Pax Christi USA is pleased to welcome Dianna Ortiz, OSU to our staff as our new Deputy Director. Dianna began her new position with Pax Christi USA the week of March 10th, just as the coronavirus outbreak was being recast as a global pandemic.
Dianna is familiar to many within the Pax Christi USA community already. In 2000, she was recognized with the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award, and previously served on the staff of Pax Christi USA about ten years ago.
Dianna is a Mount Saint Joseph Ursuline Sister from Kentucky. In her memoir, The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth, she writes about her life-changing ministry with the Mayan people in the highlands of Guatemala and gives a firsthand account of the personal and communal effects of political violence imposed by a war situation and state oppression. Her journey led her down a path to work for global and domestic human rights. She credits family, her Ursuline Community, friends and total strangers for giving her the courage to use truth-telling as a nonviolent political tactic to raise awareness about human rights issues and to promote change.
“The world is changing all around us. In a sense, we are being forced to be eyewitnesses to the human suffering of those around us and to the destruction of our planet. Any of us could be second guessing whether justice and peace truly prevail in a hurting and unjust world,” Dianna shared. “When hope gets tangled up in despair, I remind myself that working for peace is not a solitary act but a collective act of solidarity.”
Prior to rejoining the Pax Christi USA team, Dianna served as the Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA’s program outreach coordinator; Executive Director for the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC); Project Director for Education for Justice; and most recently, a consultant with Global Sisters Report.
In her position as Deputy Director, Dianna oversees the daily management of the Washington, D.C. staff in collaboration with the Executive Director, facilitates Pax Christi USA representation in D.C. policy circles, and serves as the primary coordinator of Pax Christi USA’s advocacy work.
“In this new chapter of my life, I hope to utilize what I have learned in previous ministries to assist Pax Christi USA in ‘reconnecting’ with existing members, cultivating a new generation of peacemakers, and promoting the movement’s four priority areas,” Dianna stated. “One of my roles as Deputy Director will be to represent PCUSA in various circles where we seek to have a voice and to build public confidence in the often-forgotten work of our members in the peace movement. In these circles, I promise to bring our members’ concerns to the table and to advocate with, and on behalf of all in our movement on issues that not only impact our communities but our entire world.”
“We are incredibly fortunate to have Dianna join our team and lend her voice and experience to the work we do to promote peace, practice nonviolence and address the root causes of the issues that are at the heart of our work,” stated Johnny Zokovitch, Pax Christi USA Executive Director. “Personally, for me and the rest of our team, it is a great gift to have her calm presence, her compassionate spirit and her kind heart to lift us up as we persist in work that can be challenging much of the time.”
We encourage our members to reach out and welcome Dianna in her new position with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.