Our Board

Tony Langbehn

Tony Langbehn is a founder and Convenor of Maryland United for Peace and Justice (MUPJ). Tony feels that MUPJ has an essential role in the Maryland peace movement, in that it stands for and works to bring organizations and activists together to create peace, justice, a healthy environment, and democracy.

He also serves on the Board of Pax Christi Metro D.C. and Baltimore, and the Progressive Maryland Board.

He’s a Commissioner of the Prince George’s County Commission for Individuals with Disabilities, and of the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission, which is the county’s civil rights commission. In 2016, Tony and Gloria Swierenga, who also serves on the Commission for Individuals with Disabilities, lobbied the Prince George’s County Council to establish a fleet of wheelchair accessible taxi cabs. Tony helped draft the part of the County Code that establishes this. Bill Orleans joined  Gloria and Tony in making this happen.

Tony began his peace work in 1981 with the Maryland Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and served as its Media Contact.

In 1982, Gene (Tony’s father), and the then Mayor of Sykesville, Maryland, Lloyd Helt, and Tony, lobbied and obtained the Sykesville Town Council’s vote to establish Sykesville as the nation’s third nuclear-free zone.

He was Secretary-Treasurer of the local union, AFSCME Local 2203, and representative to the Baltimore Metropolitan AFL-CIO. Tony was also AFSCME Council 92’s (state) Political Action Chairman. He now serves as a member of AFSCME Retirees Local 1.
In 1972, Tony ran unsuccessfully to be a Delegate to the 1972 Democratic National Convention, as a McGovern Delegate. He later chaired Al Ulino’s County Commissioner campaign in 1982. Al came in 4th, just missing out winning a Primary election nomination and Al was successfully elected to the Democratic State Central Committee on 1982.
Tony also served on the Board of Maryland Common Cause. He founded and Chaired the Carroll County Citizens Cable TV Committee, which helped bring cable television to the county and established the franchise fee that the cable company must pay the county for local and public access cable TV channel programming.
Tony later served as MUPJ’s representative to the United Nations NGO-DPI, when MUPJ had NGO status. He also helped us obtain NGO status, but stiffer requirements for NGO status have since been adopted, that MUPJ hasn’t been able to meet.
Tony served as MUPJ representative to National United for Peace and Justice and was formerly, MUPJ’s  representative to the national coalition, Alliance for Our Common Future, which was a broad coalition focused on the environment, peace and the United Nations.

Tony has also been helping Maryland Peace Action Network. Recently, he participated in lobbying Congressman Steny Hoyer’s foreign policy aide, asking Congressman Hoyer to take a lead in stopping U.S. support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Republic’s aggression in that war.

 

Paulette Hammond

Born May 20, 1946, in Baltimore, Maryland to Dorothy and Paul Geisenkotter. One daughter and one foster daughter, four foster grandchildren. Graduated from Catonsville High School (1964), the University of Maryland, College Park (B.S., 1968) and University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Baltimore (M.S., 1979). Worked as a Virologist at Evanston Hospital, Evanston, Ill. (1969-1972), Lab Scientist  in the Laboratories Administration of DHMH, Baltimore, MD (1973-1978), Research Scientist in the Periodontology Department of the School of Dentistry, SUNY Buffalo (1978-1986), Lab Scientist in the Laboratories Administration of DHMH  Baltimore, MD  (1986-1997), Clinical Virologist in the Laboratory of UM Medical Center, Baltimore (1997-2005) and finally as Chief Virologist, Quest Diagnostics, Halethorpe. MD (2005-2014). Retired 2014. Retirement work: ReServist at AARP Maryland (2014) and receptionist at the office of Dr. Gebreye Rufael, M.D., Endocrinologist (2014-2017). Volunteers at: several non-profit advocacy organizations (Maryland Conservation Council (President), Maryland United for Peace and Justice, Secretary AKA Scribe), church (secretary), and my professional organization (Maryland Branch American Society for Microbiology). Loves to read, cook, travel, and play with cat (now deceased).

 

 

Edward A. Zipeto

Edward A. Zipeto – Involved in organizational activities and personal endeavors of a national prominence.  To include the Justice and Advocacy Council of the Catholic Archdiocese of Prince George’s County. An emigre of Massachusetts but a lifelong Red Sox fan.

 

 

 

 

 

Reverend Gloria Swieringa

Reverend Gloria Swieringa joined the Maryland United for Peace and Justice Coordinating Body in 2015.
Gloria has been a lifelong advocate for justice and peace. As a child, she lived in Newark, New Jersey. She was a singer in her church choir, which performed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.
When she was 11 years old, Gloria and her mother were visiting Gloria’s grandmother in Georgia in the Summer. Gloria is blind. While crossing the street, Gloria was nearly hit by an automobile.
The driver and her mother got into an argument, and afterward, the driver would follow them around in his car. This happened when the civil rights movement had just begun.  Gloria’s grandmother was fearful that the man might kill Gloria and her mother, so she told them they needed to go back to New Jersey immediately to be safe.
Gloria was the first blind student in New Jersey to complete all 12 primary school grades. She later moved to Maryland after she obtained a top security position with the federal government. She married and had children. Unfortunately, some years later, she became divorced.  As a single mother, she wanted to adopt a child, but at the time, single mothers weren’t allowed to adopt. She fought this in the media and in court and eventually won the right to adopt. 
Afterward, Gloria founded the Children’s Adoption Resource Agency, which helped single women and men to adopt children. She had to disband the agency in 1997 to care for her mother.
In 2003, Gloria was chosen to be Maryland State Chair of ACORN.  In 2005, she decided not to continue as State Chair, and instead became State Chair of ACORN’s Predatory Loans Committee. ACORN was a national leader in addressing unfair loan practices by lending agencies and banks. 
A few years later, Gloria decided to leave her leadership role in ACORN, but before she left, she helped the organization reform and become Communities United.
Gloria serves on the Prince George’s County Commission for Individuals with Disabilities. She worked with Tony and Bill Orleans to advocate for the 2016 county legislation to create a fleet of wheelchair accessible taxicabs.
This June, Gloria, Renaud Brown and Andrew Greene represented MUPJ at the National Citizens Leadership Conference. As a result, Gloria hopes to work with American Promise for a constitutional amendment to overturn “Citizens United”. 

Joyce Lang

joyce1Joyce represents Progressive Cheverly and the Cheverly Women’s Club at MUPJ, where she “works for peace in ourselves, each other and the earth”.

She often focus on the “peace” portion of MUPJ  and also supports the work of her friend Mary J. Park in her long work for peace with kids at the Little Friends for Peace [LFFP].

Joyce has also been involved with the Peace Alliance and the Department of Peace Legislation introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

In their peace efforts in Cheverly, she says “In Cheverly, we have numerous peace poles, a peace month, and a peace camp for children”. Joyce and her colleagues at Cheverly Women’s Club and Progressive Cheverly have plans to expand and to offer peace circles for teens and adults. 

The Women’s Club raises money all- year to offer scholarships to youngsters whose families need support. Cheverly Women’s Club is 99 years old and in 2019 CheverlyWomen’s Club will celebrate its 100 years centenary anniversary. 

 

Bob Cooke

Bob Cooke's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and stripesBob Cooke is a retired union and union pension fund employee.  President Bush got him re-involved in the peace movement around 2004 after the second invasion of Iraq.  Bob is mainly involved in faith-based peace and justice work (as well as secular groups) which had included Peace Action Montgomery and includes two local Pax Christi groups in the Gaithersburg and Rockville areas, Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore, Faith Forum on Middle East Peace, MoCo Voices from the Holy Land film series and the Pax Christi International Washington Working Group. He publishes a newsletter entitled Just News!

 

Andrew Greene Jr.

andyAndrew Greene comes from Sierra Leone and his slogan is ‘just as it takes acts of war to make war, it takes acts of peace to make peace”.

Prior to joining MUPJ, he mentored and helped to rehabilitate former child soldiers and other young victims of war in Sierra Leone. In 1997, when Greene was a student activist in his sophomore year, he began to receive threats on his life from the militant groups because of the controversial discussion he had opened up. He managed to escape the insurgent groups and fled to the neighboring country of Guinea. While seeking refuge in Conakry, he taught English and literature to the other displaced refugees in his camp between 1997 and 1998 and he spoke out against the violence and child soldiering, advocating for human rights.

Still burning from the atrocities committed on both sides during the conflict, Greene restarted his campaign against the perpetuation of violence and the use of child soldiers. He found an outlet for his activism. Whilst in exile, he joined a progressive action group founded by his compatriots, called the ‘Campaign for Good Governance, Democracy and Human Rights’ helping in producing advocacy materials for the restoration of the ousted democratic government by the militia. He said this later inspired his own initiatives.

Greene was able to return to Sierra Leone in 1998 after the reinstatement of the democratic government, where he resumed his studies at the Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Leone and received his certificate the same year earning a BA in English, Civil Law, and International Relations.

He founded the International Education and B-Gifted Foundation both of Sierra Leone where he worked tirelessly to locate resources so that children and youth can engage in global education projects.  The government was still in control of the mass media in Sierra Leone, so Greene began to think of other ways to spread his message. He initially used the radio, but he decided that the anonymity of the airwaves was not the best way to connect directly with children who had firsthand experienced the violence and who could share their stories. “I thought that the computers could attract children, and would engage young people who lacked education and skills,” said Greene.

Greene has gathered multiple awards, citations, and bursaries for his peace-building efforts and internet-based innovations. His efforts attracted the United Nations who adopted his project as a model in other countries affected by war. He has traveled extensively to share his vision of using information technology for peace promotion among war-scarred youth.

 Jean Lee

jeanJean Lee first became involved with political activism around the mid-1990’s helping with political campaigns. Jean said she was inspired by a friend who ran for MD State Delegate back in 2002, and asked her to help with his campaign.

She enjoyed learning what’s involved in helping a candidate to run for office. That experience motivated her to be more involved with other political candidates’ campaigns. She acknowledged that President Obama gave the nation such positive energy that she was motivated to campaign for him and even traveled to PA to canvass.

Jean admires people who not only talk about what’s going on in their communities but take action. She is also a member of the Greenbelt Climate Action Network (GCAN). GCAN’s an environmental organization which hosts once a month educational meetings at which guest speaker addresses social justice, political and environmental topics. GCAN also promotes activism by participating in such events as Annapolis lobby nights and other rallies.

Jean was also involved with Organizing for Action where they addressed such issues as gun control, climate change, immigration, fair elections, and the economy.  She has been attending several MUPJ meetings and is inspired by the activists in the group who not only talk about the issues but also want to, “be the change they want to see in the world”.

 

Renaud Brown, M.M.

Renaud was born in Washington, DC.  He has a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education from Shenandoah Conservatory, Winchester, VA and Ma in Music from Morgan State University. He conducted the John Mann Youth choir, Winchester, VA and played for the Berryville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Berryville, VA.  He toured the East Coast United States, San Francisco, Canada, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and Nashville, Tennessee. Renaud competed in National Teachers of Singing, excellent ratings, in the state of Virginia.

He has recorded compact discs with Columbia Union Collegiate Chorale and Pro Musica, Takoma Park, MD, Morgan State Choir, Baltimore, MD, and Washington Chorus, Washington, DC.  He has sung with the Washington Chorus for five and a half seasons, Dupont Park Seventh-day Adventist Chancel choir, Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Cathedral choir, guest chorister for Metropolitan Baptist Music Ministry and Choral Arts Society of Washington, DC and paid Tenor soloist/section leader at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran in Arlington, VA.  Renaud has appeared on television with the Choral Arts Society of Washington, DC, A Capitol Fourth and has performed in The Marriage of Figaro, The Bartered Bride, and the Carmen quintet. Renaud has been active with the Charm City (Baltimore) Labor chorus for over 8 years. He has served as an election judge since 2012, registered a voter in No. VA, has been working in Annapolis (5th year, it passed MD Senate in 2015 and MD House in 2018; WolfPAC https://www.wolf-pac.com  has passed resolutions in ) on a constitutional amendment via Article V (which has many skeptics) to control campaign spending in elections (part of the board of GMOM (www.getmoneyoutmd.org). See his article: 

 

More bios coming soon!