We are incredibly proud to welcome leaders from communities across the country as the keynote speakers and workshop facilitators of Pursuing Justice 2020 Online.
Registration for Pursuing Justice 2020 Online is now closed.
Founder, Black Futures Lab
Alicia Garza founded the Black Futures Lab to make Black communities powerful in politics. In 2018, the Black Futures Lab conducted the largest survey of Black communities in over 150 years.
Alicia believes that Black communities deserve what all communities deserve — to be powerful in every aspect of their lives. An innovator, strategist, organizer, and cheeseburger enthusiast, she is the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, an international organizing project to end state violence and oppression against Black people. The Black Lives Matter Global Network now has 40 chapters in 4 countries.
Alicia serves as the Strategy & Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s premier voice for millions of domestic workers in the United States. She is also the co-founder of Supermajority, a new home for women’s activism. She shares her thoughts on the women transforming power in Marie Claire magazine every month.
Her forthcoming book, tentatively titled How to Turn a Hashtag Into a Movement will be published in 2020, and she warns you — hashtags don’t start movements. People do.
President, Color of Change
Rashad Robinson is President of Color Of Change, a leading online racial justice organization. Driven by more than 1.5 million members working to build political and cultural power for Black communities, Color Of Change is creating a more human and less hostile world for all people in America.
Color Of Change uses an innovative combination of technology, research, media savvy and local community engagement to build powerful movements and change the industries that affect Black people’s lives: in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Wall Street, Washington, prosecutor offices, capitol hills and city halls around the country.
Rashad has led the organization in developing cutting-edge strategies to accelerate reform in the criminal justice system and win justice for its victims, increase electoral participation, cut off corporate support for right-wing organizations, and change the representation of Black people and social issues in news and entertainment media.
Sen. Dick Durbin, (IL)
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, (WA-7)
Rep. Andy Levin, (MI-9)
Rep. Jamie Raskin, (MD-8)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, (MI-13)
Rae Abileah is a social change strategist, author, and troublemaker for collective liberation. She is a trainer and editor at Beautiful Trouble, and is the co-creatrix of the global Climate Ribbon art ritual. She was the co-director of CODEPINK, consulted on digital strategy for social justice at ThoughtWorks, and now runs her own consultancy, CreateWell. Rae is a contributing author to books including Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists. Rae graduated from Barnard College with a dual degree in Environmental Science and Human Rights, and received ordination by the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute. She’s based in the Colorado Rockies. Raeabileah.com | @raeabileah
Sanaa Abrar serves as the Advocacy Director at United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the nation. Sanaa leads the network in crafting federal and state and local policies and advocacy campaigns that are informed by the vision shared by immigrant youth across the country. She was born in Karachi, Pakistan and immigrated with her mother at three months old to reunite with her father in the United States. She shares in the UWD vision of reaching out to other sisters of color who feel isolated and ostracized by their communities, to build together, organize and win.
Heidi Altman is the Director of Policy for the National Immigrant Justice Center, overseeing NIJC’s legislative and policy advocacy on issues that impact immigrant communities including immigration detention, enforcement, and access to asylum. Previously, Heidi served as the legal director for the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights (CAIR) Coalition and created the in-house immigration legal services program at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. Heidi also served as a Teaching Fellow at Georgetown Law School’s immigration clinic. Heidi is a graduate of New York University School of Law.
Keshet’s 2019 recipient of the Landres Courage for Dignity Award, April N. Baskin is a life and business coach with 17 years' experience in Jewish diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership. She is the Principal of Joyous Justice Consulting & Coaching and the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable's Racial Justice Director. The Union for Reform Judaism's immediate past Vice President of Audacious Hospitality, April hosted the first season of their lastest podcast, Wholly Jewish. An alumna of the Selah Leadership Program and the Schusterman Insight Fellowship for Jewish Community, April was honored to be one of 12 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress in 2017. She happily resides in Dakar, Senegal with her partner and travels for family, work, and fun as needed.
Rakia has an undergraduate degree in criminology and forensic science from South University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. She is also a religious school teacher at Congregation Shir Tikvah and teaches psychology and political science at Wayne County Community College District. As former program coordinator of gardens and food for Hazon Detroit, she helped set up many gardens for local synagogues and designed the Sensory Garden at Tamarack Camps Farber Farm. She’s a doula, urban farmer, “weaver of ritual and keeper of sacred space,” and was recently ordained through the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute.
Jamie Beran is Bend the Arc’s Chief Operating Officer, where her work is focused on internal management, planning, staff development, and creating an intentional and resilient organizational culture. As COO, Jamie oversees Bend the Arc’s Development, Finance, and Human Resources departments, manages the Board of Directors, and has overseen policy development, strategic partnerships, organizational planning processes, budget development, and complex personnel issues. Jamie has also played a key role in implementing Bend the Arc’s racial equity commitments, particularly in the realms of hiring, compensation, and internal policies and practices. Jamie has held many roles at Bend the Arc, most recently as Chief of Staff for five years before becoming COO.
Jamie has over fifteen years of experience in the Jewish social justice sector. Jamie is a participant in UJA Federation’s Institute for Jewish Executive Leadership, a graduate of The Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership Training and a member of Advancing Women Professionals Social Justice Cohort, and she holds a BA from Goucher College. Jamie lives in Central NJ with her husband and two young children.
Helen Bennett works to help people remember how crucial it is to trust and depend on each other. Helen is a community organizer, facilitator, network weaver, spiritual director, and movement chaplain. Helen is a co-founder of Tzedek Lab, a national network of Jewish political educators, organizers and spiritual leaders building collective competency to politicize, transform, and inspire the Jewish community into collective action against racism, antisemitism, and white supremacy. Helen works with Kavod House, IfNotNow, and Never Again Action in embodying liberatory movement culture. She has worked with the Ayni Institute, Momentum Community, and JOIN for Justice and is featured on the Healing Justice Podcast and How We Gather. Helen is a Seattle native now based in Boston. Her ancestors came from Eastern Europe.
Hasan (they / them) has been supporting individuals, communities, movements, and organizations in finding deeper strength, healing, and restoration through conflict and harm over the last 10+ years.
Rooted by an anti-oppressive (i.e. liberatory) and trauma-informed lens, Hasan has been co-piloting an ‘ecosystem’ and ancestry-based approach to conflict and harm with DC healers over the last 3 years; the approach sits at the intersection of healing justice, conflict / harm transformation, clinical social work, liberatory education / theology, transformative justice, and more.
Hasan draws ancestry from a Muslim Pakistan / Punjabi / Rajasthani patrilineage (1st generation) and a Jewish-American matrilineage (Ukraine 5th gen).
Derek Black was raised in the leading family of the white nationalist movement. His father founded the first online white power community, Stormfront. From an early age, Derek participated in media interviews, gave talks around the country, won public office, and ran a daily radio program in support of his family’s ideology. In college, he was condemned by the campus community of a Florida liberal arts college, and over several years came to engage with anti-racist ideas. He ultimately condemned his family’s ideology in 2013, and has spoken out over recent years against the reality of white supremacist political activism. He is currently a doctoral student in history at the University of Chicago, researching the medieval and early modern origins of racist hierarchies and ideologies. He is the subject of the recent book by Eli Saslow, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist.
Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block is the Washington Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action. He received his rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and his B.A. in Political Science from Grinnell College. Previously, he directed the Selah Leadership Program, served as the Director of the PANIM Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values.
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, educator, attorney, strategist, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. They co-lead the project on disability rights and algorithmic fairness at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law and Policy, teach for Georgetown’s disability studies program, and support the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network’s public policy advocacy. They also founded and direct the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color's Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment. Their work appears in numerous scholarly and community publications.
Emily Caesar has been a volunteer leader with Bend the Arc since 2014. She is the co-chair of Bend the Arc Southern California's Criminal Justice Committee and a graduate of the Jeremiah Fellowship. Emily has worked with other leaders and coalition partners to advance criminal justice reforms at the local and state level including passage of LA City’s Fair Chance ordinance, passage of Propositions 47 and 57, and reforming California’s laws regarding juvenile solitary confinement, money bail, and police use of deadly force. When not volunteering with Bend the Arc, Emily works to advance health equity as the Senior Manager of Planning and Collaboration for LA County's Department of Public Health. She holds a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley and a dual Master’s in Social Work and Public Health from Washington University in St. Louis.
Since he was a teenager, Eddie Chavez Calderon has been deeply involved in social justice work. From the trenches to the coasts and everywhere in between, Eddie fights for a progressive movement that works towards a more inclusive, diverse America. Despite having many obstacles in his way, nothing has deterred Eddie from continuing to fight for the Latino community as well as LGBTQ+ acceptance and inclusion, woman’s rights, economic justice, workers’ rights, citizenship and civic engagement, voter equality, and much more! He is excited to be a part of an interfaith coalition to continue to advocate for the dignity of every person no matter their creed or national origin.
Hadar is a multi-media feminist artist, writer, and dancer originally from Jerusalem. She is a Mizrahi Jew with roots in Syria, Iran, Iraq and Israel/Palestine. Hadar is a fellow at Abrahamic House, a multi-faith incubator for social change based in Los Angeles. She organizes spiritual feminist gatherings including feminism all night – a public community gathering manifesting a space for feminist discourse. Hadar is a graduate of Cooper Union, where she studied Electrical Engineering, and alt*div, an alternative divinity school centering the intersection of justice and spirituality. Hadar writes on each new moon about feminism and Jewish time in a newsletter called in loving faith. She weaves prayer rugs, teaches embodied Jewish spiritual practices with Moishe House and At The Well, sings and writes about God. You can check out more of her work at hadarcohen.me
Stosh Cotler is the Chief Executive Officer of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action and Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. She is a nationally recognized leader of the movement to renew and expand the Jewish community’s role in progressive social change in the U.S.
In 2015, the Center for American Progress named Stosh as one of its “15 Progressive Faith Leaders to Watch,” and in 2017, Stosh was named an Auburn Senior Fellow, where she has worked alongside some of the preeminent faith leaders in the US. Stosh has twice been recognized in the Forward 50 in 2014 and 2018 as one of the Jews who have had a profound impact on the American Jewish community. She has been featured in numerous media outlets, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and PBS Newshour.
In her nearly 15 years of leadership at Bend the Arc, Stosh has overseen many of the organization’s most successful programs and national growth strategies, including the unprecedented expansion of its grassroots base to more than 125,000 people across the country. Her career has spanned over 30 years as an organizer, trainer, and leader in movements for justice and equity.
Nadav David is a Boston-based multiethnic Jewish organizer with roots in Iraq and Poland. His work centers around racial and economic justice as a leader in cultivating relationships between Kavod, his spiritual and political home, and grassroots organizations, and in his full-time role as a financial coach supporting families living in subsidized housing. His organizing projects focus on building an economy with the Boston Ujima Project that shifts wealth and power to Black and Brown communities, developing safety strategies for communities that rely on solidarity rather than law enforcement, and co-leading a Jews of Color, Indigenous Jews, Sephardim + Mizrahim caucus.
Janna Diamond is a somatic practitioner and facilitator working at the intersection of trauma healing, embodiment, and consciousness. She maintains a private practice supporting individuals to navigate times of great uncertainty and holds a specialized focus in planetary grief. Janna has also served as the national organizer at HIAS, guiding the Jewish community to take meaningful action for refugees and asylum seekers through grassroots advocacy. She stands for presence, trust, and finding safety within ourselves as a means of bringing about social, relational and cultural change. www.jannadiamond.com | @jannabdiamond
Karina Ruiz De Diaz is the Executive Director at the Arizona Dream Act Coalition (ADAC), a non-profit dedicated to fighting for immigrant's rights and for higher education access for immigrant youth in the state of Arizona. ADAC is a United We Dream affiliate organization. She is a DACA recipient, born in Estado de Mexico, and has lived in Phoenix since 1999 when she migrated with her parents at the age of 15. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in May 2015. She is a mother of three US citizen children ages 18, 10, and 8. Karina has lead and participated in countless actions locally and nationally, uplifting her undocumented community voice. Recently she the opportunity to enter the Supreme Court of the United States when the oral arguments on the DACA case were heard. She also participated in actions demanding presidential candidates commit to stopping all deportations in the first 100 days, if elected, as part of the United We Dream Action efforts.
Sue Ellen Dodell has been a lawyer and administrative law judge for more than 40 years and a Jewish political activist her entire life. She was General Counsel to NYC’s Campaign Finance Board, Deputy General Counsel to NYC’s Comptroller, and drafted legislation and lobbied in D.C., Albany, and NYC. She’s been a leader in her local Conservative synagogue and active in an alternative synagogue, Lab Shul. She loves working with Bend the Arc to lobby local legislators and plan rallies and actions relating to immigration. She received her J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law, and an A.B. from Mount Holyoke College.
Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi. She serves as a spiritual director, kindness coach, and peace and justice educator in the Bay Area and nationally. Her book, From Enemy to Friend: Jewish Wisdom and the Pursuit of Peace, was published by Orbis Books in March 2014
Adrienne Evans is the executive director for United Vision for Idaho, the state’s only multi-issue, progressive coalition, partnered with People's Action, a national organization comprised of 32 states. Evans is a sociologist and nationally recognized social justice organizer, renown public speaker and facilitator delivering workshops and lectures across the United States.
A current Roddenberry fellow, she is also part of a leadership team selected by Western States Center to examine the core traits of white nationalist movements and design strategies to effectively counter white nationalism, challenge racism, Islamophobia, and antisemitism and rebuild alliances for the future of the progressive movement.
Diana Dvora Falchuk is an artist, mother, organizer, facilitator, coach and strategic consultant who works in diverse contexts – from Jewish community to government, social services and arts organizations – to cultivate belonging and justice, integrating arts and culture to shift culture and policy. In addition to consulting, Diana works for the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative and is a partner with Our Bodhi (Belonging, Organizing, Decolonizing, Health and Interconnectedness) Project. The daughter of a Venezuelan immigrant, granddaughter of Ashkenazi refugees, and someone living with chronic illness, Diana is moved by a commitment to physical and spiritual healing across generations.
Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife is a community shepherdess, shlichat tzibbur (prayer leader), lifespiral ceremony officiant, ritual creatrix, liturgist, songstress and public speaker. She is founder and leader of Kesher Pittsburgh and serves as Oreget Kehilah / Executive Director of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute. Her work in these realms and beyond is informed by her lived experience as a Jewish Woman of Colour and the quandries she encounters as a scholar of the Orphan Wisdom School. After living in Sydney, Australia, for 13 years, she and her beloved have returned to Pittsburgh, PA, where they nest when they're not on the road. www.keshirahalev.com
Tamara Fish (Harvard, A.B.; Union Theological Seminary, MA; Columbia, M.Phil.), co-founder of Khazbar, served as a former professor of religion at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY; Asst. Dir. of the Office of the University Chaplain at Columbia Univ., a Bend the Arc NY chapter Leadership Team member, and a president of Jewish Multiracial Network. The immediate past president of Congregation Tehillah in Riverdale, Tamara welcomes the opportunity to help synagogues, clergy, seminars, boards and workshops acquire practical methods for actively including Jews of Color in Jewish communities. She is a member of two synagogues and the author of “Ahead of Yom Kippur, How Can You Repair Relationships with African-American Jews?” (The Forward, Oct 11, 2016).
Amy Fischer is a Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), covering issues including immigration and criminal justice. Previously, Amy coordinated the Defund Hate Campaign for Detention Watch Network (where she had the opportunity to work closely with Bend the Arc) and served as Policy Director with RAICES. Amy grew up outside Nashville, Tennessee, has a bachelor’s from Brandeis University, and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Maryland. Amy’s introduction to the policy world came through community organizing with undocumented youth and people involved in the criminal legal system. She believes good policy should be grounded in the communities it impacts, with the goal of making our world a bit more just every day.
Brigid Flaherty is the co-Founder and co-Director of Down Home North Carolina, a grassroots organization building power for working communities in rural and small town North Carolina. She was mostly recently the Organizing Director of ALIGN, where she led winning policy campaigns at the city level that strengthened standards for 4,000 commercial sanitation workers as well as improving public health for three overburdened low-income and people of color districts; drove labor-community coalition mobilizations around Fight for 15 and various Wall Street actions. Prior to ALIGN, she worked for seven years at the Pushback Network where she eventually served as Executive Director. At Pushback, she worked with the Board to drive strategic planning and fundraising for a national network of eight states that were building power with people of color and low income community organizations through state-based integrated civic engagement programs.
For more than a decade, Arielle Gingold has advocated for social justice and progressive policies in Washington, D.C. As the Deputy Washington Director of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Arielle represents the organization on Capitol Hill, at political events, and in diverse coalitions on a range of domestic policy issues. Arielle also spent a year as the National Conference Director for Bend the Arc’s Pursuing Justice 2016. Before joining Bend the Arc in 2013, Arielle served as the Deputy Director for Public Policy of the Interfaith Alliance, and was a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Alex Goldman works as the Washington Associate for Bend the Arc: Jewish Action. In his role, Alex helps manage Bend the Arc's PAC, works in the coalition space with immigration and multi-issue partners, and conducts Hill-facing advocacy with members of Congress and staff on a range of issues. Alex previously worked on the Hillary For America Campaign, for multiple members of Congress, at the DNC, DCCC, and for NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. Alex's work is focused at the nexus of Jewish action, civil rights, and coalitional interfaith advocacy. Alex is extremely knowledgeable about the process of electoral organizing, having managed statewide organizing programs with budgets of 5 million+ and staffs numbering in the 30’s.
Rabbi Mónica Gomery is passionate about supporting people who have been denied access to ancient and ancestral spiritual traditions to claim these traditions as a resource for empowerment and transformation. She is grateful to do this work as the Associate Director of National Learning at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva; the Music Director and Prayer Leader of Kol Tzedek Synagogue in Philadelphia; and as a Core Team member of Let My People Sing! Mónica is also the author of two books of poetry, published by YesYes Books and Cooper Dillon Books. Find out more about her writing by visiting www.monicagomerywriting.com
Ginna Green serves as Bend the Arc’s Chief Strategy Officer and oversees its racial equity, advocacy, electoral, and communications work. Previously, Ginna was Managing Director of the Democracy Collaborative at ReThink Media where she harnessed strategic communications to reduce the power of big money in politics, ensure fair and diverse courts, and protect and expand voting rights. She has written for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon, and Newsweek, and more; is a 2019 Schusterman Fellow; and sits on the boards of Women’s March, Political Research Associates, and the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative. Ginna is an alum of Bend the Arc’s Jeremiah Fellowship and Selah leadership programs, a native southerner, and the mother of four terrific kids.
A graduate of Columbia University, Rabbi Meyer was ordained by HUC-JIR in New York. She currently serves as Rabbi-in-Residence at HIAS, where she develops educational materials, resources, and programs that educate American Jews about refugee issues, connecting the plight of contemporary refugees to Jewish values and history. Before joining HIAS, Rabbi Meyer served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York City. Her writing has been featured in the Forward and she is the author of an essay that appears in the book Seven Days, Many Voices: Insights Into the Biblical Story of Creation.
Heron Greenesmith is the Senior Research Analyst for LGBTQI Justice at Political Research Associates. Heron has worked in LGBTQ advocacy for over a decade with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council, and the National LGBTQ Task Force. They specialize in advocacy for bisexual and pansexual people. Heron is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and American University, Washington College of Law. Heron is admitted to the New York and Massachusetts bars. They are a former board member of the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, a former board member of the National LGBT Bar Association, a former Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellow, and a returned Peace Corps Volunteer.
In her role as Fellowship Director and Trainer at Jewish Organizing Institute and Network (JOIN) for Justice, Allegra Heath-Stout (she/her) supports the development of young adult Jewish community organizers through the Jewish Organizing Fellowship. Allegra has spearheaded the creation of the Empower Fellowship, an initiative designed to support disabled Jewish organizers and train all of our Fellows and local justice organizations to work against ableism. Prior to coming to JOIN in 2016, Allegra organized low-income people with disabilities at Boston Center for Independent Living. Allegra lives in Somerville, MA, and serves on the board of Disability Policy Consortium.
Matthew Hom is a Bend the Arc leader in Southern California whose Jewish identity is rooted in social justice. After pursuing graduate studies in ancient Jewish history at New York University, he participated in the Jeremiah Fellowship’s 2017 Los Angeles cohort. Much of his work with Bend the Arc has focused on representing the progressive Jewish movement within Orange County’s vibrant and diverse immigration coalition via lobbying, rapid response activities, community events, and direct actions. Matthew also does Jewish immigration advocacy with Never Again Action, and he has worked as a professional organizer for statewide and congressional campaigns in California.
Academic research scientist by day; father of two amazing young women; proud resident - but not native - of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh; raised in a suburban Reform Jewish environment; now a member of Pittsburgh's Reconstructionist Congregation Dor Hadash; deeply honored and privileged to have been a member of Pittsburgh's Bend the Arc Moral Minyan since early 2017.
Rabbi David Jaffe leads the Inside Out Wisdom and Action (IOWA) Project, which integrates Jewish spiritual practices like Mussar and Chassidic prayer with social change activism. He is the author of Changing the World from the Inside Out, which won the 2016 National Jewish Book Award. David got his start in activism organizing to combat homelessness in San Francisco and was among the founders of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization. He serves on the board of the Brockton Interfaith Community, which is building an alternative economy based on empowerment and asset creation among traditionally marginalized populations. He lives in Sharon, MA with his partner and two teenage boys.
Rachel Kann’s latest poetry collection is How to Bless the New Moon, from Ben Yehuda Press. She is a poet, performer, ceremonialist and teaching artist. She’s a 2019 WORD: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize recipient, a 2017 Asylum Arts Reciprocity Fellow and the 2017 Outstanding Instructor of the Year at UCLA Extension Writers' Program. She leads Realize Paradise Shabbat Soul Journeys and New Moon Union Rosh Chodesh Circles and is initiated as Tzovah through Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Training Program.
Dove Kent, Senior Strategy Officer at Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, has two decades of experience in grassroots organizing, political education, and movement building. As the executive director of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (2011-2017), Dove supported the organization to triple in size and win game-changing legislative victories for police accountability and worker’s rights through powerful local coalitions. She teaches nationally and has been published in many anthologies and news outlets including the Guardian, Ha’aretz, and Jewish Currents, and is the co-author of the ground-breaking "Understanding Antisemitism: An Offering To Our Movement" (2017). Dove is the co-founder of the national Tzedek Lab network, and lives in Durham, North Carolina.
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of seven critically acclaimed books published in over 30 languages, most recently On Fire: the Burning Case for a Green New Deal. She is Senior Correspondent for The Intercept, a Puffin Writing Fellow at Type Media Center and is the inaugural Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University. She is the co-founder of the climate justice organization The Leap.
Meir Lakein, JOIN for Justice's Director of Organizing, has worked as a professional community organizer for 30 years, helping develop the model for engaging Jewish communities in broad based organizing, and serving as the mentor of a generation of young organizers and rabbis. Prior to coming to JOIN, Meir served as the lead organizer of the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council and the Brockton Interfaith Community and organized public housing tenants in Israel and homeless people in Connecticut.
Rachèl is Bend the Arc’s Chief Program Officer, supporting the strategies and staff of the Organizing Team, the Jeremiah Fellowship, the Leadership Development & Political Education Department, and the National Campaign Team. Rachèl joined the organization in late 2019 after several decades of work in progressive labor unions and national and community based organizing. Her movement portfolio includes work as the Director of the Retail Action Project (RAP), a worker center initiative of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) which organizes primarily low-income retail and grocery workers of color around workplace and community issues; Executive Director of Right to the City Alliance (RTTC), a national alliance of community-based organizations, academic institutions and legal experts fighting the ill-effects of gentrification across the globe; and Organizing Director of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100, where she coordinated the union’s advocacy efforts, designed popular education curricula and trainings in public policy and organizing for rank-and-file union members and officers and was one of the lead coordinators of the 2005 New York City transit strike and the 2-year dues collection effort that followed. Rachèl is a proud mother of one son and one bonus daughter, is of Polish Ashkenazi and Haitian descent and in her spare time loves to solve puzzles and be in nature.
Ilana Lerman loves to interweave song throughout her political meetings and actions, her spiritual practice as well as her moped rides throughout Brooklyn, NY where she currently lives. Ilana is the Spiritual & Cultural Life Organizer at Jewish Voice for Peace where she feels blessed to work with visionary rabbis and ritual leaders fighting and praying for a more free and just world. She is honored to be on the advisory circle for the Irresistible Podcast, a podcast and community of practice in collective healing and social change fka Healing Justice Podcast. Growing up surrounded by music and song, and as a graduate from Shefa Gold’s Kol Zimra program for chant leaders, Ilana is humbled by the power singing can bring to healing the brokenness in our bodies and in our world.
Noam Lerman is in their final year of rabbinical school at Hebrew College, and is currently the rabbinic intern at Nehar Shalom in Jamaica Plain, MA. They believe in cultivating singing as a spiritual and meditative practice –- one that can be a non-hierarchical collective experience for people to create intentional sacred space with their voices. They play drum, fingerstyle guitar, mandolin, jawharp, and oud, and they sing nigunim, folk songs, and laments. Noam started ‘Der Tekhines Proyekt’, where new melodies are paired with excerpts of old Yiddish prayers called tekhines written by women and gender-non-conforming people, so that communities can revive them into use today. Noam is a circle keeper in Restorative Practices. They have acted as a chaplain for elders and incarcerated and previously incarcerated individuals fighting for survival and healing. In the steps of their ancestors, Noam is dedicated to working for a world without prisons and borders! One of their favorite things to do is to listen, speak, and laugh with strangers on the train or street.
Abby is the first director of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable. Under her leadership, the Roundtable has tripled in size, supported sector-wide efforts on civic engagement and racial equity, inclusion and diversity, and organized conferences of 150 people across the network. Previously, Abby worked in Columbus, Ohio with America Votes, and served as the founding San Francisco staff member for Progressive Jewish Alliance, now Bend the Arc. Abby received an Abraham Joshua Heschel award from Jews United for Justice and is a Senior Schusterman Fellow. She has a BA in political science from Yale University and lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two kids.
Ben Lorber works at Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank, as a researcher focusing on antisemitism and white nationalism. He has worked as an organizer, writer and movement-builder for over a decade, and has written extensively on matters of Jewish identity, history and spirituality, antisemitism, Middle East peace, and other justice issues for a variety of outlets. Ben lives in Boston and blogs at doikayt.com.
Megan Pamela Ruth Madison, a Ph.D. candidate at Brandeis University, studies social policy, specifically racial inequities in early childhood education. Before graduate school, she co-led a Head Start preschool classroom in Chicago. When not working on her dissertation, Megan facilitates workshops for teachers on race, gender, and sexuality. She recently served on the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and currently serves on the boards of JOIN for Justice and JFREJ.
Samia is the child of an interfaith and multicultural household and one half of an interfaith couple who works to create inclusive Jewish spaces and in and around greater Cleveland. She earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University. Samia is an alumna of the Jeremiah Fellowship and lives in Cleveland with her fiancé.
Jonathan Mayo is a leader with Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh. He previously served as the Vice President of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network and currently sits on the board of UNITE, a local PAC working to get progressive candidates elected in Allegheny County. He writes about baseball in his spare time.
Greisa Martinez Rosas is the Deputy Executive Director of United We Dream—the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country with more than 400,000 members. In this role, Greisa is a UWD strategist and also implements UWD’s vision as the organization continues to build power throughout the country.
In 2006, Greisa began organizing to help young Latinos register to vote in her hometown of Dallas, TX, and has since become a fearless defender of her undocumented community and a staunch advocate for the rights of women.
Originally from Hidalgo, Mexico, Greisa migrated to the U.S. with her parents at a young age and grew up in Texas. While studying Biology at Texas A&M University, she co-founded the first undocumented youth-led organization in the conservative university’s more than 100 year history.
Greisa is a leading voice in the progressive movement, and has been featured in CNN, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, BBC, Telemundo, and Univision, among others.
Greisa is the living embodiment of the United We Dream spirit — transforming personal adversity into hope and personal power that has inspired thousands of others into action.
Sara Stock Mayo is a spiritual leader and drama therapist. She is the head of Ruach and Music at Temple Ohav Shalom and runs the communal storytelling, improvisational company Pittsburgh Playback Theatre. Sara also does chaplaincy work and runs Rosh Hodesh groups for teen girls. She has been involved in social justice work through the interfaith community and with Bend the Arc Pittsburgh, where she currently heads up the Arts and Activism working group. She is grateful to be a part of this amazing group of moral minyaners and is looking forward to continuing her work with BTA both in Pittsburgh and with the national office. Sara has two teenagers and two dogs and is glad she gets to share her passion for social justice with her husband, Jonathan, who is also part of Bend the Arc Pittsburgh.
Yaz Mendez Nuñez is a queer Caribbean Southerner whose political and spiritual commitments are to love, joy, and the struggle for liberation. They serve as the Co-Executive Director to Soulforce, a national organization whose mission is to end the religious and political oppression of LGBTQI people by sabotaging white Christian Supremacy through relentless nonviolent resistance. Soulforce's theory of change rests on the idea that healing from religious-based trauma and building up Indomitable Spirits across movements will grow in us the agency and resiliency we need to combat ideological violence and win our liberation.
Angel Padilla is a co-founder and the National Policy Director at Indivisible where he oversees federal and state advocacy programs. He previously served as health policy analyst at the National Immigration Law Center, and Legislative Assistant for Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), advising on issues related to health care and climate. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of California at Berkeley and a Master in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Rachel Plattus is an organizer and popular educator living in Boston, MA. She stewards Taproot, an intergenerational Jewish learning community, and is a member of Tzedek Lab. Rachel supports communities of women religious and spiritually diverse seekers to take action as Co-Coordinator of Nuns & Nones. She is Co-Creator of Beautiful Solutions, a storytelling and popular education project supporting people to imagine and create community-controlled solutions to the problems they face. She believes in the power of silence, wild places, bodies in motion, and creating spaces that bring us into conversation, connection, and collective action with one another.
Amelia Mae Paradise is the founder of the Jewish Bridge Project of New Mexico where she works locally and nationally as an antiracism educator, consultant, and facilitator in Jewish and interfaith communities. She is a white, lesbian member of Tzedek Lab, a multi-racial, multi-ethnic network of Jewish political educators, organizers, and spiritual leaders inspiring the Jewish community into collective action against racism, antisemitism, and white supremacy. Guided by the responsibility to honor and continue the work of her feminist foremothers in dismantling systemic oppression, Amelia embraces the wisdom that living in a less brutal and racist culture benefits all members of society. www.ameliaparadise.com.
Kate Poole is an Investment Advisor working with people who have inherited wealth to design and implement investment portfolios that embody an explicit commitment to racial and economic justice. Kate co-founded Chordata Capital with Tiffany Brown in the summer of 2018. She has worked in the local investing ecosystem since 2009, and has been a member of Resource Generation since 2013. She has served on the board of the New Economy Coalition since 2018, and was a 2017-2018 RSF Social Finance Integrated Capital Fellow. Kate loves dance and feminist performance art, and enjoys creating comics about Buddhist economics, Jewish economics, and racial justice and reparations. She lives in New Jersey with her partner, who is also named Kate.
Barry Price is a core leader of the San Luis Obispo, California moral minyan. He has been an activist for peace, racial equality, human rights, environmental justice, and political freedom his entire life. When not engaged in one campaign or another, Barry teaches archaeology and environmental law at California Polytechnic State University.
Sasha Raskin-Yin is a Jewish educator and social justice organizer. She is currently the Program Director at Amplifier, prior to which she was Avodah's National Educator and New York Program Director. Sasha has managed training design, implementation, and evaluation and has organized around causes including police reform, housing justice, and LGBTQ liberation. She is a member of JFREJ, an alumna of M2’s Senior Educators Cohort, JFREJ’s Grace Paley Organizing Fellowship, and Avodah’s Justice Fellowship. Sasha holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology from the New School for Social Research and a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Swarthmore College where she studied Jewish immigration, assimilation, race, and settler colonialism.
As Amnesty International USA's Senior Program Officer for the Criminal Justice Program, Krissy Roth oversees AIUSA's work to abolish the death penalty and stop unlawful killings by police. She carries out this work on the state and federal level with advocates and activists to push criminal justice reforms towards a human rights standard.
Jessica is a National Organizer at Bend the Arc, and a Reconstructionist rabbi born, raised, and based in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. She became a rabbi in order to learn our people’s diverse and nuanced histories, and create spaces, ritual, and organizing that helps transform our relationships to past, present and future. Jessica has served and learned from: the visionary young people at Keshet’s LGBTQIA Teen Shabbatonim; the congregation of Kehilat HaNahar; the rabbis and members of Jewish Voice for Peace in Philadelphia and nationwide; the Congregation at SCI-Phoenix Prison; and her home congregation of Kol Tzedek.
David is a long-time organizer and social movement trainer, focused on racial and economic justice. He serves as the Director of Programs at JOIN for Justice, the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network. David was also a co-founder and former Campaign Director of Real Food Challenge, where he mobilized tens of thousands of young people around the country to push back against the corporate power of food and agri-businesses, and get anchor institutions to invest in just and sustainable alternates. David also works as a consultant and trainer with VISIONS Inc., a racial justice consulting firm.
Margot Seigle is a community builder & cultural organizer who co-runs Linke Fligl (left wing in yiddish), a queer Jewish chicken farm and cultural organizing project . They are also a co-owner at Random Harvest Market, where they help to uplift food producers historically marginzalized in the food system and to bring to life the community space. They fill their time outside of work making music & magic, creating art, running around the woods, support-parenting, & shabbat-ing with dear friends. Margot hails from the midwest and currently lives in the Hudson Valley on occupied Schagticoke land, but calls the Jewish diaspora home. Margot deeply believes in the liberatory potential of song and is so grateful to realize this longing through the Let My People Sing! retreats.
Yael Silk (she/her/hers) is a founding member of Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh. When not organizing, she leads Arts Ed Collaborative and has the honor of collaborating with educators to unlock the transformative power of the arts for youth. Her work in education is rooted in antiracist and culturally sustaining practices. Yael is grateful to live in Squirrel Hill with her husband and two boys, surrounded by their chosen family. It does take a village after all.
Franny Silverman is a facilitator, officiant, and creator of theatre, ritual and experiential learning for humans of all ages. She is the Director of Learning and Action for Brooklyn’s independent, synagogue, Kolot Chayeinu, supporting the open tent on Israel/Palestine and integrating Kolot’s anti-racist and lgbtq-affirming mission throughout the congregation. As a Facilitation & Training Associate with Resetting the Table, Franny supports communication across differences. She sits on the on the board of Lab/Shul, advisory board of Repair the World Brooklyn, and is on the founding steering committee of the NY-metro area interfaith anti-racist coalition connected to the People’s Institute (PISAB). Proud mama to the sunshine of her love.
Yoshi Silverstein is Founder & Executive Director of Mitsui Collective, a new startup building resilient community through embodied Jewish practice with a multiracial justice lens. Previously, Yoshi was Director of the JOFEE Fellowship at Hazon, through which he catalyzed the growth and leadership of 66 emerging professionals working across the US and Canada in the realm of Jewish relationship to land, food, culture, climate, and community. As a Chinese-Ashkenazi-American Jew, Yoshi is an active leader, advocate, and educator in the Jews of Color community. He was a member of Selah Cohort 14, currently sits on the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative's Grant Advisory Group, and speaks regularly on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yoshi is also a CrossFit coach and movement teacher, 2nd degree blackbelt, and aficionado of Chinese Roast Duck. He lives in the Cleveland, OH area with his wife, daughter, and pup.
Hazzan Sabrina Sojourner is the Spiritual Leader for Revitz House and the DMV Multicultural Jewish Network, Co-founder of Khazbar Inc., and the creator of Training the Heart to Listen, a programmatic approach to courageous conversations. Sabrina approaches all her work with the invitation for participants to bring their full selves to the conversation, worship service, or meal. The opportunity for change or transformation often occurs when we embrace our discomfort and stay present. Sabrina accomplishes this by bringing her full self to all that she does, including her own vulnerability.
Amy Spitalnick is the Executive Director of Integrity First for America, the civil rights nonprofit behind Sines v. Kessler — the landmark federal lawsuit against the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups responsible for the Charlottesville violence. Amy joins IFA with well over a decade of experience in government, politics, and advocacy. She previously served as Communications Director and Senior Policy Advisor to the New York Attorney General; Communications Advisor and Spokesperson for the NYC Mayor; and Communications Director in the New York State Senate. She has also worked on a number of federal, state, and local campaigns and advocacy organizations, including as J Street's first Press Secretary.
Nathan James Stange is a Steering Committee member with Bend the Arc's Long Island chapter (by way of Chicago by way of Kansas). He is a passionate criminal justice reform advocate and anti-racism educator locally. His involvement with Bend the Arc has included fights to defund ICE at the federal level and to establish (then defend) New York State's 2019 landmark bail reform law.
Katie Thompson is the Program Director and Editor of Shared Justice, the Center for Public Justice's initiative for twenty and thirty somethings who are passionate about exploring the intersection of faith, justice, and politics. In 2015 Thompson co-authored Unleashing Opportunity: Why Escaping Poverty Requires a Shared Vision of Justice with Michael Gerson and Stephanie Summers. She also serves on behalf of CPJ as a steering committee member of Faith for Just Lending, a coalition dedicated to ending predatory payday lending.
Gaby is the Advocacy Associate at Detention Watch Network (DWN). She supports DWN’s mission for abolition through federal advocacy work and coalition building, while serving as a policy resource for the network. Prior to joining DWN, Gaby was a fellow at the Friends Committee on National Legislation working on their Immigration and Refugee Policy portfolio. She studied Caribbean history with a concentration in Race, Gender, and Sexuality at Yale University, and her two biggest loves are reggaeton music and her home state of New Jersey.
A national expert on the relationship between hate violence and preserving democratic institutions, governance, and inclusive societies, Eric brings nearly 30 years of expertise in community organizing and philanthropy to his role as Western States Center’s Executive Director. Since his civil rights career began in the late 1980s, Eric has worked with community groups, government and business leaders, and human rights advocates throughout the country to expose and counter white nationalist hate groups, protect vulnerable communities, and make our democracy more inclusive. In addition to his work at Western States Center, Eric is the co-founder of Funders For Justice and serves as a board member for The Proteus Fund and Revolutions Per Minute (RPM), a nonprofit agency that provides artists with strategy and support for their activism and philanthropy. A contributor to the Progressive Media Project from 2008 to 2014, Eric has been quoted and cited extensively by national media and is the author of multiple written works including “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism.”
Rabbi Julia Watts Belser is a scholar, activist, and spiritual teacher working at the intersections of disability studies, queer feminist Jewish ethics, and environmental justice. She is an associate professor of Jewish Studies at Georgetown University, whose current research examines the nexus of climate change, disability, and environmental justice through the prism of Jewish texts. A longtime advocate for disability and gender justice, she co-authored a Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities, developed in collaboration with disability activists from 42 countries, which helps women organize in their local communities to challenge the root causes of poverty, gender violence, and disability discrimination.
Yehudah is passionate about ensuring the Jewish community’s commitment to the fight for racial justice and collective liberation. With an analysis of unconditional/revolutionary care, Yehudah has worked as an anti-oppression trainer and organizational consultant, developing unique programs to bring together communities that are often pitted against each other. He has presented in a wide variety of settings, including youth group conventions, college campuses, and staff development retreats for Jewish organizations. As a community organizer for Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), Yehudah supports JFREJ’s police accountability and transformative justice campaigns through grassroots efforts that include lobbying for legislative reform.
Michelle Weiser is Deputy Director of Boston Workers Circle, where she weaves together her passions for strategic visioning, grassroots fundraising, and joyful liberation to build intergenerational radical Jewish community. Michelle is developing her spiritual practice as a member of the Inside Out Wisdom & Action (IOWA) Leadership Cohort, is an alum of and mentor for the JOIN for Justice Community Organizing Fellowship, and is a member of Tzedek Lab where she organizes to fight antisemitism and white supremacy. A Sephardi, queer, Boston transplant originally from Los Angeles, she loves swimming in the Pacific ocean, Sunday crosswords, and a good cheeseboard.
Kohenet Liviah Baldwin is a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, theatre practitioner, challah maven, and composer/arranger of choral music exploring Kohenet melodies and midrash. She resides in Northern Virginia where her activism is focused on labor issues.
Brittany White is a voice for formerly incarcerated Black Women. As an organizer, strategist, and trainer, she centers her work on ensuring that women and their unique experiences in America’s criminal justice system are not erased from conversations or solutions related to gun violence and mass incarceration. Ms. White believes that cultivating a life of dignity for those most marginalized in our society is the key ingredient to developing justice-impacted leadership and is one of the highest callings of her life. This is accomplished by shifting people from shame to solution and is a process best led by those who have maneuvered through their own journeys with incarceration.
Brittany herself served five years within the Alabama Department of Corrections from 2009-2014. This eye-opening journey and loss of freedom gave her firsthand knowledge of the phenomenon of mass incarceration: an amassed system of people that society does not know how to help. During the course of her incarceration, she developed a strong desire to address the corruption and despair she witnessed on a day-to-day basis and, once released, and with the help of her church, she was able to discover her purpose and a platform to articulate and act upon her experience. Subsequently, she went from being a volunteer faith leader, to a professional organizer, to the LIVE FREE Manager for Faith in Texas. As a part of this work, she raised funds and bailed out people of color from the local county jail to bring awareness to the harm of money bail policies and worked to educate political leaders and candidates about ways to reduce incarceration.
Britt has participated in panels, trainings, and conferences across and has had the opportunity to directly question numerous presidential candidates about their criminal justice platforms and their commitment to those impacted by the justice system. She has also organized countless panels of formerly incarcerated persons and is currently spearheading an initiative to cultivate the leadership of formerly incarcerated individuals across Faith in Action’s national network.
Bend the Arc is uniting a movement of tens of thousands of progressive Jews across the country who are fighting for justice and equality for all. We are the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on social change in the U.S.
Pursuing Justice 2020 Online would not have been possible without the help and brilliance of our consultants: ACS Captions, Architex, The Balcom Group, Alex Dodds, Daniel Essrow, Sam Fine, Suzanne Feinspan Consulting, Anne Hromadka Greenwald, Tom Haviv, Jessica Valoris, Vision Change Win
Be the first to learn about sessions and speakers as they are announced by joining our mailing list.