The Rev. Aubra Love is the Executive Director. She joins
the organization with an extensive history of professional
experience, community organizing and transformation.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Stuart Zitin, Chair
Stuart attended the first two sessions of Building Bridges in 1993, and again a few years later, and has facilitated numerous times. He has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2005, chaired the Program Committee, and acted as Program Coordinator. He has lived in Asheville since 1990, hes been married since 1982, and has a daughter and a son. He is a general contractor and owner of Building for Life, focusing on green, environmentally sound, energy efficient projects and affordable housing.
Beverly Wedhoff, Vice Chair
Beverly is a 19 year resident of Asheville. She attended Building Bridges II and is a former Building Bridges co - chair. Beverly received an undergraduate degree in Psychology from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville and holds a Master's degree in Public Affairs from Western Carolina University. Beverly has worked in various advocacy roles. She is currently an educator and just earned her Master's degree in Special Education.
Liza Cherner, Former Chair
Liza became involved with Building Bridges after relocating with her family from Florida in 2006. She holds a masters degree in social work from the University of Central Florida and has spent many years working in education and social work.
Roberta "Robbie" Madden, Secretary Treasurer
Roberta Madden recently moved back to Western North Carolina, where she and her family lived during the early 1960s. Prior to that, they lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for 41 years. Robbie served as Director of Racial and Social Justice at the YWCA Greater Baton Rouge, where she directed racial justice programs, including the successful Dialogue on Race.
She has been honored by the NAACP, the Louisiana Center for Women and Government, 100 Black Men, Leadership Greater Baton Rouge Alumni, and the Battered Womens Center. In 2007 the YWCA USA awarded her the One Imperative Award for her work on racial justice. Last year the YWCA Greater Baton Rouge presented her with its annual Racial Justice Award. Since moving to Black Mountain in the fall of 2009, Robbie has organized the Stand Against Racism in Black Mountain and subsequent Dialogues on Race and has organized a grassroots movement for the Equal Rights Amendment.
Her current board memberships include Building Bridges of Asheville, the Martin Luther King Corporation in Black Mountain, the Southern Mutual Help Association, and the Unitarian Church in Black Mountain.
Ron first attended Building Bridges in January 2003 and started serving as a facilitator in 2004. He joined the Steering Committee in the fall of 2004 and participated in the transition to a Board. He also serves in the areas of strategic planning and community partnerships. Ron is co-owner of Productive Consulting Resources and works in the community as a volunteer.
Ruafika Cobb, Beyond Racism Committee
Ruafika is a math coach at Hall Fletcher elementary school in Asheville. Now completing her masters degree in educational administration, she is an experienced teacher, and mother of three children.
Lael Gray, Evening Program Committee
Lael Gray came to Building Bridges as a participant in 2004 through her work at the Asheville Jewish Community Center. She has since served as a facilitator for Building Bridges and joined the Board of Directors in October of 2009. Lael is currently employed as the Marketing Coordinator for the Asheville JCC and as a freelance graphic designer. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Smart Start of Buncombe County, the Development Committee for Evergreen Community Charter School, and the Marketing Commitee for WNC Jewish Federation.
Lewis has lived in the Asheville-Buncombe County area since moving here in 1971. He has served on a number of Boards and Commissions and has been involved with Building Bridges as a participant, facilitator and member of the Steering Committee and Chairperson of the Board. He also assists in the training of facilitators for each Building Bridges Session. He was the Training Coordinator for the City of Asheville.
Danny Lee, Beyond Racism Committee
Danny has participated in Building Bridges. He currently works as an Educator for OurVoice (Buncombe County's Rape Crisis and Prevention Center), teaching workshops on dating and communication, gender stereotypes, rape and sexual violence prevention. He has spoken on panels about the role of men in ending gender based violence, racism in the criminal justice system, white privilege and racial healing. Also, with his work with Asheville Prison Books (a group that mails free books to prisoners) and Building Successful Communities (a prisoner reentry support group), Daniel has worked at the intersections of race, class and gender in the age of mass incarceration, and the growing criminalization of the poor, the youth, and communities of color.
James Lee, Beyond Racism Committee
James E. Lee III is the Minority Business Coordinator in the Office of Economic Development with the City of Asheville and a resident of Asheville. He is a graduate of American InterContinental University in Hoffman Estates, IL with a Master in Business Administrations with a concentration in Operations Management. He has pursued Doctoral studies in Business Administration with a concentration in Management at Argosy University, Chicago, IL. Currently, James is working on a Master in Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Ministries at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary a subsidiary of Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.
He has worked in the private sector as an Operations Manager and as a Retail Consultant for several small businesses in the Asheville Area before coming to work for the City of Asheville. James has worked for the public sector since the spring 2007. Since coming to the City of Asheville, he has worked in the Parking Services Division, Transportation and Engineering Administration Division, and in March 2009 began working in his current position with the Office of Economic Development. James is active in numerous professional, civic and community organizations in Asheville and Western North Carolina to provide equal opportunities for women and minority businesses.
Fred Simms, Evening Program Committee
Fred retired after 30 years in sales and marketing in the electrical equipment manufacturing business. He and his wife Jackie moved to Asheville from St Louis, Mo in 1990 following a change in Fred's job location. Jackie spent 8 years with Building Bridges and originally brought Fred to the fold about 9 years ago. He also served as the volunteer Executive Director of Building Bridges.
Yetta has lived in Asheville since 2001. She attended UNCA completing at Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and then attended MHC for her teaching licensure. She has enjoyed living in Asheville and has had the pleasure of working with the YMCA in their Outreach program and working as a Summer Day Camp counselor and director as well. She has also taught at Isaac Dickson Elementary, Evergreen community charter school and now at Claxton Elementary. She has driven buses, counseled, served food, and have been so invested in this community. It is her hope that being a part of the board of Building Bridges will allow her to work with like minds to decrease and eliminate racism in the area; but also to create an environment of peaceful movement toward a unified community.
John Wood, BB Scholars Committee
John Wood is an anthropologist and former journalist who spent years working in Africa before turning his efforts to studying (and trying to end) racism in America. He is a professor at UNC Asheville.
The Reverend Aubra Love, Executive Director
is a founding principal of several faith based and social action organizations. Rev. Love is a sought after consultant providing technical assistance in cultural specificity and community transformation.
Her pioneering work includes the development of a national project, The Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute, training clergy and others in the appropriate response to domestic violence. Recent national clients include Local Church Ministries of the National Office of the United Church of Christ, United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, The Centers for Disease Control and the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
As a theologian and ethicist, Love has authored a wide range of publications including If It Had Not Been for the Lord on Our Side, Telling the Truth, Preaching About Sexual and Domestic Violence, an anthology edited by John S. McClure and Nancy Ramsay, published by United Church Press, OH. She is also featured in Gender Talk, The Struggle for Womens Equality in African American Communities by Dr. Johnetta B. Cole and Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, published by The Ballantine Publishing Group, NY. Rev. Love is the pastor profiled in I Will Survive, The African American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse, by Lori Robinson, published by Seal Press, NY. Faith and Feminism: A Holy Alliance, by Helen Lakelly Hunt, Ph.D., published by Simon & Shuster, NY., What is a Well Meaning Man in Breaking Out of The Man Box, by Tony Porter.
She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York and earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Morehouse School of Religion at The Interdenominational Theological Center, Rev. Love is an ordained minister whose standing is held in the Southeastern Conference of the United Church of Christ.
She is a retired banking executive of Wachovia Bank and Trust Company, NA, and former Interim Pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ, Asheville.
Her additional gifts were featured in a theatrical production, "Just Home in the Mountains," a musical with a eight week run that was performed in Asheville to raise money for Homeward Bound, an organization whose mission is to end chronic homelessness.