Team Bios

  • Image 01 Phyllis Unterschuetz
  • Image 01 Tod Ewing
  • Image 01 Gene Unterschuetz
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    Phyllis Unterschuetz

    Phyllis Unterschuetz

    Phyllis has been doing field research on the dynamics of racial conditioning for over 15 years. Her interest in creating racial unity began when she developed friendships with black students in college in 1968. The female wing of the team is a connector, a lover of the written and spoken word, a linguist, author, story-teller, drummer, singer, and poet. She is a logical and sequential thinker, likes details, and processes information verbally. She is inspired by women who are learning to express their authentic feminine power and draws strength from intimate friendships. Her life goal is to free herself from all unhealthy habits of thought and patterns of behavior that impede her spiritual progress.

    Watch Phyllis' Story

    Phyllis earned a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on intercultural relations from DePaul University in 2002. In recognition of her essay “Understanding Prejudice Using Mind, Heart, and Will,” Phyllis received the Arthur Weinberg Memorial Prize for Social Justice and the School for New Learning Award of Excellence for her work in collaborative learning. Before finding her calling as a healer of racial conditioning, Phyllis worked as a logistics specialist and import/export manager for a German company in the Chicago area.

    Phyllis grew up in the Chicago suburbs and lived there until September 1996, when she and her husband Gene decided to undertake an extended period of travel around the country.  After a year of preparation, they put their house up for sale, moved into a small RV, and set out on what they thought would be a six-month journey. Fifteen years and two RVs later, they have come in off the road and are currently living in the Atlanta area.

    Since beginning their travels, Phyllis and Gene have visited 47 states, speaking about racial healing, unity, and justice.  Motivated by their belief in the oneness of humanity and their commitment to eliminating racial prejudice, they developed a workshop entitled “From the Same Dust,” sharing their conviction that individual racial prejudice can be eliminated only through the practice of honest self-assessment, the willingness to risk making mistakes, and the creation of intimate friendships with people of diverse backgrounds. In an effort to provide concrete examples of these concepts, they began telling stories of their personal struggles to overcome their own racial conditioning. These anecdotes eventually became the basis for their book, Longing: Stories of Racial Healing, which was published in May 2010. Since that time they have made over 130 author appearances for universities, civic organizations, neighborhood groups, and religious gatherings in 22 states.

    Phyllis and Gene have been married for 41 years; they have three children and three grandchildren.

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    Tod Ewing

    Tod Ewing

    Tod Ewing has been engaged in the field of race and diversity most of his adult life and dedicates his work to his daughter Talia Carmel Ewing, who passed away unexpectedly in 1997.  He constantly examines the practices of those who have made a great impact on the movement for racial healing, unity and justice, which has led him to the same conclusions as some of the most iconic human and civil rights role models of the past: lasting change must be grounded in a spiritual consciousness that recognizes our essential oneness as a human family; and spirituality is not weak, superfluous or impractical, but rather is a vital force for social change.  Tod feels that while many people draw strength from religion, we need not be affiliated with a particular religion in order to tap our spirituality.

    Watch Tod's Story

    Tod is particularly interested in how African Americans, with their rich history of leadership, can help create new models of human interaction and become powerful agents of transformation.  He believes that to do this they must discover, rediscover, or uncover their spirituality.  Through this process, family and community will be improved and people will develop the ability to effectively deal with the wounds of racism in a way that heals, bonds, and maintains a sense of dignity.

    Tod is a practitioner who has served the private and public sector for over 25 years, both nationally and internationally.  His widely varied clientele includes NGOs in Kampala, Uganda; the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia; the former Amoco Corporation; and a coalition of non-profit Black farm advocates addressing global racism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Tod is also a writer whose articles have been published locally and nationally and is a co-author of Building Cultural Bridges, a Practical Guide for Building Unified School Communities. His latest book, Seeing Heaven in the Face of Black Men, presents a candid look at the emotional/psychological landmines created by racism and what it will take to move to “higher ground."

    Tod is co-founder of an NAACP chapter and has worked as a trainer for the National Multicultural Institute and for the East Ed Collaborative. He serves as co-chair of the Social Justice board at the YWCA in Washington DC and on the Advisory Board for the Authenticity Institute.

    Tod has an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice Studies, a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology (M.Div.), and a certification in Spiritual Coaching. He and his wife Alison live in Washington DC; they have been married for 39 years and have two children and three grandchildren.

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    Gene Unterschuetz

    Eugene Unterschuetz

    Gene has been studying the dynamics of race since 1990 and engaged in field research on racial conditioning for the past 15 years. He is an accomplished artist, an author, art teacher, storyteller, and poet. He is highly intuitive, thinks globally, likes the big picture, and processes information visually. He is inspired by using the arts to help people make positive value choices and develop their authentic identity.

    Gene earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wabash College in 1967 and a master’s degree in studio art from Northern Illinois University in 1988, with courses in art education. He became a certified trainer in Dialogue Racism and facilitated workshops in Illinois; he also received training in the Race Unity Module of the Bahá’í Core Curriculum Program. Before deciding to focus full-time on racial healing and justice, Gene worked for 25 years as a graphic artist in the Chicago area and in Germany.

    Watch Gene's Story

    Gene grew up in a rural community and then lived in the Chicago suburbs until September 1996, when he and his wife Phyllis decided to undertake an extended period of travel around the country.  After a year of preparation, they put their house up for sale, moved into a small RV, and set out on what they thought would be a six-month journey. Fifteen years and two RVs later, they have come in off the road and are currently living in the Atlanta area.

    Since beginning their travels, Gene and Phyllis have visited 47 states, speaking about racial healing, unity, and justice.  Motivated by their belief in the oneness of humanity and their commitment to eliminating racial prejudice, they developed a workshop entitled “From the Same Dust,” sharing their conviction that individual racial prejudice can be eliminated only through the practice of honest self-assessment, the willingness to risk making mistakes, and the creation of intimate friendships with people of diverse backgrounds. In an effort to provide concrete examples of these concepts, they began telling stories of their personal struggles to overcome their own racial conditioning. These anecdotes eventually became the basis for their book, Longing: Stories of Racial Healing, which was published in May 2010. Since that time they have made over 130 author appearances for universities, civic organizations, neighborhood groups, and religious gatherings in 22 states.

    Gene and Phyllis have been married for 41 years; they have three children and three grandchildren.