Meet the new Black Engagement Committee leadership!

February 3, 2021
Meet the new Black Engagement Committee leadership!

Join us to build Black political power across Maricopa County.


Now more than ever, our local Party must be unified and organized in the struggle for racial and economic justice. One way the Maricopa County Democratic Party (MCDP) works to build Black political power is via MCDP's Black Engagement Committee.

The Black Engagement Committee is dedicated to ENGAGE, EDUCATE and EMPOWER the Black community across Maricopa County. Please donate today to help our Black Engagement Committee grow!

In 2021, the Maricopa County Democratic Party's Black Engagement Committee is under new leadership. We want to introduce the new co-chairs below:

Pastor Warren Stewart, Jr

Over the last 20 years, Warren has fostered diverse relationship capital that builds bridges for all people and forwards proactive change in our culture through servant leadership. As an influencer, he uses his voice to forward strategy and solutions in the community through faith-based and civic engagement projects. Warren ran as a strong candidate for Phoenix City Council in District 8 and inspired new voters with his platform.

Warren is a passionate pastor who preaches the gospel in a powerful way that ignites listeners to pursue their purpose. Being blessed to speak for thousands, he is one of the most sought after voices for churches, government organizations, and universities because of his dynamic delivery of culturally relevant messages. Warren is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and earned a Master of Arts in Ministry from Phoenix Seminary.

He is a chosen prominent leader of activist movements and conversations around social justice, diversity and equality, systemic racism and injustice, police accountability, foster care, women’s rights, immigration advocacy, and racial reconciliation. Warren started to provide solutions & strategies for justice, diversity, and equity education.

He holds awards as one of the "Top 40 diverse leaders under 40" from the Greater Phoenix Urban League Young Professionals. He is a 2018 recipient of the Arizona Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Living the Dream" award for his active work as a pastor and social justice advocate in the community. 

Karl E. Gentles, APR, MBA

Karl Gentles is a partner in The Gentles Agency, a strategic communications and public relations firm. With 30 years of corporate, political and nonprofit experience in the Phoenix community, Gentles leads the agency's strategic direction for its clients that span multiple industries including banking, economic development, public policy, healthcare and others. Prior to forming the agency, Gentles served in executive leadership positions at USAA, Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), Bank One, and began his career as a staff assistant for U.S. Senator John McCain.

In 2020, Gentles was a Democratic candidate for U.S Congress to represent Arizona's Sixth Congressional District.

In addition to his agency work, Gentles is the executive director of Back to School Clothing Drive, a 51-year old nonprofit that provides 25,000 elementary school students attending 260+ schools with new school uniforms, outfits and supplies. Their annual New Clothes, New Beginnings distribution event is the largest and most successful summer volunteer event in the state. The organization also runs a highly acclaimed and unique social enterprise that stocks onsite school clothing closets for students in need.

Gentles is a 2011 Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Fellow. He has completed executive certificate courses in Nonprofit Management from the Georgetown University Center for Nonprofit and Civic Leadership, and a certificate in social entrepreneurship from the INSEAD School of Business in Fountainbleau, France. He is accredited in public relations (APR) by the Public Relations Society of America.

A proud two-time Sun Devil, Gentles earned his master’s of business administration and bachelor’s of science in organizational communication from Arizona State University. His community involvement includes an appointment to the Arizona Corporation Commission, Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee, by a 4-1 vote of the Commissioners; Morrison Institute for Public Policy, Maricopa Integrated Health Systems Audit & Finance Committee; Black Chamber of Arizona; Grand Canyon University Honors College and Business College Advisory Boards; Phoenix Industrial Development Authority Past Director; Valley Leadership Class XV; FBI Citizens Academy; and Phoenix Citizen's Police Academy. Gentles is a member of Sigma Pi Phi, Gamma Mu Boule, the Phoenix chapter of the nation's first African-American professional fraternity.

Karl is married to Carla Wright Gentles, a 29-year U.S. Army Reserves (Ret.). Carla is the managing partner of The Gentles Agency, and a PhD candidate at Grand Canyon University. They have one son, Jordan Gentles, grandson, Jordan, Jr., and a Shih-Poo named Ever.

Black voices are vital in local politics. Their communities have lead locally for years, and their leadership is critical in our fight to make sure Maricopa County is a better place to live.

Join us in welcoming our new Black Engagement Committee co-chairs. We hope you join us in our fight to build a more equitable Party and county.

In Community,

Maritza Miranda Saenz, Executive Director

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