Thirty-seven years ago, Betty Anne Ford and Nancy Newell co-founded Loaves and Fishes, an after-school program for students with academic difficulties considered "at risk." What started as a summer program for kids and their families who lived in the Halifax Court housing project would, through the efforts of these two women, become a year-round after school program for needy kids throughout Raleigh. Loaves and Fishes required extraordinary effort from the outset and its success took immense amounts of energy and caring for the needs of Raleigh's underprivileged children. While Nancy and Betty Anne have received accolades from many places, their attention and focus always remained on the children. Now mostly retired from Loaves and Fishes, they are eager to join William Barber's Poor People's Campaign.
Shirley and Don Birt
Don and Shirley Birt moved to North Carolina from Vermont in 1995, after having lived there for 18 years. They have two children. Their son David lives in Denmark and works for the UN High Commission on Refugees. David is married and has a son Cailen. Their daughter Lara lives in Holly Springs with her husband and their daughter Glenna. Don and Shirley have been married since 1963. They live in Holly Springs, N.C.
Don describes his journey as a social activist as being a natural progression. He was trained in theology at Andover Newton Seminary and was a pastor while also focusing on work with the laity, with neighborhood organizations, and urban ministry. He began working full time with the state and then federal courts systems in New York, focusing on pretrial services and bail investigations for release. He claims significant influence by Harvey Cox, especially his world view on how the church lives in the world. He believes that what we do in the world can make a huge difference. He has his Doctorate in Theology and in Sociology.
Shirley says that her world view took root in her college experience. She has become fascinated over the years with how people evolve from infancy to adulthood, and how their experiences effect their belief system. She has spent the majority of her work and volunteer life teaching in various capacities, from preschool teaching to group work at the YWCA in Boston, from the classroom to correctional facilities. She has experienced political decision making at the local school board and city planning level. Shirley has her Master’s degrees in Elementary Education and Public Policy.
Sue has two sons and lives in Raleigh. She is the chair of Lutheran Peace Fellowship and has been to Central America as a Witness for Peace. Cy and Carolyn’s long-standing support for justice for the Palestinians gave Sue the impetus to pursue this important issue. She currently is a member of AIME (Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East). The purpose of AIME is to develop and amplify a strong, local interfaith voice working for a just and sustainable peace in Palestine-Israel.
In 2015 Sue reached out to friends in the peace community and they came together to form Campaign Nonviolence NC which is a part of the Campaign Nonviolence movement-- a long-term movement to mainstream nonviolence and to foster a culture of peace. This movement was launched nationwide in 2014. Campaign Nonviolence NC envisions a culture of nonviolence that includes connecting the often separate efforts for change. It actively connects the dots between war, poverty, the climate crisis, and the epidemic of violence and works to solve these issues in an integral way.