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Congratulations to Cesar Chavez 2019 Honoree Pablo Tapia

Yesterday, March 31, was the birthday of Cesar Chavez, the great labor and civil rights activist, who—along with Dolores Huerta—co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (now known as United Farm Workers).  As a tribute to his legacy, Gamaliel funder and partner, the Marguerite Casey Foundation (MCF) chose to honor local heroes across this country. Gamaliel…

Father Paul Bossi

Father Paul Bossi is the Pastor at Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, NY. He has been involved in organizing since the 1970s, and with VOICE-Buffalo since the mid 1990s. He has been a clergyman for 47 years.  What is your current involvement with Gamaliel? I’m on the Executive Committee of VOICE-Buffalo and I…

James Marble

What is your current involvement with Gamaliel? I’m working with the Safe Neighborhoods taskforce of ABLE (Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment). How did you get involved originally? I connected with ABLE through my church, First Afrikan Presbyterian, in 1998. My initial concern and interest was the poor physical maintenance of schools in DeKalb County. The executive director…

Octavia Moore

Octavia Moore, 16, holding paper at center, says Oakland, CA affiliate Genesis helped her find her voice. Her work on the group’s campaign to win free public transit for students to go to and from school has led to work to end the school to prison pipeline in Oakland schools and a deeper approach to…

Maria Van Core

This summer Maria G. Van Core, Action Greater Lansing board member and president of Greater Lansing Area chapter of Labor Council For Latin American Advancement, LCLAA, nominated ACTION organizer Aida Cuadrado for a labor-community partnership award. She is a local and national leader on immigration issues. What is your current involvement with Gamaliel/Action of Greater…

Vilma Cardona

A few weeks ago Pilsen Neighbors honored Vilma Cardona, 23, as its annual Senorita del Sol, recognizing her service to the community in Pilsen and accomplishments as a “Dreamer”—she was born in Guatemala and is the first in her family to go to college. Photo (of Cardona in traditional Guatemalan costume) by Oscar Espinoza courtesy of Oscar Photo.…

Rev Rodney Williams

What is your current involvement with Gamaliel? I am currently the Co-Chair of the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity (MORE2). My role as Co-Chair is to help lead MORE2 in a prophetic way to help bring equity and justice to the greater metropolitan Kansas City region. How did you get involved with Gamaliel?…

Karym Sánchez

Karym Sánchez, 24, inspires youth to rally for a cause This profile of North Bay Organizing Project youth organizer Karym Sanchez is reprinted with permission from La Voz Bilingual Newspaper of Santa Rosa County, CA. (Photo by Jeff Kan Lee) Karym Sanchez still remembers the title of the essay he submitted for the Juvenile Justice Commission…

Pastor Dietra Wise Baker

“A COMMUNITY LEADER FOR JUSTICE FOR THE LONG TERM” What is your current involvement with Gamaliel? I am the Metropolitan Congregation’s United (MCU) Clergy Caucus co-leader. I provide leadership for the clergy from the congregations affiliated with MCU. MCU has not had a clergy caucus in a long time due to lack of leadership. Gamaliel’s…

Leader Spotlight: Bob Maddock

Bob grew up and continues to live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is involved with Gamaliel’s affiliate, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN). Bob has been the secretary of PIIN for approximately five years and is also part of the Education Task Force. How did you get involved with Gamaliel? I was a member of an organization…

Bob Maddock

Bob grew up and continues to live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is involved with Gamaliel’s affiliate, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN). Bob has been the secretary of PIIN for approximately five years and is also part of the Education Task Force. How did you get involved with Gamaliel? I was a member of an organization…

Leader Spotlight: Komla Sam Ewu

Komla Sam Ewu was born in Yokele, which is located in West Africa. After growing up with several hardships that many children in West Africa face such as hunger and physical abuse, he attained his high school diploma and then went on to achieve his Masters’ Degree in Linguistics from the University of Lome-Togo. Sam came…

Komla Sam Ewu

Komla Sam Ewu was born in Yokele, which is located in West Africa. After growing up with several hardships that many children in West Africa face such as hunger and physical abuse, he attained his high school diploma and then went on to achieve his Masters’ Degree in Linguistics from the University of Lome-Togo. Sam…

Leader Spotlight: Lino Pedres

Lino is a member of the Gamaliel affiliate, CROP (Capital Region Organizing Project). He has been with CROP since October of 2013. Lino was born in Mexico and moved to California in the early 1980s. After moving to San Jose California, he started to become involved in the community and Unions by doing service work.…

Lido Pedres

Lino is a member of the Gamaliel affiliate, CROP (Capital Region Organizing Project). He has been with CROP since October of 2013. Lino was born in Mexico and moved to California in the early 1980s. After moving to San Jose California, he started to become involved in the community and Unions by doing service work.…

Leader Spotlight: Rev. Willie Brisco

Rev. Brisco grew up in a small town in Mississippi and later moved to Detroit, Michigan. He currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he is the President of MICAH and the Co-Vice President of WISDOM, both of which are affiliates of Gamaliel. Rev. Brisco has been the President of MICAH for four years and the…

Rev Willie Brisco

Rev. Brisco grew up in a small town in Mississippi and later moved to Detroit, Michigan. He currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he is the President of MICAH and the Co-Vice President of WISDOM, both of which are affiliates of Gamaliel. Rev. Brisco has been the President of MICAH for four years and the…

Leader Spotlight: Shaketa Radden

Shaketa Redden grew up in Buffalo, then left for Washington, D.C. where she attended college and then worked as an instructional assistant in the D.C. public schools. After a year in San Diego as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps working in a foster care office, she returned to Buffalo, where she joined VOICE…

Leader Spotlight: Juan Soto

Juan Soto was born in Mexico and had lived there until he was five years old. Juan’s family moved to Chicago from Mexico and he has been living there ever since. Juan has been attending the St. Monica Catholic Church for the past five years. Juan has many responsibilities in Gamaliel. He is the Director…

Leader Spotlight: Salvador Cerna

Salvador was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and is currently living in a neighborhood within Chicago, Illinois called Pilsen. He is a part of the Saint Maurice Church but also attends mass at Providence of God or Saint Pius. Salvador’s position at Gamaliel is the Board President of Pilsen Neighbors Community Council. He was originally…

Leader Spotlight: Michael Okinczyc

Michael is the Lead Organizer of VOICE-Buffalo. In addition to his full time work as an organizer he is attending Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY and pursuing an masters degree in Religious Philosophy and Political Philosophy. He grew up in San Diego, California. Currently, Michael is living in Buffalo, New York. Michael…

Leader Spotlight: Pat Kerrigan

Pat is a life-long resident of Youngstown, Ohio. In addition to his J.D. Law and Master’s in Criminal Justice, Pat is working on his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Kent State University. He was an attorney for 30 years, including Youngstown Municipal Court Judge in criminal justice for 10 years. Pat is…

Leader Spotlight: Rita Aguilar

Rita grew up in Pilsen, a neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois and she has lived there for most of her life. She is the Vice President of the Pilsen Neighbors Community Counsel (PNCC), which is an affiliate of Gamaliel and she has been working there for about ten years. In 2010, Rita had participated in the…

Leader Spotlight: Aida Cuadrado

Aida grew up in New Jersey in the Puerto Rican Neighborhood speaking only Spanish. She currently lives in Lansing, Michigan and is an organizer of ACTION of Greater Lansing. Aida works with four different task forces: Children’s Health Equality and Access, Civil Rights for Immigrants, Restraint and Bullying, Housing Code Enforcement and the Disability Caucus.…

Leader Spotlight: Mary Lim-Lampe

Mary is the lead organizer of GENESIS, an affiliate of the Gamaliel network in Oakland, California.  GENESIS is dedicated to creating a unified voice for social justice and public policy reform, with a focus on leadership development, relationship building and successful action in the public arena. Mary grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and currently…

Leader Spotlight: Sr. Cheryl Liske

Sister Cheryl Liske, OP  is a Dominican Sister of Adrian Michigan. She grew up on the west side of Detroit in a neighborhood of post WWII housing. Sister Cheryl currently lives a block west of her childhood home in Detroit. She is the Michigan state director and is a member of Sts. Simon and Jude…

Leader Spotlight: Leticia Seitz

Leticia Seitz is a community organizer with Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU). MCU is an interdenominational, multi-racial community organization of faith congregations and institutions in the  St. Louis Metropolitan region that are working for a common purpose: to create a better life for all residents. Leticia was born and grew up in Mexico City and currently…

Leader Spotlight: Christina Gonzales

Christina Gonzales is the lead organizer for Gamaliel affiliate, Justice Overcoming Boundaries (JOB). JOB is a community of institutions united by a desire to end isolation, to treat others with dignity and to seek justice, equality and opportunity in San Diego County. JOB’s priority is to organize communities to build a positive change and take…

Leader Spotlight: Father David Preuss

Father David Preuss is a priest and Capuchin friar at St. Martin de Porres in Milwaukee, He got his Masters in Divinity from St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee.  Originally, from Detroit, Fr. David spent the majority of his ministry in Detroit, but has been back in Milwaukee the past 5 years. How did you your…

Leader Spotlight: Mark Spadafore

Mark Spadafore is a political organizer with 1199 SEIU. He grew up and still lives in Liverpool, NY, a suburb of Syracuse. Mark attends St. Joseph the Worker in Liverpool, and he is also part of the Executive Board of ACTS.  What is your relationship with Gamaliel and how did it begin?  ACTS is an…

Leader Spotlight: Sr. Ann Elizabeth

Sr. Ann Elizabeth is a Springfield Dominican sister with the St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Springfield, IL. Originally from Nashville, TN, Sr. Ann Elizabeth worked in Peru and she has continued being present in the Latino community in Springfield. Among other things this means that she attends bible studies in the Latino community and is…

Leader Spotlight: Wynell Butler

Wynell Butler is a member of Ascension-Saint Susanna Catholic Church in Harvey, IL and of Illinois Gamaliel affiliate, South Suburban Action Conference.  How did you get started working with Gamaliel?  Well I was at the South Suburban Action Conference and I got started working with them through the training and through my church. Some of…

Leader Spotlight: Denis Detzel

Denis Detzel is a member of the Gamaliel Board of Directors.   works in an organization consulting firm that he founded called Eastlake.  He also teaches in universities, usually regarding organization behavior and human resources.  Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio Denis attended St. Xavier High School.  He has been with Gamaliel since its beginning, as one…

Leader Spotlight: Paul Bossi

Fr. Paul Bossi is a member of Western New York affiliate, VOICE Buffalo in Buffalo, New York.  He is the Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church and was the first Vice President of VOICE Buffalo and past Vicar for Northwest Buffalo.  Fr. Paul has been engaged in community organizing for many years and has…

Leader Spotlight: Jesus Guzman

Jesus Guzman is a Catholic community organizer in Santa Rosa, CA. He is the lead organizer for the Graton Day Laborer Center, an affiliate of the North Bay Organizing Project. Jesus works with day laborers and domestic workers, making sure they are paid a living wage, as well as coordinates with various programs and institutions,…

Leader Spotlight: Susan Lithgow

Susan Lithgow is a staff member at Gamaliel Pittsburgh affiliate, Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN) in Pittsburgh, PA. She has lived in Pennsylvannia for 51 years and has worked for PIIN as office manager since July of 2010. Susan is a member of Saint James Roman Catholic Church in Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh. She has attended Gamaliel…

Leader Spotlight: Ginny Shrappen

Ginny Schrappen is a native of St. Louis and has been involved with the Catholic Church her entire life. She is a leader within Missouri Gamaliel affiliate, Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU). Ginny became active around social justice within the Church when she was in college during Vatican II. Ginny is a member of Mary Mother…

Leader Spotlight: Patti Staib

Patti Staib is the Executive Director of Charitable Union in Battle Creek, Michigan.  Charitable Union is a strategic partner of Gamaliel affiliate, JONAH.  Charitable Union provides bedding, clothing and small household items to people in need at no charge.  Charitable Union also works to connect individuals to community resources.  Patti has been partnering with JONAH…

Leader Spotlight: Freddie Byrd

Freddie Byrd has lived in Kansas City, Missouri since 1996 and began her involvement with Missouri Gamaliel affiliate, Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity, MORE², in 2004.  Freddie converted to Catholicism in 1989 and joined Redemptorist Catholic Church in Kansas City. Freddie has a background as a social worker and is passionate about advocating…

Leader Spotlight: Ema Flores

Ema Flores is a Mexican Catholic organizer from Vera Cruz, California. Ema is an organizer within Gamaliel affiliate Justice Overcoming Boundaries (JOB). She is a member of The Church of the Resurrection in Escondido, California, a city known for having a history of anti-immigrant measures. Ema has done extensive work on health care access, increased voter registration and education.  However,…

Leader Spotlight: Irene Boyd

Irene Boyd is a former community organizer that has had a sense of social justice since she was a child.  Irene’s father is from Northern Ireland and Irene heard stories from a very young age aboutdiscrimination against Catholics.  Irene grew up with an understanding of the worth and dignity of everyone regardless of race or ethnic group.  Irene…

Leader Spotlight: Ev Howe

Ev Howe is a powerful Catholic leader within Gamaliel affiliate,  ABLE, in Atlanta, Georgia.  Ev is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel and is the chairperson for ABLE’s immigration campaign.  He is also a member of Georgia Detention Watch.  Ev is a parishioner of St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Atlanta (and president of…

Leader Spotlight: Kent Ferris

Kent Ferris is a native of Blair, Nebraska and currently resides in Davenport, Iowa with his family. Kent graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and from Mankato State University, Mankato, Minnesota, with a master’s degree in counseling and student personnel. Kent is currently the social action director for…

Leader Spotlight: John Claassen

John Claassen is a long-time resident of California and is the new chair of Gamaliel affiliate, Genesis. He had a wonderful five years as a teenager attending Ryan Prep College, the Diocese of Fresno minor seminary staffed by ten great Jesuit priests. John felt it was here that he was able to live the vision of…

Leader Spotlight: Jesusa Rivera

Jesusa Rivera is a member of Gamaliel affiliate, TAP, in Indiana.  TAP engages five churches, four of which are in South Bend. Jesusa is also the chair of TAP’s, Civil Rights for Immigrants (CRI), that seeks comprehensive immigration reform that will serve justice for all states, not just Indiana.  Additionally, Jesusa is the current Indiana Hispanic/Latino…

Leader Spotlight: Janine Brown

Janine Brown is an active parishioner at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Atlanta, Georgia and is a powerful member of Gamaliel affiliate, ABLE. Janine was raised in a Catholic household in Boston and has had quite the faith journey, leading her to her present home at Our Lady of Lourdes working as a powerful…

Leader Spotlight: Sandy Milligan

Sandy is the new president of WISDOM, Gamaliel’s statewide organization in Wisconsin. Sandy is a lifelong resident of Kenosha, WI and is a retired special education teacher. She is a member of St. Anne Catholic Church in Pleasant Prairie, WI and became actively involved in parish Charity & Justice Ministries. Sandy is the first Catholic president of…

Leader Spotlight: Leroy Jordan

Leroy Jordan, a Springfield (Illinois) community activist and educator, is formerly the Assistant Superintendent of the Research and Information Systems in the Springfield Public School System. Prior to being Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Jordan was employed for 21 years at Sangamon State University where he was the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs. He started his career…

Leader Spotlight: Sister Susan Bowles

Sr. Susan grew up in Southern Tier of New York State with her family, attended school in Lockport and has spent most of her time in the city of Buffalo. She is the director of religious education at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Buffalo, New York, a diverse and exciting parish that is both…

Leader Spotlight: Father Jim Parke

Father Parke is originally from McKeesport, PA., near Pittsburgh, and has been a “teacher” throughout his four-plus decades as a priest. Father Parke was assigned to Church of the Holy Apostles in 2004. The 125 families of this unique Anglican/Roman Catholic congregation in Virginia Beach “share a vision with their Bishops and Priests to form…

Leader Spotlight: Father Richard Creason

Father Richard Creason was born and raised in the St. Louis, Missouri area and is pastor at Most Holy Trinity Parish in St. Louis, Missouri. Most Holy Trinity is a small, but mighty congregation with about 175 parishioners and is a part of Gamaliel Affiliate, Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU).  How did your work with Gamaliel…

Leader Spotlight: Father Fred Thelen

Father Fred Thelen has been pastor at Cristo Rey Church since 1993. Before that he was working in the Lake Titicaca area of Peru for five years as an associate missionary with Maryknoll, the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America. Father Fred grew up in Fowler, Michigan, a small German-Catholic rural community. For Father Fred,…

Leader Spotlight: Father Rudy Juarez

Father Rudy hails from Iowa City, Iowa and has been a part of the Gamaliel organization for over 20 years. Most of his work has been associated with St. Patrick Parish. He has an undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s University of Texas, as well as a Master’s degree in Divinity from Notre Dame University. He…