Panelist bios | Harmony

Portrait of Rev. Tracey GibsonRev. Tracey Gibson, originally from Detroit, is a graduate of the historically black college Fort Valley State University in Georgia. She came to Minnesota to work for nearly 30 years with Cargill in positions from finance to human resources, and ultimately as director of Global Community Engagement. Currently, she is the Statewide Director of Recruitment, Retention and Affirmative Action for the State of Minnesota. Her work connects communities of color with state leaders to build trust and stronger relationships, and supports leaders of color to serve on state boards and commissions. Rev. Gibson earned her Master of Divinity at Luther Seminary and is working on her doctoral degree which is anticipated in 2019. At Wayman AME Church, she was a member of the board of trustees, a youth pastor, and district coordinator for Women in Ministry. In October she became the new pastor of St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal church. She has been married for 28 years to Daryl Gibson and is the mother of two sons, Theodore (Teddy) and James (JT). She says she likes to keep herself busy with things that ignite her, and people who give her energy. Reverend Tracey loves to praise God and does so openly and freely. Her motto is taken from Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me."

Linda EasonLinda Eason is a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up with a Jewish mother and a Presbyterian father. Naturally she was curious about why the two most important people in her life had different answers to the biggest questions in human experience. She has served her community at Temple Israel in Duluth as a religious school teacher, congregational librarian, Hebrew school teacher, bar mitzvah tutor, and fill-in service leader, and she says the community has been her second home and family. She has been a school librarian since 1989 in the Carlton, Esko and Duluth public schools, and for the past decade, has also taught yoga through a Jewish spiritual lens.

Ray ‘Skip’ Sandman Ray ‘Skip’ Sandman was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1953, and grew up on the Fond du Lac Reservation in the town of Brookston, Minnesota. After graduating from AlBrook high school, Sandman enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served two tours of duty in Vietnam. After his honorable discharge, Sandman worked at Northeast Regional Corrections Center for 25 years, then served the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe as a healer for 12 years before he returned to work at Fond du Lac. There, he is a spiritual advisor and traditional healer at Mash-ka-wizen Treatment Center. Skip has been married to Babette Sandman for 26 years, and they enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren. The Sandmans share their wisdom and experience with other families, striving to make life better for all our children by increasing access to traditional community support systems. He is always a champion of the earth.

CherPao VangCher Pao Vang is a Hmong elder in the Twin Ports. He and his wife have five children: four daughters and one son, as well as one grandson. In the late 1980s, he worked for Lutheran Social Services as part of the refugee resettlement program in Duluth. Today, he coordinates the Twin Ports Hmong New Year celebration each year and works for the Duluth Public Schools as a Family Engagement specialist at Laura MacArthur Elementary School. He loves the outdoors, hiking, fishing and biking.

Kevin VaughanKevin Frederick Vaughan is director of the Braegelman Program in Catholic Studies, and assistant professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department. Dr. Vaughan comes to us from our neighbor to the north, Canada, where he earned a Ph.D. in theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, a member school of the Toronto School of Theology. Dr. Vaughan received the Governor General of Canada Medal for Scholastic Achievement and served for a year as a research fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto. His research focuses on the spirituality of Thomas Aquinas and the intersection of faith and the imagination. He teaches courses at St. Scholastica in Catholic studies, Christian theology, and exploring broader spiritual questions and experience.

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