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  5. Faith-Based Security Advisory Council

Faith-Based Security Advisory Council

The following individuals are members of the Faith-Based Security Advisory Council.

Ms. Kiran Kaur Gill has been the SALDEF Executive Director since 2019. She was previously the president and CEO of PARS Environmental Inc., an environmental consulting firm in New Jersey. She was also selected as the “Small Business Person of the Year” by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2014 and was named among the top 50 most influential people of color in New Jersey by ROI-NJ.

Ms. Gill is also involved in a variety of community and civic organizations. She is the president and a founding member of Inspiring South Asian American Women, a board member of the ONE Project, and has volunteered for the Habitat for Humanity International, Global Village Program in Buenos Aires Argentina.

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld is the Founder and CEO of Leading Ethics LLC, a consultancy that helps companies and organizations grow by building ethics and trust. Rabbi Schonfeld previously served for ten years as CEO of the Rabbinical Assembly, an international organization representing leaders in 26 countries on 6 continents. She was the first female Rabbi to serve in this position, having begun working for as the Director of Rabbinic Development in 2001 and being named the Executive Vice President in 2008. In her capacity as CEO, she was one of the recognized world religious representatives to high-level government officials including the U.S. President, Vice-President, members of Congress, the Prime Minister of Israel, the Pope, the King of Jordan, ambassadors, state and local officials, and other leaders. She oversaw the publication of Mahzor Lev Shalem (2010) and Siddur Lev Shalem (2016), which represented the Conservative movement’s effort to reflect the values of gender equality, diversity, and engagement with tradition in their prayer book.

Rabbi Schonfeld served on President Obama’s White House Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  Newsweek named her one of the 60 most influential Rabbis in American in 2011, 2012, and 2013. She was named as a “Woman to Watch” in 2011.

Rabbi Schonfeld developed an extensive array of programs on professional ethics, organizational management, issues advocacy, and continuing professional education. She oversaw an organizational ethics and disciplinary committee responsible for reviewing complaints concerning leader conduct, investigating the facts and circumstances of the incidents alleged and applying remedial measures when necessary. She developed and taught programs on boundaries and self-care to improve organizational culture and executive leadership. She advised organizations and institutions on strategy, business management, organizational development, and financial resource development.

She was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1997 and holds a degree from Yale University.

Mr. Chandru Acharya is the president of Imetris Corporation, an IT consulting and services company based in Saline, Michigan. Mr. Acharya is also a Hindu faith ambassador, yoga instructor and soccer coach. He teaches Hindu history, heritage and culture at Canton’s Hindu Temple Balagokulam. Having a deep understanding of Socio-Political issues of South Asia, Mr. Acharya is regularly invited to speak about Hinduism in schools and colleges.

An interfaith activist, he participates in the local Plymouth-Canton Interfaith Community Outreach Group and has been a board member of the Interfaith Leadership Council of Detroit and the South Asian American Voices for Impact. Mr. Acharya is a subject matter expert on Hinduism and has a deep understanding of Socio-Political issues of South Asia. He has worked with immigrant communities and refugees and participated in dialogues to reduce tensions in the community.

Imam Mohamed Magid is the Executive Imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center in Sterling, Virginia. He is a co-founder, along with Pastor Bob Roberts Jr. and Rabbi David Saperstein, of the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network, an organization working to coordinate with leaders across faith traditions to better serve their communities. Imam Magid is the Chairman of International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC) and the former President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He is also the Chairman of Muflehun, a think tank which focuses on confronting violent extremists thought through research-driven preventative programs within a religious paradigm.

Imam Magid has a long history of commitment to public service through organizations, such as The Peaceful Families Project. Imam Magid has co-authored three books: Before You Tie the Knot: A Guide for Couples, Reflections on the Qur’an, and Change from Within. He has helped in organizing training and workshops for Imams and religious leaders, domestically and internationally, on the issue of violence against women. Imam Magid is also leading an initiative to protect religious minorities in Muslim majority countries through seminars and Imam training workshops. He has written for the Washington Post and Huffington Post, and has been profiled in Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. He is the recipient for the Washingtonian of the Year 2009 and received the 2005 Human Rights Award from the Human Rights Commission of Fairfax County, Virginia.

Nationally recognized for his commitment to improving the public understanding of Islam and policies impacting American Muslims, Mr. Al-Marayati is president and co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He oversees MPAC’s groundbreaking civic engagement, public policy, and advocacy work.

Mr. Al-Marayati is an expert on Islam in the West, Muslim reform movements, human rights, democracy, national security, and Middle East politics. He has spoken at the White House, Capitol Hill and represented the U.S. at international human rights and religious freedom conferences. His writings have appeared in every major national news publication, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

Deputy Chief Baker began her law enforcement career with the Arlington Police Department on January 11, 1999. She started in the East Patrol district as an officer. In 2002, she transitioned into the Community Affairs Division for six years where she made it her goal to educate the citizens of Arlington on personal safety. In 2007, she was promoted to the rank of sergeant. In 2012, Deputy Chief Baker was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and worked in the East and North Patrol Districts. As a lieutenant, Deputy Chief Baker also led the Special Investigation Section, where she managed the Crimes Against Children Unit, the Domestic Crimes Unit, the Sex Crimes Unit, the Auto Theft Unit, the Economic Crimes Unit and the Department’s Digital Forensic Lab. Prior to promoting to her current rank, Deputy Chief Baker was a lieutenant in the department’s Youth Services Section and worked as the organization’s liaison to the Arlington Independent School District. As a lieutenant, one of her ancillary duties was to serve as an executive officer on the police department’s SWAT Team. 

Deputy Chief Baker’s educational background includes a Master of Business Administration - Strategic Leadership from Amberton University, Garland, Texas - 2013. She received a Bachelor of Criminal Justice in Law Enforcement Police Science from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas-1997. She is a graduate from the PERF Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), Boston, MA and the 101st Institute for Law Enforcement Administration (ILEA) School of Police Supervision. She also attended the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas Leadership Inventory for Female Executives (L.I.F.E.) and has a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) Master Peace Officers Certification.

Recognizing the importance of faith-based partnerships, Chief Baker collaborates with faith leaders in the Arlington Clergy and Police Partnership to reduce community threats, provide public education to community groups and enhance the department’s crime prevention. In 2021, Deputy Chief Baker worked on expanding on the police department’s efforts to build consensus through the nationally recognized One Congregation One Precinct (OneCOP) Program that brings communities and faith-based groups together in the City of Arlington.

Ms. Burgo currently serves as Vice President of Disaster Operations at Catholic Charities USA. She has more than 35 years of experience in responding to, and coordinating all aspects of, natural and human-caused disasters in both international and domestic sectors. Ms. Burgo currently works closely with DHS FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate response and recovery efforts throughout the 167-member agencies of the Catholic Charities network and other closely affiliated church institutions. Each year, Ms. Burgo orchestrates and leads the Catholic Charities USA Applied Institute for Disaster Excellence; a disaster preparedness and response training designed to strengthen the capacity of Catholic Charities agencies, institutions and community government/non-government partners. The training engages attendees in disaster readiness, including terrorism attacks and active shooter response for local Catholic Church parishes and community partners.

Ms. Burgo previously served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security Faith-Based Advisory Council under former Secretary Janet Napolitano and was an active contributor to the creation of the June 2013 document, “Guide for Developing High Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship.”

Rev. Cooper has served as a consultant to the United States Central Intelligence Agency Personnel Department, a member of the General Board of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (1984-1988), and as the Assistant Director of Admissions / Director of Minority Admissions at the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, Georgia (1984-1995). In that capacity, minority enrollment increased and he was instrumental in having UGA removed from Federal oversight of admissions policies.

He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia as well as the Board of Trustees for the Sixth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church. Rev. Cooper served as secretary of the Augusta Georgia Annual Conference (1981-1988). Rev. Cooper has served as a member of the Board of Examiners of the Atlanta North Georgia Annual Conference as well as a member of the Atlanta North Georgia Conference Board of Trustees. Rev. Cooper has served as Chair of the Credentials committee for the General Conference of the A.M.E. Church (2004 & 2008). Rev. Cooper has also served as the accountant for the Sixth Episcopal District. He is also the author of the book, A Financial Management Primer for the A.M.E. Church, which is used in the training of ministers by the A.M.E. Board of Examiners.

Ordained into the Gospel ministry more than 20 years ago, Rev. Dr. Copeland-Tune has worked for a number of faith-based organizations and now serves as NCC's Cheif Operating Officer. She came to the NCC after having served as the director of the Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, a national conference that brings 1,000 faith advocates from across the country to the nation’s capital each year, and as Minister of Congregational Life for Clifton Park Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is an associate minister at Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

In the 2000s, Rev. Dr. Copeland-Tune was the NCC’s Assistant Director for Justice and Advocacy. In that role, she staffed NCC’s Special Commission for the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast. She distinguished herself in 2018 serving as the Director of Mobilization for the NCC’s “A.C.T. Now to End Racism” events. In the fall of 2018, she was given the President’s Award for Excellence in Faithful Leadership at the NCC’s Christian Unity Gathering.

Rev. Dr. Copeland-Tune has held numerous other positions of importance in the ecumenical movement including that of director for the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative, an anti-poverty ministry that adds a prophetic voice and collective action to the fight to end poverty. She has also been a consultant for the Conference of National Black Churches and serves on the board of the One America Movement, an organization working to end toxic polarization. In 2022, Dr. Copeland-Tune was named as one of “22 Faith Leaders to Watch,” by the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington, D.C.  

Rev. Dr. Copeland-Tune earned a Bachelor’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland with a concentration in marketing, and a Master of Theological Studies from Duke University. She also has a Doctorate in metro-urban ministry from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey and studied at Oxford University in their Summer Theology Programme.

Rabbi Moshe Hauer joined the Orthodox Union (OU) as its Executive Vice President on May 1, 2020. In this role he serves as the organization’s rabbinic leader, heading its communal-oriented efforts and serving as its professional religious/policy leader and primary spokesman.

Prior to joining the OU, Rabbi Hauer served as the senior Rabbi of the Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion Congregation in Baltimore, Maryland for 26 years, where he was active in local communal leadership in many areas, with an emphasis on education, children-at-risk, and social service organizations serving the Jewish community. Rabbi Hauer is an active teacher of Torah who led a leadership training program for rabbis and communal leaders, and was a founding editor of the online journal Klal Perspectives. Rabbi Hauer received his rabbinic ordination and doctor of Talmudic law from Ner Israel. He received his Master of Science from John Hopkins University.

Ms. Hyepin Im is the President and Founder of Faith and Community Empowerment (FACE), a national nonprofit involved in empowering churches and nonprofits to leverage their resources by building capacity, leadership, and partnerships in economic development and serving as a bridge between the Korean/Asian American community and the greater community at large. Since its inception in 2001, FACE has had over 200 partners, ranging from the White House to Fortune 500 companies. Successful initiatives include educating over 7000 homebuyers and helping them receive over $1.4 million in down payment assistance, saving over $83 million in assets from foreclosure, partnering with both FDIC and Freddie Mac in developing a Korean curriculum in financial literacy and homeownership, implementing a historic $5 million U.S. Department of Labor workforce development program, and hosting joint conferences with the White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to mobilize 4000 Korean American churches for economic development.

Ms. Im previously served as the U.S. Presidential Appointee on the Board of Corporation for AmeriCorps, and currently serves on numerous other councils, including the U.S. Army Advisory Board, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Western Partner for the Council on Foreign Relations, and L.A. County Supervisor’s Empowerment Congress. She is a frequent speaker who has been on CNN and NPR and whose opinions have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. She has presented at numerous conferences including those at the White House, U.S. Department of Labor, Christian Community Development Association, and Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. Her previous positions include venture capitalist for Renaissance Capital Partners, Sponsorship Manager for California Science Center, and Senior Auditor at Ernst & Young. She has a B.S. from U.C. Berkeley, M.B.A. from University of Southern California, and M.Div., summa cum laude, from Wesley Theological Seminary.

Curtis is a dedicated Security Professional with over 35 years of executive corporate security, federal law enforcement, and life safety management experience. Often described by his peers as a charismatic, influential, strategic planner and decision maker. Curtis is best known as a hands-on- professional with proven business, research and analytical abilities that is exceptionally skilled at building effective, productive, business-working relationships amongst all levels of management within an organization.

Curtis currently serves as the Executive Program Manager for the Religious Facilities Protection Program (RFPP), InfraGard National Program an FBI 501 (c) 3 org. In 2021 Curtis was appointed Deputy National Sector Chief – Commercial Facilities providing Critical Infrastructure Protection, Security Program Development and behavior-based Emergency Management Practices in response to the increase in active shooter events.

As the former President/CEO of the San Diego Chapter of InfraGard Curtis managed and lead over 900 members of a 501(c) 3 organization in partnership with San Diego's FBI Field Office, San Diego Law Enforcement Coordination Center and SD Office of Homeland Security and maintained vetted information sharing partnerships with private/public sector partners including local, state and federal law enforcement and military organizations.

In 2007 -2010, Curtis served as an Adjutant to Bishop George D. McKinney, General Board Member COGIC, additionally serving as the Director of Church Security, 2nd Ecclesiastic Jurisdiction Southern California and Co-Chair San Diego District Attorneys Ministers Advisory Council.

Curtis is a former Special Deputy US Marshall assigned to the Eastern District and was honorably discharged from his 6 years of active duty in the US Army as a Military Policemen and member of the CID Drug Suppression Team Europe.  

Mr. Alberto Martinez is the Director of the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC), California. Mr. Martinez is employed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (CA) and oversees the Counter Terrorism Bureau which encompasses OCIAC (fusion center) and Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) units.

Mr. Martinez also serves as the Secretary of the National Fusion Center Association (NFCA) where he is responsible for facilitating partnerships between federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies, the intelligence community, and private sector partners. Mr. Martinez also supports the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA) Intelligence Commanders Group. Mr. Martinez is an advocate of federal partnerships and enjoys highlighting success stories between local and federal agencies.

Michael Masters serves as the National Director and CEO of the Secure Community Network (SCN), a role in which he is responsible for the overall leadership, operation, and growth of the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America.

Prior to joining SCN, Michael previously served as the Senior Vice President of The Soufan Group, a strategic international security consultancy firm and as the CEO of CivicScape, an advanced predictive analytics company.

Michael previously served as executive director of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Cook County, Ill., as the chief of staff for the Chicago Police Department and as an assistant to the former mayor of the City of Chicago, the Honorable Richard M. Daley. Michael received a commission as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of captain.

Michael has served on numerous task forces for the Department of Homeland Security, to include as a current appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security to the federal Homeland Security Advisory Council. He previously served on the Executive Board of the FBI’s Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Michael currently serves as a member of the board of trustees of the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago, on the council of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, and on the board of directors of The Soufan Center. He has held faculty appointments at the John Marshall School of Law and Northeastern University. Certified as a peace officer and a Special Weapons and Tactics operator, Michael continues to serve his community as a part-time police officer.

A Harry S. Truman Scholar and a Gates Cambridge Trust Scholar, Michael holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge, and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where he served as managing editor for the Harvard International Law Journal.

Sheriff Garry L. McFadden was elected to serve as the 45th Sheriff of Mecklenburg County and was sworn into office on December 4, 2018. Prior to being elected as Sheriff, he had a distinguished 36-year law enforcement career with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department where he served for over 20 years as a legendary homicide detective.

Sheriff McFadden is a strong supporter of all faith-based institutions and believes that only through a comprehensive and inclusive strategy can true faith-based security be achieved. Sheriff McFadden leads a robust community engagement team, in which faith-based institutions are an integral partner. Sheriff McFadden and the Mecklenburg Sherriff’s Department provides free active shooter response and recovery trainings to numerous faith-based institutions, working with faith-based leaders to customize each class.

Sherriff McFadden also strongly encourages and promotes to his deputies, to take advantage of secondary employment assignments offered by religious institutions. Sheriff McFadden’s record of community service is well documented, and he has received numerous awards for his long standing and continuous work in Mecklenburg County communities with various organizations such as, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, NAACP, NBA Legends, “MoMo”– Mother of Murdered Offspring, Cops & Barbers, Beauty After the Bars, Charlotte Black Mental Health, The Sons of The American Revolution; along being honored as Charlotte’s Citizen of The Year 2015. In 2015, Sheriff McFadden was recognized by President Barack Obama for his work on the 21st Century Policing Initiative and his involvement in the development of an outstanding community program titled “Cops and Barbers.”

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner has served as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism since 2015. He also serves as Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism, a position to which he was appointed to in 2011.

Rabbi Pesner’s work has focused on encouraging Jewish communities to reach across lines of race, class, and faith in campaigns for social justice. In 2006, he founded Just Congregations (now incorporated into the Religious Action Center), which engaged clergy, professional, and volunteer leaders in interfaith efforts in pursuit of social justice. Rabbi Pesner was a primary leader in the successful Massachusetts campaign for health care access that has provided health care coverage to hundreds of thousands and which became a nationwide model for reform. Over the course of his career, he has also led and supported campaigns for racial justice, economic opportunity, immigration reform, LGBTQ equality, human rights, and a variety of other causes. He is dedicated to building bridges to collectively confront anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate and bigotry.

Rabbi Pesner has trained and mentored students on all four campuses of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and gives speeches in interfaith and secular venues all over the world. He serves as a board member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, JOIN for Justice, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and the New England Center for Children. He is a member of the Leadership Team for the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable. He has served as a scholar for the Wexner Foundation, American Jewish World Service, the Nexus USA Summit, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies, among others.

Ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997, Rabbi Pesner was a congregational rabbi at Temple Israel in Boston and at Temple Israel in Westport, Conn. He earned his degree from Wesleyan University.

Todd Richins is the director of security operations for the United States and Canada. He has worked for the Church Security Department for 27 years. During that time, he’s been a security officer in property, visitor, and event protection, in personal protection, providing security for Church leaders, a security operations operator, and in many management positions, including as director of 90 security officers. Todd’s current team handles security issues for over 7,500 meetinghouses and 89 temples located in the United States and Canada. These facilities serve 7,00,000 church members. His division also supports local church leaders, trains security staff, performs risk assessments, makes security staffing recommendations, and supports traveling leadership.

In addition to his professional career, Todd has served in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in many ecclesiastical positions including serving as the leader of his local congregation. He also served a mission for the Church in Ireland. Todd is a Utah native and graduated from the University of Utah. Todd and his wife, Kim, have four children.

Ms. Saab is a board member and Executive Director at the Faith-Based Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (FB-ISAO). In that role, she works with stakeholders to develop programs, services and capabilities that serve the security, resiliency, and preparedness needs of the community of faith. She also leads the FB-ISAO's strategic objectives in support of member institutions, providing services and information that allows them to better protect their institutions and people.

Reverend Gabriel Salguero is the president and founder of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, a national coalition of several thousand evangelical congregations in the United States. He has been named as one of the most prominent Latino Evangelical Leaders by the New York Times, Huffington Post, New York Observer, the Center for American Progress, El Dario, CNN, and NBC. He has served on the White House Faith-Based Advisory Council, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the National Advisory Council of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. He is also a board member of La Asociación Evangélica Latina

Reverend Salguero was the Director of the Hispanic Leadership Program and the Institute for Faith and Public Life at Princeton Theological Seminary. He has a BA in Spanish and History from Rutgers University and a Masters in Divinity from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate in Divinity from Eastern Nazarene College.

Chief Issa Shahin is a 24-year veteran of the Dearborn Police Department, serving most recently as the Commanding Officer of the Investigative Division. The Investigative Division cleared all 12 homicide cases under Shahin’s tenure. Previously, he served as a Captain in the Investigative and Patrol Division and as a Lieutenant in Critical Incident and Community Support. Between 2009 and 2013, Chief Shahin served as a Sergeant in the Tactical Patrol Unit and as an ATF task force officer. Chief Shahin earned a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in political science and government and a master’s degree in homeland security and emergency management, both from Eastern Michigan University (EMU). He is also a graduate of EMU’s Police Staff & Command Executive Program. He looks forward to embracing a culture of transparency, accountability, as leader of one of the largest police departments in Michigan.

Dr. Talib M. Shareef is President and Imam of historic, Masjid Muhammad, The Nation's Mosque in Washington, D.C. He is a retired U.S. Air Force member with 30+ years of service; has a Doctorate from Global Oved Dei Seminary and University, where he serves as a professor of Interfaith and Islamic Studies; he has an MBA, a Diploma from the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University, and the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Arabic and Middle East studies. He is a student of the late Imam W. Deen Mohammed. 

He received the Kingdom of Morocco’s highest Royal Medal and honor for his outstanding interfaith leadership. He was the first Imam with military service to open a session of the U.S. Congress. He was selected to speak and introduce President Biden and was honored to be recognized for his service by President Obama, both at the White House. He led a delegation to and addressed over 500,000 in South Africa; Hosted Press Conference/Panel for Presidential Candidates at the Nation’s Mosque to address religious bigotry. He led an interfaith delegation to Italy meeting with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Hosted the “Unlikely Alliance,” “God Needs No Defense” Forum in partnership with the World Evangelical Alliance (One of world’s largest Christian organizations) and Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama (the world’s largest Muslim Organization). He is a member of the D.C. Mayor’s Interfaith Council; served as President and Chairman of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington and remains an active board member. He was the first Islamic Chaplain for the FBI. He is Vice Commander for the national Muslim American Veterans Association and President of the Resolution Hub for Peace. He Spoke and facilitated interfaith peacebuilding, countering/preventing extremism, Islam in America, Human Rights and/or religious freedom forums in the countries of Saudi Arabia, Denmark, S. Korea, Nigeria, South America, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Germany, Philippines, S. Africa, and N. Ireland.  He traveled to the Middle East for an orientation on the Israeli-Palestinian Situation. He is a recipient of the IWDM Global Ambassador for Peace Award and the NAACP Roy Wilkins Leadership Award.

Reverend Al Sharpton is the founder of the National Action Network (NAN), civil rights activist, Baptist minister, and talk show host. He notably organized the One Thousand Ministers March for Justice, which was held in 2017 on the 54th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. In 2020, Rev. Sharpton delivered a eulogy for George Floyd, an African American man whose death while in police custody sparked massive demonstrations nationwide. Today, Rev. Sharpton and NAN continue to advocate for voting rights, pay equity, police reform, reproductive rights, fair housing, health care, LGBTQ rights, environmental justice, and quality education.

Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, a daughter of Detroit, is the Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the city of Philadelphia. In this role, she serves as a public facing leader, liaison, and subject matter expert for the Mayor’s Office on local and national matters that impact diverse communities of faith. She also manages the Mayor’s Commission on Interfaith Affairs.

Rev. Washington-Leapheart is also an adjunct professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University, with joint affiliations with the University’s Center for Peace and Justice Education and Africana Studies program. In 2019, she received the Pohlhaus-Stracciolini Award for Teaching Excellence, which recognizes an adjunct faculty member at Villanova who demonstrates a commitment to the life of the mind and to the well-being of students through teaching that is intellectually stimulating, challenging, and accessible, with efforts extending beyond the classroom.

Rev. Washington-Leapheart was most recently the Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, the country's oldest national LGBTQ justice and equality group. In that role, she coordinated the Task Force's public faith messaging and advocacy and leadership development work in faith communities.

Ms. April Wood currently serves as President and CEO of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters. National VOAD is a coalition of over 70 of the nation’s most reputable national organizations (faith-based, community-based, and other non-profit organizations) and 56 State/Territory VOADs, which represent Local/Regional VOADs and hundreds of other member organizations throughout the country. National VOAD promotes cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration, and fosters more effective delivery of services to communities affected by disaster. Ms. Wood has nearly 20 years of non-profit experience leading national-level initiatives and cultivating executive partnerships. Most recently, Wood served as Senior Director, External Program Services, Disaster Operations for the American Red Cross National Headquarters.

Last Updated: 07/10/2023
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