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Meet the Facilitators
Dianne English is Executive Director of Community Building Initiative (CBI), a nonprofit organization established in 1997 by government and civic leaders that works to achieve racial and ethnic inclusion and equity in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. She has guided the development of innovative models that provide strategic assistance to individuals, organizations and institutions and has partnered with numerous community organizations and leaders in collaborative civic efforts. Dianne has received awards for her advocacy efforts, including Creative Loafing’s Citizen of the Year (1996), the Martin Luther King Jr. Silver Medallion (1997), the Catholic Social Services’ Colonel Francis J. Beatty Award (1998), Charlotte’s Woman of the Year (2000) and Charlotte Business Journal’s Diversity in Business Award (2005) and the YMCA’s Willie J. Stratford Sr. Diversity Award (2008). She attended Emory University, received a B.A. in Education from UNC-CH and has pursued fine art and graphic arts work at both the University of Georgia and Central Piedmont Community College.

Willie Ratchford has been Executive Director of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee since 1994, and has been in the business of mediation and conciliation for 20 years. He has assisted in developing mediation programs for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, the City of Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and various community organizations. Willie has also worked with several neighborhoods to promote conflict resolution and has trained staff in the District Attorney’s Office and numerous volunteers for the Community Relations Committee’s Dispute Settlement Program. He is a member of the Head Start Policy Council, Past President for Mecklenburg Ministries and a member of the Mayor’s International Cabinet, as well as many other civic and community organizations.

Maria HanlinDr. Maria Hanlin is the Executive Director of Mecklenburg Ministries, a Charlotte non-profit organization that engages clergy and congregations to build cooperation among ethnic, cultural, and religious groups in the city. Maria did her undergraduate work at Vanderbilt University, her Masters of Divinity at the School of Theology at Claremont, and has her doctorate in "Ministry with the Poor" from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. She served as the Director of Admissions for the School of Theology at Claremont, as chaplain for a girls home for emotionally and sexually abused teenage girls in California, as well as serving 20 years as a pastor in various congregations in Los Angeles and the Charlotte area. Maria has been the Executive Director for Mecklenburg Ministries since June, 2005.

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