.

John Menard O’Connell, Jr.

John O’Connell is a graduate of the University of Michigan and was in the initial ‘cohort’ of the original organization development graduate program in “Planned Change,” at the U of M Institute for Social Research, with Dr. Ronald Lippit and Dr. Jim McConnell.  He has also studied the work of Buckminster Fuller extensively, — integrating Bucky’s, “Systems Design Theory” with his own experience in managing “Large Scale Change,” “Game Theory and Leadership.” All his previous work has informed and influenced the design of The Time Out for Peace Plan and The World Peace Campaign.

John has spent the greater part of his career as an Organization Development Consultant for Interplay Network, a firm he founded, — facilitating programs to increase ‘positive interaction’ in organizations of all types, through collaborative strategic planning, large-scale change processes, conflict-resolution, leadership and team development.  He has worked across all levels and sizes of organizations in diverse industries, in North America and Europe, –from the Senior Management Team at Chrysler, to front line workers in a cereal plant for General Mills.

In addition to his work through Interplay Network, John served on the management team of UCSF Stanford Health Care, as Senior Vice-President for Organization Development.   Prior to his consulting practice, John served as a manager and mediator for American Intermediation Services and as President and Co-Director of the New Games Foundation.   During and after college John worked in a wide variety of jobs — including logger, messenger, carpenter, mover and political campaign staffer, — giving a feel for people in all parts of society.

An avid writer, he was a contributing author of The New Games Book and More New Games (Doubleday,) The ‘Perfect Consulting’ Field Book” (with Peter Block,) and co-author of the The Leader’s Handbook: Learning Leadership by Leading Games and Play (Venture Press) with Dr. Bill Michaelis.

In addition to his academic and business experience, John brings to his practice over 30 years of martial arts training, coaching and teaching.  He is a third degree black belt in Aikido, sometimes referred to as ‘The Art of Peace.’   Morehei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido, called it the ‘Way of Peace,’ created to unite the ‘One World Family’ in a Peaceful ‘Beautiful World.’

 

 

Andrea Miralles, Creating Peaceful Communities, Diablo For Peace

Andrea Miralles, Creating Peaceful Communities, Diablo For Peace

Andrea Miralles is a Bay Area native and UC Berkeley graduate. She is a mixed-race Filipino-American and proud feminist with a passion for promoting gender equality and diversity. She speaks Spanish and Tagalog. Through language and community, she hopes to celebrate diverse cultures and empower underserved groups. She blogs on social issues and intersectional feminism with a hometown friend from Walnut Creek. In college she became President of Cal’s first Women Empowerment Club wherein she fostered a community support and common interest group that met weekly to discuss feminist themes and have cathartic practices such as yoga and meditation, which she led. She also participated in other college clubs such as the Art of Living, American Red Cross, and College Ski and Snowboarding. She has worked as a volunteer in various non-profits including House of Hope in Chile for emancipated infants, the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program, YWCA, and St. Francis of Assisi Church. Out of college, she worked at Yahoo, and is currently on a path to becoming a Software Engineer.

Daniel Reynolds, Board Chair and Education Committee

Daniel Reynolds, Board Chair and Education Committee

Dan Reynolds of Martinez has been a board-member since 2011, and the board chair since 2012. He currently works as a union organizer for the California Teachers Association. Previously, he spent 16 years as a classroom teacher in the Mount Diablo Unified School District, teaching English, Film Study, and Human Rights Education. Dan has worked closely with numerous community groups, professional organizations, and student clubs and focuses his efforts on empowering student voices, promoting the teaching profession to youth, pushing for culturally responsive and social justice oriented school-, district-, and state-level policies, and developing curriculum, including an elective course in Human Rights Education. He has received numerous honors, including a CTA Human Rights Award, and the NCTE High School Teacher of Excellence Award. He presents often at educational conferences and is a member of the Center’s “Creating A Peaceful School” conference committee, and is chair of the Curriculum Study Commission of the Central California Council for the Teachers of English.

David Seaborg, Global Environmental Committee

David Seaborg, Global Environmental Committee

David Seaborg is a well-known leader in the environmental movement. He founded and heads the World Rainforest Fund, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to saving the earth’s tropical rainforests and biodiversity.  David wrote an article that is a summary of the scientific research on the effects of high atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide other than global warming. Unlike the climatic effects, these effects are not well known to the general public. They are very serious, and have the potential to cause high levels of extinction of species and greatly disrupt ecosystems and our food supply.  He was on the city of Lafayette’s General Plan Advisory Committee, which he guided to producing a ten-year General Plan for that city that emphasized environmental sustainability, preserving open space, combating global warming, and energy conservation.

David served on the Board of Directors of the Club of Rome of the USA, the environmental think tank that published the Limits to Growth in the 1970’s. This is a computer simulation study that showed that continued growth and consumption of resources will lead society to disaster.  He conceived, and helped secured passage by the Berkeley City Council, an ordinance banning the use of old growth rainforest and redwood in all products used by the city of Berkeley. This ordinance also required all businesses contracting with Berkeley to stop using old growth rainforest and redwood in any products or services Berkeley hires them to use or perform, or in any product they sell this city.

David conceived the idea for and was the head organizer for a press conference of Nobel Prize winners on global environmental issues that was held at the time of the 100th Nobel Prize ceremonies in Sweden, in December, 2001.  He is renowned for being especially socially skilled, excellent at working with and bringing out the best in people, and inspiring them to have an interest in biology, the earth, its animals and their habitats. He has inspired countless people to become environmentalists passionate about saving the earth. As a result of this passion, many of these people worked hard at saving the environment and achieved a considerable degree of success at it.

David has been to over 30 countries, observing various natural ecosystems and wildlife. He is listed is in Who’s Who In America. An excellent public speaker, he lectures to various scientific, environmental, civic, business, and other organizations on evolutionary biology, the philosophical implications of science, and environmental issues.  Serving in the board since 2013.

Sara Spence, Education and Development Committees

Sara Spence, Education and Development Committees

Sara Spence recently retired and moved to Walnut Creek from Milwaukee Wisconsin (2010).  She has a B.A. in Art and an M.S. in Educational Psychology from University of Wisconsin with a focus on early childhood.  Most recently Sara worked with the public in constituent services for the office of Congresswoman Gwen Moore.  In the past she worked in several non-profit organizations including as a founder and director of two early childhood programs and director of health education in a community clinic.  Involved in the peace movement since college, Sara focuses on the planning and implementation of the peaceful schools conference and works on the education and planning committees.  She found the Center immediately upon moving to the Bay Area.  Serving in the board since 2011.

Rick Sterling, Vice-Chair, International Issues and Development

Rick Sterling, Vice-Chair, International Issues and Development

Rick Sterling was born and grew up in Vancouver Canada, he studied anthropology at Simon Fraser University and came to the US as an activist in 1976 after working in Africa where he got married and ended up staying.  Rick says: “With kids, had to get a real job so I studied electronics at Merritt College and Cogswell Polytechnical. After 25 years working in the high tech and aerospace industries I retired from my senior electronics engineering position at UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory in 2011 (NASA and satellite work), so now I can work full time on progressive causes.  I have an interest in public education and activism to promote positive change. My skills include writing, presentations and outreach and consider myself a ‘self-starter’ able to lead and work with others.

Went to Middle East in summer 2007, part of Palestine Summer Encounter seeing the situation on the ground, meeting great Palestinian and Israeli organizations and individuals. Went to Honduras in summer 2011 as part of an international human rights delegation. We travelled around the country and met various organizations speaking about the aftermath of the 2009 coup. Returned to Honduras in November 2012 as part of human rights group monitoring the primary election. I am interested to bring more information on Latin America and Middle East to Contra Costa. The goal is to push for substantial change in US policy and building support for progressive organizations working for change in other countries.

Was a member of the MDPJC board for a few years (approx 2006 – 2010) and currently on the board of Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas (www.mitfamericas.org/about). I’m currently active or connected to the KPFA outreach committee, Rossmoor friends of KPFA club, Rossmoor Voices for Justice in Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Network, Middle East Study Group and Richmond Progressive Alliance.  I believe the Center needs to continue promoting peace messages in schools and the community. Believe it would be useful to encourage more people from the community to travel abroad and bring back / share their experiences and observations (Latin America, Middle East and beyond). Would like to see the Center take more active positions in opposition to the war machine, oil corporations, etc. and make more connections/coordination with other peace / justice groups.  Serving in the board since 2013.

Virginia Wheaton, Editor of Peace Gazette, Communications Committee

Virginia Wheaton, Editor of Peace Gazette, Communications Committee

Virginia Wheaton of Lafayette grew up in the Central Valley small town of Delano, home of Caesar Chavez’s UFWOC. The farmworker movement had a big impact on her growing up.  Always interested in political movements, she participated in many during her years at UCSC where she earned a BA in English Literature and an MA in Biology.  Ginny has been in the position of Peace Gazette Editor since 2007, publishing over 55 issues.  She is also chairing the communications committee, getting the message of the Center out through the newsletter, website and social media websites.  Serving in the board since 2009.

Tim Wise

CURRENTLY ON MEDICAL LEAVE.

Now retired and a resident of Rossmoor, Tim Wise earned an AB in music from Harvard and an LLD from Boston College. In his long legal career he worked in issues related to our causes including as a Public Defender; Criminal Trial Lawyer; pro bono work in Prisoner’s Rights; Civil Rights Division Chief for Massachusetts Attorney General, personally litigating the plaintiffs’ case in Boston’s School Desegregation, overseeing enforcement of Judge Garrity’s decree, and liaison with Boston Police, State Police, the Feds and the court appointed Masters for its implementation; Management of Raytheon Company’s inner city educational programs; and Volunteer Mediator of community disputes.

His role model was his mother, an executive on the original staff of the N.Y. State Commission Against Discrimination, founding member of NY’s Liberal Party, a woman who participated way back in the very first women’s rights demonstrations, marched with King, and got her doctorate in education in her 60’s, thereafter at Banks Street College of Education, involved in Head Start, Follow Through, and other HEW programs.,

Tim also worked as an executive at Raytheon, arming both sides of the Arab/Israeli War with antiaircraft missiles and licensing the Japanese manufacture of missiles.  It didn’t take long for him to find the priorities of the company to be substantially at odds with his own.  He resigned, foregoing stock options etc.  In terms of the Center objectives, Tim believes his work at Raytheon has given him insights into and perspective on the Military Industrial Complex as well as close at hand immersion in the opposites of peace.

Since retirement from professional mediation, aside from music and the theater, he has involved himself with peace and justices issues and organizations. “It is my fond hope to do what I can to lend a hand.”

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