DAVID ATWOOD has been a peace and justice activist for over 20 years. He is Coordinator of Pax Christi Houston and serves on the Board of Pax Christi Texas. Previously he served on the National Council of Pax Christi USA.
Dave is past president of the Houston Peace and Justice Center and serves on the Board of that organization.
He is founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP) and served as the president of that organization for several years after its founding. Previously he served on the Board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Dave frequently speaks in public about peace, justice and human rights, all of which are dear to his heart. He believes in the sacredness of life and is a strong proponent of solving problems in a nonviolent manner. The concept of the Beloved Community is one that he believes has the potential for uniting humanity in a way that history has not seen in the past.
P.K. McCARY, writer/storyweaver, is the host and founder of The Peace Hour and Think Peace Radio Network. Ms. McCary is a peace ambassador whose work includes workshop and event coordination of programming for various organizations, host and entertainer.
She is a board member of the Decade of Nonviolence-Houston, a global council member of the international organization, United Religions Initiative, and a representative of the World Peace Prayer Society whose prayer is "May Peace Prevail on Earth."
Ms. McCary tells the stories of "peace in action" through both her radio broadcast and her podcast station for youth called "Think Peace Radio." Most important in her life, however, is her family, both of blood and heart. She is the mother of three wonderful children, and her joy is being with both her grandson and granddaughter, because they are our future.
SHELLEY SHANKS talent was spotted early in her childhood by grade school educators who allowed her the freedom to be guided by her own muse. In the 80's, Shelley apprenticed with artist Michael Goodhue, and has picked up techniques and learned new mediums along her artistic journey from a variety of artists and artisans.
But it's Shelley's compassion that has earned her fame, donating her time and talent to helping nonprofits in their quests to make the world a better place. Human rights, social justice and peace are dear to her heart.
Shelley participated in Peace Jam with Nobel Laureate Adolfo Esquivel at the University of Houston in 2004 by painting with 200 young people. Her art has been used as promotional material for the University of Illinois' Education vs. Incarceration Conference in 2004 and in traveling exhibitions on Human Trafficking.
Shanks has donated the sale of her work to the Bernstein Clinic for the homeless in Michigan, the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation which is building a state of the art hospital in the Congo, and to countless other worthwhile causes. Shelley Shanks says, "Everyone should use their powers for good," and that is what she does!
BRANDON WHITTING is an example of how the power of education can change ones life. Growing up in the small town of Crockett, Texas in the section 8 apartments known as Prince Hall, he was exposed to the harsh realities of drugs and violence. The negative influences of his environment would eventually lead him down the path of self-destruction.
At the age of seventeen while a senior in high school, one mistake changed his life forever. Brandon and a few friends decided to rob a convenience store in Madisonville, Texas. In the event, he discharged a firearm unaware that the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling hitting the clerk in her right arm.
Even though he was a teenager, he was tried and convicted of two heinous crimes- aggravated robbery and attempted capital murder. As a result he was given a lengthy sentence in prison-narrowly escaping the death penalty…
During his fourteen years of incarceration, he decided to earn his G. E. D. and pursued his Associate Degree in Humanities. Upon making his exit out of prison he attended Prairie View A & M University in pursuit of his Bachelor degree in Psychology.
Mr.Whitting is very passionate about speaking to the youth about his experiences with hopes they will not make the same mistakes he made. Since his release in March 2006 he has lectured many schools in East Texas as well as juvenile facilities, churches , universities, etc.. In the near future he looks forward to publishing his autobiography.
Mr. Whitting is an advocate for social justice and peace and believes in helping bring light to the plight of troubled youth through his “real talk” speeches… He has been a guest on several radio stations spreading his message of helping our youth by showing them love, compassion, and giving them hope and knowledge…
REV. RONNIE LISTER and his wife, REV. ANN founded The International Center for Spiritual and Social Activism in July 2015. Ann serves as the Executive Director of this new nonprofit organization that is committed to teaching and primarily focusing on the necessity of cultivating the God like attributes of love, compassion, justice, and the celebration of ethnic and spiritual diversity in our world.
Rev. Ronnie is a passionate social activist who is involved with “The fight for fifteen,” a movement to increase the minimum wage to fifteen dollars per hour; Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Healthcare as a Human Right, and Interfaith Dialogue. He is a recipient of the following awards: The Gandhi Award for Peace in 2011 by the Gandhi Historical Center; The Ester L. King Bridge Builder Award in 2014 by the Council of American and Islamic Relations, for his ability to forge coalitions promoting justice and mutual understanding in the world; and The Community Ally Award also presented in 2014 by The Fey Justicia Center for his work in Immigration Justice and Reform.
Rev. Ronnie is currently the Interfaith Consultant for the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation. Rev. Ronnie and Ann are both deeply committed to the furtherance of the Beloved Community in the City of Houston and in the world.