Coordinating Board and Taskforce Chairs
Rev. Pierre Albrecht-Carrié
Coordinating Board Treasurer
Past President of the Board
College – Carleton College, Northfield, MN (BA, ’67, Political Science)
Seminary – Andover Newton Theological School, Newton MA (M.Div., ’78)
Pierre’s activism and commitment to nonviolence dates back to when was declared 1-A by his draft board and applied as a Conscientious Objector.
Reverend of Kenmore United Church of Christ, Pierre is also part of the Interfaith Peace Network, and their representative to the Network of Religious Communities. He is dedicated to interfaith efforts, as well as being a long-standing worker for peace and justice.
Mary Bisson, Ph.D
Chair of the Coordinating Board
Very involved in the Peace Center’s Latin American Solidarity Committee
“I began my association with the Peace Center when I joined the Pledge of Resistance (resisting US military intervention in Latin America) in the 1980’s. I appreciated the training I received from the Peace Center, and paid it back by serving two terms on the Board (one as chair) previously. In my other lives I am a professor of biology at UB and sing in the Elmwood Ave. Unitarian/Universalist Church choir.”
She is a scientist and a long-time Peace Center member who keeps up with issues of justice and maintaining peace. Mary is a faithful, hard-working and committed activist.
Terry is the Coordinator/Chair of the Latin American Solidarity Committee, emceeing the wonderful monthly Peace Coffeehouses that are a collaboration with Peace Action Canisius. He is a math professor at Canisius College, and a stalwart worker for Peace and Justice. We are grateful for Terry’s constancy and positivity.
Dr. Charles Bowman
Charley Bowman is the Co-Chair of the Environmental Justice Taskforce, and former Executive Director of the WNYPC. Charley is a former UB professor, a scientist, and a true activist, having been arrested numerous times both as part of We Are Seneca Lake, and – even more daringly – as part of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars’ Gandhian Wave of activism at the Hancock National Guard Air Reserve Station outside Syracuse. Charley and his wife Ann Marie are the backbone of the Women In Black – Buffalo contingent, faithfully bringing the cache of signs and standing outside in every kind (of unkind) weather! Charley also designed an alternate use Solar Energy Farm to replace the Niagara Fall Air Reserve Station – unfortunately the powers that be have not had the wisdom to adopt the plan, as yet. Charley has contributed to the progressive movement in so many ways: we can’t thank you enough, Charley, for your courage, persistence, and activism!
Russell T. Brown
Chair of Resist Militarism! Taskforce
Russell has a long history of veteran and peace advocacy work. Besides his involvement in Vietnam Vets Against the War, Russell is the President of our local Veterans for Peace Chapter #128.
Russell is very involved in the Peace Center, and can be counted on for creativity, compassion, and clear thinking!
Joe, Vice Chair of the Coordinating Board, is a long-standing peace activist, and heavily involved with the Environmental Justice Taskforce, especially the “Bomb Trains” and anti-pipeline initiatives. We can always count on Joe to volunteer to help out on a taskforce, campaign, or event that needs extra help, whether it’s on nuclear issues, indigenous issues, or finances. Joe’s activism is amazing – he just keeps right on!
Chuck is the Chair of the Prisoners’ Rights Taskforce and a dedicated peace and justice advocate. He has been involved with the WNYPC for many years, and has had more than one stint on the Board. He is very involved with efforts to transform the Erie County Holding Center and the criminal justice system in general, including abolition of the Death Penalty and Solitary Confinement. Chuck is doing a tremendous job of working to right the wrongs of the criminal justice system, at huge personal cost as the systems pushes hard to quash truth-telling. Thanks, Chuck, for all your service!!
Patricia Alinda Elliott-Patton
Patricia Alinda Elliott-Patton, Board Member and Co-Chair of the Education & Human Rights Taskforce, was born December 27, the day of the second principle of the Nguzu Saba, “Kujichagalia”, which means self-determination, her personal, educational, spiritual and professional life’s journey led her to a path of African Consciousness for which she has been crowned with the title “Queen Akilah YOHE-Ra”, which means “goddess of the sun that illuminates The Way.”
Patricia is Assistant Director at CAO, Site Director of the Rafi Greene CAO Masten Resource Center, and longtime community activist. She’s worked in broadcasting, and well as with youth and the general community.
Eric is the Chair of the Economic Justice Taskforce, which collaborate with other groups such as PUSH Buffalo, Center for Economic Justice (CEJ), League of Women Voters, and more. Eric often shows up at rallies, marches, and demos in surprising ways – as Eric Gottbucks, one of the Billionaires for Drumpf; as a Banana (is that right?), a “reefer,” or a who-knows-what (something related to the issue at hand); or with a Pachamama to light our way. We can count on Eric when we need him!
Dior is the co-chair of the Education & Human Rights Taskforce. She is also a full-time addictions counselor with her MSW from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Social Work, where she maintained a 4.0 her last semester. She won the 2016 Archie W. Swanson Honorary Award for her integrity, creativity, respect for the dignity of all people, warmth and keen sensitivity. Dior co-facilitated PeaceJam at the Youth Detention Facility as an intern for the WNY Peace Center last year, and worked with youth at Math, Science, Technology Prep School, the Delavan Grider Community Center, and more! Dior loves working with youth and families while using a trauma lens and a human rights framework. Her favorite part of being a social worker is being able to see others succeed though the use of empathy, guidance, and compassion.
She is a dog lover, a peace advocate, and a mindfulness coloring book enthusiast.
Long-time peace and justice activist John Long also chairs the Interfaith Peace Network. He’s particularly passionate about refugee issues – having headed up and supported Vive la Casa for many years, and shepherded it through to continue with Jericho Road Community Health Center – as well as issues relating to race, policing, and incarceration. John, a Presbyterian minister, is also the Presbytery of WNY’s representative on the Network of Religious Communities’ Board of Governors. You can always count on John to be just where he’s needed!
Tanya Loughead, Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of Women & Gender Studies at Canisius College, is the Chair of the Gender Justice Taskforce. We’re so grateful for her clarity, consistency, compassion, and courage. She’s devoted to Women’s and LGBTQIA Rights and has taken criticism for her principled stances without the slightest concern. She’s always ready to collaborate and do what needs to be done.
Kelly Maracle is a Mohawk and of the bear clan. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 3, she is a wonderful community activist and healer through massage therapy and other holistic healing methods. It is her goal to bring environmental issues to the forefront so that we may all work together to heal our Mother Earth.
Kelly’s portrayal of a woman veteran in the WNYPC’s staged reading of “The Lonely Soldier Monologues” was tremendously moving and memorable (and without any theatrical training!).
Kelly want to generate awareness of the mistreatment of our planet locally as well as globally, so that our children and grandchildren may have a better place to live. We’re so glad to have Kelly on our board, with all her insight, honesty, and devotion to the Good Mind.
Valerie is the Co-President of the congregation of Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ, and is the appointed Riverside-Salem representative on the WNYPC board.
Val is a longtime peace advocate. She says that in her teenage years she planned to join a kibbutz after a just peace was finally figured out for Israel and Palestine. Instead, in 1976 she migrated from NYC to Buffalo where she raised her two beautiful children. As they got older she got involved in trying to save the Libraries of Erie County, and counts saving the Niagara Branch as one of their great successes. You’re likely to see Val at gatherings devoted to more peace and justice in the community.
Heron Simmonds is a board member of the WNY Peace Center, and Chair of its Racial Justice Taskforce. Heron is an adjunct Philosophy Professor at Canisius College, and has made a tremendous contribution to the work of the Peace Center and to the activist scene in Buffalo.
Heron organized and facilitated the WNYPC’s series of Speak Outs on Ethical Peace Officers, is a key actor in the Better Policing Campaign, and started up the Cariole Horn Whistleblowers’ fund (which assists officers suffering financially for crossing the “Blue Line” when another officer mistreats others). Heron also works with the African Heritage Food Cooperative, Black Lives Matter, and Buffalo Anti-Racism Coalition.
He mediated a Buffalo Public Schools Community Discussion that successfully united the groups working for racial and gender justice in BPS, which have been a wonderful community asset thanks to his skilled, just, and compassionate facilitation. Heron’s community teaching includes a series of Justice Dialogs he ran during Occupy Buffalo, and many other initiatives. He also co-facilitated PeaceJam Groups at the Erie County Youth Detention Facility with Executive Director Vicki Ross in between stints on the Board.
Heron is also a great dad, devoted gardener, and host of many wonderful musical gatherings and parties! We are glad and grateful to have Heron on our Board, leading our Racial Justice Taskforce – he is Heroic Heron in our community!!