Lisa Armony has served in strategic planning, educational and communications positions for Jewish organizations in Toronto, Canada and the U.S.  As Rose Project Director, she has been instrumental in implementing strategies that create a more civil campus climate for Jewish students on Orange County college campuses, spearheading efforts that create learning opportunities about Israel, empower Jewish student leaders, and support Jewish campus organizations. In 2015, she launched an experiential learning journey to Israel and the Palestinian Authority for diverse student leaders seeking to explore the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  That program has been scaled to dozens of college campuses throughout the U.S. and Europe. She has also developed a variety of community education programs on Jewish identity, Israel and antisemitism, including an educational platform for teens that supports leadership development and counters bigotry and antisemitism in the greater Orange County community. As Chief Impact Officer, she oversees Federation’s strategic planning and granting and works closely with Community Partners to support community development and growth. A Magna cum Laude graduate of Cornell University, Lisa holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Yale University, a Certificate in Israel Experiential Education from the iCenter and George Washington University, and a dual Master's degree in Jewish and Israel Education from The Hebrew University’s Melton School of Jewish Education. She is also a Fellow in the Executive Leadership Program of the Mandel Institute for Nonprofit Leadership.

Richard Arum is professor of sociology and education at the University of California Irvine (UCI). He recently served as dean of the UCI School of Education, senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and director of the Education Research Program at the Social Science Research Council. He received a M.Ed. from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the U.C., Berkeley.

Kiran Bhalla is a Project Director at AAPI Equity Alliance (AAPI Equity), a Los Angeles based coalition of 40+ non-profits serving the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities of the greater Los Angeles region. AAPI Equity is a co-founding member of Stop AAPI Hate, a national reporting site for anti-AAPI hate incidents. As Project Director, Kiran oversees the Stop the Hate grant for the Los Angeles County region, funded by the California Department of Social Services, for twenty-four program service provider grantees, all of whom are providing direct, preventative, and intervention services to stem the tide of hate. Kiran has a BA in International Relations from the Pardee School of International Relations at Boston University, and an MA in Security Studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Dr. Sean Boulton first earned a bachelor's degree in History from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri and taught in the Springfield Unified School District for two years. Sean Boulton's first administration position was at Estancia High School where he served as an assistant principal. In 2006 he moved on to Laguna Hills High School in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District where he served as an assistant principal for two years. He was subsequently named principal of Laguna Hills High, a position he held for the next 5 years. After many wonderful years at the "Home of the Hawks" in Laguna Hills, it was back to Newport-Mesa Unified and Newport Harbor High School! Sean is currently entering his ninth year as Principal of Newport Harbor-Dr. Boulton earned his Education Doctorate Degree from Grand Canyon University April of 2017. Go Sailors!

The Hon. Supervisor Andrew Do, Orange County Board of Supervisors
 

A former prosecutor, educator, businessman, and judge pro tem, Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do is fighting for Orange County taxpayers and working families in the First District communities of Cypress, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, La Palma, Seal Beach, Westminster, and the Unincorporated Communities of Midway City and Rossmoor.

 

In his first year on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Andrew Do has increased funding for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and expanded access to vital health care services for seniors and working families. He has cut taxes on small businesses, eliminated regulatory obstacles that impede innovation, and defended Prop. 13 by expanding OC taxpayers’ rights to appeal their property tax bills.

 

During the Fall of Saigon, Andrew Do and his family fled Vietnam with just the clothes on their back and a suitcase full of dictionaries. Thanks to supportive teachers and faculty at Garden Grove’s Jordan Intermediate and Bolsa Grande High School, Andrew developed the educational foundation to earn his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis.

 

His education continued at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he volunteered with the public interest law project to address homelessness and aid marginalized communities. After law school, he taught as an Adjunct Professor at Cal State University, Fullerton, and then served as a Judge Pro Tem at Orange County West Municipal Court.

 

After several years providing legal representation to poor and indigent defendants, Andrew Do joined the Orange County District Attorney’s office – with his last assignment prosecuting sexually violent predators as a member of the D.A.’s Sexual Assault Unit. His skills in the courtroom earned him national recognition from the U.S. Department of Justice, when he was chosen to represent Orange County at the National District Attorney Association Advocacy College at the University of South Carolina.

 

Andrew Do previously served as a Councilmember for the City of Garden Grove and as Chief of Staff to an Orange County Supervisor. His lifetime of community involvement includes service as President of the Asian Bar of California and President of the Vietnamese-American Bar Association of Southern California as well as service on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Bar Association.

Dr. Liat Franco (B.A., J.D., L.L.M., Ph.D.) is a member of the Law Department in Zefat Academic College and as a lecturer in the Law Department in Haifa University (Israel). Dr. Liat Franco submitted her Ph.D. dissertation "Cyberbullying, an Evolving Phenomenon Amongst Children and Youth-Demands Reframing Local and International Law" in 2018. Dr. Franco received her B.A in Communication from UCLA and graduated from UCLA Law School with a J.D. in 2003. She is a member of the New York, California and Israeli bar associations. Upon her return to Israel she was employed in Carmel Academic College. In 2013, she received a scholarship from the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space. At Zefat College, she teaches courses on Internet law, education law and children and youth law. 

Howard Gillman was appointed by the University of California Board of Regents as the sixth chancellor of the University of California, Irvine on September 18, 2014.  He is an award-winning scholar and teacher with an expertise in the American Constitution and the Supreme Court.  He holds faculty appointments in the School of Law, the Department of Political Science (within the School of Social Sciences), the Department of History (within the School of Humanities), and the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society (within the School of Social Ecology), and every year teaches an undergraduate seminar.  He also provides administrative oversight to, and serves as co-chair of the advisory board of, the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.

 

Under Chancellor Gillman’s leadership, UCI has accelerated its ascendency among globally preeminent research universities.  It has been consistently ranked in the top 10 of all public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report; increased its annual research support by more than $200 million, setting a new record; established the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing and the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences; furthered its national leadership in sustainable practices; demonstrated its status as a “first choice” college for undergraduates by receiving more than 144,000 freshman and transfer applications for fall 2022; fostered regional economic development by establishing the premier local entrepreneurial incubator; and developed the Brilliant Future fundraising campaign that sets out a bold and ambitious road map for growth, expanding the university’s capacity to improve lives in our region and around the world.

 

Chancellor Gillman came to UCI in July 2012 as provost and executive vice chancellor after spending more than two decades at the University of Southern California.  From 2005 to 2012 he served as dean of the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the largest academic unit at USC.  Prior to his service as dean, Chancellor Gillman also served as associate vice provost for research advancement, chair of the Department of Political Science, and director of graduate studies within the Department of Political Science. 

 

A native of Southern California, Chancellor Gillman grew up in North Hollywood and was a first-generation college student.  He earned bachelor’s (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), master’s, and doctoral degrees in political science at UCLA.

Oren Jacobson is a civic entrepreneur, thought leader, and policy advisor focused on helping communities and organizations build the strength and capacity necessary to address systemic challenges. In professional and personal practice, deep pride in his Jewish identity instills in Oren a sense of duty to disrupt the unjust imbalances of our world and his advocacy spans local to international engagement.

To help deepen understanding and build bridges, Oren co-founded Project Shema, which helps Jewish students, leaders, and organizations navigate the difficult conversations surrounding Israel/Palestine and antisemitism and provides social justice centered antisemitism education to public and private institutions. Through this work, he has advised global Jewish institutions and served as a subject matter expert on antisemitism to global corporations. Oren currently also leads Men4Choice, a multi-state advocacy organization focused on mobilizing male allies into the fight to protect and expand reproductive freedom.

Previously, Oren served as National Chapter Development Director for the New Leaders Council, growing NLC into the largest leadership development organization in the progressive movement. He holds a Master's in International Relations from the University of Chicago, a Master's in Economics and Policy Analysis from DePaul University, and an MBA from Regis University.

Julia S. Kelley is an 11th grade student in the Orange County public school system. Since relocating from Virginia in 2014, Julia has experienced antisemitism in the local public schools, on social media and beyond. As a result of these experiences, coupled with Julia’s strong Jewish identity, she has become active in raising awareness of growing anti-Jewish bigotry and hate and its various manifestations. Earlier this year, she spoke about her experience with antisemitism in OC public schools to the Orange County Democratic Party’s Central Committee. This summer, she traveled to Israel on a 3-week Global Teen tour and exchange program that concludes in the summer of 2023 with her OC and Israeli cohort visiting Washington DC and returning to OC. In 2020, she completed the Jewish Federation of Orange County’s /ADL’s Youth Leadership Initiative and served as a prolific TikTok content contributor for JewBelong. This fall, Julia will be a Teen Ambassador in Jewish Federation’s Student-to-Student initiative to help educate fellow Orange County students about Jews and Judaism. Julia embraces all facets of her complex Jewish identity; her maternal grandparents were born and raised in Cuba, her grandfather is Ashkenazi-Polish, her grandmother is Sephardi-Turkish and her father is a Jew by choice. 

Heather Kline has been actively involved in the OC Jewish community since 2003. She has served as Vice Chair of the Federation Board and Chair of its Philanthropy Committee, as President of the Women’s Philanthropy Council, and Women’s Philanthropy Vice President for Social Action. Heather is a member of the National Women's Philanthropy Board of Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), where she served as the Vice-Chair of Engagement. In 2018, she received JFNA’s Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award for leadership and excellence in service. Heather was a participant of the second cohort of the Federation’s SKILLSETnpo Leadership Institute. She has served three terms on the Board of Trustees of Temple Bat Yahm as Trustee of Education, and has been honored twice by the Temple, in 2013 as Woman of the Year, and in 2015. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Emory University and a graduate of the Boston University School of Law. 

Matthias B. Lehmann is the Teller Family Chair in Jewish History at the University of California, Irvine, where he directs the UCI Center for Jewish Studies. A specialist in modern European and Mediterranean Jewish history, he is the author of several books, including, most recently, The Baron: Maurice de Hirsch and the Jewish Nineteenth Century (Stanford University Press, 2022). Before coming to UCI, he taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, and has been a visiting researcher at the University of Munich and Tel Aviv University.

Chuck Leek was actively involved with white supremacist groups for over 15 years beginning in the mid 1980's; and sympathetic to their beliefs for 20 plus years.

After learning that a girlfriend was half Jewish he began to question those beliefs; which was the beginning of a long disengagement process.

In 2011 Chuck was introduced to Life After Hate, and with their support began speaking publicly against his former beliefs. Today he works as an Exit Specialist with Life After Hate; providing Peer Mentoring services to people exiting hate groups, part of an interdisciplinary model of tertiary intervention for Violent Far Right Extremism.

Rabbi Peter Levi is a veteran Jewish community professional. After 18 years as a congregational rabbi, he now is the Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League’s Orange County/Long Beach office where fights antisemitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all by responding to hate incidents, building relationships with elected officials, the interfaith community, law enforcement, other cultural and civil rights organizations, and educating the community [anti-bias, bullying prevention, and responding to hate and bigotry programs for K-12 schools and college campuses]. Peter currently just completed a 5-year term as president of the Orange County Board of Rabbis, is a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Interfaith Advisory Council, the OC Hate Crime Prevention Network among many other community coalitions. He was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times/Daily Pilot,  3 Orange County Residents Who Fight Against the Spread of Hate (May 13,2021).

Erik Ludwig is the President and CEO of Jewish Federation of Orange County. He has served as a Jewish communal professional for the past 20 years and brings a wealth of experience, strategic vision, and deep communal relationships to this role. He is recognized as one of the Jewish community’s most innovative and entrepreneurial leaders with a strong record of spearheading organizational change within mature organizations. His strengths were most recently demonstrated during his seven-year tenure as Director of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management at Hebrew Union College where he oversaw the school’s revitalization and growth. Among his numerous accomplishments, he tripled student enrollment by redesigning core academic programs to meet the needs of students in a rapidly changing Jewish professional ecosystem, and significantly grew the school’s organizational capacity through increased philanthropy. Prior to his role at HUC, Erik served as Chief Operating Officer at Upstart Bay Area. He currently serves on the advisory council of IsraAID US and on the advisory board of Jewish Interactive. Erik holds a PhD from the University of Utah, an MA from Humboldt State University, and a BS from the University of Utah. 

Tina Malka is the Director of Antisemitism Education and Associate Director of the Israel Action Program at Hillel International. She works with 15 Hillel’s regionally on the West Coast to support their education programs on Israel, co-develops educational materials on antisemitism for Hillel International and facilitates the implementation of them across the country, and supervises the regional IAP staff.  


Tina worked for 15 years at the Anti-Defamation League as the Associate Director of the San Diego office and developed and ran Jewish student leadership programs for High School students and taught new recruits at the San Diego Police Academy about hate crimes. 

Michael Matsuda is a nationally recognized 21st century educational leader known for innovation, entrepreneurship, and compassion. Under his leadership, the Anaheim Union High School District has built a new educational model incorporating “reverse engineered” career pathways in partnership with higher education, private, and non-profit sectors, which have extended and transformed educational opportunities for all students.

Since becoming superintendent in 2014, Mr. Matsuda has earned several accolades, including: one of twelve national “Leaders to Learn From” Award from Education Week Magazine, the “Visionary Education Leadership Award” from Cal State University, Fullerton, the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) Administrator of the Year Award, and an honorary “Doctor of the University” from Chapman University.

Additionally, Mr. Matsuda was named the California Council for the Social Studies Administrator of the Year for promoting democracy in public schools. AUHSD leads the state with 10 California Democracy Schools which promote student voice and civic engagement throughout the district. Mr. Matsuda was also appointed to the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) Board of Directors to enhance the organization’s mission of ensuring underserved students have the opportunity, skills, and knowledge to pursue the education and training to achieve their career and life goals. NCCEP oversees the federal government’s largest secondary grant program, GEAR UP.

As an innovator, Mr. Matsuda has developed the AIME (Anaheim Innovative Mentoring Experience) program to create mentorships for over 4,500 high school students and has created over 150 annual summer work-based paid internship experiences for students who also receive college credit through Fullerton College. He also conceptualized the AUHSD SERVATHON, an annual service event celebrating MLK Day with over 4,000 students, families, and adult mentors.

Before assuming the role of superintendent in March 2014, Mr. Matsuda spent 22 years as an educator in the Anaheim Union High School District. He began teaching at Orangeview Junior High School, where he was twice selected as Teacher of the Year. He also taught honors English classes at Oxford Academy. He received his BA from UCLA, MPA from USC, his teaching credential from Chapman University, and administrative credential from CSUF.

Shannon McGowan, Ph.D As the Education Director for the Orange County/Long Beach region of ADL, Shannon oversees all training programs, including anti-bias and bullying prevention, as well as the No Place for Hate® K-12 initiative. Shannon joined the ADL in 2019 after a diverse career in education. She taught a variety of disciplines in the public schools in Austin, Texas for six years before moving to the Inland Northwest. At the University of Idaho, Shannon worked as an assistant professor in the teacher education program and modern language department. Her research examined the ways bias impacts classroom interactions and teaching. Throughout her time in academia, she also worked with the State Board of Education, served on the Bias Response Team, and collaborated with campus leadership to confront bias in all forms and advocate for equity and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff.

Joanna Mendelson is the Senior Vice President, Community Engagement of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. In this role she helps convene statewide and national coalitions, expand interfaith and multi-faith community relationships, lead local, state, and federal advocacy efforts and strengthen ties to Israel.

 

Prior to this, she worked for more than two decades for the ADL, most recently serving on the national team as Associate Director for the Center on Extremism, which combats extremism, terrorism and all forms of hate in the real world and online. She trained more than 12,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, judges and public officials nationwide on extremism and domestic terrorism related issues. Ms. Mendelson is a certified subject matter expert and has provided testimony in numerous criminal cases involving extremism. In partnership with law enforcement partners, she has helped thwart potential extremist attacks against Jews and other vulnerable communities. Additionally, Ms. Mendelson authored, then testified and successfully lobbied in favor of legislation addressing paper terrorism tactics used by sovereign citizens. She frequently speaks to national and international media outlets, including CNN, the BBC and CBS.

 

You can follow her on Twitter at @jo_mendelson.

Congresswoman Katie Porter represents California’s 45th Congressional District in Orange County. Before being elected to Congress, she spent nearly two decades as a consumer advocate. In Washington, Congresswoman Porter has remained committed to putting Orange County families first, asking tough questions of CEOs and administration officials to hold them accountable to the American people.

April Powers is the Cofounder of Jewbian Princess and DEI strategist for ProjectShema.org. April is committed to building inclusion in Jewish spaces and beyond. She sits on her synagogue board and on the advisory board of Progressive Zionists of California.

Mark Rotenberg oversees Hillel's Campus Climate Initiative, working across the U.S. with Hillel professionals and higher education leaders to ensure a campus environment in which every student can feel comfortable learning about and identifying with Judaism and Israel. Mark has spent most of his professional career on university campuses, serving for many years as the general counsel at the University of Minnesota and at Johns Hopkins University. In those positions, he provided strategic counsel and policy advice to university boards, presidents, chancellors and other senior officers. A seasoned university educator, Mark currently is an Adjunct Professor of Law at American University in Washington, has taught at the University of Minnesota for over 20 years, and was a visiting professor of law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has argued and won cases in the US Supreme Court and many other judicial forums. Mark received his B.A. from Brandeis University, and J.D., M.Phil., and M.A. from Columbia Law School and Columbia University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Ambassador Rabbi David Saperstein was designated by Newsweek Magazine as the most influential rabbi in America and by the Washington Post as the “quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill,”. For 40 years as Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, David Saperstein represented to Congress and the Administration, the Reform Jewish Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry. Under Rabbi Saperstein, writes J.J. Goldberg in his book Jewish Power, the Religious Action Center "has become one of the most powerful Jewish bodies in Washington, second only to AIPAC."

 

During the second term of the Obama administration, Rabbi Saperstein served as the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, carrying out his responsibilities as the country’s chief diplomat on religious freedom issues. In this capacity, he served as a principal advisor to Secretary Kerry and President Obama on issues of international religious freedom and travelled widely as America’s advocate for religious freedom across the globe.  In 2019-20, Rabbi Saperstein served as the President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the international arm of the Reform Jewish Movement.

 

Also an attorney, he taught seminars on Church–State law and on comparative Jewish and American Law for 35 years at Georgetown University Law Center and continues his academic work as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Foreign Service School and Center for Jewish Civilization and as a Distinguished Fellow at the PM Glynn Institute at Australian Catholic University.

 

During his career, Rabbi Saperstein has served as the chair or co-chair of several national interreligious coalitions including the Coalition to Preserve Religious Liberty and first chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious freedom. He has served on the boards or executive committees of numerous national organizations including the NAACP, People for The American Way, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Religious Partnership on the Environment, and the World Faith Development Dialogue.

 

His work has been recognized over the years from many sources, receiving numerous national organizational awards (including the inaugural recipient of the Embassy of the Netherlands’ “Anne Frank Award”) and honorary doctorates from several universities (most recently from Yale University in 2016). His articles have been published in publications ranging from the New York Times and the Washington Post to the Harvard Law Review. He has appeared on most major television news and talk shows, including Oprah, Meet the Press, ABC’s Sunday Morning, the Rachel Maddow Show, Nightline, PBS News Hour, Crossfire, Hardball, and the O’Reilly Factor. His latest book is Jewish Dimensions of Social Justice: Tough Moral Choices for our Times.

As Vice President of the Center on Extremism, Oren Segal and his team combat extremism, terrorism and all forms of hate in the real world and online. Recognized as the foremost authority on extremism, the Center provides resources, expertise and training which enables law enforcement, public officials and internet and technology companies to identify and counter emerging threats.  

Oren joined ADL in 1998 after working for The New York Times and the Jewish Community Federation in San Francisco. Much of Oren’s 21 years with ADL has been devoted to evaluating the activity and tactics of extremist groups and movements from across the ideological spectrum, training law enforcement officers and publishing reports and articles on a wide range of extremist topics. In 2006, Oren was recognized by the FBI for his exceptional service in the public interest. He was named to the Forward’s list of 50 influential, intriguing and inspiring American Jews in 2019.

Oren is a graduate of Wheaton College in Massachusetts. 

Leah Soibel, a Hispanic American and Israeli, has more than 15 years of experience on the ground in Israel, the U.S, and Latin America working with thousands of global Latino journalists and media influencers. In 2012, she founded Fuente Latina (FL), the only organization of its kind that ensures global Hispanic media professionals have the facts they need – before and when the news breaks – to accurately cover Israel, the Jewish world, and the Mideast regardless of their geographic location in Spanish. She recently launched Activista Media, the first-ever bilingual (English/Spanish) digital news brand that directly engages the next generation of English-dominant, non-Jewish US Latinos journalists, influencers and online news consumers about Jews, antisemitism and Israel. Headquartered in Miami, with offices in Tel Aviv, Madrid, Los Angeles, and Mexico City, FL has brought 330 journalists to Israel, facilitated 65,000 accurate TV, radio and print stories, reaching millions of Latinos worldwide, and their work has resulted in 2 TV Emmys wins.
 

Leah is a National Security Education Program Fellow and received an Arabic language certificate from the American University of Cairo’s Arabic Language Institute. She has a BA in Middle East History from Dickinson College, an MA in Security Policy Studies from George Washington University, and has completed coursework for a doctorate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Leah speaks English, Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic.

Rabbi Richard Steinberg is the dynamic and transformative leader of Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot (SHM) in Irvine, CA since 2001. Rabbi Steinberg grew SHM from fewer than 300 member families to a thriving congregation of over 625 families with Orange County’s largest religious school. He works diligently at providing a warm, caring, and educational environment for people to grow in all ways. Through creating an interactive partnership with the laity, Rabbi Steinberg is literally fashioning a place that people call home.

 

Born and raised in Northern California, Rabbi Steinberg graduated from the California State University system with a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice and minor in sociology. After working for a police department for a year, he decided to focus on a different kind of law – the law of the soul. As a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he became the assistant rabbi at the historic Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati, OH, where Reform Judaism was founded. He holds a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters, a Master of Arts in marital family therapy and is a licensed psychotherapist. Among the many roles he has held in the community, Rabbi Steinberg is a member of Children’s Hospital of Orange County Mental Health Advisory Board; a Commissioner and former Chair of the Orange County Human Relations Commission; the Chaplain of the Irvine Police Department; an executive board member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Interfaith Religious Council and of AIPAC Orange County, and Past-President of the Jewish Association of Special Needs and the Orange County Board of Rabbis. He is married to Abby Rozenberg and together they have five adult children

Jesse Tannetta is a former high school teacher and is the Program Manager for Echoes & Reflections, specializing in providing professional development to middle and high school teachers focused on Holocaust education throughout the United States. He holds bachelor’s degrees in History and Catholic Theology from Emmanuel College as well as a master’s degree in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Gratz College.

Eric K. Ward, a nationally-recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence, and preserving inclusive democracy, is the recipient of the 2021 Civil Courage Prize – the first time in the award’s history that an American has won the prize, revealing the dangerous proliferation of hate crimes and political violence by authoritarian and extremist movements in the United States. Eric brings over three decades of leadership in community organizing and philanthropy to his roles as Western States Center’s outgoing Executive Director and Senior Advisor, and member of the President's Leadership Council for the Search for Common Good. Since Eric took the helm in 2017, Western States Center has become a national hub for innovative responses to white nationalism, antisemitism, and structural inequality, towards a world where everyone can live, love, work, and worship free from bigotry and fear. In his 30+ year civil rights career, Eric has worked with community groups, government and business leaders, human rights advocates, and philanthropy as an organizer, director, program officer, consultant, and board member. Currently Chair of The Proteus Fund, Eric is Advisor to the Bridge Entertainment Labs, a member of the Pop Culture Collaborative’s Pluralist Visionaries Program, and the recipient of the Peabody-Facebook Futures Media Award. Eric is in high demand as a speaker and media source, and is the author of multiple written works credited with key narrative shifts, including “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism.” He has been quoted in The New Yorker, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, ESPN, Black News Channel, NPR, BBC, Rolling Stone and numerous other media outlets, and regularly publishes on Medium. Eric has a special interest in the use of music to advance inclusive democracy. In 2020 he helped to launch the Western States Center Inclusive Democracy Culture Lab which works with musicians to create new narratives that puncture the myths driving our political and social divisions, and invite people who don’t always trust politicians and movement leaders into the safe and trusting conversational space that exists between a performer and their audience.

Reverend Dr. Ralph E. Williamson, affectionately known as ‘Pastor Ralph,’ serves as pastor of Christ Our Redeemer (COR) A.M.E. Church, and President and CEO of COR Community Development Corporation (CDC) which is COR's nonprofit economic development organization that serves the disenfranchised and underprivileged.

 

Pastor Ralph believes the church is called to build a Covenant Community loving one another as God has loved us (Romans 12: 4 - 18). He believes that love is a verb that is best seen and felt through active care for church and community members through ministries.

 

His preparation for ministry is steeped in prayer, biblical scholarship, and administrative training. A thoughtful speaker and writer, Pastor Ralph is also an author. He writes devotionals for the three seasons of the Christian calendar--Advent, Lent, and Pentecost. He also has written several books.

 

Pastor Ralph is passionate about sharing God’s word, helping people grow spiritually, and leading individuals to find their love for Christ. He is the 6th pastor for COR, coming to us in 2019 after serving faithfully for 16 years at First A.M.E. Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is joined in service with his wife, First Lady Jennifer Booker-Williamson, as of February 13, 2021.

 

He loves Ephesians 3:20 which reads "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." 

Dr. Steven Windmueller, who is an Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Studies is currently serving as the Interim Director of the Zelikow School at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Prior to coming to HUC, Dr. Windmueller had served on the staff of the American Jewish Committee (1969-1972), directed the Albany (NY) Jewish Federation (1973-1985), and the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Committee) of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation (1985-1995).
 

During his tenure at the College, Dr. Windmueller served for ten years as the Director of its School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and in 2005 was named to the deanship of the LA campus (2006-2010).
 

The author of four books and numerous articles, Professor Windmueller holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.  His research has been primarily focused on Jewish communal trends, anti-Semitism, and Jewish political behavior. His articles have appeared in a number of secular and Jewish publications.
 

He recently served as the editor on a volume for USC’s Casden Institute examining the “Impact of Donald Trump’s Presidency on American Jews.”
 

Dr. Windmueller serves as a Fellow of the Jerusalem Institute of Public Affairs and as a Board Member of the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State, Los Angeles. For the past six years, he has been on the faculty of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, teaching across the globe.

Join us as we open this important communal dialogue to combat hate together.

 

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This program is partially funded by grants from the Jewish Community Foundation Orange County and Jewish Federations of North America.