CSE’s Advisory Board provides leadership, strategic guidance, and support to CSE:
Reverend Shaundra Cunningham
Shaundra is a former military kid who has lived all over but Columbia, South Carolina is home. Shaundra received her B.S. in business administration from the University of South Carolina and her Master of divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School with research interests in the role of the black church, gender equity, popular culture and religion. At Harvard, Shaundra served as president of Harambee, Harvard Divinity School’s Black Student Union, and organized a conference on hip hop and religion. Out of this conference, Shaundra was asked to contribute an article to Emmett Price’s anthology The Black Church and Hip Hop Culture: Toward Bridging the Generational Divide. In February 2010 she was ordained by the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. After completing a one year CPE (clinical pastoral education) residency at Spartanburg Regional Hospital, she know works as a hospital chaplain in Seattle, WA. In the words of Peter Gomes, Shaundra is committed to doing ministry with both head and heart and hopes to embody that in all she does.
Reverend Laura Ruth Jarrett
Laura Ruth grew up on the south side of Atlanta, GA, and is the Pastor at Hope Central Church in Jamaica Plain, MA. Prior to serving at Hope Central, Laura Ruth served as the Minister of Outreach and Evangelism at the First Church in Somerville, where she was instrumental in growing church membership. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Georgia in Athens and a Masters of Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge. Her field work included serving as a Student Minister at St. Luke’s and St. Margaret’s Parish, an Episcopal Church in Allston-Brighton. She worked at the Women’s Center in Plainville, MA, a Dominican retreat house, helping with retreat preparation and working on worship music with composer Carolyn McDade. Laura Ruth also served a two-year internship at Pilgrim Congregational Church, UCC in Lexington, MA with her mentor, the Rev. Judith Brain. Laura Ruth traveled to North Carolina for the launch of the WE DO Campaign and is active in CSE’s work as part of the Boston Support Team.
Dr. Mark Jordan
Mark Jordan is a professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics as Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University. A renowned philosopher, ethicist, and theologian, he formerly served as the Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Divinity at Harvard University. He taught previously at the University of Notre Dame and Emory University. His writing and teaching pursue questions about the interactions of political and religious rhetoric, the history of sex and gender in America, and the functions of ritual in creating unexpected identities. He teaches a range of courses in Christian ethics, natural law, theology, sexuality. His many books include Ordering Wisdom: The Hierarchy of Philosophical Discourses in Aquinas (1986); The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology (1997); The Ethics of Sex (2002); Telling Truths in Church: Scandal, Flesh, and Christian Speech (2003); Rewritten Theology: Aquinas after His Readers (2006); and Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality (2011). He has just finished a book on religion and bodily resistance in the writings of Michel Foucault.
Luke is an attorney in Charlotte, NC, at Tin Walker Fulton and Owen. He joined the law firm in 2009, after 18 years as a partner at Ferguson Stein Chambers. One of eight children in a Navy family, Luke earned a B.A. cum laude from Duke University in 1979 and worked as a teacher, social worker and carpenter before entering law school at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he graduated in 1990.Luke’s practice has included trial and appellate work in state and federal courts in education, employment, civil rights, criminal defense, personal injury and medical negligence.He represented the class of black families in the 1999 trial and later appeals in the historic Charlotte school desegregation case, originally known as Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education, and later as Belk v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.He more recently has won large jury verdicts for Title VII retaliation (Brown v. Hillcrest Foods, Western District of North Carolina, 2005) and defamation (Roquemore v. Shepherd Electric, Mecklenburg County, 2003) and has had significant confidential settlements in police misconduct and medical malpractice cases.Luke has represented school teachers since 1990 for the North Carolina Association of Educators. Luke is a member of the Mecklenburg County Bar Association, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, the North Carolina Bar Association, and the North Carolina State Bar, and has served on the board and legal committee of the ACLU of North Carolina and the N.C. Justice Center.He also remains involved as board president of NCLEAF, which today provides over $750,000 in assistance annually to public service lawyers.
Carmen was born in New York City and attended the New School of Social Research. She spent most of her adult life in Southern California where she, and her husband Bruce, raised their two daughters and ran their media and marketing business. After 2 years touring the contiguous US in a motor coach they settled in Asheville, NC in 2007. Carmen describes herself as being a community activist/organizer from very early in life. Since arriving in Asheville she has worked on multiple political campaigns and served as a volunteer with Children First, Barriers to Re-entry Roundtable, Community Race Discussion Group and served as a facilitator with Building Bridges of Asheville. She is an officer of the East End / Valley Street Neighborhood Association and was recently appointed by the Asheville City Council to serve on the Neighborhood Advisory Committee. Carmen feels it’s a privilege to be a part of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s staff, as the WE DO Campaign Peacekeeping Team Leader, and on the forefront our time’s civil rights movement – equal rights for the LGBT community! Carmen is the current President of the NAACP of Asheville and a leader in the Mountain People’s Assembly, which is part of the Moral Monday Movement. When there’s free time, she enjoys watching classic films, reading political history books and socializing with friends.
Allison is a proud Asheville native who attended Reynolds and Erwin High Schools as well as AB Tech. She is particularly passionate about community outreach, politics, activism, cares deeply about Asheville and its citizenry, and works daily at the local level to ensure that Asheville is a welcoming community for its minorities and traditionally marginalized populations. Allison identifies as a trans woman, she knew she was transgender at a very young age and completed her transition in 2015. As part of her advocacy work she has developed and led numerous training’s for local organizations including medical practices, schools, churches, and businesses, established a name-change initiative for trans people, conducted support groups, participated in panel discussions, interviews, and coordinated with local school systems, news agencies, and politicians regarding equality for LGBTQIA people. Allison also has served on CPAC, the Asheville Citizen’s Police Advisory Council, for approximately one year working to help resolve issues that arise between the community and local law enforcement. She is currently the Information Systems manager for a large manufacturing facility in Buncombe county. She also has the world’s best seven-year-old son who brings joy to her life every day and when she’s not working and engaged in community matters she enjoys traveling to some fun destination with her loving partner Daniel whose support has been one of the many gifts he brings to her life.