Erik Olson Fernández has many years of experience organizing for nonviolent social change as a Community Organizer and in the labor movement as an Organizer, Labor Representative, and Field Director with public education and health care unions. Motivated by the experiences of growing up with a single mother from Mexico, he has a long commitment to economic and social justice through nonviolent resistance. Like Gandhi, Erik has a law degree but has instead focused and devoted his life to organizing workers and community residents for justice. He is currently working to create Nuevo SNCC, the modern equivalent of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a project that seeks to revive SNCC’s nonviolent legacy to challenge today’s human rights violations around the right to education. Erik holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning from Miami University and a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law. He is also on the boards of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and California Church IMPACT.
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. 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.
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.
R. Terese May, the principal of Covington May Financial, is an experienced community advocate and voice for socio-economic inclusion in the San Francisco bay area. Her history demonstrates a committment to help advance the interests of underserved communities. Ms. May’s concern for those with a diminished voice in their own economic destiny, is fueled by a heart-felt responsibility to assist others. Her work with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (IM4HI) is characteristic of that commitment.
A trusted advisor, Ms. May is known to be a straight talker, who takes a big picture view of most issues, while being equally careful with the details. She is the founding President of the Alliance for West Oakland Development, a joint venture between the Bank of America and local developer talent, formed to eliminate blight in the West Oakland community. Ms. May also served as the founding president of the Federation of African American Contractors, an organization that successfully lobbied for economic inclusion on the Oakland City Hall Reconstruction, the Pleasanton BART extension and played a substantial role in the passing of the “Hire Oakland” legislation, sponsored by then, Councilmember Ignacio DelaFuente.
Ms. May earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, from California State University, East Bay. She has completed post-graduate studies in derivatives, options and accounting. She earned a Juris Doctor from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She holds the Charter Financial Consultant’s designation from the American College of Financial Services. She is a founding member and the former secretary of the board of directors of IM4HI.
Sophay (Pai) Duch is a member of the Buddhist Cambodian American community who was born in Cambodia and raised in Echo Park, Los Angeles. She uses education, culture, history and advocacy as a means of nonviolent social change. Duch is a graduate of Mills College in Political Legal and Economic Policy. Her interest in local government developed as a participant of the San Francisco City Hall Fellows program. She is currently a Master’s Degree student at the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work focusing on Community, Organization and Business Innovation.
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.
The Rev. Dr. Art Cribbs is the executive director of The Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity a statewide faith-based organization, that advocates immigrant rights, quality education, and health care. He was president of the Ecumenical Council of San Diego County and president of Pacific Media Ministry, a television production company that produced local and network programs. Presently, he is pastor of the Los Angeles Filipino United Church of Christ. As a former executive with the international ministries of the United Church of Christ, Dr. Cribbs traveled to more than 20 countries, itinerated and accompanied global partners who visited the United States.
He was the executive director of the United Church of Christ Office of Communication and restructured the department through cross-discipline training; redesigned the UCC’s national newspaper; and, reconstituted the television production studio with a weekly program on national television. Dr. Cribbs’ has an extensive background in broadcast news and talk radio. He produced and hosted the television specials, “Stories of the Soul: Life after 9/11” for which he won an Emmy Award and “Changing Faces of AIDS” which was nominated for an Emmy. In the mid-1990s, he was employed by KPIX-TV in San Francisco as the East Bay bureau chief and a special commentator during the O.J. Simpson trial. In Chicago, Dr. Cribbs was heard daily on WVON, WGCI-AM, and V-1O3 as a talk show host; he appeared weekly on WLS-TV and WMAQ-TV with the Chicago Church Federation television programs from 1987 to 1989.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Berkeley in political science, Master of Divinity from the Chicago Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry (with the president’s academic excellence award) from the Claremont School of Theology.
Rev. Deborah Lee, an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, has worked at the intersection of faith and social justice for over 25 years as an educator and organizer on issues of race, gender, a just economy, anti-militarism, LGBTQ inclusion and immigration. Deborah is a second generation Chinese-American, a mother and a tai chi practitioner. She is currently the Senior Program Director of Immigration, with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity which believes that every person is sacred across all borders. She works with faith communities to engage, accompany and advocate for the fair treatment and dignity of immigrants
Born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador Moises attended the National University to study Sociology-History. He has lived in the Greater Los Angeles area since the end of 1973. Moises was involved in the solidarity movement with the People of El Salvador from 1981 to the end of the war in his country in 1992. Through his work he helped to organize a movement to stop the war in El Salvador and Central America. He was also part of the Sanctuary Movement during the 80’s and the social movement to get legal status in the United States for Salvadorans and Guatemalans fleeing the civil war. Since 1990 he has worked with different organizations as an Organizer-Community Educator focusing on Immigrants Rights and Workers’ Rights and Responsibilities.
Hilda Cruz seeks to engage others in courageous conversations on troubling issues with the objective to find common ground while remaining open to different opinions when coming from a place of respect and common, shared values of faith. Her background is in social justice and faith based, community organizing, where justice means the fair treatment of every person, especially those who are most marginalized by social systems. She has convened and joined movements that work in collaboration with others to build and strengthen community through leadership development and advocacy for over 17 years. She was the Director of Social Justice and Outreach for St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Yorba Linda where her special interest in working with other faiths led her to actively engage various faith congregations. Courageous conversations and actions took place among interfaith leaders that led to the forming of the North Orange County Interfaith Council. She recently worked as the Justice for Immigrants Campaign Coordinator for the Diocese of San Bernardino where she served as a member of the Public Policy Advisory Committee. She served three years in the Justice for Immigrant’s Coalition of Inland Southern California as a steering member. She actively collaborates with Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, an organization that acts on her faith values of being an intentional, inter-religious faith-rooted community, guided by our diverse faith traditions to live peaceably, respectfully, nonviolently and lovingly with every human person.
She has been married for over 30 years and has gained a lot of experience about life from her children, for whom she envisions a world where every human person is valued as sacred, a world where everyone will be protected from harm, and nurtured to achieve our highest human potential.
Kianna Shann is the Strategic Communications Manager with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity. In this capacity her responsibility is to successfully tell the stories of those which we are fighting for in a way that ultimately changes the collective consciousness. She 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. She has been with this organization for three years. Prior to her work with Im4HumanIntegrity she was the program coordinator for the Urban Media Foundation. She is also a freelance writer for Our Weekly Newspaper
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
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.