Board Members

 

Board of Directors 2014-15

Cary McGehee, Esq., Chair

Lawyer

Display GroupBy: Joe Polimeni

Cary S. McGehee is a founding partner of the law firm of Pitt, McGehee, Palmer,
Rivers & Golden P.C. established in 1992. She has specialized in employment and civil rights
litigation for over 20 years. Cary has been listed in Best Lawyers in America as one of the best
employment lawyers in the United States. She has also been elected a Fellow of the College
of Labor and Employment Lawyers in recognition of her sustained contribution to the field of
labor and employment law and her high standards of integrity, professionalism and character.
Cary is a frequent lecturer at seminars conducted by the Institute for Continuing Education
(ICLE) and the MAJ, and author of a chapter in the ICLE’s Michigan Civil Procedure manual
on “Proofs at Trial”. Cary is a member of the Employment Law Committee for the Michigan
Association for Justice (MAJ), and the Advisory Boards of the American Civil Liberties Union
and the Opportunity Resource Trust Fund. Cary is an ex-professional women’s basketball player
(WABA) and Division I NCAA women’s basketball official.

Dr. Brenda Bryant, President

Marygrove College

Brenda Bryant

Brenda Bryant is currently the Dean of Community Based Learning at Marygrove
College and the Executive Director of the Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement
at Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan. She was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Dr.
Bryant has a B.A. and M.A. from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada), as well as a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Ecological Community Psychology. She is the Board President of Wellness House of Michigan, Chair of the Research Team at the Coalition of Interfaith Community and School Board of Pontiac, as well as a Consultant for Delta Preparatory Academy (Social Justice High School). Additionally, she is a World Bridge Master.

Kim Redigan, Vice-Chair

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Kim Redigan is the Vice-Chair of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, Secretary of
Pax Christi Michigan’s State Council, and on the Coordinating Committee of the Detroit Area
Peace and Justice Network, where she represents Meta Peace Team (formerly Michigan Peace
Team), and the Detroit Catholic Worker. Kim spends most of her time working with Meta Peace
Team where she volunteers as a nonviolence trainer and serves on domestic and international
peace teams, including teams in the West Bank and Egypt. Kim has a Master’s degree in
Religious Studies from the University of Detroit Mercy, a B.A. in English from the University of
Michigan-Dearborn, and a Master of Arts in Social Justice from Marygrove College. Over the
past nine years, Kim has taught courses in World Religions, Catholic Social Teaching, and
Spiritual Biography at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. Prior to that, Kim taught
English for ten years at Holy Redeemer High School in southwest Detroit. She is also involved
in Women in Black – Detroit and represents Pax Christi as a Jobs with Justice affiliate. Kim and
her husband Matt are parents of four children.

Abayomi Azikiwe, Vice President

Wayne State University

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Abayomi Azikiwe is a Detroit organizer of the Workers World Party and editor of the
Pan-African Newswire. He is the co-founder of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against
War & Injustice (MECAWI) and the Moratorium NOW! Coalition.

 

Dr. Jose Cuello, Secretary/Treasurer

Wayne State University

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Dr. Jose Cuello was born in Tampico, Mexico in 1947, came to the U.S at the age of
seven and became a naturalized citizen at 14. His B.A. in Latin American History at the
University of Illinois was followed by an MA and PH.D in Latin American History, U.S. history
and Anthropology at the University of California Berkeley in 1970 and 1981. After teaching at
Marquette University 1983-87 and a year’s NEH fellowship, Jose directed the Wayne State Chicano-Boricua Studies Center from 1989-2001. He crystallized and developed the CBS mission of Comprehensive Student Services, Research, Community Outreach and University Advocacy. He defines himself as an Academic Activist whose mission has been to bring the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s into an institution that resists the full
incorporation of under-represented social groups. He facilitated the Detroit Latino Agenda and
Coalition in 1990-92 and is currently a member of Latinos United/Unidos of Michigan, involved
in the defense of unregistered immigrants. He also writes a weekly column and special reports
for EL CENTRAL Hispanic News.

 

Dorothy Aldridge, Community Activist

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Dorothy Dewberry Aldridge, a native of Detroit, is among the longest serving members of MCHR. Her civil and human rights work began in the the 1950s with the NAACP Youth Council. During the 60s and 70s, she served as director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and worked with such noted  persons as Stokely Carmichael, Hubert “Rap” Brown, Mrs Rosa Parks, Mrs Fannie Lou Hamer and Miss Ella Baker. In the 1980′s, through working with MCHR, she organized and led bus tours of Civil Rights movement historic sights in the South for young people from Metro Detroit. These tours took young people to Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, AL, Albany, Georgia, Memphis, TN and other places where the Movement’s battles were fought. She also served as Chief Guide for the Detroit Freedom tours that visited historic sites locally, both here and in Canada. Ms Aldridge was active in part as a result of her work with Mohr’s South Africa Committee, in the anti-apartheid protests and the African Liberation Support Movement. She was also very active in MCHR’s South Africa Committee in its early years. She has also recently served on the MLK Day planning comittee for the last few years. Most recently, Dorothy has been active on MCHR’s film committee and annual dinner committee and was a key planner and chaperone of the 2013 Freedom Tour this past summer. Mrs Dewberry Aldridge is married to fellow activist, Rev. Dan Aldridge and they have a daughter and grandson.

 

Linda Campbell

Linda Campbell is a long time Detroit resident and member of the Building Movement Project Team since its founding 10 years ago. She has deep connections throughout this city and has always encouraged us to look to Detroit as a place where some of the best ideas for community-led social change are developed and implemented. She is also involved in Detroit People’s Platform and Detroit Center for Community Advancement.

Mark Cowan, Jr

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Mark Cowan Jr. is a graduate of Oakland University, where he studied journalism and
economics and created his own course of study called “Media Actualization”. He completed his capstone paper on how to combat voter apathy and voter suppression. Mark had a radio show on 88.3 WXOU, OU’s college radio station, called SKRT_STSH. It focused on under-reported news, electronic music, and humor. Mark was formerly a news intern for the Oakland Press and videographer for a local retail chain, and now serves as an AmeriCorps service member with MSU Extension where he builds capacity and recruits mentors for the Michigan 4-H Tech Wizards STEM mentoring program for youth in Macomb County.

Kezia Curtis

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Kezia Curtis is a long time Detroit resident who is passionate about conflict reconciliation. She is a level 2 trainer for the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. Kezia works with youth in a wide range of settings. Her special interests are bicycles and urban farming.

Trey Greene, Rotary International

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Trey Greene (Walter R. Greene III) comes to the MCHR Board after retiring from the Wayne
State University Office of Equal Opportunity in 2004. He has an MBA and has been a business owner in the community, but he has always found time to volunteer with numerous community boards and
organizations, including the American Lung Association, the Historic Boston-Edison Neighborhood Association. His major long term work has been with the Detroit Rotary Club, which he served as
president in 2005-06. In addition to an upbringing dedicated to the cause of overcoming injustice, Trey says he has learned how individuals can lead change through organizations such as MCHR and Rotary International. At the 1940 convention in Havana, Rotarians adopted a resolution calling for freedom, justice, truth, sanctity of the pledged word and respect for human rights. So many Rotarians participated in the chartering of the United Nations and the formation of UNESCO that the Rotary resolution became the framework for the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Trey wants to continue this human rights work as a board member for MCHR.

Frank Hammer

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Frank Hammer has been a social justice activist for nearly 50 years, the last 40 in the labor movement as an autoworker and member, elected officer, staff representative, and now
retiree of the United Auto Workers. Frank was the past President of the Greenacres Woodward Civic Association in Detroit, and currently represents the Association as a member of the
Michigan State Fairgrounds Advisory Committee. He is a lecturer in the Labor Studies Programs at Wayne State and Indiana State Universities. He’s been an MCHR Board member since 2012, an activist with South East Michigan Jobs with Justice, the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW-UAW), and Autoworker Caravan as an advocate for reversing global warming and climate change, international labor solidarity, labor union reform, and Detroit, his home of 40 years. He has been a conference participant in numerous countries including Germany, Cuba, and South Africa. Frank’s online interviews and/or blogs can be found at labornotes.org
and therealnews.com and his photography has been featured online and in several Detroit
venues. He’s been married to his wife Karen nearly 45 years, and is the dad of two great
children.

Barbara Harvey

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Barbara Harvey has been a practicing lawyer for 38 years, litigating civil rights and
employment discrimination cases and representing rank-and-file union reform groups. She has
been a full-time faculty member at Wayne State University Law School and the ACLU of
Michigan’s Legal Director, and a longtime board member of the Association for Union
Democracy. She is a co-founder of the Detroit chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace and proposed
JVP’s TIAA-CREF divestment campaign, now called “We Divest,” the largest national
divestment campaign against the Israeli occupation, and spent its first three years working
actively on its coordinating committee. She has helped to create and actively participates in
NLG and CCR lawyers groups providing free legal advice and representation to Palestine
solidarity activists and campaigns.

Eric Hood

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Eric Hood is a veteran public relations and corporate communication consultant. He has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies and other organizations throughout Michigan, the U.S.
and Europe for over 25 years. Eric is also involved with advocacy, education and communication
initiatives on behalf of Mental Health America and the National Institute for Mental Health. He
is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, International Association of Business
Communicators, American Marketing Association and American Civil Liberties Union.

Julie Hurwitz

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Julie Hurwitz is a partner at the Detroit firm Goodman & Hurwitz, P.C., where she
specializes in civil rights and government misconduct/§1983 litigation. She has been adjunct
professor of law at the University of Detroit/Mercy School of Law since 2005, teaching Civil
Rights Litigation. She was the founding Executive Director of the NLG/Maurice & Jane Sugar
Law Center for Economic and Social Justice [Sugar Law Center] in Detroit, where she served for
more than 10 years. She has successfully tried several civil rights cases to verdict, including
police misconduct, prisoner rights, malicious prosecution and wrongful conviction. She has
spoken and written extensively on issues pertaining to civil rights, civil liberties and representing victims of constitutional violations. She has also represented civil disobedience activists since the early 1980’s and is actively involved in providing Legal Observer training and support throughout the metropolitan Detroit area. She is Vice President of the Detroit NLG Chapter and is on the Boards of the Sugar Law Center and the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights. She is
currently co-counsel, on behalf of the NLG and with the Sugar Law Center, in the federal
Constitutional challenge to the recently re-enacted Michigan Emergency Manager Law (“dictator bill”). Julie is a 1978 graduate, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, and a 1982 graduate from the University of Michigan Law School and has 3 wonderful and talented grown sons, 3 amazing stepchildren and 3
beautiful grandkids.

Barbara Ingalls

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Barbara Ingalls is a Detroit-born graphic designer and activist. She first became active during the Detroit Newspaper Strike of the 1990’s and remained in the movement after its conclusion. She can be found working with labor, the peace movement and housing justice.

Bob Ingalls

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Bob Ingalls is a lifelong Michigander. He retired from Ford Motor Company on a UAW pension after 31 years, where he worked as an industrial electrician. He fixes and sets up Macintosh computers, and teaches the operating system and programs. He also is a photographer
and videographer, frequently donating his time and talent in the cause of social justice. He has been married for 34 years to Barbara Ingalls.

Frank Joyce

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Frank Joyce has been a political activist since the civil rights movement. He worked with
the Northern Student Movement (NSM), helped to found People Against Racism (PAR) in the
late 1960’s and has been involved in many labor, anti-racist, human rights and anti-war
campaigns since. Frank has worked in factories, retail establishments and a number of media
organizations, including WDET and WTVS. He has won journalism awards in print, radio and
television. Frank was a member of the UAW International Union staff for eighteen
years, including twelve years as Director of the Public Relations Department. Currently, he is a
Communications Consultant to labor and community organizations. Frank is President of the
board of The Working Group (TWG), a California based non-profit media production company
that supports the anti-hate movement “Not In Our Town (NIOT)”. His writing has been
published at AlterNet (www.alternet.org) and elsewhere. Every Sunday afternoon, Frank
contributes during the last hour of Dave Marsh’s “Land of Hopes and Dreams” radio program,
which airs on SiriusXM Radio channel 127 from 1-4 PM Eastern time. He and his wife, Mary
Anne Barnett, have 3 adult sons and three grandchildren. They live in Grosse Pointe
Park, Michigan.

Dr. Saeed Khan

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Dr. Saeed A. Khan is currently in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages,
Literatures and Cultures at Wayne State University, where he teaches courses on Islamic and Middle East History, Politics and Culture, and is also a Research Fellow at Wayne State’s Center
for the Study of Citizenship. His area of research is the identity politics of Muslim diaspora
communities in the US, UK and Europe. He is also Adjunct Professor in Islamic Studies at the
University of Detroit-Mercy and at Rochester College, co-teaching a course on Muslim-Christian
Diversity. In addition, he is a founding member and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for
Social Policy & Understanding: a Michigan-based Think Tank promoting the study and analysis
of US social and domestic policy. Most recently, Saeed has founded the Center for the Study of
Trans-Atlantic Diasporas, a think tank and policy center examining and comparing the condition
of ethnic immigrant groups in North America and Europe, consulting the US and UK
governments and the EU on their respective Muslim communities. He is a regular contributor to C-Span, NPR, Voice of America and the National Press Club, as well as newspapers and other
outlets, and is also a consultant on Islamic and Middle East affairs for the BBC and CBC.

Hasan Newash

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Hasan Newash was born in Ein Karem, near Jerusalem. A longtime Detroit area peace
with justice activist, Anthropology Ph.D. candidate, and published poet, he is co-founder/
initiator of numerous Arab American /Palestinian organizations, including ACCESS, ADC,
Association of Arab American University Graduates (AAUG), Al-Awda, and others. He
currently serves on the Coordinating Committee of the Detroit Area Peace with Justice Network
(DAPJN), comprised of 30 peace and justice organizations in Michigan. Also, he is Director of
the volunteer-driven Michigan Citizens for Palestinian Rights, Palestine Office Michigan, an
advocacy organization headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan. Newash frequently lectures on
Palestinian rights and recites his and other Palestinian poets’ works in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area.

Tova Perlmutter

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Tova Perlmutter is the founder and Principal at Engine of Progress, drawing on 25 years of experience to help progressive initiatives obtain and use resources to advance social change.
From 2006 to 2012, Tova served as Executive Director of the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, a national nonprofit dedicated to advancing the rights of working people and their communities. A Harvard graduate, Tova earned master’s degrees at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan, and conducted doctoral research on ethnic and racial politics in American cities. She has also completed specialized programs on multicultural leadership and project management. Tova’s current clients include Michigan Coalition for Human Rights; Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights; Project Micah of Congregation T’chiyah; Michigan Campaign for Justice; and Restaurant Opportunities Center-Michigan.

Asm Rahman

Asm Rahman is a manager at the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department. As a teenager
he migrated to USA from Bangladesh and has lived in Detroit ever since. He earned a BA and
MSF, both in Finance, from Walsh College. He actively participated in many civil rights
activities locally and nationally. While in college in 1993, he led the Bosnian Task Force in
Michigan, formed by the local community to raise awareness about the ongoing war crimes in
the Balkans. Asm works actively among the immigrant community to educate them about our
civil rights history and importance of integration and understanding of surrounding
cultures. Fifteen years ago, he started a scholarship in his childhood elementary school in
Bangladesh to inspire school children for competitive education and every year, 60 students
receive the merit scholarship. Additionally, Asm is a member of the Board of Directors for the
Bangladeshi American Public Affairs Committee, Board President of a local Charter School;
Life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a
premiere national civil rights organization. He was elected as the president of the NAACP
Hamtramck branch in 2009; He is a board member for the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights
(MCHR). He also joined the Lakeshore Economic Coalition (LEC) board in 2009.”

Matt Robb

Matt Robb is a fervent believer in the capacity of human beings to make a positive influence on their community–regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, family background, or political ideology. His experience in social change began with the Obama Campaign in 2007, where his work in organizing the community helped energize an unlikely victory in the Iowa Caucuses. In 2008, he was assigned to conservative districts near his hometown, where now President Obama was the first Democratic Candidate since LBJ to win Leelanau and Benzie Counties. He has since worked as a Civics teacher at Cody High School in the Detroit Public School district. His Civil Rights Class was named Detroit 20/20 “Person of the Week” for their “Take Back the Neighborhood” rally, which encouraged students to take an active interest in believing in and affecting social change in their community. Matt continues to be active in the lives of his students, even though he has moved on to Wayne State Law School, where he hopes to focus on Civil Rights and Constitutional Law. He is currently pursuing these interests during a summer clerkship at Cary McGehee’s law firm and hopes to continuing the cause of social progress as a Board Member at MCHR.

 

Jennifer Teed

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Previously a MCHR Board member and currently a teacher at Detroit Innovation
Academy, Jennifer graduated from UDM as a leading student activist to bring social justice to
the university as well working on anti-war, fair trade coffee on campus, Gay rights and other
issues. She later served as the Director of Religious Education for the Detroit and Farmington
UU Churches and continued her activism on counter military recruiting, GLBT, disability and
most recently with Occupy Detroit as well as working to rid the city of the EFMs.

Brandon Toy

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Brandon was a member of the Michigan Army National Guard and was deployed for 16 months and spent all of 2005 as a Military Police Officer on the east side of Baghdad in the New Baghdad and Sadr City areas during the Iraq War. After his enlistment was done, he got a job as an Engineering Project Manager at General Dynamics Land Systems, a defense contractor based in Sterling Hts., where he worked on the Stryker combat vehicle project. Toy became disillusioned with the war and US foreign policy during his time overseas and had a spiritual epiphany and change of conscience about his employment, eventually quitting his job to seek other employment and to become an activist for human rights and veterans rights. His resignation letter, which he sent to his corporate chain of command, went viral online after being published by Common Dreams and some other publications.

Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

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Lydia Wylie-Kellerman is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago, and is now living in
Detroit, where she and others are beginning a Catholic Worker house focused on urban farming,
resistance and hospitality for teen mothers. She is a recipient of the Young Adult Peacemaker
Award at Pax Christi Michigan’s 29th Annual State Conference in 2010. Lydia also spent time
in Washington, D.C. with Witness Against Torture on the 100 Days Campaign to Shut Down Guantanamo and End Torture. Recently, she was a chaperone for MCHR’s Annual Freedom Tour, in which thirty Detroit area high school students participated in leadership development during a historic, two-week group bus tour covering many of the same sites where the original Freedom Riders worked for justice over five decades ago.

Bill Wylie-Kellermann

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Bill Wylie-Kellermann is a writer and non-violent community activist, a Methodist pastor
serving St Peter’s Episcopal Church Detroit. Author of Seasons of Faith and Conscience:
Reflections on Liturgical Direct Action (Orbis/Wipf &Stock) and editor of A Keeper of the Word
(Eerdmans), his forthcoming books are William Stringfellow: Living Humanly (Orbis, Modern
Spiritual Masters series) and Dying Humanly: the Resurrected Life of Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann
(forthcoming). At present much of his work is focused on resisting emergency management. As,
co-founder of Word and World: A Peoples’ School, adjunct faculty at SCUPE – Chicago and
Marygrove’s MA/Social Justice in Detroit, his teaching and writing are generally framed by a
theology of the “principalities.” In Jesus, he bets his life on the gospel non-violence, good news
to the poor, Word made flesh, and freedom from the power of death.

 

Thomas R. Zerafa

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Tom Zerafa is a Detroit native and graduate of Marygrove College (B.A in Liberal Arts/
Music Major/Religious Studies Minor, class of ’91). Tom also attained a Graduate Certificate in
Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame in 1998. He has been a Pastoral Musician
in the Archdiocese of Detroit since 1969. Tom has been an Activist/advocate/fundraiser in
LGBT community/peace, transportation and environmental groups and progressive organizations over past 40 years. Currently, Tom
is a culinary student at Oakland Community College with a goal of opening a food/hot meal
service for the underserved in lower Oakland County sometime in 2014. He is also a Half-
marathoner for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society 3 years and running!

STAFF
Marge Sears, Executive Program Coordinator

Marge

Marge Sears was born and raised in Detroit. Marge holds a Bachelor of Science degree in
secondary education and a Masters degree from UDM in religious studies. Marge has worked as a high school teacher and teacher in an adolescent substance abuse center, Campus Minister and Director of Center for Faith and Action for adults at UD High. Additionally, Marge is a wife, mother of 3 and grandmother of 5 incredible grandchildren who are the joy of her life. Marge has been on staff for MCHR off and on for over 14 years. Marge’s interest in social justice has focused mainly on civil rights and racism/white privilege as well as anti-war work. She is a member of Gesu Parish and their Peace and Justice Team, which is one of the most active in the Detroit diocese. Marge loves travel, gardening, cooking, photography and folk music, which bring balance to her life.

ADVISORY BOARD

Rev. Dr. Charles Adams
Hartford Mem. Baptist Church

Rev. D. Alexander Bullock

Rev. Harry Cook

Steve Spreitzer
Director of MI Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion

Imam Mohamad Ali Elahi
Islamic House of Wisdom

Rt. Rev. Wendell Gibbs, Jr.
Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

Bill Goodman
Goodman and Hurwitz law firm

Dr. Karl D. Gregory
retired economics professor OU

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Archdiocese of Detroit

Imam Radwan Mardini
American Muslim Center

Hon. B. Pennie Millender
35th District Court

Fred Pearson
Director of Center for Peace and Conflict Studies WSU

Fran Shor
History professor, WSU

Rudy Simons
long time activist

Rev. Dr. Kevin Turman
Second Baptist Church

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