Rev. Larita Rice-Barnes
Interim Director| 

Rev. Larita wears a few hats including: author, entrepreneur, Life Coach, Pastor, change agent, global political advisor, transformational leader, wife, mother and friend. She is a faith-based grassroots organizer. She has dedicated her life and work to the betterment of the world around her. She is an advocate for racial and economic dignity. She mobilizes and organizes communities of faith to build power.

She is a sought-out speaker,  advocate for gun violence reduction and chaplaincy in urban communities. Larita is a survivor of gun violence. She is a victim’s rights and mental health advocate and acts as liaison for parents and students with school officials.

She serves as Senior Pastor and founder of Empowerment Of Grace USA and Empowerment Of Grace-Uganda. In 2007, she founded Women of Excellence Midwest, an organization established as a safe haven for battered, abused, and rejected women to heal and be emboldened to move forward.

She served as the Social Justice Chair at Eden Theological Seminary where she earned her Master of Arts in Professional Studies degree and launched and led an Urban Chaplaincy program where participants earned a certificate for their participation.

She is a global leader and political advisor for members of parliament in several countries and has founded Global Impact Leadership Alliance (GILA),™ an organization built on the commitment of meeting the needs of developing nations and providing a platform for cultural and economic exchange.

She is the founder and lead organizer of the annual RESET America RESET Africa Conference, a conference that focuses on the key areas of influence: business, arts and entertainment, media, family, government, religion, and education, brings together heads of state and key policy makers from across the globe and fosters creative dialogue for cooperation while also participating in local government and receiving recognition for her work.

She is a 2016 recipient of the President Barack Obama Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Services and a 2021 recipient of the President Joe Biden Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Services. She has shared the stage with many of the industry’s leading speakers and singers and personalities.

Prior to assuming the role of Interim Director she served as a leader and a board member with Missouri Faith Voices.

Rika Tyler

Director of  Organizing |

A revolutionary in training, a mother and a student is how Rika describes herself.  Rika Tyler joined us in 2019 with years of experience with grassroots organizing, leading teams and managing programs. She was recently promoted to Lead Organizer. We are excited about the opportunity for growth and development that our organizers will have and how our impact in the communities we serve will be enhanced under her leadership. She has a powerful vision for making change in her community. Rika Tyler is a 2020 graduate of the illustrious Harris-Stowe State University  with a B.S. in Political Science.

Brittany Hughes

Columbia Organizer/Data and Internal Organizing Lead|

Brittany Hughes is the regional organizer in the  Columbia Chapter of Faith Voices. Originally from Aliceville, Alabama, Brittany spent most of her school age years between her beloved hometown and St. Louis Missouri. Her passion for this work is derived from her love of black folks and the desire to see the collective liberation of Black people, Indigenous people and other people of Color, not only in America but globally. When she isn’t working Brittany enjoys a good book, cooking, music, and grabbing drinks with friends.

Kia Sutton 

Springfield Organizer |

Dr. Gerald Ray, NMD

Black Health Equity Organizer |

 Dr. Gerald Ray, a native of St. Louis, MO is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor and a Primary Care Physician in the state of Arizona. Dr. Ray returned home to focus on health and wellness in the Black community using equity as a lens. Dr. Ray earned his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. His medical training required the completion of a very comprehensive medical school curriculum which encompassed all fields of conventional medicine while at the same time blended the study of centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in medicine. His clinical training has encompassed addiction medicine and recovery since 2005. 

Prior to medical school he earned his BA in Biology (pre-med) from Saint Louis University and shortly thereafter discovered that Naturopathic care resonated most with his vision of ideal health care. His training included supervised clinical practice in Environmental Medicine, Homeopathic Medicine, Physical Medicine, Medical Nutrition, Pharmacology, Acupuncture, and Botanical Medicine. Dr. Ray provides patients with personalized Naturopathic recommendations for natural therapies (i.e., vitamins, minerals, herbal medicines, and botanical tinctures) that are safe and appropriate to pair with conventional treatments. While passionate about supporting the body’s own healing potential with safe, nontoxic medicine, he recognizes the importance of an integrated medical approach to best serve the needs of the patient. In his free time he enjoys being with his family.

Board Members

President – Rev. Russell Ewell, Pastor Terrace Lake UMC, Kansas City


Vice President- Rev. W.T. Edmonson, Assistant Pastor Second Baptist Church Jefferson City, MO

Treasurer- Rev. Darryl Commings, Bethany Christian Church, St. Louis

Secretary-Anne Schneider, Elder First Presbyterian Jefferson City

Rev. Tina Harris, United Methodist, Columbia

Michele Watley, Founder Shirley’s Kitchen Cabinet, Kansas City

Pastor Susan Schmalzbauer, Bois D’ Arc United Methodist Church, Springfield

         Imam Dr. Shakir Hamoodi, Islamic Center, Columbia

Rev. Dr. Bob Hill, Retired Disciples of Christ, Kansas City