We are a nonreligious organization made up of a variety of individuals who reside in Milton, Mattapan and surrounding communities. Many, but not all, of our members are associated with spiritual and religious organizations.
Karen Groce-Horan, Executive Director & Co-Founder
Karen as CCTRJ co-founder, describes herself as an almost life long 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 the sea and cherishes her Church of Our Saviour family!
Rev. Rachael Pettengill-Rasure, Organizational Director & Co-Founder
Rev. Rachael Pettengill-Rasure is the Rector of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Milton and co-founder of Courageous Conversations Toward Racial Justice. 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.
Betsy Disharoon, Associate Director
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.
Rev. Hall Kirkham, Leadership Team
The Rev. Hall Kirkham has been Rector at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Milton since 2012. He is one of the founding members of CCTRJ; is co-chair of the Clergy Continuing Education committee, and currently on the planning team for the creation of a Racial Justice Commission, in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts; and a member of the Board Council for Samaritans, Inc. Suicide Prevention. He is involved in the work of racial justice as part of his late-awakening during Seminary to systemic and modern racism present today; his realization that we, as children of God, are siblings in common; his understanding that the oppression of any one group oppresses the whole by reducing our humanity; and his awareness that his own privilege as a white male can be a useful tool in helping to dismantle racism and build reconciliation.
Janette Briceno, Leadership Team
Higher Education Senior Administrator & Lab Manager at Northeastern University. Member of the Church of Christ in Milton, MA.
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.
Mark Harris, Leadership Team
Rev. Lisa Ward, Leadership Team
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, Leadership Team
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, Leadership Team
Annette Correia, Leadership Team
Brandon Newsome, Leadership Team
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 Church of Christ in Milton. He has been drawn to this work by his prior research into microagressions and work with marginalized communities in clinical practice