Love Over Fear Oakland in 2024: Connection, Care & Community

Unveiling our Cultural Strategists– and What’s Next!

We are pleased to introduce our Cultural Strategists, instrumental in bringing creative expression to our Love Over Fear campaign in Oakland. Gala King, the IM4HI Regional Director for Northern California and the dedicated organizer of our impactful Love Over Fear Oakland Project, passionately conveys, “Art and culture serve as foundational cornerstones in all social justice movements, possessing the extraordinary ability to open hearts, uplift spirits, and expand minds, thereby fostering tangible change.”

The Love Over Fear Oakland Project responds to the challenges faced by communities of color in Oakland, where economic inequality and public violence strain connections and hinder community collaborations. Hate crimes have heightened fear among Asian Americans, while African Americans fear police shootings. Latine immigrants stay in the shadows to avoid immigration enforcement. This growing anxiety continues to hinder collaboration and trust, let alone collaborate to solve shared challenges. Even in moments of great need, community trauma prevents us from embracing each other and forging collective solutions.

IM4HI acknowledges the root causes disrupting local communities and expresses a commitment to creating dialogue, reforming public discourse surrounding community safety, and nurturing connections among AAPI, Black, and Latinx communities. Through various mediums, including podcasts, photo series, and community concerts, IM4HI organizes initiatives centered around crucial themes of safety, healing, and spiritual rejuvenation. 

IM4HI was one of 33 organizations to receive a one-year grant from the San Francisco Foundation’s Bay Area Creative Corps Program designed to address and solve complex challenges by amplifying and mobilizing the creative potential of changemakers, and by supporting the solutions that are developed by and for communities that are most directly impacted. This grant acts as a catalyst to empower the infusion of diverse art and healing modalities into IM4HI’s transformative initiatives, marking a major stride in the organization’s mission.

Amina Lei 

Eileen X Lei (@eileen_amina) • Instagram photos and videos

Eileen Amina Lei, IM4HI Cultural Strategist, Oakland 2024

“For me, art is more than learning or painting; it’s a spiritual practice, a transformation from within”… “It involves using creativity and imagination with the goal of collective liberation in mind.”

– Eileen Amina Lei

In the realms of art and activism, Eileen Amina Lei, 41, creatively known as Amina Lei, stands as a luminary—a 2nd generation Chinese-Muslim woman, visual artist, organizer, and storyteller. Amina’s childhood, shaped by the revolutionary spirit of Oakland, represented the complexity and beauty of growing up in the diverse culture of the Bay Area as a self-taught Chinese painter, teaching artist, and illustrator.

Her transformative journey began at a young age, unfolding as a profound exploration of the power and struggle of creativity in confronting societal issues. Through her collaborative efforts with Oakland-based organization, Freedom Soul Media Education Initiatives (FSMEI), Amina manages dual roles as both a teacher and artist, dedicating her efforts to anti-racism initiatives within schools. Her connection to the vibrant streets of San Francisco Chinatown and Richmond neighborhoods, where she grew up, is evident in her work, consistently reflecting her deep-rooted love for the Bay Area’s community culture.

Amina’s journey, sparked by a referral from a sister from her mosque, gained momentum from her work in Los Angeles, including events like ‘Under the Sky, One Family,’ emphasizing unity between the black and AAPI community. This momentum continued as she extended her involvement to foster connections among the black, API, indigenous, and Latinx communities. 

Amina’s work now spans from community organizing in Oakland to the Mohammed University in Los Angeles, where she cultivates collaboration between parents and teachers to tackle racism from elementary to high school levels. Her artistic impact extends beyond traditional boundaries, contributing to illustrating children’s books and organizing events in Los Angeles, emphasizing solidarity among Asian, Black, and Latinx communities through the powerful lens of art and history. 

Amina stresses the crucial role of artists in social discourse, asserting that art breaks down barriers and cultivates understanding among diverse communities. Inspired by Grace Lee Boggs’ call to Reimagine Everything, she envisions art as the source for bridging communities and integrating diverse perspectives, aligning seamlessly with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity.

“Doing this work of art and spirit is a beautiful endeavor. For me, art is more than learning or painting; it’s a spiritual practice, a transformation from within,” said Lei. “It involves using creativity and imagination with the goal of collective liberation in mind. Art, ultimately, is about manifesting something new.”

Joining IM4HI as a cultural strategist for the Love Over Fear campaign holds profound significance for Amina. “I am proud that we are doing the work centering our faith and art. My faith, my path as an artist and my passion for justice and social change is one,” said Amina. “I’m grateful to work with amazing community leaders and artists in my hometown of Oakland that have helped shape the woman I am today.” Amina acknowledges the city’s rich history as a leader in using art and culture for impactful social change and hopes to contribute to continuing that movement.

Amina’s philosophy on Love Over Fear becomes a clarion call—an acknowledgment of both light and darkness within, a refusal to fear uncomfortable truths, and a commitment to questioning the perpetuation of societal norms. This approach becomes the foundation for creating something new, enabling thriving beyond mere survival.

Navigating this transformative journey, Amina draws a poignant metaphor, likening it to a woman in labor—beautiful, yet accompanied by pain and trials — emphasizing that the work transcends the external. “It delves into introspection, unraveling the intricacies of being Chinese, being Chinese Muslim, and, more uniquely, a Chinese Muslim artist and woman navigating the complexities of our times,” said Lei. “The challenge lies in reconciling these multifaceted identities while grappling with feelings of isolation, a sense of not fitting into societal norms, despite advocating for belonging and safety for all.”

The internal work involves defining safety, cultivating unconditional self-love, and making a commitment to well-being. Art, for Amina, emerges as a vital tool, elevating and maintaining her well-being—a spiritual cultivation echoing the unshakable peace found in Islam. 

As IM4HI welcomes Amina Lei, the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity welcomes not just an artist but a catalyst for unity, understanding, and liberation. Amina’s work extends beyond the canvas, weaving a tapestry that transcends boundaries through the transformative power of art and love.

Stepping into her role, Amina will spearhead a captivating series of IG Live Sessions, commencing with a special episode featuring Executive Director Rev. Deborah Lee on February 23rd. With the focus on “Unveiling Love: Stories of Community and Social Change,” the podcast will explore the deep connections between individuals and their environments, while lifting up the ways ordinary people are creating community safety and building multiracial solidarity. The podcast will extend until June, encompassing a range of 10-20 interviews and creating a safe space for meaningful conversations and reflections. Tune in to our podcast, engage in community dialogue, and join us in taking meaningful action to promote Love Over Fear! 

B Dukes 

B Dukes BluMoon (@bdukesthetruth) • Instagram photos and videos


B Dukes, IM4HI Cultural Strategist, Oakland 2024

“In essence, we, as artists, take on the role of historians, diligently archiving the past, present, and future. Some of us aim to remind our communities of their roots, while others create awareness and cultivate hope for the future by acting as conduits for visions and possibilities.”

– B Dukes

In the intersection of art, healing, and community empowerment, B Dukes, 30, emerges as a passionate and powerful force—a Black, trans, non-binary organizer, sound facilitator artist, and healer. Committed to serving marginalized communities, including Black, Brown, Indigenous, Queer, and Trans communities, B Dukes plays a pivotal role in the pursuit of a more inclusive and interconnected world.

As an organizer, storyteller, and advocate, B channels their efforts into resource mobilization and bridge-building for marginalized communities. Engaged with the Freedom Community Clinic and the enigmatic project, WTFWTH, BDukes pioneers initiatives such as artist residencies, providing spaces for creative rejuvenation and envisioning future endeavors. 

Hailing from Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina, B reflects on their transformative four-year journey in the Bay Area, with the upcoming fifth year marking a significant milestone. They emphasize, “Immersing myself in a community goes beyond physical relocation; it’s about delving into the intricacies of local issues and challenges. This understanding becomes the essence that I weave into the fabric of my artistic practice.” 

B’s approach is deeply rooted in understanding local issues and diverse communities, guided by the inspiration of proximity, purpose, spirit, and invaluable mentorship. This awareness becomes the tapestry of their art and healing practices, contributing authentically to the places they now call home.

Inspired by Marvin Gaye’s impactful melodies during their upbringing, B draws a parallel between art and culture, recognizing the role of artists as historians, diligently archiving the past, present, and future. Their mission involves encouraging, influencing, and sharing knowledge in ways that resonate and reach people.

“When artists engage with their tools, they communicate using the threads of their culture to shape their perspectives. In essence, we, as artists, take on the role of historians, diligently archiving the past, present, and future. Some of us aim to remind our communities of their roots, while others create awareness and cultivate hope for the future by acting as conduits for visions and possibilities. Our mission involves encouraging, influencing, and sharing knowledge in ways that resonate and reach people,” said B.

As a cultural strategist with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, B Dukes extends their transformative work, aligning seamlessly with the organization’s commitment to justice, freedom, and healing. “Love Over Fear,” envisioned by B Dukes, serves as a catalyst for stronger community bonds, fostering mutual understanding and connection, aiming to dismantle barriers and cultivate a profound sense of belonging.

With IM4HI, they will curate a Photo Series that spotlights community leaders actively providing safe alternatives to reduce violence and increase care in local Oakland. This intersectional and culturally rich exhibit is a testament to BDukes’ dedication to showcasing diverse voices and promoting positive change.

In this exhibit, B aims to feature a “Love Letter to Oakland,” expressing the heartfelt appreciation for the city’s unique and positive qualities. Guided by them, the exhibit reflects Love Over Fear Oakland’s “commitment to authenticity, imperfection, acceptance, and self-love”, serving a significant role in the transformative influence of love, art and collective action into the community. 

Francisco Herrera

Francisco Herrera, IM4HI Cultural Strategist, Oakland 2024

“Love is courageous. Love is intelligent. Love is effective and efficient. And we have to really recognize that and push that.”

– Francisco Herrera

In the heart of community and cultural intersections, Francisco Javier Brambilla, widely known as Francisco Herrera, stands as a transformative force. A Chicano cultural worker, musician, and co-founder of Caminante Cultural Foundation, Francisco, at 61, draws on his Mexican heritage, blending a rich range of music, storytelling, and activism, reflecting the depth of his d=contributions to his community. 

Born in Calexico, California, raised on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, Francisco’s cultural work reflects a nuanced perspective. Guided by the influence of his father, he embarked on a musical journey at the age of seven, fostering a profound connection to art as a daily source of healing and communal nourishment. “The arts and culture have always been, not a performance per se, but the daily medicine, the daily vitamin,” Francisco articulates, emphasizing the role of cultural work in daily regeneration, growth, and community building.

A figure for decades in the human and immigrant rights movement, Francisco addresses systemic issues like war funding and racism in all its forms. A long-term collaborator with Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Francisco advocates for a compassionate and equitable community, challenging the narrative that love and compassion are impractical.

His engagement in the Love Over Fear initiative reflects a commitment to building communities that embody compassion and courage, challenging violence and harm, whether in Palestine, Israel, Mexico, and Oakland.

“Love is courageous. Love is intelligent. Love is effective and efficient. And we have to really recognize that and push that,” said Herrera.

The arts, including “liturgy as the work of the people,” play a crucial role in IM4HI’s approach, fostering a slow and consistent process of building relationships and creating safe spaces. The Love Over Fear initiative with Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity strives to cultivate a space where people can authentically express their desire to make a positive impact and build a beloved community. 

Despite the challenges posed by economic and social hardships, he emphasizes, “People really want to celebrate and be with each other and create spaces of love and support for each other.” Love, in its truest form, serves as a powerful motivator, transcending the influence of harm and hate. 

Francisco’s journey is one of unwavering dedication to social justice, using music and the arts to amplify marginalized voices. His advocacy for love over fear encapsulates a profound belief in the intelligence, effectiveness, and courage that compassion brings to transformative social movements. 

Looking ahead, Francisco’s role in the Love Over Fear Oakland project is organizing a lively series of three community concerts at the Fruitvale Plaza over the next six months. These pop-up events aim to celebrate diversity, nurture community bonds, and embody the transformative power of art and love. Showcasing the interethnic character of the Fruitvale neighborhood, the concerts will feature community artists, church choirs, poets and visual performers. More than entertainment, these concerts strive to contribute peace to the neighborhood and provide alternatives to traditional policing, sparking meaningful conversations about community empowerment and safety. Join us in shaping a city where safety is a shared responsibility and community connections thrive through music, cross-cultural engagement, and collective action. 

With Amina Lei’s powerful fusion of faith and art, B Dukes’ commitment to dismantling barriers through culture, and Francisco Herrera’s musical journey, IM4HI embarks on a transformative exploration of community empowerment led through creativity, unity and most importantly, love. 

Stay tuned for our upcoming Love Over Fear Community projects and events!

Together, let’s build a safe, more connected Oakland. The work with our Cultural Strategists seeks to create safe and thriving communities, recognizing that community safety is intricately linked to the well-being of the most vulnerable among us. 

We invite community partners, faith communities, artists, and collectives who resonate with this work in Oakland to participate in small or large ways.  To begin with,

How Can You Get Involved?

  • Explore our Love Over Fear 2023 Concert page on our website dedicated to the work with our first concert and Cultural Strategists
  • Stay tuned for upcoming creative projects led by our Cultural Strategists, such as the Love Over Fear Oakland podcast, photo series and community-driven concerts and learning what community safety looks like. 

Stay connected with us on Instagram and Facebook for updates on future events and initiatives. We look forward to building the Love Over Fear campaign and creating more opportunities for our community to come together in celebration and solidarity!


IM4HI Merch! T-Shirts & Hoodies

Wrap yourself in comfort with IM4HI’s empowering new merchandise and partner with us in reshaping the understanding of immigration and public safety – from punishment and exclusion to a liberating vision rooted in dignity and care, which amplifies the sacredness of all. 

Introducing our exclusive Love Over Fear (LOF) campaign T-shirt featuring the incredible artwork of Oakland artist, Francis Mead. Each shirt symbolizes the collective choice to replace fear, xenophobia, and racism with inclusion, forgiveness and shared humanity – contributing to the creation of safe and thriving communities.  

Get your hands on our stunning IM4HI sweatshirt, showcasing original artwork by Bay Area artist, Alex Rae Phelps. These fair trade organic cotton sweatshirts, available in a beautiful light green, feature our slogan, “All People Are Sacred Across Bars and Borders.” Choose between a yellow or pink flower and act fast – these beauties won’t last! 

New Arrivals for a Fresh Look! Get Yours Now!

  • Hoodies & Crewnecks: Stay warm and stylish with our brand-new hoodies and crewnecks. Perfect for the chilly Bay Area weather!  Hoodies are available with a $60 donation and Crewnecks are available with a $50 donation. Holidays supplies are limited so order fast to get in December!  

Love Over Fear T-shirts: Dive into the unique world of artist Francis Mead with our Love Over Fear (LOF) T-shirts. The golden yellow shirts stand out with exclusive designs that make a statement of choosing Love Over Fear in support of community safety.  Available with a $30 donation.

Looking for the perfect holiday or New Year’s greeting? Our new collection of cards, available with a $20 donation for a pack of 8, carry powerful imagery of hope and dignity through Alex Rae Phelps’ original artwork.

All items are available for pickup at our Oakland office or by mail with a $5 shipping fee.

Your donation provides direct support to recent immigrants and families impacted by detention and incarceration. It also fuels the training of volunteers and builds leadership to advocate for a just and caring world. Your generosity helps create a world where all are sacred beyond bars and borders.

Amplify the message that every person is sacred and support those formerly incarcerated or directly impacted by immigration this holiday season! Visit our website now, choose your favorites, and let your style reflect your commitment to equity, justice, and beloved community.

Tag: tshirt, tshirts


Our Prayers and Call to Action: Palestine-Israel

Para traducción al español haga clic aquí  

In this heartbreaking moment, our Prayer and Call to action

“Palestinian women dream of peace”. Image reprinted with permission by artist Malak Mattar.

We believe that all people are sacred across bars, walls, and borders. We grieve at the loss of all life that has occurred in the attacks on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.  We pray for the safe return of the hostages, the lives of children, friends, family, and partners in the region, and for all who remain fearful of continued violence across the divide. The wider implications of the rising violence and hostilities have already impacted the safety of our American Muslim neighbors, such as 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, who was fatally stabbed in Illinois, and an overall rise in hate crimes against Palestinians, Muslims and Jews in the US and around the world.

At IM4HI, rooted in diverse faith traditions and shared spiritual values, fundamentally, we believe we have the duty to prevent harm and to uphold the well-being of all people and the planet.  We do that by addressing the root causes of harm.  Our work in the US addresses the criminalization of people of color enacted through mass incarceration, immigration policy, and other forms of state violence targeting people based on race, religion, or national status.  In the case of Palestine, for lasting peace and genuine security in the region, the root causes and systemic issues must be addressed, beginning with the decades of institutionalized oppression and collective punishment of Palestinian people enforced by brutal military occupation and forced segregation.  

We have seen from our work the irreparable harm caused by militarization such as family separation, forced displacement, refugees and intergenerational trauma.  In Gaza there are 8 refugee camps.  70% of Gaza’s population are refugees. 50% are children and youth under the age of 20. People in Gaza are being bombed without the possibility to seek protection, as they are unable to freely move and migrate to safety. Even routes suggested by the State of Israel are subject to bombing. Over 2 million civilians in Gaza, including over a million children, are being deprived of food, essential medicine and humanitarian aid being blocked by the Israeli government at the border and over 400,000 people have been displaced.  50 Palestinians in the West Bank have been murdered and are experiencing increased violence. 

As a US-based organization, we have a responsibility for the actions of our government and the impact of our tax-dollars. This week the US is sending $2 billion to the State of Israel, on top of the $3.8 billion in military aid received annually, to resupply bombs, missiles, fighter jets and military equipment being used on occupied Gaza.  The President is asking Congress for billions more. 

We cannot help but think of the countless other social needs that billions of our US tax dollars could address around the world and here at home to address human needs: for the millions of families and seniors whose food stamps have just been cut, houseless people, re-entry programs for the formerly incarcerated, and support for newly arriving migrant families.  True security only happens here and around the world when all communities are cared for and we recognize our shared humanity. We can only be as safe as the most vulnerable.  And we cannot leave anyone out.  

We call on the US to stop sending new weapons and military equipment to Israel which will intensify and broaden the conflict and cause further death and destruction. We ask  for an immediate ceasefire, the return of the hostages, and an unrestricted humanitarian aid corridor to reach those in Gaza completely cut off from basic necessities for survival.

For the sake of our future generations, we pray for a shared future based on human rights, justice, equality, and freedom where all people can thrive. We hold fast to a vision of a World Without Walls and a commitment to Love over Fear.  

—IM4HI Board and Staff Members:

  • Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, IM4HI Board Member
  • Rev. Deborah Lee, IM4HI Executive Director
  • Maram Bata, IM4HI Board Member
  • Affad Shaikh, IM4HI Board Member
  • Benjamin Mertz, IM4HI Board Member
  • Sergio Jaime Isaac Lopez, IM4HI Board Member
  • Tarek Shawky, IM4HI Board Member
  • Martha Matsuoka, IM4HI Board Member
  • Gala King, IM4HI Regional Director, Northern California
  • Hilda Cruz, IM4HI Regional Director, Inland Empire
  • Rev. Dr. Larry Foy, IM4HI Regional Director, Los Angeles
  • Ipyani Lockert, IM4HI Faith Organizer
  • Sara Fread, IM4HI Development Associate
  • Felicia Hyde, IM4HI Communications Manager
  • Danny Thongsy, IM4HI Faith Organizer

Turn Your Prayer Into Action

We ask you to turn your prayer into action in one of the following ways led by our various partners: