A Call for Unity Host and Speakers
Since December 2004, Darrell Steinberg has been a member of the law firm Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos & Rudy, LLP, working in the firm’s government relations and ethics practice, which focuses on both public sector and corporate clients pursuing the ethical and legal ideals of good government. In this service, Mr. Steinberg is currently working as a mediator on major public policy disputes.
Mr. Steinberg served three terms representing the 9th District of the State Assembly, which includes most of the capital city of Sacramento, where he authored and was a co-proponent of the mental health initiative Proposition 63. He also served as a California administrative law judge. California Journal named Mr. Steinberg “Assemblymember of the Year” for 2004, and he was cited repeatedly for his problem-solving abilities, quick intelligence, integrity and hard work.
Prior to his election to the State Assembly in 1998, Darrell Steinberg served on the Sacramento City Council, where he founded Sacramento START (Students Today Achieving Results for Tomorrow), a free literacy-based after-school program. START has since become a model for both statewide and national after-school programs.
Mr. Steinberg was born in San Francisco. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from UCLA and a law degree from UC Davis. Mr. Steinberg and his wife Julie have two children—daughter Jordana, 12, and nine-year-old son, Ari.
Jeff vonKaenel is the president and chief executive officer of the News & Review. He has worked with alternative newspapers for over 30 years. Since September 11, 2001, Jeff has spent time getting to know the many religious organizations throughout the Sacramento area while putting together the annual A Call for Unity events. The faith groups participating in A Call for Unity have been inspired to build upon Sacramento’s long tradition of interfaith cooperation by creating an interfaith service endeavor—Building Unity. Jeff serves on the executive board of Building Unity, a coalition of diverse religious organizations, neighborhood groups and Sacramento-area nonprofits working to repair seniors’ homes, build new homes and work with landlords and the city of Sacramento to create better, safer neighborhoods.
Ken Cross is the chief executive officer for Sacramento Habitat for Humanity (SHfH). Born and raised in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1974 with a degree in civil engineering. Ken served stateside and overseas as a United States Army armor officer for ten years from 1974 to 1984. He was a self-employed financial planner, sales manager and corporate sales and management trainer serving career military service members for the following ten years. Since 1995, he has volunteered and worked in the nonprofit arena with the Red Cross, UC Davis Med Center Hospice, and the Spiritual Life Center. He has over 30 years service in government, business and nonprofit organizations helping to make a difference in local communities. Ken joined SHfH as the operations officer in November 2003 and became the chief executive officer October 1, 2005.
Reverend Dr. David Thompson
The Reverend Dr. David Thompson, the senior pastor head of staff at Westminster Presbyterian Church Sacramento, founder of Worldwide Listening (a project of interfaith respectful listening), board member of the Interfaith Service Bureau, principal of the Children of Abraham Initiative. Following September 11, 2001, Rev. Dr. Thompson has become known for his continuous efforts and initiatives to reach out to all faith communities and build bridges of understanding. He believes that there will be no world peace until there is peace between religions. He will be presenting the Building Unity Award to Reverends Michael and Faith Moran.