Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Truth and Reconciliation Commission
On March 11, 2021, Borough Council At Thursday's meeting, Borough Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

The TRC was born out of a community town hall on racial equity held in early 2021. Over one hundred individuals attended this town hall to share stories, ask questions, highlight issues of racial inequity, and make recommendations. 

The TRC consists of seven members appointed by Council, including individuals representing communities that have been and are marginalized and oppressed by systemic racism. A member of both Borough Council and staff will serve as liaisons to the commission.

The TRC's work will include examining and documenting policies, practices, and actions by the Borough and Borough Council that have contributed to racial inequity and systemic racism in the community. The commission will also provide opportunities for those impacted by systemic racism to share their experiences and will facilitate conversations among and between community members of various backgrounds.

The TRC meets on the second Monday of every month at Borough Hall. Participation via Zoom is also available. Visit our Agendas & Minutes page for more information.

Any questions or inquiries for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be sent to trc@carlislepa.org.

View the Resolution

Bylaws
Mission Statement
Action Plan

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Members
Click on each member's name to learn more about them.

Emily Kelahan, Co-chair
TaWanda Hunter Stallworth, Co-chair
Raff Donelson
Tristin Milazzo
Andrew Razanauskas
Louis Werdebach
Dorene Wilbur




Emily Kelahan
Emily Kelahan
Occupation/Title: Philosophy Professor

Emily is an educator, researcher,  facilitator, and advocate who moved to Carlisle in October 2020. After growing up in a steel town outside St. Louis, MO, Emily made her way to central Illinois for college and then to Chapel Hill, NC where she earned a Ph.D. in philosophy and served on the Town of Chapel Hill’s Justice Committee, a committee similar to the TRC. After graduating, she returned to the Midwest and worked as a philosophy professor at a liberal arts college. Over the past decade, her public service includes tenure on a public library board of trustees, YMCA Board of Directors, and a hospital ethics committee. She is passionate about building bridges, fostering dialogue about difficult subjects, and finding common ground.


What motivated you to apply for the TRC?

I’m living proof that ideological starting points aren’t set in stone, that the politics of persuasion works, that experience and a willingness to listen can change hearts and minds. We have an opportunity to emerge from one of the most destabilizing periods in recent history stronger, kinder, and more connected. I want to be a part of the transformative change we so desperately need.

What would you like to see the TRC accomplish/focus on for the Borough of Carlisle? 

We’re still collecting information about how best to focus our efforts in the coming months, but I know I would like to see a process for truth telling, accountability, and reconciliation that brings together diverse stakeholders and fosters meaningful conversation between community members who have  been having difficulty finding common ground.
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TaWanda Stallworth
TaWanda Hunter Stallworth, M.Div.
Occupation/Title: Individual Giving Coordinator for POWER Interfaith


In addition to serving as the Individual Giving Coordinator for POWER Interfaith, TaWanda also serves on the Board of Directors for the LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania.  She is also the subgroup leader for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity’s concentration on Incarcerated and Returning Citizens, as well as the Pennsylvania Re-entry Coalition’s Health Committee chairperson.  TaWanda serves her local church, Mt. Zion AME Church, as the Church School Superintendent, and she is a member of the Leadership Harrisburg Area’s Community Leadership Series Class of 2021.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Organizational Behavior and Applied Psychology from Albright College and a Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary. While at Lancaster, TaWanda served as Moderator of the Seminary Community Council and as a member of the Diversity and Educational Life Committee.  She also holds a Certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business and was recently featured as a Future Leader by the Central Pennsylvania Black Business Directory.  TaWanda lives in Lower Swatara Township with her husband, Christopher, and dogson, Jackson.

What motivated you to apply for the TRC?

Carlisle is my home – no matter where life has taken me, either academically or professionally, Carlisle has been and always will be home.  I am encouraged that my hometown is taking these steps toward healing historical racial trauma and applied for an opening because I believed that my up close and personal experiences with racism, combined with the academic study I have attained, could prove to be useful in performing the work that desperately needs to be done.  With hope, some of my negative experiences can be used for good purposes – believing that no experience in life is ever wasted.

What would you like to see the TRC accomplish/focus on for the Borough of Carlisle? 

The first thing that comes to mind for me is “a way forward” – as a community to look at past (and to some degree, current) mistakes, shortcomings, and/or failings, and consider the ways in which they have impacted the community in negative ways or in ways where the result or outcome is far from the original design or intent.  It is my hope that we seek out transformative truths instead of relying on comfortable lies that have informed a status quo of mediocre inclusivity.  It is my hope that we not shy away from the tough work of truth-telling and commit ourselves to a better Carlisle where everyone is included and engaged.
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Raff Donelson
Raff Donelson
Occupation/Title: Associate Professor of Law, Penn State Dickinson Law

Dr. Raff Donelson is a law professor at Penn State Dickinson Law, where he teaches and researches topics in constitutional law, criminal procedure, jurisprudence, and moral and political philosophy. His recent article, “Natural Punishment,” explores how the justice system should treat criminals who hurt themselves in the course of their crimes. His writing has appeared in both scholarly and popular outlets, and he has given dozens of invited lectures across the US and on five continents. In 2020, Raff appeared in the documentary, Interference: Democracy at Risk. Having grown up in McKeesport, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh, he earned a BA at Williams College, an MA at the University of Chicago, and finally, a JD-PhD at Northwestern University. Raff also serves on the Board of Directors for MidPenn Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm providing representation to low-income clients across Central PA. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, popular science magazines, and basketball. Raff lives in Mechanicsburg with his husband Dan.

What motivated you to apply for the TRC? 

I wanted to serve my community, lend my expertise to important problems, and get to know other civically-minded citizens interested in anti-racist work.

What would you like to see the TRC accomplish/focus on for the Borough of Carlisle? 

I would like the TRC to develop proposals that might help our part of the criminal justice system work better for everyone.  I would also like the TRC to assist the Borough with reducing economic disparity, across racial lines and in general.
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Tristin Milazzo
Tristin Milazzo
Occupation/Title: Community Outreach Director, Cumberland County Historical Society

Tristin was born and raised in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. After graduating from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre with a degree in history and English Literature, she went on to receive her Masters in Applied History with a concentration in Local and Community History from Shippensburg University. In December 2020, Tristin began as the Community Outreach Director at the Cumberland County Historical Society in Carlisle. At CCHS, she oversees marketing, programming, and historic preservation initiatives. 

What motivated you to apply for the TRC?

I am a new resident to Carlisle and may not be as aware of certain issues as those who were born and raised in Carlisle, but I hope to be a long-term resident in the community. Through the work of the TRC, I hope to be a voice for the future of Carlisle. 

What would you like to see the TRC accomplish/focus on for the Borough of Carlisle?

For me, storytelling is a powerful tool for understanding, and so I would like to see an initiative to gather stories from the Carlisle community. Storytelling alone will not elicit any change, but it can be a step on the path to doing so. 
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Andrew Razanauskas
Andrew Razanauskas
Occupation/Title: Business Unit Lean Manager at Carlisle Construction Materials (CCM)

Born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, Andrew graduated with a business degree from Saint Vincent College in 2014. He has lived in Carlisle for the past seven years, working for CCM and getting involved in his church and local organizations like Project SHARE and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Andrew also loves spending quality family time, running, reading, and following sports. 

What motivated you to apply for the TRC? Carlisle has been great to me.  I think it speaks to our All-America City’s character that it is willing to go deeper, to understand past missteps and how they have contributed to present structures of inequality. Following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the most important thing I’ve learned is that learning and fighting for justice and equity will always be ongoing. I applied because I wanted to learn more, not only through books and articles, but through community engagement and firsthand experience. I want to impact a community that has so greatly impacted me.

What would you like to see the TRC accomplish/focus on for the Borough of Carlisle? For me, the TRC represents an opportunity to connect with and uplift our community, with the hopes that one day, the gratitude I feel towards Carlisle is universally shared.  Although the TRC is comprised of seven members, I would love to see our entire population centered on compassion and understanding and contributing to tangible solutions to drive progress in racial equality in the Carlisle Borough. It would be amazing if this TRC could serve as a blueprint for racial justice everywhere, and for Carlisle to be a catalyst towards a more unified nation, fueled by passionate progress at the local level.
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louis wederbach

Louis Malcom Maurice Werdebach

Louis began his career with the United States Air Force in 1985. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Excelsior College and a Master of Science degree in Human Security and Resilience from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Louis is a graduate of Carlisle Senior High School.  He has extensive experience in national security matters, including infrastructure and cybersecurity, and has served in the Pentagon as a briefer for two Deputy Defense Secretaries.  He retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency in October of 2020 after nearly 36 years of federal service.  Louis has received several awards during his professional career, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, the Defense Intelligence Director's Award, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

What motivated you to apply for the TRC?
My family has resided in Borough for 135 years. Some of the old construction, including Hunter's Run and Slate Belt Railroad (Gettysburg and Harris Railway), Dickinson College, and Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, where my grandfather was the founding pastor, was performed by my grandfather and great grandfather.  My parents were long-time community activists in the Borough, focusing their attention on our community's downtrodden and marginalized residents.  It is time for me to give back to the community that has been instrumental in my modest career success.  Serving on the TRC is an exciting opportunity to help my hometown thoroughly recover from the scourge of institutional racism and concomitant socio-economic inequities that weaken its community and public security, the Commonwealth, and the nation.

What would you like to see the TRC accomplish/focus on for the Borough of Carlisle?
Undermining the social and economic good and security of small communities like Carlisle weakens our country as a whole.  I believe despair, addiction, a sense of helplessness, and economic disenfranchisement leave many in our community behind and have prompted others of my generation to live elsewhere and not give back.  In my view, as our nation races into the future, the Borough needs to sustain a culture of open-minded inquiry to bolster community goodwill, tolerance, neighborliness, fair play, and patience.  I think the TRC is a positive step toward accomplishing these long-term goals.  
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Dorene Wilbur 
Dorene Wilbur
Occupation/Title: Teacher, Carlisle Area School District

Dorene was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA - a place she still holds dear.  She then moved to Dayton, Ohio to pursue a BS in Secondary Education with a concentration in English. Upon graduating from the University of Dayton, Dorene taught in inner city schools in Dayton, Ohio.  From there, she moved to Central, PA and began her career at the Carlisle Area School District where she has been teaching since 2002.  During her tenure at CASD, has served on several committees ranging from curriculum writing to diversity.  Dorene also graduated from Mansfield University with a MS in Library Science in Education.  

Currently, Dorene is the advisor for the Black Student Union at the high school, serves on the Advisory Committee with Hope Station, is the founder of Soulful Sistas Walking, and she is a community organizer and speaker for various social justice causes throughout Carlisle.  Dorene resides in Carlisle with her three children.  

What motivated you to apply for the TRC?

Social justice has always been important to me; however, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others have truly spurred me to become more actively involved.  I also chose to apply because I want to be a voice for the youth.  Having worked with young adults for over 25 years, I have learned - and continue to learn - about their concerns regarding race, equity, and reconciliation.  Their voices are so important, and I want them to be a part of the process. 

What would you like to see the TRC accomplish/focus on for the Borough of Carlisle? 

I would like to see the TRC address disparities in education, policing, and housing and development.  Through research, conversations with community members and leaders, I hope that the TRC can help incite change and make Carlisle a more equitable place to live, learn, and thrive.  
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