Labor Organizer – California Nurses Association
San Diego, CA
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.
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.
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.
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.