Last week, the Pax Christi USA National Council validated the results for the 2020 National Council election. The candidates who were elected are Charlene Howard, Manuel Padilla and Peter Majura. We had an extraordinary slate of candidates and every candidate received significant support from within our membership.
Pax Christi USA is thankful for all of the ways each of our candidates has already been demonstrating and exercising leadership within our community. Our movement is as strong as it is because of their contributions and all the work each of them has already done.
Our congratulations go out to Charlene, Manuel and Peter as incoming members of the National Council beginning in October 2020. We are grateful for the time and talents they now commit towards our common effort of supporting Pax Christi USA’s mission.
Below you can find a short bio of each of the new council members and the vision statement they shared for the ballot.
Charlene Howard is a 5th generation African American Catholic raised in the District of Columbia to a nurse who worked in a community clinic and a draftsman who was an active member of Blacks in Government and the local labor union. Her faith was cultivated in both the Baptist and Catholic traditions among family members who were actively involved in a variety of ministries and leadership of their respective faith communities. From 1st grade through graduate school she attended Catholic institutions and has actively participated in the catechetical, liturgical and evangelical ministries of her parish, including serving as a liaison to the Office of Black Catholics and the National Black Catholic Congress. Professionally, she has worked as a teacher and advocate for children with disabling conditions and as an educator for the Archdiocese of Washington on the elementary and high school level in addition to facilitating catechist formation courses for adults. As a member of the Pax Christi USA National Council, she will share her love of young people, her cultural perspective and her desire to further the cause of Christ through His message of peace with the organization by using her public speaking, academic and interpersonal skills.
VISION: “Two areas that are of most interest to me upon which Pax Christi is focused are outreach to both youth/young adults and people of color. I am relatively new to the Pax Christi movement and am surprised that I’d never heard of it in my religious formation. Despite this, furthuring peace is an integral part of my faith and lifestyle. Developing means to expose more youth/young adults and people of color to the organization and its movement through active engagement in the issues that impact these communities seems to be an effective course forward. Pax Christi has to matter in their lives in order for them to be involved. Partnering with catechetical and evangelical ministries of the Church (CCD, publishers, youth ministries, small groups, CYO, etc.) through the development/implementation of materials; provision of workshops, simulations, teach-ins; and effective marketing, promotion to increase the visible presence of Pax Christi in efforts to promote peace along with, as well as, on behalf of the target populations should be among the organization’s priorities in order to achieve its desired outcomes.”
Manuel Padilla is an avid traveler who has worked and lived extensively, internationally doing peace, conflict and development work. He was also a program associate with PCUSA between January 2010 and December 2013, helping open the D.C. office and creating a special partnership between PCUSA and PC Port-au-Prince (SAKALA) in Haiti. He seeks out new flavors, new experiences, and new ways to transform ‘the stranger’ into ‘the family’. He’s a skilled facilitator and can help people to navigate and transform conflict as well as help guide people through intercultural and anti-racism processes. He is comfortable with researching, writing, and speaking. Having built up and run a small 501c3 previously, he is familiar with all aspects of organizational capacity building. To best offer what he can to PCUSA, he would seek to understand, more completely, its current needs.
VISION: “I believe in liberation through a foundational recognition of our shared interdependence and humanity. PCUSA can work in partnership with people to enact liberation through the lens of the simple subversive love of Jesus. This love challenged conventional norms and structural solipsistic power while offering a vision for community thriving through
curiosity, collaboration, creativity, and accountability. I believe these, and other gifts, manifest the unique kind of justice which PCUSA has always strived to realize. To enact this kind of justice, and breath into it fresh relevance and life, PCUSA needs to focus on building an ever wider and deeper relationship with young people and BIPoC communities (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) in addition to its more historic member base. White people and white dominant culture must learn how to listen, be responsive to, and give over power to the stories of ‘non-mainstream’ individuals and communities, which have also worked diligently for the success of PCUSA for many years. PCUSA should focus on not only how it will pray and reflect, but how will it act. What will it do to increase the ownership of its space, its mission, and its resources for communities of color, women, and under-resourced communities. One way it can potentially accomplish this is to strategize, in concert with them, what role PCUSA can most appropriately play to increase their voice and agency and learn how best it can accompany them in their journey and in achieving their goals, in the church and in the world. This is a journey which is each one of ours to share in together.”
Peter Aloys Majura grew up in a small town in Tanzania and is now living in the USA. He knows all too well the importance of peacemaking and our responsibility as Catholics, and humans, to actively promote peace in the world through social justice. He had the opportunity to work with Pax Christi USA as Program Associate, where he gained deep respect for the organization as he helped actualize the goals by developing materials for peacemakers, organizing and planning advocacy events, attending Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team meetings, facilitating interfaith dialogues between peacemaking organizations and giving presentations to promote nonviolent social action. He has 4 years of experience in a variety of international non-profits managing programs, working with Catholic youth and young adults, promoting Catholic Social Teaching, database management, and has a deep commitment to anti-racism. He obtained his MA from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and his BA from Berea College, Berea, KY.
VISION: “As a candidate for the PCUSA National Council I seek to help Pax Christi USA live out its commitment to the call of Christian nonviolence, to multiculturalism and to becoming an anti-racist organization. I will support Pax Christi by promoting and facilitating dialogues among its communities of all colors on how to live according to the Gospel of Nonviolence while emphasizing the value of human dignity. I will support Pax Christi as we work in responding to injustices in accordance with the truth because our brothers and sisters are counting on us. I will participate and encourage our brothers and sisters to live together peacefully and speak truth to power, especially those that wrongfully encourage violence and hate in our own communities. Finally, I will support partnering and engaging with other like-minded organizations and individuals to work together in order to end violence, cultivate multiculturalism, and say no to racism.”