Social Transformation from the Heart of Christianity with Tom Hayden.
Tom Hayden has fought for ending the war in Iraq, erasing sweatshops, saving the environment, and reforming politics through greater citizen participation. He was the founding member of the Students for a Democratic Society in 1961, made the first trips to Hanoi during the Vietnam War to promote peace talks in 1965, won several large campaigns through the grassroots Campaign for Economic Democracy that he organized, and served 18 years on the California state assembly and California Senate. Described as "the conscience of the Senate," when Hayden retired in 2000, he received the longest farewell ovation of any legislator in memory, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Rev. Diana Akiyama
Director, Office for Religious and Spiritual Life
After forty years of activism, politics and writing, Tom Hayden still is a leading voice for ending the war in Iraq, erasing sweatshops, saving the environment, and reforming politics through greater citizen participation.
Currently he is writing and advocating for US Congressional hearings on exiting Iraq. This year he drafted and lobbied successfully for Los Angeles and San Francisco ordinances to end all taxpayer subsidies for sweatshops. He recently has taught at Pitzer College, Occidental College, and Harvard's Institute of Politics. He has written eyewitness accounts for The Nation, where he serves on the editorial board, about the global justice movements in Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Chiapas, and India.
Rev. Peter Laarman
PCU's Executive Director, Rev. Peter Laarman, is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Divinity School with a background in community organizing and in media work for the U.S. labor movement.
Before joining the PCU staff in 2004, Laarman served for ten years as senior minister of New York City's historic Judson Memorial Church, during which time he focused the church's public ministry on support for low-wage workers and popular education addressing rising social and economic inequality in New York and the nation.
In 2005 Laarman was instrumental in establishing the new resource center for faith and public life that is affiliated with the Center for American Progress. He is viewed as a key leader and strategist within the interfaith worlds of Southern California and the nation.
Dr. George F. Regas
Rev. Dr. George F. Regas retired as Rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena, in May 1995 after serving 28 years in that position. The primary focus of his ministry at All Saints was peace and justice. He led his congregation to oppose the Vietnam War, the escalating nuclear arms race, and the first Gulf War. He also established many programs to respond to human needs in the Los Angeles area: the AIDS Service Center, a medical program for uninsured children, a shelter for the homeless, and others.
Always deeply committed to interfaith work, Dr. Regas founded Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace in the immediate wake of the 9-11 attacks. ICUJP has since become the primary meeting ground and generator of creative ideas for committed interfaith activists in Los Angeles.
Dr. Regas continues to write, preach, and lecture widely. He is without question one of the most prominent figures in the national constellation of progressive faith leaders and is well known internationally as well through his work in behalf of the Desmond Tutu Foundation and in combating nuclear escalation and military adventurism on the part of the United States.
This year George Frank Regas is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his graduation from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. He later studied with John A.T. Robinson in Cambridge, England, and he received his doctorate from the Claremont School of Theology here in California.
Lead Campus Organizer Frank Romero, a graduate of Biola University, is a recent addition to Progressive Christians Uniting.