Lynn Gottlieb is a pioneer feminist rabbi, storyteller, percussionist, peace educator, writer, ceremonialist, community activist and clown. She is deeply committed to a life grounded in the creativity, joy and wisdom of the Torah (teachings) of Nonviolence. Her journey includes life long activism with The Fellowship of Reconciliation and ongoing pursuit of Israeli Palestinian conflict transformation based on principles of active nonviolence. Lynn served as a pulpit rabbi from 1973 to 1980 with Temple Beth Or of the Deaf and Mishkan, An Experimental Shul in NY and from 1981 to 2005 with Congregation Nahalat Shalom in Albuquerque, NM which she co-founded.Since 1964, Lynn has engaged in multifaith, intergenerational and multicultural organizing around issues of economic and racial justice, gender justice and ‘the demilitarization of land and life’. Lynn’s love of Jewish cultural and spiritual arts embodies her way of being Jewish in the world.
The Rev. Eric C. Shafer became senior pastor of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, CA in April 2014.
Earlier he worked with Odyssey Networks as the Senior Vice President, Philanthropy & Faith Community Relations at Odyssey Networks. Shafer’s longtime passion for matters related to the intersection of faith and the media led to his involvement with Odyssey Networks early in its history and eventually to a position on the organization’s Board of Trustees, representing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Shafer also served as the Senior Pastor for Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. During his four years of leadership, the church experienced growth in both membership and giving, a result of his extensive experience in strategic planning and communications. Prior to his pastorate at Trinity, Shafer was the Director for Communication for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) at its churchwide offices in Chicago. In that position, he oversaw the ELCA communication ministry and was responsible for the return to television of the animated children’s program Davey and Goliath, one of his many successful television productions.
Shafer is a member of the Muhlenberg College Board of Observers and serves as chair of the Wilbur Awards (Religion Communicators Council), which recognize excellence in communicating religious issues, values and themes in the public media. He has previously served as an advisor to the Lutheran World Federation Council, on the board of directors and executive committee of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCCUSA), as vice chair of the board of the Good Shepherd Home and Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, as chair of the NCCCUSA Communication Commission and on the Muhlenberg College Board of Trustees.
He is a graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, and Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Shafer has traveled extensively and taught in Madagascar and South Africa.
Civil Rights Activist
Los Angeles, CA
Affad Shaikh is a social entrepreneur, a gentleman adventurer and an aspiring renaissance man. He is currently part of the USC Dornsife Center for Religion and Civic Culture and the Interreligious Council of Southern California cohort known as the Future 50, as well as Alumni of New Ground: Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change.
Prior professional experience involved working on behalf of the American Muslim community, advocating for civil rights and cultivating civic engagement at the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR LA) for six years. Originally born in Karachi, Pakistan, he was raised in Los Angeles, California, and it was only fitting that Affad’s first big campaign was to organize and assist American Muslims facing years of naturalization delays.
Empowerment and civic engagement are interwoven experiences from which Affad developed innovative projects like the Muslim Youth Leadership Program in Sacramento and the Community Bridging program with Japanese and Muslims.
Martha Matsuoka is Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Executive Director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College. Her teaching focuses on environmental justice, community organizing, urban policy, environmental movement history, and community-based research. Her research focuses how community-based organizations organize to influence policy and planning and currently focuses on the intersection of environmental justice, community development, and health, specifically related to port and freight communities and the inequitable development processes in these neighborhoods and regions. This work is anchored and inspired by the Moving Forward Network, a nationwide network established to transform the system of ports and freight transportation to improve public health, labor conditions, and environmental justice. She has served on many boards, including the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation (past Chair), Human Impact Partners, and APEN. She currently serves on the Leadership Board of the LA Food Policy Council. Martha is a leading writer and researcher on social movements, especially in the Los Angeles area. Her first book, This Could Be the Start of Something Big: Regional Equity and America’s Metropolitan Future, was co-authored with Manuel Pastor and Chris Benner, was published by Cornell University Press in 2009. Martha received her Ph.D. in Urban Planning from UCLA, a Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley, and an A.B. from Occidental College. She engages in a spiritual path of meditation and yoga towards generating openness, hope, love, inclusion and justice.
Inland Valleys, CA
Maria Guadalupe Ortiz “Lupita” is an experienced community organizer and faith lay leader since 2000, particularly in the area of the Inland Valleys.. She has worked with La Libreria del Pueblo, various church ministries and student organizations. She was an active leader/organizer with the Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) through her home church, St. Bernardine’s Catholic Church, where she is a parish council member. In this work she was actively involved in addressing the need for fair immigration laws/reforms such as SB540/DREAM Act, DACA, SB60, and other policy issues.She also has experience organizing fundraisers such as house parties, Gala events, prayer breakfasts, etc. She is currently in her final phase of completing an M. A. in Spanish: Hispanic Literature, Language and Civilization, with a minor in Latin American Studies at Cal State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) . She also holds an A.A. in Office Information Systems (OIS). She has been the president and V. P. for several student organizations including PUENTE in S.B.V.C., ALAS, Sigma Delta Pi and Chief editor of Voices at C.S.U.B. and is the co-founder of Latinas Educating and Empowering Communities and I oversee the organization’s work since its founding in January 2014. Dedicated to training and empowering efforts in the San Bernardino and Inland Empire area. Lupita has been a participant and active supporter of IM4HI’s work in the Inland Valleys for the past 3 years.
Jaime Ortiz is a member of St. Bernardine’s Catholic Church and has served as a lay leader in many ministries, for over 20 years. He served on the executive board of Inland Congregations United for Change, a PICO affiliate, for three years and volunteered for many more in leadership development, training and advocacy. He has been involved in the fight in the Inland Valleys against unfair checkpoints and towing practices, inclusive immigration reform, the dropout crisis and violence in San Bernardino. He has experience in grassroots fundraising through events, houseparties, community events and Gala’s. He is presently a member of the financial committee member at St. Bernardine Church and has served as a member of the Pastoral Council until a few months ago.
Jaime has been a participant and supporter of IM4HI’s work in the Inland Valleys for the past 3 years.
San Mateo, CA
Rev. Tomas Bayou is an immigrant from Ethiopia who came to this country at the age of 16, four years after the collapse of the Socialist Ethiopia. Tomas grew up in Ethiopia at the time when the county was governed by Provisional Military Government of Socialist Ethiopia with a devout Christian mother and an agnostic socialist father. At the time he immigrated, he relocated to the San Fernando Valley leaving his siblings and parents behind. As a young adult, he moved to San Jose, CA where he became active with the local Ethiopian community. He has worked as a paralegal at an Immigration Law Office serving asylum seekers from Africa. He attended San Jose Bible College (now called William Jessup University). While in San Jose he also served as a Youth Program Director at the Ethiopian Evangelical Churches Fellowship in North America. In search for a more progressive, social justice oriented church, Tomas joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and received his ordination. He completed his M. Div at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. Tomas spent a number of years in Colorado, where he served as an end-of-life Chaplain, a Vicar and Youth Pastor. He has previously served as an advisory board member of the African Community Center (refugee placement organization). Tomas recently moved to Berkeley, CA with his wife (Sara), daughter (Lulit), and dog (Sheba), and has become recently involved in IM4HI’s immigration program in the Bay Area and is a member of an active accompaniment team. He is currently serving as a Hospice Chaplain in San Mateo County.
Rev. Deborah Lee ensures that we as an organization stay true to our mission, vision and values and are responsive to our partners and network. Works with Board of Directors to ensure the long- term sustainability of the organization.
Rev. Deborah Lee became the Executive Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity in 2018. IM4HumanIntegrity mobilizes congregations to take a stand on issues of social justice and engages people of faith to develop their own leadership so they can stand up against racism, discrimination and the challenges to human dignity. IM4Human Integrity builds faith-rooted solidarity, direct actions and advocacy in partnership with frontline communities dedicated to immigrant justice and ending the criminalization of people of color.
Prior to becoming Executive Director, Rev. Lee served since 2009 as the Program Director for the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (and under its predecessor names: Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights and CLUE-CA). In that role, Rev. Lee built up the Immigrant Justice program of the organization, engaging dozens of congregations in Northern California to become Sanctuary congregations and to respond to the wave of migrant youth and families and the detention and deportation crisis. Her work has been recognized as innovative and impactful with awards from the United Nation’s Association of the East Bay, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy,and the national United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministry.
Rev. Lee has worked at the intersection of faith and social justice for over 25 years in popular education, community organizing and advocacy connecting issues of race, gender, economic justice, anti-militarism, LGBTQ inclusion and immigrant rights. She has consistently sought to strengthen the voice and role of faith communities in today’s social movements.
Rev. Lee is the daughter of immigrants and part of the Chinese diaspora that has taken her family through Southeast Asia, Mexico and now the United States. She is a proud parent, partner, soccer player and tai chi practitioner.
Hilda trains and organizes congregations, and faith leaders to respond to the needs and gifts of the immigrant communities in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. She also engages and trains individuals interested in immigration, detention, citizenship, advocacy and faith rooted organizing.
For the past 20 years, Hilda Cruz has been a leader, organizer and advocate with a focus on faith and social justice and the fair treatment of every person. Prior to coming to IM4HumanIntegrity, she worked as the Director of Social Justice and Outreach for St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Yorba Linda. There she helped to form the North Orange County Interfaith Council which engaged congregations of many faiths. For three years, she worked as the Justice for Immigrants Campaign Coordinator for the Diocese of San Bernardino where she connected church leaders with community partners and allies to advance pro-immigrant legislation through outreach, education and action. She served as steering committee member for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice of Inland Southern California. Her passion to work with immigrants stems from her own personal struggles as a first generation, Mexican immigrant who knows about the fear of family separation. Continued education and growth of the self has always been important to her. Her most recent certificated courses is on Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law from Catholic Legal Network, INC. She continues to develop herself with the guidance of mentors, intentional reflection time, workshops & webinars, books, documentaries and spiritual retreats. She enjoys walks in nature, a good movie and spending time with family and friends.
Kianna develops key strategy to increase the awareness of the organization and it’s programing to the general public. This work includes a key focus on highlighting the stories of those formerly incarcerated and migrants and the effectiveness of the work of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.
Kianna Shann is a graduate of the California State University Northridge and holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Family and Consumer Science with a minor in Marketing. Prior to her work with Im4HumanIntegrity she was the program coordinator for the Urban Media Foundation.
Kianna is a member of the CHC Food Policy Round table, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Emerging Leaders, a member of the Lincoln Memorial United Church of Christ Health Ministry and lastly a Fundraising Committee member for the Black Organizers for Leadership and Dignity.
Miriam organizes and supports faith communities in the East Bay involved in our work. Coordinates the East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition and Fe y Justicia programs, which both engage congregations in Sanctuary work. She also support leadership development training on faith-rooted organizing and story-telling among immigrant communities.
Samantha pairs newly arrived or detained immigrant families with sanctuary congregations in order to form a pact of accompaniment; she supports the growth of these teams by facilitating the navigation of necessary resources. Samantha is also a rapid responder for the Alameda County Immigration Legal Education Partnership and is tasked with staffing the 24-hour hotline to provide deportation defense as well as know your rights trainings related to immigrant communities.
Samantha Vázquez is a first-generation Chicana, daughter of Mexican immigrants, and native of Southern California. She has two bachelor degrees from UC Santa Cruz in Community Studies and Sociology earned in 2016. Samantha has a background in public health as well as a strong history of commitment to know your rights trainings for immigrant populations. She is especially attuned to newly arrived communities and the partnerships that form with organizations in order to provide families with resources such as affordable medical care, job sources, legal help, and housing. Specifically, her passion lies with communities which are largely immigrant or people of color due to her family background.
Sarah Lee is a daughter and granddaughter of Chinese migrants from Hong Kong, Venezuela, and Canada. Through her leadership in direct action groups, hosting radio shows, and writing, Sarah dedicates her time to uplifting and humanizing stories of communities that are often stigmatized or silenced. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a BA in Public Health and Education, Sarah has more than 6 years of faith organizing experience among students and congregations. In her free time, Sarah enjoys reading and writing poetry, and creating spaces for shared meals, political education, and community building.
Daniel coordinates our monthly detention center vigils on 1st Saturdays.
Francisco leads our Strength from the Roots project. A retreat/word-shop that will engage community members through artistic expression using writing, singing and poetry resulting in a community chorus that will present the resilience of the people of Oakland in a final concert later this Spring.
Francisco Herrera is a cultural worker, a community organizer, and a singer / songwriter who has devoted his life to service to his community. His music is a form of public art, sung in churches, plazas, schools, picket lines, and meetings.
Larry works exclusively with our Justice Not Jails program, bridging the gap between returning residents and communities by establishing Beyond the Bars congregations.
Larry W. Foy is a public theologian, social ethicist, and community activist. His educational background, training, and life experience has contributed to his development as a Christian scholar and passionate advocate for social justice. He holds earned degrees in theology, ethics, and law. He has taught theology and ethics at Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Illinois, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois.
Larry has served as a community leader in Southern California for the past 25 years. His leadership includes serving as Director of the Union Rescue Mission and the Orange County Rescue Mission; Director of Community Programs, Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, Director of Urban Ministries, Southern California/Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ; and as the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for A New Way of Life Reentry Project, located in the Watts community of Los Angeles.
Larry has published several articles, along with writing Hope in Heaven and Faith for Today (2012), a book that challenges Christians to capture God’s eschatological promise of renewal as both calling and challenge toward building a more just and peaceful world in the “here and now.”
Larry is an eternal optimist and realist. He sees the world as full of possibilities and promise and he believes that people of faith are called upon to bear an influencing presence and to play a participating role in shaping local and global affairs. Larry resides in the Crescent Heights community of Los Angeles, California.