‘Can two walk together unless they are agreed?’ Amos 3:3 (NKJV)

Given today’s highly charged racial nature of our society, it is our goal to discuss, achieving unity in a nonpolitical and nonracial context. The discussion, while focusing on current events, will center on ideas and solutions for all Americans to live in unity through humility and dignity.

We are so fortunate and blessed to live in such a caring and compassionate community with a deep understanding and commitment to UNITY, which is working to achieve Healing Our City through Humility & Dignity.

Top political and institutional leaders will serve on two different panels:

  • Panel One: Education and Healthcare
  • Panel Two: Business/Economic and Law Enforcement

Jerry Dyer, Mayor-Elect of the City of Fresno, will present a Unity Speech and H. Spees the Director of Strategic Initiatives, Office of Mayor, will present a Unity Day Proclamation.

Family Community Church is honored to host this event and enjoys a 25-year history in Fresno.

 

Symposium Participants

Jerry Dyer

Mayor-Elect of Fresno, CA

Jerry Dyer served the Fresno Police Department for 40 years. As a sergeant, he supervised several high-profile units such as the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), the Patrol Tactical Team, the Major Narcotics Unit, and he also served as an Internal Affairs Investigator. Jerry rose through the ranks serving as a lieutenant, captain, deputy chief, and as the department’s first assistant chief of police. Jerry was appointed police chief on August 1, 2001, and was the longest tenured police chief in the history of the Fresno Police Department. He is the longest serving police chief of any major city in the United States. In his role as police chief, Jerry oversaw a department of more than 1,100 employees and an operating budget of $200 million. Jerry earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from California State University Fresno, and a Master’s Degree in Management from California Polytechnic University at Pomona. Jerry is also a graduate of the California Command College, where his peers recognized him as the Most Inspirational Student. In addition, Jerry is a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute. Jerry has served as the President of the California Police Chiefs Association and is a past recipient of the Joseph T. Malloy Award, the most prestigious award granted by the California Police Chiefs Association.

Bob Nelson, Ed.D

Superintendent of Fresno Unified School District

Robert G. Nelson was appointed Superintendent of Fresno Unified School District in September 2017. Prior to his appointment to superintendent, Dr. Nelson served the district for over 23 years, holding various roles including teacher, vice principal, principal, human resources administrator and chief of staff. Dr. Nelson served as the Chawanakee Unified Superintendent in Eastern Madera County for approximately three years before returning to Fresno Unified School District. Dr. Nelson graduated from the University of Southern California (USC), completed his Masters in Educational Administration and Supervision at California State University, Fresno and earned his doctoral degree at USC. Outside of being an educator, Dr. Nelson and his wife Tiffany are parents of seven amazing children ranging in ages from 22 years to 2-year-old twins. Dr. and Mrs. Nelson have always felt a need to support children and have spent a number of years as foster parents, resulting in the adoption of four of their seven children.

Joseph Jones, Ph.D

President of Fresno Pacific University

Joseph Jones, Ph.D., came to Fresno Pacific University after serving several years as vice rector of a Christian university in Pakistan. His prior 20-plus years in higher education included service as provost at North Park University, Chicago, and dean of education and social sciences at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. Before becoming a professor, Jones served in justice systems in New York, Oklahoma and Virginia. Jones has a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. His work in higher education includes building university/community partnerships with the aim to empower students, faculty and staff to “Engage the Cultures and Serve the Cities. Jones has served on numerous boards and travelled extensively with the aim of“extending the influence of the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education.”

Richard Kriegbaum, Ph.D

President Emeritus of Fresno Pacific University

Dr. Richard Kriegbaum, author of the book Leadership Prayers, (100,000 print and digital copies in four languages) served 40 years in faculty and administrative roles at Wheaton College and Fresno Pacific University, including 15 as the FPU President. He was President of United Way of Fresno for 8 years and has been a speaker or consultant on leadership, systemic change, governance, and prayer for 170 organizations.

Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.

President of California State university, Fresno

Joseph I. Castro was appointed as the eighth president of California State University, Fresno on August 1, 2013. He is the first Central Valley native to serve in this leadership position. Dr. Castro also serves as Professor of Educational Leadership in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development. Prior to his appointment at Fresno State, he served as Vice Chancellor, Student Academic Affairs at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) from 2006-13. During that time, he led an array of departments that served the academic needs of UCSF’s talented and diverse student body.

Karen Ledee-Lewis, RN, MSN, FNP

Nurse Practitioner

Karen LaDee-Lewis is licensed to practice in California. She is an educator, mentor to other Nurse Practitioner Students and has worked much of her career serving those of various socioeconomic status. Karen’s first two places of employment were with two Black female physicians who guided her medical expertise and evoked teachings of compassion and understanding for every patient population. She is the mother of three college graduated children.

Pastor Larry Powell

Pastor of Community Connection, People’s Church

After 43 years in education, Larry retired as the superintendent of schools for Fresno County where he oversaw 35 school districts, 325 schools, and nearly 200,000 students. He also spent two years as the chairman of California’s Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team during the height of the financial crisis in California. You can listen to Larry on his radio feature “Good News with Larry Powell” on iHeart Radio and PowerTalk 96.7, and on KSEE24 and CBS 47 as a political analyst. As if that doesn’t keep him busy enough, he and his wife Dot, a published author of children’s books, founded The Powell Project C3:23 to bring encouragement and hope to families and individuals who are struggling in life. Larry has been recognized in California and his community as the ACSA Superintendent of the Year in Region 9, Distinguished Citizen by the Boy Scouts, the Horizon Award winner for his work in promoting the arts, Humanitarian of the Year, one of 20 Americans of the Year by Esquire Magazine in 2011, and was named Outstanding Alumni by the Kremen School of Education at Fresno State.

Pastor Keith McCann

Equipping Pastor at Cross City Church

Keith was born and raised in the Fresno/Clovis area, and began attending CrossCity with his wife LeeAnn in 2014. Keith worked for 15 years in Emergency Medical Service in the Fresno and Kings Counties as a Paramedic after graduating with a degree in Emergency Management. After attending a membership class, Keith filled out a connection card and began serving as a volunteer in the Music and Production Department, and was eventually challenged by Jimmy Corrao to begin using his talents for the kingdom full time. In addition to working at the church, he began to volunteer for the Celebrate Recovery ministry on Friday nights, which resulted in his appointment as Ministry Leader a short time later.

Denard Fobbs, M.D.

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Dr. Denard Fobbs, M.D., is a Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist in Fresno, CA and has over 44 years of experience in the medical field. Dr. Fobbs has more experience with Gynecologic Care than other specialists in his area. He graduated from Howard University College Of Medicine medical school in 1976.

Pamela Fobbs

Co-Owner of Fobbs’ LifePoint Institute for Women

Pamela Fobbs have faithfully given of her time, talent and/or treasure to: The National Medical Association and Auxiliary, United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Valley Public Television, Institute for the Advancement of Multicultural and Minority Medicine, and numerous other charitable organizations.

Sabrina Kelley, MPH

Community Relations Consultant, Wells Fargo Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations

Sabrina Kelley is the community relations consultant and foundation officer for Wells Fargo Bank where she guides the philanthropic work for the Central Valley region from Stockton to Bakersfield, CA. A longtime Fresno resident, Sabrina has a unique career history that includes work in philanthropy, broadcast news and non-profit/ community development. For the past 10 years of her career, she’s worked in Central Valley advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion, and alleviating public health and community development issues in poor, disenfranchised neighborhoods. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from California State University, Fresno and is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Inter-Disciplinary Research Leaders Fellow. finding common ground among people of diverse backgrounds and interests.

Ron Nelson

Multi-Media Area Director for Central Valley FCA

Ron Nelson is a former Minor League Baseball Player of 2 years. Ron has been in youth ministry for twenty years, with the last ten being with Northpark Community Church. He is the current FCA Multi-Media Area Director. Ron is married to the Beautiful Anastasia and they have three children together: Zach, Sam and Ruthie.

Laneesha Senegal

Executive Director of H.O.P.E.

Since 2005, Laneesha has launched programs promoting the spread of HOPE. Her passion to see people equipped with every life tool to succeed has been her motivation. Her years of experience as an advocate for people of low-income has been an ideal skill set and key resource for youth and adults. Under her direction as Executive Director for HOPE, Helping Others Pursue Excellence, Laneesha launched HOPE Builds, a youth woodshop apprentice and entrepreneurship program. In partnership with the Fresno Housing Authority the program successfully expanded to a regional level in 3 cities: Fresno, Orange Cove, and Reedley. As a 40 under 40 awardee and a 2009 Hands on Central Valley Volunteer of the Year, Laneesha dedicated herself to a life of service.

Rev. Kenneth Blackwood

Lead Pastor at Fresno Community Church (A church replanted in Southwest Fresno in 2017)

Kenneth is devoted to fulfilling the missional command of Jesus Christ to the World. His extensive experience in ministry and business in urban communities, has shaped his perspective on innovative leadership in crisis.
Ministry experience includes twenty-five plus years as an associate pastor and administrative pastoral roles for various ministries. He has been involved in church planting, financial & strategic planning, and leadership development.
His business experience includes entrepreneur, investor, and small business advisor for the last three decades. In 2001 he launched a business organization, a Black Chamber of Commerce serving the greater San Joaquin Valley with an office based in Fresno California. This organization seeded what is currently known as the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce.
Ken’s education began in Great Britain (Europe) and continued in Fresno, California. He has worked to educate high school students in financial and leadership development and has partnered with various community-based organizations to promote economic development in Urban Communities.
His wife Cislyn worked several years as a registered nurse. They have 3 grown children Karen Williams, Daudi Blackwood and Matthew Blackwood.

H. Spees

Director, Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Mayor, City of Fresno

After running for Mayor in 2016, H joined the team of Fresno Mayor Lee Brand in 2017 as Director, Strategic Initiatives. He holds a Bachelors Degree in English from Belhaven University, a Masters in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco & a Doctorate in Global Urban Leadership from Bakke Graduate University. He has worked with business, government, church & community leaders to forge private sector & faith-based solutions to complex urban problems. He is an ordained minister and member of First Presbyterian Church, Fresno, serving as honorary Pastor-at-Large and is an active part of OnRamps Covenant Church. He has started and run organizations that have delivered health care, provided jobs & revitalized communities. In addition to his work with the City of Fresno, he volunteers as a Senior Associate for Leadership Foundations.org.

Chief Richard Stewart

Central Division Commander Chief, California Highway Patrol

Chief Stewart was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. After high school, he joined the United States Army and did tours of duty in Heidelberg, Germany, Fort Ord, California and at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. After serving his country for six years he applied and was accepted by the California Highway Patrol in 1990. He was assigned to the San Jose Area office where he worked as a patrol officer and public affairs officer for nine years. During this time, he attended San Jose State University and graduated with Bachelor of Science in Communications Studies.In 1999, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and was assigned to Border Division in San Diego, where he was responsible for overseeing the Public Affairs, Recruitment and Background Investigation units. Chief Stewart continued to promote through the ranks and held assignments as a Lieutenant in the Indio and Riverside Areas.In July of 2009, he promoted to the rank of Captain and was assigned to the San Diego Area office, overseeing one of the largest and most complex offices in the State. In 2013, he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Chief and served in both Inland Division (Inland Empire) and Border Division (San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Imperial counties.)In June of 2018, he was promoted to Chief and currently serves as the California Highway Patrol Central Division Commander. Geographically, Central Division encompasses mostly the entire Central Valley of California, from Fort Tejon to Modesto and Sonora.

Captain Jorge Gomez

Police Captain, Clovis Police Department
Jorge Gomez is originally from Oxnard, CA, which is in Ventura County. He moved to Fresno in 1995 to attend Fresno State University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology. He moved to Clovis in 1999 and was hired by Clovis P.D after finishing the Fresno City College Police Academy in June of 1999. It has been a lifelong desire and goal to be a Police Officer. He has been a Field Training Officer, Range Master, Defensive Tactics Instructor, Gang Officer for the M.A.G.E.C Metro Gang Unit. He then moved to MAGEC Metro Investigations and was a Gang Detective. After four years in this assignment he came back to Clovis and started the Clovis Gang Unit back up and was the Supervisor for this Unit. He helped start Clovis first Mobile Field Force Team and was the Supervisor and then the Team Commander for 2 years. He was a SWAT team member 9 years and Team Leader for 4 years then the Tactical Commander for both SWAT and our Crisis Negotiations Team for 3 years.