Meet Our Speaker: Maria Santelli, Center for Conscience and War

PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT IS FULL: April 13 screening of THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center

Maria Santelli is the executive director for the Center for Conscience and War, an organization that was formed in 1940 and was then known as the National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors (NISBCO). CCW works to defend and extend the rights of conscientious objectors*. The Center is committed to supporting all those who question participation in war, whether they are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, documented or undocumented immigrants–or citizens in other countries.

At the center of the film, “The Trials of Muhammad Ali,” the boxing champion finds himself in a highly publicized and political debate for his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War. He is banned from boxing and faces a five-year prison sentence. Ali’s choice of belief and conscience over fame and fortune resonates far beyond the boxing ring, striking issues of race, faith and identity that continue to confront us all today.

In 2008, Maria Santelli founded the New Mexico GI Rights Hotline node to provide direct services and resources to callers and to be a leading voice statewide on issues affecting service members and veterans, including conscientious objection, military sexual violence, post-traumatic stress disorder, and truth in recruitment. Maria has developed local and statewide policy on military recruiting in schools and jail diversion programs for veterans, favoring treatment as an alternative to incarceration.

For more information about the Center for Conscience and War, visit their website at

conscientious objector: a person who refuses to serve in the armed forces or bear arms on moral or religious grounds (source: Merriam-Webster)

Meet Our Speaker: Frazier O’Leary, Cardozo English Teacher and Baseball Coach (“Medora” – Busboys and Poets)

Frazier O’Leary teaches at Cardozo High School and has been an English Teacher in DCPS for over 40 years. He also coaches the baseball team.  Frazier has been an Adjunct Professor of English at The University of the District of Columbia for more than 30 years. He is a consultant with the College Board and a Table leader for the AP English Literature Exam. He is president of the Board of Directors for PEN/Faulkner Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of the Toni Morrison Society, the Treasurer of The School Club (an educational advocacy group), and a member of DC’s Coaches’ Hall of Fame. He loves his family, teaching, literature, and baseball in that order.   Read more in Washington Post:  Baseball at Cardozo, The Big Read:  Ernest J. Gaines’ “A Lesson Before Dying”

ITVS Community Cinema presents “Medora,” Sunday, March 23 at 5 PM, Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th Street, NW at V.. No admission fee. Make your reservations on Eventbrite
Eventbrite - ITVS Community Cinema [DC]:  "Medora" - Q&A with Cardozo 's Frazier O'Leary
or call 202-939-0794.

Video of Frazier O’Leary from The Big Read city read of “A Lesson Before Dying” in 2010. Recorded at Barnes & Noble Booksellers (DC)

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Tonight on #OVEE Alice Walker kicks off #SheDocs online Film Festival

SheDocs_14-Mosaic_397x225_v1Get on line for the #SheDocs online Film Festival during the month of March (Women’s History Month).