ADL Welcomes Melinda Quiat as Board Chair at Annual Meeting; Keynote Features Former White Supremacist Christian Picciolini

  • July 16, 2018

Outgoing ADL Regional Board Chair Jim Kurtz-Phelan with incoming Chair Melinda Quiat at ADL’s annual meeting on June 13

Over 300 members of the community joined the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region at its 2018 annual meeting last month at the Hebrew Educational Alliance in Denver.  At the meeting, ADL’s Board of Directors approved a slate of new board members and inducted Melinda Quiat as its Chair. Quiat is a long time regional and national ADL leader and is the region’s first second-generation Chair, following in the footsteps of her father Gerald M. Quiat of blessed memory who was Regional Board Chair from 1980-1982.

Regional Director Scott L. Levin thanked outgoing Regional Board Chair James Kurtz-Phelan, “Jim has been a tremendous leader. During these times of great transition in our country and in our community, it has been great to work so closely with Jim. He has a great vision for what has made ADL so relevant at this time. We are thankful that his retirement as Board Chair does not mean the end of his involvement and support of ADL.”

Seventeen new members were elected to the Regional Board. They are: Jordan Alvillar, Jeffrey Baker, Jeffrey Diamond, Rebecca Gart, Josh Greenberg, Josh Katzenberg, Laura Knaster, Janice D. Paster, Shelley Krovitz, Lloyd Lewis, Susie Moss, Jay Peaslee, Marci Penner, Laura Perlov, Eric Ritvo, Amanda Shatzman and Yana Vishnitsky. Click here to read their bios: board members 2018.

Regional Director Scott Levin noted, “We are fortunate to have a leader with Melinda’s creativity and vast experience in working with ADL and so many other non-profit organizations.  We welcome her leadership as the new Regional Board Chair. We are also very excited to welcome so many esteemed members of our community that will be lending their talents to the work of the ADL Mountain States Regional Board.”

During the meeting, attendees learned about the work ADL has been doing to respond to anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. The meeting featured a special keynote presentation by Christian Picciolini, an Emmy Award-winning director and producer, a published author, TEDx speaker, global peace advocate and a reformed extremist.  According to Picciolini, people join extremist movements in order to find identity, purpose and community. He explained that extracting people from such movements is difficult and must include an opportunity for them to find their identity, purpose and community in safer environments. So far, Picciolini has helped over 200 individuals to disengage from extremist movements.

Picciolini’s newest project, The Free Radicals Network, seeks to build resilience by providing individuals leaving extremist movements with job training and mental health resources, as well as introducing them to people they think they hate. Picciolini challenged members of the audience to give compassion to someone whom they think doesn’t deserve it, because “they’re the one who probably need it the most.”

“We can all do this work,” Picciolini said. “It’s about finding people who are broken and helping to heal the person, not fix the ideology.”

Check out some of the event photos, below. [Photo credit: Victor Arango / Mile Chai Studios]

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.