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21Wilberforce welcomes two new board members and a Director of Church Engagement


21Wilberforce is pleased to announce that Knox Thames and Curtis L. Brown have been elected to its Board of Directors effective immediately. 

New board member, Knox Thames, is an American human rights lawyer, advocate, and author who has dedicated his career to promoting the rights of religious minorities and combatting persecution. Over his 20 years of service in the U.S. government, Knox held several key positions advocating for freedom of religion or belief, including at the State Department and two different U.S. government foreign policy commissions. Known for his nonpartisan approach to advocacy, both the Obama and Trump administrations appointed Knox as the Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South / Central Asia at the State Department. The first to serve in this special envoy role, he received a civil service appointment to lead State Department efforts to support religious minorities in these regions. 

In 2023, Knox joined Pepperdine University as a Senior Fellow with the Caruso School of Law and School of Public Policy. From Pepperdine’s DC campus, he directs the new program on Global Faith and Inclusive Societies. In addition, he is a Senior Visiting Expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  

New board member, Curtis L. Brown, has served as chair or member of the board of directors, attorney or advisor of innumerable business, academic, professional, civic and charitable organizations for over 44 years.

Before beginning his practice of law in Dallas, Mr. Brown received his CPA license and practiced in the Denver and New York City offices of one of the largest international accounting firms where he was a Senior Tax Accountant for the 4th largest company in the United States. He served as Founding Partner of Brown, Baskin, Bickel and Brewer, Attorneys, in Dallas that represented publicly traded businesses and banks, as well as not-for-profit entities. He has served as outside General Counsel of several companies, including Interstate Battery System of America. 

Curtis served on the Judiciary Committee of the Dallas Bar Association and on the Board of Directors of the Waco Bar Association. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and of the Executive Committee of the Art Center of Waco. 

Dr. Randy Dale has joined the staff as Director of Church Engagement, a new position for the organization. Randy will coordinate development of the Global Impact Partners program comprised of churches, faith-based institutions and other partners. Randy will assist President Randel Everett recruiting, training, and empowering Global Impact Partners. This will further 21 Wilberforce’s programs of network mobilization, leadership and advocacy training, and coalition building.

“21Wilberforce is honored to have Dr. Randy Dale joining our staff as Director of Church Engagement. Randy’s experience as a prosecutor, university professor and minister has prepared him to connect with churches, institutions, and religious networks as we seek to defend the persecuted and promote global religious freedom for all people.  

We are also pleased to add two prominent defenders of religious freedom to our Board of Directors, Knox Thames from Virginia, and Curtis Brown from Texas.  Both bring their legal backgrounds, relationships and passion for international religious freedom to our Board.”  


About 21Wilberforce
21Wilberforce is a Christian international human rights nonprofit dedicated to defending the dignity-affirming and universal right to freedom of religion, belief and conscience for all people. We employ William Wilberforce’s model framework for sustainable social change—helping engage and coordinate “top-down” policymaker action with “bottom-up” grassroots mobilization, empowerment, and collective action.

Lou Ann Sabatier
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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