Sessions & Presentations

Our goal is to form ourselves into moral leaders with a deep commitment to justice work. Cohort members engage in a process of developing a shared analysis of social and political issues that empowers prophetic action. Through the cohort, interfaith leaders are provided with both the analytical knowledge and practical tools to engage their faith communities in justice advocacy. 

We build a “shared analysis” by delving into various social injustices in our monthly sessions, with presentations by experts in the field and personal testimonies by people directly impacted.  The goal is to empower participants with academic knowledge and to bring us “closer to the pain” suffered by immigrants and other marginalized communities on the Peninsula.

Featured Session: Dr Bill Hing

University of San Francisco Professor Bill Ong Hing has pursued social justice through a combination of community work, litigation, and scholarship. He is the author of numerous works on immigration policy and race relations, including To Be An American: Cultural Pluralism and the Rhetoric of Assimilation, which received the award for Outstanding Academic Book by the librarians’ journal Choice. Hing was co-counsel in the precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court asylum case, INS v. Cardoza–Fonseca. He founded the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco and is the Director of the Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic.

See more presentations at our YouTube channel.

Year 6 (2022-2023)

  • Sharing Our Own Stories Fishbowl: Housing in Redwood City with Nani Friedman and Adriana Guzman, Faith in Action Bay Area — see the video
  • Immigration History, Dreamers, and Prospect for Reform with Bill Hing, Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Karen Ferguson, CORA — see the video
  • Minefields of the Mind at the End of the World with BK Woodson and Rabbi Lisa Delson — see the video
  • Immigration, white fragility and infinite gratitude with Sharon Jacob and testimony by Jorge Bautista —see the videos: Dr. Jacobs and Rev. Bautista

Year 5 (2021-2022)

  • Congressional candidates: Emily Beach, Kevin Mullin and David Canepa
  • Good Religion with Bishop Yvette Flunder
  • Fixin’ San Mateo County on civilian oversight of the Sheriff in San Mateo County with Nancy Goodban and Jim Lawrence
  • Inter-religious diversity and LGBTQI language and terminology with Dawn Neal and Teri Echelbarger
  • Policing and bias with Rebecca Hetey

Through my participation in the Cohort, I discovered the current social justice issues in San Mateo county. It shined a light on the homelessness in the midst of our affluence, and pushed me out of my comfort zone to support and serve all of God’s people.

Year 4 (2020-2021)

  • PICO CA’s Strategic Plan and Bias in Language with Joseph McKeller, PICO and Rebecca Hetey
  • Budget Advocacy and Vaccine Equity in San Mateo County with Roberto Manchia, CFO of SMC and Shireen Malekafzali, Health Policy, Planning and Equity of SMC, with testimony by Sina
  • Faith, Funding and Effective Budget Advocacy with Scott Graves, CA Budget and Policy Center; Mauricio Palma, SVCF
  • Making SMC the Most Compassionate County: Juvenile Justice and County Covid Response with Danielle and Jessica Mullin, Monroe Labousse, Paul Bocanegra, David Canepa
  • Post-Election: Where are We? How are We? What is Needed Now? with Jennifer Martinez, Adriana Guzman and Valarie Kaur
  • White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity with Robert P. Jones
  • Racial Justice Voter Guide with Jennifer Martinez, PICO CA

I feel more connected both in depth and breadth to the issues facing our wider Bay Area, and I have been moved by the way different leaders in our cohort model a faith-rooted response to oppression and injustice. I particularly pay more attention to who is and isn’t being heard in a space, and to how to lift up voices who are closest the concern at hand.

Year 3 (2019-2020)

  • (En)Countering Bias and Bigotry with Rebecca Hetey on implicit bias and Vlad Khaykin, Anti-Defamation League, on anti-Semitism
  • Economic Justice/Schools and Communities First with Emily Beach, Mayor of Burlingame and Jennifer Martinez, PICO California
  • Census 2020 with Sonny Le, Census Bureau and Stephanie Kim, United Way
  • Safe Parking and History of Housing in SMC with Matt Alexander and Sara Miles, Faith in Action, testimony by Lesley and Matt
  • Welcome, Power, Safe Parking with Rabbi Corey Helfand and Pastor Paul Bains, Project WeHope

Through my participation in the cohort, I participated in sessions on Implicit Bias that helped me to understand my own biases, and the importance of doing my own internal anti-racism work.

Year 2 Sessions (2018-2019)

  • Mission and Vision for our Cohort and County facilitated by Cohort Planning Team
  • The Belong Movement with Ben McBride and Joseph Mckellar
  • Presentation of LGBTQ Survey Results with Rev. Terri Echelbarger
  • Engaging with Business Leaders with Maya Perkins and Vinita Goyal
  • Working with Civic Leaders: the Behind-the-Scenes-Story, Panel with Seven Civic Leaders
  • Engaging in Direct Action and its Theological Framework with Rev. Deth Im
  • Working with Earned Media – P2: Media Interviews and Press Releases with Jon Rodney
  • Working with Earned Media – P1: Sound Bites and Hard Questions with Jon Rodney
  • Engaging our Congregations for Justice Work with Dr. George Cummings

The Cohort has made me more aware, armed me with information and made me bolder personally and professionally.

Year 1 Sessions (2017-2018)

  • Overnight Retreat with Mauricio Palma and Jennifer Martinez
  • Theatre of the Oppressed with Jiwon Chung
  • Theological Analysis of Resistance with Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews
  • Hypercapitalism with Jennifer Martinez of PICO California
  • Origins of Residential Segregation with Dr. Richard Rothstein
  • State Violence / Theology of Ferguson with Rev. Ben McBride
  • Implicit Bias with Dr. Rebecca Hetey
  • Immigration Rights with Dr. Bill Hing