Executive Director

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Kai Hedstrom

Kai has served as Executive Director of the Peace and Justice Center since October of 2017. Originally from Stoughton, Wisconsin, he is a 2016 Luther College graduate, where he studied Political Science and Environmental Policy. Following a year of service with Green Iowa AmeriCorps in Iowa City, he has loved returning to and again being immersed in Decorah and the driftless region. He is passionate about the environment, sustainability, education, politics, current events and people! In his free time, he enjoys hiking, running, listening to podcasts, reading and avidly following Wisconsin sports.

Our Board Members

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Hannah Breakbill

 Hannah Breckbill (board president) has been involved with the Peace and Justice Center since its inception in 2010, when she had newly arrived in Decorah. Hannah is a Mennonite who attends Friends meeting, and was steeped in nonviolent thought from her earliest youth. She is a trained member of Christian Peacemaker Teams and has participated in their Palestine, Indigenous Solidarity, and Borderlands work. Hannah is an organic farmer and is passionate about building soil as our path to resilience and abundance in the face of climate change, and she believes in People Power as our hope for the future! 

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Storme Barr

Storme Barr is the Vice President of the Peace and Justice Center board. She is also the CEO of Alliance Mission (rainbow pins), member of the Decorah Pride committee, and the president of the Decorah High School GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance). She is very passionate about civil rights and the environment. Storme joined the board, so she could help make a difference in North East Iowa! 

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Julie Fischer

Julie is current board secretary and was former coordinator of the Center for 7 years. She has been passionate about justice and active in promoting peace vs. militarism since the 80's. A grandmother and retired teacher/nurse, Julie strives to build community by implementing educational and appreciative interaction between elected officials, commission members, Luther students, and the general public. She has been a steady supporter of Gun Sense Conversations, Democracy Discussion, Soup and Learn, and is developing a program on African American History.

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Marty Steele

Marty Steele is retired from many years of work as a licensed mental health counselor.  She is a passionate supporter of newcomers to our country, active in a variety of immigration advocacy groups in the community and through the ELCA.  She enjoys camping, kayaking, traveling, and making music.

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Brigitte Cornelius

Brigitte Cornelius has lived in other countries as well as in a refugee camp and in big cities, she sees the world a bit differently. Being on the Peace and Justice Center Board gives her a chance to voice yet another opinion about peace and justice. The opportunity is appreciated. 

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Jack Knight

Jack Knight is our allamakee board member. In addition to the PJ board he serves on two county boards, two regional, two watershed and two other non profits. His philosophy for activism is thru community service, and positioning oneself to have a seat at the table for decisions being made on development, farming, conservation and environmental issues

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Bill Carlisle

My history is rural, and my notion is to promote education concerning our environmental and climatical changes and how they affect the remaining slices of the pie, e.g. social, economic, and perhaps the arts. In my third year as a board member I feel that  NEIA Peace/Justice has addressed these concerns in a positive manner and is a plus to the community.

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Heidi Swets

Heidi has been on the P&J Board for a couple of years, eager to maintain the tradition that a town as small as Decorah would value supporting such a place, and use it to help us "widen the circle of compassion."   She worked for many years as a naturalist and environmental educator in a variety of settings and is most passionate about finding ways to rebuild and deepen our connections to the natural world.  She is also committed to inspiring choices that support the Great Turning, from the now inappropriate Industrial Growth Society, to a more Life Sustaining Society--precisely the path that will also address the climate change realities we are now facing.   She has two grown daughters and one grandson living in the Decorah area, and  lives with her husband Steve in an off-grid, largely recycled-content house surrounded by 60+ acres.

Interns

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Annie Harriman

Annie is a senior social work major from Luther College interning with the Peace and Justice Center for the Spring 2019 semester.  At Luther Annie is involved in Interfaith in Action, Social Work Honor Society, and Symphony Orchestra, and participates in Helping Services' Youth Mentor program as well. She is passionate about many social justice issues, some of which include immigration and interfaith activism. She is excited for all she will learn here this semester!