Born in Georgia, USA to a civil rights attorney father and a mother deeply connected to her church, JD was raised with a respect for social justice and fighting inequality. JD has fought for social justice, environmental protection, and youth affected by gangs and drugs throughout his life.
While studying at the University of Wisconsin, he traveled to Africa with his housemate and friend Kou, a former Lost Boy from Sudan, on his homecoming trip in 2002. Through that and numerous trips back to east and central Africa, JD grew to know and increasingly fight for the people he came to call friends and the communities he now considers an extension of his home.
JD has held leadership positions within numerous campaigns, including the 2008 U.S. Presidential Campaign, leading to a Presidential Appointment in the White House in 2009.
After serving in the White House JD was tapped to lead the Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo Campaign. Under his leadership, the campaign increased public pressure on the electronic industry to further address their role in cleaning the conflict minerals supply chain. In 2012, Raise Hope for Congo highlighted Congolese activists, including Amani, in the I Am Congo documentary series. The campaign also initiated a gold campaign calling on the jewelry industry to lead the way to a clean gold sector in eastern Congo.
He is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, advocating for solutions to the crisis in eastern Congo. He asked Apple for increased leadership addressing conflict minerals; partnered to raise awareness of the crisis in Congo; and asked President Obama to increase his engagement in eastern Congo. As the founder and President of Stier Forward, in March of 2016 JD launched the #StandWithCongo Campaign, a human rights movement for transparency in Congo mining, where people can learn more, engage, and give to local Congolese NGOs.
JD has forged a friendship and partnership with Amani, spending time together throughout eastern Congo as well as in Washington, D.C. JD holds Action Kivu and Amani in the highest regards and is deeply passionate about supporting Action Kivu’s life-saving community-building work.