Board, Staff, and Trainers

Roots of Justice, Inc., is led by our Accountability Council, and trainings are conducted by members of a Training Team.

Accountability Council

Michelle Armster

Wichita, Kansas

Michelle E. Armster is the Executive Director for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Central States.

Courtney Dunbar

Denver, CO
Joy Flora King

Joy Flora King

Treasurer - Dallas, Texas
Steve Kriss

Steve Kriss

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Christian Parks

Washington, DC

Training Team

Michelle Armster

Wichita, Kansas

Michelle E. Armster (she/her) is the Executive Director for Mennonite Central Committee Central States. Prior to this position Michelle spent 12 years as director of Mennonite Conciliation Services and co-director for the Office on Justice and Peacebuilding. Michelle has extensive training in meditation, facilitation, conciliation, restorative justice, arbitration, victim/offender mediation, anti-racism, and alternatives to violence. Her board service has included the YWCA, Spirit House Project, Inc., Lancaster Mediation Center, and the NAACP.

A graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary (M.Div.) Michelle spent 4 1/2 years as co-pastor of St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Lancaster, PA and 2 years as associate pastor for community outreach at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church also in Lancaster. Currently Michelle resides in Wichita, Kansas, and is active with Wichita Griots, an African American Storytellers organization, and a member of the National Association of Black Storytellers.

Phil Morice Brubaker

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Phil has been active in antiracism for over 20 years, as staff (1996-2015) and trainer (since 1999) with Roots of Justice and Damascus Road. His antiracism experience includes developing and facilitating multiracial workshops, organizing and facilitating white caucus/affinity groups, policy assessment and development, communications auditing, speaking engagements on white privilege, and logistics and technological support.

Phil holds degrees from Messiah College (BA 1994) and Duke University Divinity School (MTS 2002), and is comfortable communicating with secular audiences as well as the range of Christian audiences from Evangelical to liberal Mainline. Phil lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his spouse and their two children. He enjoys gardening, home food preservation, hiking, and visiting wild places.

Rick Derksen

Seattle, Washington

Rick Derksen (he/him) lives with his partner on occupied Duwamish land in what is known as Seattle, Washington. He has been organizing collectively with family members, friends, various faith communities and colleagues to undo white supremacy and other forms of systemic oppression since first participating in a Damascus Road anti-racism training in 2000. Rick has been a Damascus Road/Roots of Justice trainer since 2002.

Rick is ordained in the Mennonite Church and worked as Mennonite Central Committee’s Anti-Racism Coordinator in Pennsylvania until moving to Seattle in 2011. Rick is the happy grandparent of six young granddaughters who help to keep him grounded and remind him that a better world is possible. In addition to antiracist organizing and spending time with family, Rick enjoys birdwatching whenever he gets the chance.

Calenthia Dowdy

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Calenthia S. Dowdy, Ph.D. (she/her) is a cultural anthropologist and college professor. Her academic research took place in Brazil where she enjoyed the fusion of Indigenous, African, and Portuguese cultures. She is trained in antiracism, diversity, equity and inclusion, and also works in public health with communities dealing with trauma and the connections between body, mind, spirit and wholeness. 

Dowdy’s life adventures include working as a youth minister, kindergarten and eighth grade teacher, sailing the Sea of Galilee, and dancing with the Quechua people in the mountains of Bolivia. She received a Women’s Way Powerful Voice Award in 2016, completed the International Inside-Out program for prison education in 2019, and was awarded a Red Ribbon Award from the Penn Center for AIDS Research in 2020.

Felipe Hinojosa

College Station, Texas

Felipe Hinojosa, Ph.D. (he/him) is associate professor of history at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. His research includes Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, American Religion, Race, Ethnicity, and Social Movements. In addition to serving as Director of the Carlos H. Cantu Hispanic Education & Opportunity Endowment, Hinojosa serves as editor for the interdisciplinary online journal Latinx Talk. His work has appeared in Zócalo Public SquareWestern Historical QuarterlyAmerican Catholic StudiesMennonite Quarterly Review, and in multiple edited collections on Latinx Studies.

Hinojosa’s first book, Latino Mennonites: Civil Rights, Faith, and Evangelical Culture (2014) was awarded the 2015 Américo Paredes Book Award for the best book in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies by the Center for Mexican American Studies at South Texas College. His new book, Apostles of Change: Latino Radical Politics, Church Occupations, and the Fight to Save the Barrio (2021) is set in four major cities (Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Houston) where in 1969 and 1970 Latina/o radicals clashed with religious leaders as they occupied churches to protest urban renewal, poverty, police brutality, and racism. 

Nick Miron

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Nick Miron (he/him) became intentionally antiracist 15 years ago and has since worked with community and nonprofit organizations, corporations, schools and churches to help them deepen their understanding of, commitment to, and work against racism, white supremacy, gender/sex oppression and violence. Nick is deeply appreciative of the graciousness and learning he has received from friends and co-facilitators within Roots of Justice and beyond, and for those who continue to challenge the status quo while working to build a society based on affirmation, equity, and justice. He is also grateful for his personal support structures, Allison, his two children, and feline companion, Percy.

Conrad Moore

Stone Mt, Georgia

Conrad Moore (he/him) has been involved with Roots of Justice since 1997. For several years he served as co-coordinator for the MCC US Anti-Racism Program/Damascus Road and has also worked in peace education focusing on crime and justice issues. He lives in Stone Mt., Georgia with his wife and young daughter and is on the road a lot as a professional driver. Conrad remains actively involved in local urban peace-building movements.

Yvonne Platts

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Yvonne Platts (she/her) calls herself an urban peace warrior. She likes to laugh and joke but has no time to play when it comes to addressing injustice. A Restorative Practice Facilitator by trade and Peace Warrior by calling, Yvonne is on a mission to live out her purpose and pursuits by addressing systemic institutional racism along with promoting peace building and healing from racial trauma. To stay grounded and for overall health benefits she walks daily with GirlTrek. Yvonne holds a Masters in Restorative Practices and Youth & Family Counseling and is a certified Victim Offender Dialogue Facilitator, Professional Trauma Specialist, and a Train the Trainer Circle and Community Conference Facilitator.

Dee Dee Risher

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dee Dee Risher (she/her) is a writer and editor, facilitator, and activist. She wrote The Soulmaking Room, and edited The Other Side and Conspire! magazines. She is a founder of the Philadelphia Alternative Seminary and Vine and Fig Tree, an intentional Christian community. She works at a Philadelphia housing nonprofit as a community organizer of residents as well as supporting its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative.

Jessica Rodriguez Becker

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jessica Rodriguez Becker (she/her) has been a Philly resident since 1999 but was born and raised in NYC and is of Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Indigena/Latinx descent and she feels most at home near the equator. She’s a writer, specifically in love with poetry and poetic prose, a Spanish teacher, a lover of art and music and a woman committed to local and household activism. She loves her blackness, her Caribbean-ness, her womanhood, her sisterhood, and her mother-hood. She loves to be part of the liberating journey that practicing yoga inspires in others, especially those who have been excluded and invisibilized in modern capitalist structures. She is committed to bringing healing mindfulness and embodiment work to folks who identify as fat, disabled, queer, black and brown and she is always on a journey of decolonizing both her practice and her mind.  

Regina Shands Stoltzfus

Elkhart, Indiana

Regina Shands Stoltzfus, Ph.D. (she/her) is a professor at Goshen College in the Peace, Justice Conflict Studies (PJCS) and Bible, Religion and Philosophy (BRP) departments. Her courses include Race, Class and Ethnic Relations, Personal Violence and Healing, Peacemaking, and Transforming Conflict and Violence. Dr. Shands Stoltzfus is co-founder of the Damascus Road Antiracism Process and continues as a core trainer with Roots of Justice. Other experiences include serving as staff associate for urban peacemaking with Mennonite Central Committee, associate pastor at Lee Heights Community Church in Cleveland, and as a campus pastor at Goshen College. Regina is the recipient of the State of Indiana’s 2016 Spirit of Justice Award, the highest award conferred by Indiana’s Civil Rights Commission.

Bethany Stewart

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Bethany Stewart (she/her) is a local community organizer in Philadelphia that is striving to make the connections between radical Jesus following and radical subversion of American white supremacy. She has co-led the Circle Mobilizing Because Black Lives Matter compassion team at Circle of Hope for 4 years along with serving as a core organizer for the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, partnering with Black Lives Matter Philly and the Participatory Defense hub initiative. Bethany also works as an Employment Specialist for formerly homeless young adults at a local nonprofit that provides permanent housing for homeless populations. She also serves as 1/3 of the Color Correction podcast trio. 

Chantelle Todman

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Chantelle Todman (she/her) seeks to embody personal and collective liberation through her coaching and consulting practice and movement chaplaincy work. Chantelle is a Black, afro-Caribbean, afro-Latinx, contemplative, queer Anabaptist and uses she/her pronouns. A member of the steering committee of the office of Women in Leadership, Mennonite Church USA and the Intercultural Leadership Coach at Mosaic Mennonite Conference. She talks a lot about embracing and celebrating all people as Divine image bearers, working for justice, exploring pleasure and imagining and building a liberative world. Originally from Miami, Florida, and currently lives in the Vine and Fig Tree community in Philly with her family.

Brenda Zook Friesen

Forest Grove, Oregon

Brenda Zook Friesen (she/her) was introduced to antiracism organizing through her Mennonite Central Committee service term in New Orleans where she worked at The People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond. She has served as a trainer with Damascus Road/Roots of Justice since 1999, and as the director of the MCC US Anti-Racism Program. She currently works as the business manager for Tara Mohr, LLC, and volunteers with her local Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) chapter. Brenda lives in Forest Grove, Oregon, where she enjoys lots of outdoor adventures with her partner, Phil, and their two sons.