We are a nonreligious organization comprised of a variety of individuals residing in Milton, Mattapan, and surrounding communities.
Executive Director, Co-Founder
Karen, as CCTRJ co-founder, describes herself as an almost lifelong equity and justice advocate. In a life of varied careers in higher ed, business and finance, education and not-for profit philanthropy work, the areas that needed more attention related to equity would find their way into these important initiatives. Karen is originally from upstate NY and has resided most of her adult life in the greater Boston region, where she raised two daughters. Karen is employed at the United Way Mass Bay where she directs Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Priorities. In her free time she enjoys travel when that is possible, walks with her beloved long haired dachshunds in nature and by lake and sea!
REV. RACHAEL PETTENGILL-RASURE
Rev. Rachael Pettengill-Rasure is the Rector of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Milton and co-founder of CCTRJ. Since the fall of 2016 she has worked alongside this diverse team of leaders from the Milton-Mattapan community to bring about meaningful change through self examination, education, and relationship building. She is currently inactive on the leadership team but continues to be an ally in the Milton-Mattapan community.
Betsy Disharoon, a retired dentist, feels blessed to be at a stage in her life that allows her passions to not only surface but connect her with fellow explorers through delving into “the work”. As a compassionate healer in dentistry she sought additional training in effective listening to her patients. This skill has benefited her greatly in Courageous Conversations as facilitator of small groups. For 3 years she has identified closely with the role of a doula in assisting others to explore and confront their own biases and build interracial connection with others to bridge relationship and community.
Janette is a Higher Education Senior Administrator & Lab Manager at Northeastern University and a member of the Bedford Street Church of Christ in Abington, MA. She is involved in this work to help address issues related to numerous personal racial injustice experiences and the injustices generally suffered by people of color in the community.
REV. LISA WARD
Lisa is in her fifth year serving as Minister of First Parish in Milton, Unitarian Universalist. She is a member of the Milton Interfaith Clergy Association (MICA), and MICA liaison for Citizens for a Diverse Milton. Lisa also serves on the Milton Select Board “Equity and Justice For All Advisory Committee”. Racial Justice is a calling for Rev. Lisa, ever ready to learn, explore, and advocate for deeper and wider systemic change that can usher in a transformed, truly equitable society. It starts in the heart and expands interdependently through the fabric of society.
Debbie Alsebai is a sole proprietor in 2 exciting businesses. During the day she teaches cooking from scratch with healthy ingredients to kids and seniors through her Kidz Cooking with Miss Debbie business, often traveling to libraries and senior centers all around Massachusetts. By night she operates her Theater Lovers business where she gathers people to attend theater shows in the Boston area and beyond at discounted prices. She is a member of First Parish Milton Unitarian Universalist Church and Milton for Peace, and is drawn to Racial Justice work so everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential and to recognize and develop their gifts.
REV. ZENETTA ARMSTRONG
Rev. Z is Rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan, of one of the few predominantly BIPOC Episocopal congregations in MA. She brings a passion for equity and justice to this work through CCTRJ and her congregational work.
Dr. Brandon Newsome is an Adult Psychiatrist trained at Boston Medical Center. He is now subspecializing further in child psychiatry via a fellowship. He is affiliated with the Bedford Street Church of Christ in Abington, MA. He has been drawn to this work by his prior research into microaggressions and work with marginalized communities in clinical practice.
Jayne Ogata has worked with multi-constituent teams (administrators, teachers, students, and their families) to plan, implement, and assess initiatives to increase equity and student engagement in communities. She has been active since 2003 advocating for equity and inclusion in the diverse, suburban community of Milton. Jayne works with groups and organizations to support them in developing tools, skills, and awareness for facilitating conversations about race and racism. This work has been in collaboration with Courageous Conversations Towards Racial Justice (CCTRJ). Jayne also teaches yoga with a focus on mindfulness and meditation.
Eva Chow is a Research Assistant at Health Resources in Action. She first became involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion work at the University of Massachusetts, then went on to work with CCTRJ. Her hope is to address social determinants of health, including structures of racism and justice, through individual, interpersonal, and community level work.