Rev. Deborah Lee, Executive Director
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,and 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. 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.
Miriam Noriega, Program Director
Miriam works to ensure that all IM4HI programs and communications across California are aligned with the goal of implementing racial equity, interfaith practice, and faith-rooted organizing model.
Miriam’s passion for immigrant justice derives from her personal experience of being a first-generation immigrant in the U.S. She has been involved in the immigrant rights movement since 2006, specifically the DREAMer movement, a historic youth-lead activist movement that won them the benefits of DACA. Her ministerial call is empowering immigrant communities to discover their innate source of healing in spirituality, and building bridges across different social groups. She earned her undergraduate degree from Mills College, and a Master’s of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University in Berkeley, CA.
Hilda Cruz, Regional Organizer (Inland Valleys)
Hilda’s role as faith organizer is to support immigrant community in the Inland Empire through education, direct outreach, and advocacy for policies that transform and empower our most vulnerable communities.
For the past 20 years, Hilda Cruz has been a community leader, organizer, and advocate with a focus on faith, social justice, and the fair treatment of every person. She was drawn to the work at Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity because of her aspiration to work with an organization that represents her values of being an intentional and inter-religious community that is guided by diverse faith traditions to live peaceably, respectfully, and lovingly with every person.
Prior to coming to Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, 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.
When Hilda is not working, she hosts care circles: meetings where she shares affirming stories about her experience as a Latina immigrant, encouraging immigrants to embrace their experiences and awaken their God-given personal power.
Lupita Ortiz, Freedom Campaign Coordinator
María Guadalupe “Lupita” Ortiz is the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity Freedom Campaign Coordinator for the Inland Valleys region. She works to assure people living inside Adelanto Detention Facility receive the necessary resources to be reunited with their families and community. She does this by engaging congregations and our faith network with newly arrived immigrants. Lupita is a practicing Catholic and Pastoral Council Secretary at St. Bernadine’s Church, her faith inspires her to advocate for those most vulnerable in our communities, like those living inside Adelanto Detention Facility.
Lupita previously served as an Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity board member for five years, supporting fundraising efforts and Inland Empire organizing. Outside of her organizing work, Lupita is dedicated to education, and is a part-time Spanish professor at San Bernardino Valley College, as well as co-founder of Latinas Educating and Empowering Communities (LEEC).
Rev. Larry Foy, Regional Organizer (Los Angeles)
The Rev. Dr. Larry W. Foy leads our Justice Not Jails program. He 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.
Gala King, Regional Organizer (Northern California)
Gala King supports, strengthens, and builds solidarity capacity among sanctuary congregations and faith leaders in Northern California, primarily though the four Bay Area Coalitions.
For the past 15 years, Gala has been working with communities and organizations in the Bay Area focused on social justice, cultural resiliency, and faith-based organizing, locally and abroad. With a background in public health, she has experience engaging with communities to increase their access to vital data and information, and build capacity to use information to protect their personal and community health.
Prior to joining Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Gala was the Social Justice Program Developer at Buena Vista United Methodist Church, a Pan-Asian congregation in Alameda, where she has been a member since 2008. In that role, Gala led the strategic planning for BVUMC’s justice ministries and community development projects, and led BVUMC’s process to declare itself a “Sanctuary Congregation” in 2017, joining the new sanctuary movement.
As a 2nd generation Filipina-American, Gala and her family are actively involved in a family-based cooperative, Sama Sama, which runs a Filipino-youth summer camp for her children, along with 24 other families. Through Sama Sama, Gala and her family enjoy deepening their cultural and political identity through community-building, arts, and movement.
Married to a Vietnamese-American, Gala with her partner enjoys raising their two boys, in a multi-cultural, politically-active community in Oakland. Gala also enjoys spending time in nature, visiting family, connecting with community, yoga, slowly jogging, re-learning to ride a bike, and reading.
Kelly Younger, Coordinator, Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Teams
Kelly Younger trains volunteer teams from congregations to accompany recently arrived immigrants in our Nueva Esperanza Accompaniment Team (NEAT) program. She strives to assure that the families and individuals we accompany are supported and spiritually cared for throughout the process of reestablishing their lives here and navigating the US immigration system.
Kelly has a life-long commitment to immigrant justice work. She earned a degree in Latin American Studies and Chicano/a Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked as an advocate for immigrant families navigating the US education system as a high-school guidance counselor. She also worked as a medical interpreter in hospitals, which then motivated her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Welfare with a concentration in Community Mental Health from University of California, Berkeley. Kelly’s leadership style is to practice humility; she works to put herself in a listening position, to learn from other people and alongside them.
In her free time, Kelly has volunteered in housing ministry, has served as a philanthropic advisor, and is managing a local scholarship. She also creates mosaics, paints, and has even made a boat for her niece to play in.
Charles “Bula” Joseph, Spiritual Activist in Residence
Bula (greetings) to all!
Charles “Bula” Joseph joins the IM4HI team as our 2021 Spiritual Activist in Residence. Charles brings with him the life experience of being incarcerated for 12 years, and detained by ICE in Mesa Verde for 11 months.
During his incarceration, the Native American Sweat Lodge was a big part of Charles’ transformation. After being invited and permitted to participate in their sacred ceremony, Charles began to heal from the inside and uplift others by teaching music, art, cultural chants and dances that were performed for events in the facility. Charles organized and performed concerts on the prison yard to boost morale and in the visiting room to create a pleasant environment. Charles was elected by his peers into the Men’s Advisory Council that was tasked with maintaining peace in the facility and bringing grievances to the captain and warden.
While Charles was born and raised in a strict Catholic family, he identifies as a Rastafarian. His life journey in studies of people’s belief has taught him that faith is essential, especially to have hope in dire times. Within incarceration, Charles has meditated with Buddhist brothers, fasted with Muslim brothers, been part of sacred ceremonies with Native American brothers, prayed in temple with Hindu brothers, celebrated with Sikh brothers, and led ceremony with Pacific Island brothers.
In the role as Spiritual Activist in Residence, Charles will bring his knowledge and journey of being impacted to deepen the faith-rooted organizing around issues of incarceration and immigration. Charles hopes to be a messenger for oneness, that all faiths are a branch of spirituality, like all rivers, lakes, oceans, and single puddles are all water.
Cecilia Vasquez, Communications Manager
Cecilia Vasquez manages IM4HI’s communications in the digital sphere. She works with our organizers in developing strategies on our statewide campaigns and events.
Cecilia’s passion for immigrant justice is in honor of her Abuelita Luz’s sacrifices to provide for her family when she first came to the US. Cecilia started working with IM4HI for her PhD dissertation research on the Sanctuary Movement in the Inland Empire. Having been raised in the Inland Empire, Cecilia felt compelled to do research back in her home community. Working with IM4HI, Cecilia enjoys uplifting compelling stories of the many people that make up our organization. Cecilia’s hobbies include working on her dissertation and performing with LA-based Cuerva Urban Folklorico.
Sharon Hwang Colligan
Director of Operations, Finance, and Technology
Sharon Hwang Colligan is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist lay leader. She holds a bachelor’s degree from New College of California with a focus on Multiculturalism and Religious Education, has recently completed a certificate in Front End Web Development from FreeCodeCamp.com, and enjoys the theology of a healthy organizational infrastructure. In addition to her work managing IM4HI’s finances and operations, she is active as chair of the worship committee in her congregation, serves as board treasurer of a ten-unit low-income housing cooperative in San Francisco’s East Bay, and has provided ongoing support to an Oklahoma Cherokee friend incarcerated on California’s Death Row since 1992. She is also a happily homeschooling mom, fluent Esperantist, relational database design enthusiast, and dabbler in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Spreadsheets obey her, for which we are grateful.