Our Board of Directors

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Chair

Storyteller/Artist
Berkeley, CA

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb

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.

Affad Shaikh, Secretary

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. Tomas Bayou, Treasurer

Hospice Chaplan
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.

Martha Matsuoka

Associate Professor
Oakland, CA

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.

Maria Lupita Ortiz

Community Organizer
Inland Valleys, CA

Maria Guadalupe “Lupita” Ortiz 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.

Jamie Ortiz

Community Organizer
Inland Valleys

Jamie Ortiz

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.

Maram Bata

Interfaith activist

Maram was born in Kuwait from Palestinian parents from eastern Jerusalem. She grew up in Kuwait finished her Electrical engineering degree at Kuwait university with an emphasis on computers. She lived and worked in Kuwait as a hardware and software engineer until the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait where she had to flee to Jordan and restart again. She later married and moved to Thousand Oaks, Southern California and then moved to the Bay Area 20 years ago. For over 8 years, she has been involved in interfaith work through Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) to counter Islamophopia where she was responsible for forming many N2N circles. She was a part of the N2N steering committee and helped N2N to organize many events. She is an elected member of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa. She serves on the Muslim Interfaith Council which seeks to coordinate Muslim interfaith activities between different masjids and organizations in the bay area. She has helped to coordinate the first Sunni-Shia conference in San Jose and intrafaith iftars during Ramadan. She attends Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland, a social justice oriented mosque.

Sh. Jameel Besada

Muslim Sheikh and Educator

Photo of Jameel Besada

Jameel Besada is a Muslim Imam serving a congregation in Corona, California. Born and raised in Southern California, Jameel Besada converted to Islam in 2003. He graduated from UCSD in 2007 with a major in Spanish Literature and minor in International Migration Studies. Thereafter he traveled to the Prophet’s (pbuh) city of Madinah to study at the Islamic University of Madinah where he graduated from the College of Shariah in 2017. He is currently serving as the Associate Religious Director at the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco (ISCN) and also serves with the Institute of Knowledge (IOK) as a Seminary Instructor and an Associate Chaplain serving the Muslim student community at Cal State University of Long Beach (CSULB). Jameel is engaged with local Latino Muslim organizations in Southern California, and is involved with the national organization Islam in Spanish. This org is based out of Houston, TX and is the leader in Latino/Muslim development and guidance.