Justice Rising!

Justice Rising Podcast

The Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center presents our podcast, Justice Rising.

What if conversations had the power to transform society? Justice Rising, a new podcast created by the Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center, is setting out to do just that! In each episode, we will highlight people and organizations doing justice work by exploring a central question: How can we bring about healing, liberation, and transformation in our church, our world, ourselves, and our communities?

How to Tune in!
Listen and subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Podbean
(Search: Justice Rising Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center).

Theme Music: Amerika by Audiobinger, Free Music Archive | Photo of Cecilia Flores for Justice Rising © Chris Rylee

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Season 5 with Cecilia Flores
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Nothing Less of a Culture Change with Angela Howard-McParland

Angela Howard-McParlandCecilia has an impactful discussion with Angela Howard-McParland, the Justice Resource Manager for Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The sisters are part of Nuns Against Gun Violence, a coalition of Catholic Sisters and their allies that affirms the value of human life through prayer, education, and advocacy for common sense – evidence-based – gun violence prevention. Angela talks about the sisters’ ability to bring a unique perspective to justice issues, and how their work on the ground in communities has fueled a passion for advocacy and fighting for structural change.

Angela (Angie) Howard-McParland has worked in various forms of campus and parish ministry for over fifteen years. Currently, she is the Justice Resource Manager for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. Previously, she served at La Salle Academy in Providence, RI, the Catholic Community at Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and at Bentley University in Waltham, MA. In parishes, she has worked as a youth minister, adult education coordinator, social justice minister, and pastoral associate. She is passionate about the intersection of religion and sexuality and feminist and liberationist understandings of Catholicism, earning a B.A. from Centre College in English and Religion and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School. She lives in Providence, RI with her three children.

    In the Episode:
    Legislation Mentioned in this Episode:
    Join in Support of One of the Organizations Mentioned in the Episode:

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Transformed People Transform Communities with Rev. Kristin Joyner

Rev. Kristin JoynerContinuing the topic of homelessness and housing security, Cecilia has an energized and uplifting conversation with Rev. Kristin Joyner, Pastor of Community Engagement at Bothell United Methodist Church in Bothell, WA. Kristin shares the story of how her congregation’s roots in community transformation have taken their organizing efforts on the issue of housing and homelessness to new heights and explains why she believes people of faith need to ensure their voices are being heard when decisions are being made about our communities. She closes us out by casting a vision of a community in which every person answers the call to move beyond individual comfort to make real sustainable change.

Rev. Kristin Joyner serves at Bothell United Methodist Church as the Pastor of Community Engagement. Her work creates bridges between her congregation and the community by facilitating engagement with important social issues. She has a long history of working within the Bothell and regional area, as well as creating relationships internationally with people of the United Methodist Church especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the children of Jamaa Letu. In addition, she works ecumenically in our region to develop partnerships that will increase services for people experiencing poverty and homelessness. She is an author in two books, Filling the Void – Voices from the None Zone and What’s Next – 22 United Methodist Leaders Discuss the Future of the Church. Kristin earned her MA in Ministry, Leadership and Service at Claremont School of Theology. She and her husband Bryan have been married for 35 years, and they have successfully fostered and raised many puppies and dogs and 2 adult children. If she ever retires, Kristin wants to be known as the lady at the end of the street who will have some sort of herbal remedy for whatever ails you.

    In the Episode:

    Find Out More About Seattle Area Housing:
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Planting Seeds for the New Creation with Angel Mortel

Angel Mortel - Justice Rising podcast guestCecilia interviews Angel Mortel, Lead Community Organizer with LA Voice, about her journey into community organizing. Angel shares her recent experience organizing within the PICO CA Home is Sacred campaign, which ensures that all people have a dignified place to call home. Reflecting on her many years of service in the field of faith-inspired justice work, Angel illuminates how organizing has become her spiritual practice of planting seeds for God’s new creation. Tune in as we learn from her about the importance of making long-term commitments to achieve changes in our local communities and world!

Angel Mortel is a faith-based Community Organizer with LA Voice. She spent over 15 years in Brazil, serving most of those years with Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Her ministry involved organizing community health volunteers, coordinating an income generation project for women, and fundraising for the national prison ministry of the Brazilian Catholic Church. Her passion for social justice grew not only through her experiences in Brazil, but also from living and teaching in Washington, DC, and working with Bread for the World and Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. Most recently, she managed the faith community outreach program at Brave New Films. Angel has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Third World Studies from Oberlin College and a Master of Arts in International Development from American University.

    In the Episode:
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Organizing as Repair and Restoration with AC Churchill

AC ChurchillIn this episode, Cecilia delves into environmental justice with guest Rev. AC Churchill. AC is an ordained minister within the Christian tradition who views the work of environmental justice to be intrinsically connected to anti-racism and pro-reconciliation work. Throughout the conversation, AC emphasizes the interconnectivity between all social justice issues, and the important work of helping motivate people of faith into social justice action. Their joy and passion for organizing as a pathway to repair and restore relationship is something that we can aspire to embody.

Rev. AC Churchill is the Executive Director of Earth Ministry/WAIPL. They are an ordained minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) tradition and came to the work of environmental justice as an expression of their deep commitment to participating in healing, justice, and transformation. AC has over a decade’s worth of experience working in and with faith communities as a faith-based community organizer. Most recently their work has been in Dallas, TX.

AC has a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School, in Fort Worth, Texas, and dual bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They are excited to be a Southern transplant in the PNW and look forward to planting roots and building community across the state. When not working for justice, AC likes to dabble in woodworking, explore new cultures and customs with their family, and does rarely sits still.

    In the Episode:
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Be Creative and Continue the Culture with Julian Matthews

Julian Matthews

For this opening episode of season 5, Cecilia interviews Julian Matthews, who is a Board Member and Coordinator for Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, an organization that carries on time-honored sustainable environmental practices in the tradition of the Nimiipuu by facilitating and organizing tribal youth and adults in activities for the protection, enhancement, and promotion of mother earth and the Nimiipuu culture. Julian shares about the current work being done around dam removal, protecting salmon, and teaching new generations of young people about native practices. This episode is a great reminder of why respect and restoration of indigenous practices is important not only for the preservation of culture but of mother earth. Please note, sensitive and strong language is used during this episode. 

Julian Matthews Enrolled Nez Perce has been actively involved in Environmental issues for the last 20 years primarily in response to threats made on or near the Treaty of 1855 and usual and accustomed areas. These areas are guaranteed to the Nimiipuu with the signing of the 1855 Treaty and in many instances, the federal, state or local governments or private interests interpret these rights quite differently than do the Nez Perce people.

Julian is committed to ensuring that the Treaty Rights to hunt, fish and gather are kept and protected for those who come after us as the Treaty of 1855 signers protected these rights for us to this day. His main goal is to ensure that Tribal youth and adults are educated and have good knowledge of issues affecting our people and also making sure that we (the Nimiipuu) take an active role in protecting our Treaty rights.

    In this Episode:
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Season 4 with Cecilia Flores
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It’s Ok to be Angry with Sr. Cheryl Liske, OP 

Sr. Cheryl-Liske, OPCecilia interviews Sister Cheryl Liske, OP, who has spent over three decades organizing as part of the Gamliel National Network. As a Dominican Sister of Adrian Michigan, Sister Cheryl shares stories and insights from her many years of organizing, which all speak to the importance of taking the time to build and foster deep relationships. After this episode, you’ll certainly be inspired and motivated to work for justice and to build beloved community! 


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 recently retired as the Michigan state director and is a member of St. Simon and Jude Parish Community in a suburb of Detroit. 

In this Episode:

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Continue Pushing that Passion with the Youth Action Team Interns  

Youth Action Team Interns with Sarah Pericich-Lopez

Alex Ruelos, Sydney Leardi, Sarah Pericich-Lopez, Pavithra Harsha

Cecilia speaks with Alex, Sydney, and Pavithra, members of IPJC’s Youth Advisory Team Internship, also known as YATI and with Sarah Pericich-Lopez, who is IPJC’s faith communities organizer who organizes the team. We often hear that the youth are the future, but this conversation reminds us of how much youth can do right now when they are given the opportunity to deepen relationship with their communities, and to express and fight for what is important to them. This episode will inspire you to be bold, take risks, and to listen deeply as a way to make meaningful change in our world today. 


Alex Ruelos is a senior at Seattle Preparatory School. Alex is many things: an artist, an athlete and an advocate for social justice. She is involved in Musical Theatre, Drama Club, runs the school podcast through Journalism at Prep, and also sings in her church’s choir. In the spring, Alex is a sprinter for the Track and Field Team. She lives out her love of justice through her involvement in Prep’s Asian Pacific Islander Club and by starting a Mental Health Awareness Club. Alex’s gift for leadership is her ability to speak truth to power.  

Sydney Leardi is a senior at Seattle Preparatory School! Sydney pursues leadership and spirituality in all aspects of her life. When she is not at the Youth Action Team Internship, she is encouraging self-expression as Prep’s Dance Captain, refining her ability to make an argument as the President of Speech and Debate, and showing a commitment to truth as the Online Editor for Prep’s Journalism program. Her heart for building community and honoring human dignity is displayed through her commitment to leading her church’s youth mission trek to Tijuana.  

Pavithra Harsha is a senior at Holy Names Academy! She has a gift for gathering folks together in community, which can be seen by her accomplishment of creating the largest club on campus. This club aligns with one of Pavithra’s greatest loves, Taylor Swift! When Pavithra is not facilitating the Taylor Swift club, attending Multi-Cultural Student Union, or at IPJC, she is leading Holy Name’s mock trial team as a lawyer.  

Sarah Pericich-Lopez is IPJC’s faith communities organizer and communications coordinator. She has the privilege of accompanying the Youth Action Team Interns throughout the year. Sarah’s work for IPJC also encompasses organizing and partnering with the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, Collaborative Organizing for Racial Equity, and Discerning Deacons. 

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Organizing Like Our Lives Depend On It with Ana Garcia-Ashley

Ana Garcia-AshleyIn this episode, Cecilia had the opportunity to have a very inspiring conversation with Ana Garcia-Ashley, who is Executive Director of the Gamaliel Foundation. Ana shares the story of her amazing journey in organizing, which is something that she considers to be life long and part of her destiny. She also shares some of the struggles she faces as an immigrant and woman of color in an executive leadership position, and how staying close to the people fuels her fight. And don’t be concerned if you feel agitated by her call to action – it was intentional.

Ana Garcia-Ashley is the Executive Director of Gamaliel Foundation. She graduated from the University of Colorado in Denver, and began her career in Denver in 1981, where she organized The Concerned Citizens of Westwood. She affiliated with the Metropolitan Organization for People in 1982 and went on to work on local and state campaigns, including enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act and affordable public services.

Intensely interested in the intersection of politics and faith, Ana attended the Iliff School of Theology in Denver to develop a foundation for organizing congregations. During her theological studies and organizing, Ana’s conviction deepened that organizing was a divine calling for her—the purpose of the miracle that allowed her and her family to safely emigrate from the Dominican Republic to the United States.

Ana began her work in Gamaliel in the early 1990s, as Lead Organizer of MICAH (Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope). During her tenure there, the organization won a $500 million reinvestment commitment from the city’s banks. Ana was also the founding organizer for WISDOM, the Gamaliel-affiliated Wisconsin state organization.  She has been a member of the Gamaliel central staff for nearly two decades, serving as senior trainer at Gamaliel’s National Leadership Training and co-director of the Civil Rights for Immigrants campaign.

In 2009, Ana was named Associate Director, becoming Executive Director in 2012.  Under her leadership the organization’s Fire of Faith campaign is on track to save or create nearly 1 million jobs over 3 years, while also rekindling the 1,000 interfaith congregations that belong to Gamaliel’s affiliate organizations through community organizing.

Ana’s deep sense of organizing as a ministry, her interest in the relationship between faith and politics, and her status as a naturalized immigrant dovetail perfectly with the goal of Gamaliel to be “a community of people living out our faith and values to collectively transform our communities and bring about justice locally, nationally and globally.”

In this Episode, learn about the faith-based organizing groups mentioned by Ana:

Call to Action:
Anna invites you to get involved in community organizing through your local parish. She calls you to be an agitator! The challenge from Anna is to go to your priest or leader of peace and justice work in your parish and ask: What are the issues affecting the community? What is the parish going to do to mobilize collective power for social change?

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Bridging Faith, Organizing, and International Solidarity with Jessica Valdez

Justice Rising Guest Jessica ValdezIn this episode, Cecilia gets to know Jessica Valdez, who organizes with the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) in Seattle.

Jessica shares how organizing around issues in the Philippines helped her to reconnect with her identity as a Filipina in the diaspora, discusses how her recent learning tour to the Philippines has helped fuel her desire to continue in the fight, and invites our listeners to lean into curiosity so that we can recognize that we need each other in the long haul fight for justice. 

    • In this Episode:
    • Learn about the coalitions mentioned in this episode:
    • Discover more about the Catholic groups present on Jessica’s learning trip:
    • Support Jessica and her Kasamas as they seek justice in the Philippines and for those affected by the unjust leaders of the Philippines:
    • Participate in the Call to Action from Jessica! Learn more about what is happening in the Philippines!
  • Join a local chapter of: ICHRP, Malaya Movement, Gabriela or Kabataan
  • Join the movement to support the PHRA by sending letters urging your legislators to support the bill, talk to legislators through town halls, and bring awareness to your community through dialogue!
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The Power of Meaningful Encounters with Ogechi Akalegbere

Guest - Ogechi Akalegbere by Andrew BirajIn this episode, Cecilia had the pleasure of speaking with a dear friend and fellow organizer, Ogechi Akalegbere. Ogechi organizes with Action in Montgomery, a broad-based community power organization rooted in Montgomery County neighborhoods and congregations. Ogechi shares how she got started in community organizing, and how the profoundly relational nature of organizing has infused the way she approaches her spiritual and everyday life. Please listen carefully to the end of the interview, where Ogechi invites all the listeners to participate in a super important and unique call to action!

Ogechi Akalegbere is a Nigerian-American living in Gaithersburg, Maryland where she works as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Washington. Ogechi has worn many hats in her career. She previously served as the Christian Service Coordinator at an all-girls Independent Catholic School where she held the positions of Diversity Co-Practitioner and Ministry Leader. Additionally, she served as a catechist, lector, pastoral council co-chair, and small group leader at her parish and diocese. Outside of her diocesan work, Ogechi is involved as a community organizer and diversity practitioner in her community. Ogechi uses her training as an equity facilitator and practitioner to help parishes, organizations, and small groups determine what equity means to them and those they encounter. She combines her passion for community organizing and her Catholic faith as a board member of Catholics United for Black Lives. Ogechi is the 2021 winner of the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Learn about actions and bills referenced in this episode:

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Catholic Social Teaching, Organizing, and Synodality
with Austen Ivereigh

Guest Austen IvereighFor the first episode of season 4, we share a recording from the Prophetic Communities conference held at the University of San Francisco in early February 2023. In the first part of the episode, you will hear from Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis’ biographer, as he shares his thoughts on Catholic Social Teaching, organizing and synodality. After his sharing, Cecilia had the opportunity to engage in conversation with him about his reflections and raise her own concerns with the synod from an organizer’s perspective. 


In this Episode:

  • Let Us Dream, The Path to a Better Future, Pope Francis in conversation with Austen Ivereigh
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Welcome to Season 4!

Justice Rising podcast Season 4We are super excited to launch Season 4 of the Justice Rising podcast. We hope you enjoyed the last season as we explored the intersection of faith, justice, and culture. For this season we will be digging into the work of faith-based community organizing!  

In early February, IPJC collaborated with the University of San Francisco and Jesuits West to host Prophetic Communities: Organizing as an Expression of Catholic Thought, a gathering for organizers, theologians, and all committed to social justice work to explore the intersection between Catholic Social Teaching and community organizing. Through panel discussions, workshops, meeting others who work in similar communities, and spiritual grounding practices, we were able to grow and learn together.  

This season will be an extension of the work of Prophetic Communities! Cecilia will engage in conversations with organizers who are either Catholic or working in Catholic spaces from across the country to learn more about faith-based organizing and what their work looks like in context.   

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Season 3 with Cecilia Flores
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No less Christian, no less Hawaiian with Dallas Carter

Dallas Carter headshot

This season of Justice Rising guests were invited to reflect on the intersection of culture and justice from the perspective of their unique identities. For the last episode of the season, Hawaiian Native Dallas Carter shares the largely unheard history of how the Kingdom of Hawai’i was overthrown and annexed by the United States and directly names the cultural impacts of injustice on Hawaiian Natives. Dallas reveals his experiences of being Native Hawaiian, American, and Catholic, and how studying history helped him find peace in his complex identity.

Dallas Carter sends an Aloha to all the Justice Rising listeners!  Dallas is a husband and father of six. He acts as a Native Hawaiian educator, Director of St. Michael High School, President of EPIC Ministry, a Director for Life is Sacred, Faith Program Director for the Knights of Columbus in Hawaii, Catholic Apologist, National Catholic Speaker, and a Diocesan Catechist for the Diocese of Honolulu. Dallas obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio and Master of Pastoral Theology from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii. He has had the honor of having lectures, articles, or interviews featured on Eternal World Television Network, Relevant Radio, Catholic News Agency, The Maccabee Society, The National Catholic Register, and other outlets.

In this Episode:

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A Sense of Wholeness with Rudy Dehaney

Rudy DehaneyWe close out November reflecting on Black Catholic History Month with Rudy Dehaney. Rudy and Cecilia recently had the opportunity to address the entire United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the topic of cultural diversity, representation, and walking with young Catholics. During this conversation, Rudy shares his reflections on being Black and Catholic and why representation in the Church is so important. Open your hearts for this conversation: it was honest, joyful, challenging, and soul-filling all at the same time.

Rudy Dehaney is a Baltimore native, born to Jamaican parents and a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore. He began working in ministry at his home parish of Blessed Sacrament as a part-time Youth and Young Adult Minister before serving as Youth and Young Adult Coordinator for the Northeast Catholic Community parishes in Baltimore. He currently serves as the Director of the Faith Formation Center for the Northeast Catholic Community and a part-time Campus Minister for Notre Dame Maryland University since February 2022.

In addition to parish work, Rudy serves as the Chairperson for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry Anti-racism Project Team, the Co-chair for the USCCB Journeying Together Post Event Committee with young adults and various other regional and national committees. Racial justice has been a passion of his which he exemplifies through his membership of the racial justice circle in Baltimore. This group meets monthly to discuss various racial issues and facilitates dialogue for parishes in the archdiocese.

In this Episode:

  1. Thea Bowman’s address to the USCCB
  2. Mother Mary Lange – Cause of Canonization
  3. Leveling the Praying Field – Can the Church We Love, Love Us Back by Dr. Ansel Augustine
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Native Joy as Resistance with Kirby Hoberg

Kirby HobergWe kick off November celebrating Native American Heritage Month, and Cecilia spends time in conversation with Kirby Hoberg, a working film and theater actor, singer, dancer, and playwright who is white, Native (Ponca of Oklahoma), and Catholic. Kirby generously shares her story of being Native within the Catholic Church. She acknowledges the importance of educating oneself on the ever-evolving language related to Native Peoples and issues, and evaluating where your story may overlap the history of Indigenous Peoples as a starting point for healing injustice. Native joy found in the arts is where Kirby identifies hope in her community and cultural identity! 

Kirby Hoberg is a working film and theater actor, singer, dancer and playwright.  She is a mother of four kids. Kirby currently lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, but was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She identifies as white and Native (Ponca of Oklahoma). Find Kirby on Instagram at @underthyroof and @kirbyhoberg, and on Twitter at @kirbyhoberg.

In this Episode:  

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A Filipina’s Vision for an Authentic Church with Lauralyn Solano

Lauralyn SolanoIn celebration of Filipino American History Month, Cecilia holds space for her Ate, or big sister, Lauralyn Solano, to share her story of growing up as the daughter of Filipino immigrants. Immersed at the intersection of faith and justice as a lay ecclesial minister, Lauralyn shares how she navigates working within the institutional side of the church while advocating for representation and celebration of diversity within the realm of faith formation. In this episode, Lauralyn offers a reflection on intergenerational trauma and how young people can lead the way to healing. She also encourages listeners to imagine how Filipino collective identity can help inform celebration of diversity in the Church.  

Lauralyn Solano is the Assistant Director for Lay Formation at the Diocese of Sacramento. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Ethnic Studies from California State University, Sacramento and is finishing her Master of Arts in Theology and Leadership at Gonzaga University. In addition to her position as Assistant Director, Lauralyn upholds the roles of: Secretary of the Intercultural Committee on Access, Integration, and Mission, as well as the Asian Pacific Islander Committee with the Diocese, and the Seminario Steering Committee with Region XI.  She is a married mother of four and lives in Northern California. In all her work, she remembers the words of St. Irenaeus, “[hu]Man fully alive is the Glory of God.”    

Resources for Affected Communities:  

  • For mental health resources for AAPI Communities, please visit: naapimha.org
  • If you are a person experiencing suicidal ideations, please call 988 or find support at: 988lifeline.org
  • Find mental health services and support at: adaa.org or nami.org
  • If you are a female identifying member of the AAPI community that is experiencing abuse, visit: iamwomankind.org. Womankind offers domestic violence resources and care in English and over 18 Asian languages and dialects.  
  • If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, head to: thehotline.org or lifewire.org to seek help and support.  
  • To help stop AAPI hate, head to: stopaapihate.org/actnow/ or aapiequityalliance.org
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“I Am Community” with Giselle Cárcamo

Giselle Cárcamo portraitWhat does it mean to be community? In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, Cecilia spends time with Giselle Cárcamo, proud peruana and community leader. In this episode, she shares stories from her life in Peru and how these moments influence the way she lives into her calling as an agent of change. Giselle will inspire you to choose vulnerability over comfort and redefine previous understandings of community!

Giselle is a social justice advocator who coordinates the Justice for Women program at IPJC, she is also an adjunct faculty at the University of Washington School of Social Work, and the Master Trainer for the BASTA Coalition of Washington. Her professional stance toward community organizing is to engage in community practice based on The Strengths-Based Perspective and geared to empower people to use their creative power in order to innovate strategies to build a stronger sense of community and civic engagement. Giselle thrives to provide equality of opportunity and meaningful participation in decision making for all people. For her, community involvement is a participatory endeavor in which indigenous knowledge is honored and considered, power differentials are consciously shifted, and working across differences and coalition building are encouraged.

In This Episode:  

  • Find out more about Basta’s efforts to eliminate farmworker sexual harassment through education and advocacy at bastacoalition.org
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Meet Justice Rising’s New Host & Producer Cecilia Flores! 

Justice Rsing podcast Season 3In this episode, The Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center’s (IPJC) Executive Director, Will Rutt interviews Cecilia. Cecilia shares about her experience working at the intersection between faith and justice, her cultural background as a Filipina American, and gives a sneak peek season three of Justice Rising!  

Cecilia, daughter of Evelio and Marie, mother of Kiara and Jacob. Cecilia is the daughter of Filipino immigrants, who grew up in in the San Francisco bay area. She has spent over 15 years working with communities of faith to address issues of poverty and injustice in the US and in Central America through the formation and development of youth, young adults, and women. She holds a Master of Arts in Global Development & Social Justice from St. John’s University, and currently works as a community organizer with Sacramento ACT. She also serves as the chair of the Young Adult Multicultural Advisory Committee to the USCCB and is a consultant to the USCCB’s Committee on Cultural Diversity. 

In This Episode:  

  • To learn more about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and Journeying Together, please visit: usccb.org
  • Visit sacact.org to read about Cecilia’s organizing work for Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT) which aims to empower “ordinary people to identify and change the conditions that create economic and racial injustice. 

Find IPJC on Socials! Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter // @ipjcseattle 

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Season 2 with Samantha Yanity
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Catholic Climate Advocacy with Anna Robertson, Anna Johnson, Emily Burke & Teresa Tsosie

How can the Catholic Church fight for climate justice and embrace the voice of young people in this work? On this week’s episode, host Samantha Yanity sits down with four young women working for environmental justice. Samantha, Anna R., Emily, Teresa and Anna J.* discuss the impacts of environmental degradation, the ways that each of their communities are impacted, especially young people and indigenous communities, and how, grounded in their faith, they feel called to respond to this crisis. Over the last year, the four of them, along with over 30 young adults have been developing a forthcoming curriculum oriented towards young Catholic climate advocates. This work seeks to provide training, tools, and formation for youth and young adults to ground themselves in spirituality rooted in creation, personal transformation and education, and social action and structural advocacy to take action to create a more sustainable and healthier climate.

Anna Robertson is the Director of Youth & Young Adult Mobilization at the Catholic Climate Covenant. Annapatrice Johnson is the US Mission Formation Unit Manage and Young Adult Empowerment team leader for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. Emily Burke is currently the social media manager at Catholic Climate Covenant and a doctoral student at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the joint Sociology and Community and Environmental Sociology program. Teresa Tsosie is the Director of Religious Education at St. Jude Parish in Tuba City, Arizona. 

*Episode Note – Speakers enter the conversation in the following order: Anna Robertson, Emily Burke, Teresa Tsosie, Anna Johnson. 

We discussed:  

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Protecting Sacred Water with Luke Henkel
Luke-Henkel-Protect the Water

How can we as people of faith be water protectors and land preservers? On this week episode, Samantha sits down with Luke Henkel, to discuss his experience in the movement to stope Line 3 and broader work on environmental justice. Luke Henkel is an activist and water protector, former Divine Word Missionary (SVD) Brother, current graduate student, and lifelong spiritual seeker. He spent much of summer 2021 on the frontlines and in the resistance camps of northern Minnesota against Line 3 and is actively engaged in fighting fossil fuel expansion in the Pacific Northwest, with the Protectors of the Salish Sea. He is currently pursuing his Master’s in Climate Justice remotely through Glasgow Caledonian University.

We discussed:  

A Matter of Spirit, Spring 2022 Edition – Read Luke’s article Water Gives Life: Reflections on Line 3

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3 Part Lenten Series: Expanding Our Images of God

Join us for a 3-part Lenten series on iconography. What is iconography? And what does it have to do with Lent? Iconography is an ancient tradition designed to help people enter into a deeper prayer life. Icons are actually prayers themselves that are read much like a book. Unlike books that use words to communicate a message, icons use imagery to teach and instruct theology and scripture. When we “read” an icon, we are entering into the imagery through our imagination, which is a form of prayer.

During Lent, we enter a season of prayer that draws us deeper into communion with God. In our faith tradition, especially during Lent and Holy Week, icons are traditionally used as a tool for deeper engagement with the Divine. But, there’s one major problem with ancient icons. They don’t represent the inclusivity or diversity of the Body of Christ! So, how can we draw closer to God in prayer with sacred imagery that feels so distant?

On these next three episodes, we will unpack some of these ideas about sacred imagery and rethink how we can see ourselves as the Body of Christ.

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The Universality of God with Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones

What if the Church became a space of mutuality, was grounded in deep practice of community, and was an experience God’s unending love? On this week episode, Samantha sits down with Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones, to close out this three-part Lenten series on iconography exploring these themes and how sacred imagery can help us experience the universality of God. Samantha and Rev. Mark dive deep into a conversation about Kelly Latimore’s icon, The Trinity, which he commissioned for his personal collection with the hope of challenging us to rethink images of the Divine and create a Church that is a equitable and liberative for all people. Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones is an Episcopal priest at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. He serves as the Priest and Director of Spiritual Formation of Trinity’s Retreat Center in West Cornwall, CT. A former Jesuit priest from Jamaica, Mark has missionary experience in Belize, Brazil, and Guyana. He believes that prayer, silence, and rest, deepen our connection to God. Prayer and silence help us to name the pain, face the realities of our time, and claim the Way of Love for all people. He is an award-winning author of several books, most recently: Absalom Jones: Leader and Guide and one on the Spirituals called, Face to the Rising Sun: Reflections on Spirituals and Justice.

We discussed:  

  • Trinity by Andrei Rublev vs The Trinity by Kelly Latimore
  • Never Said a Mumbalin Word ( Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones)
  • Face to the Rising Sun: Reflections on Spirituals and Justice. (Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones)
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Communal Prayer with Kelly Latimore

What would happen if our Lenten practice invited us to transform the way we see ourselves and the church? What if we stepped into the doors of the church and were able to see ourselves and our neighbors in the pews next to us depicted in its sacred icons? On part two of our three-part Lenten series, Samantha sits down with iconographer Kelly Latimore and discusses how iconography provides us a means to enter into communal and personal prayer. As we dive deeper into our Lenten practice, using icons as a tool for prayerful practice, we can enter into what Kelly refers to as, “holy ponderings.” Kelly Latimore started painting icons in 2011 while he was a member of the Common Friars from 2009–2013. His collective work is about “being more connected: to ourselves, each other, our surrounding community and the land.”

We discussed:  

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Modern Day Saints with Gracie Morbitzer

Ancient icons portray the Body of Christ as predominately white and expressionless. But what would the Church look like if we could see ourselves represented in sacred art? On this week’s episode, I sit down with Gracie Morbitzer of Modern Saints to kick off our three-part Lenten series on iconography, as she shares about her work creating icons that remind us of ourselves. Gracie is a recent graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design where she studied Interior Architecture and Design with a focus in exhibit and set design. Her mission is to “re-imagine these extraordinary people as modern, everyday humans . . . because that is exactly what they were, and they remind us of ourselves. They show us that we can all be saints just like them. The saints were hopeless, spunky, terrified, lonely, individualistic, rebellious, progressive, loving, ambitious, counter-cultural, or boisterous outcasts and sinners who reached beyond themselves and made the world and themselves so much better.” She lives in Columbus, Ohio.

We discussed:  

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Transformative Justice with Dr. Gilda Sheppard

What is transformative justice? How do we come to a place of personal and societal healing? These are some of the questions Samantha unpacks with award-winning filmmaker Dr. Gilda Sheppard. Dr. Sheppard has screened her documentaries throughout the United States, and internationally in Ghana, West Africa, at the Festival Afrique Cannes Film Festival, and in Germany at the International Black Film Festival in Berlin. Sheppard is a 2017 Hedgebrook Fellow for documentary film and is a 2019 recipient of an Artist Trust Fellowship.

Dr. Sheppard’s documentaries include stories of resilience of Liberian women and children refugees in Ghana; stories of three generations of Black families in an urban neighborhood; and a film ethnography of stories from folklore started by Zora Neale Hurston in Alabama’s AfricaTown. For over a decade, Dr. Sheppard has taught sociology classes in Washington State prisons and is a co-founder and faculty member for Freedom Education for Puget Sound (FEPPS), an organization offering college credited courses at Washington Correctional Center for Women. Dr. Sheppard is a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus.

We discussed:  

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Season 1 with Samantha Yanity
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Mercy from the Cells with Jennifer Kelly

What does it look like to live out God’s mercy? And, how do we extend that mercy to and from the prison cells? On this week’s episode, Samantha sits down with Jennifer Kelly, the founder and Director of Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative Northwest (JRJINW), a work of Jesuits West Province. JRJI NW brings Ignatian spirituality and methodology to correctional facilities through a variety of programs, as well as engages in education, advocacy and action for social change in the wider community. JRJI NW honors the unique dignity of each person and promotes and advocates for policies and practices that are just, restorative and healing rather than punitive. Jennifer has been a member of the Seattle L ’ Arche community for 38 years, 32 of which she was employed by L ’ Arche—as an Assistant, Board Member, Executive Director and Director of Formation. She is a singer, songwriter, teacher, speaker, spiritual and retreat director. She has extensive experience in mission and vision development, the support and advancement of intentional communities, founding faith-based/non-profits organizations and the creation of support structures. However, her greatest passion may be supporting individuals in discovering their own deepest desires, interior freedom and inestimable worth.

We discussed:  

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Love on the Border with Tracey Horan, SP

It seems, at times, that there is no humanity on the border, but Tracey Horan, SP from the Kino Border Initiative, shows everyone that God’s love abounds even in the face of injustice. On this week’s episode, Samantha sits down with Tracey Horan, SP as she discusses Title 42, the cruelty that she has witnessed on the border, and how people of faith can walk with and welcome the stranger. Tracey Horan is a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana and serves as the Associate Director of Education and Advocacy for the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora and Arizona, where she has lived and worked since 2019. Sister Tracey has ministered with Latinx migrant communities in a variety of contexts for over a decade. She previously worked as a teacher and then as a community organizer, focusing on voting access, deportation defense, court accompaniment with migrants, and detangling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from local law enforcement. Sister Tracey recently celebrated seven years as a religious sister.

We discussed:  

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Charity vs Justice with Crystal Cardona

What is the difference between charity and justice? Sometimes, in our earnest attempt to pursue acts of justice, we might lose sight of what accompaniment should look like. On this week’s episode, Samantha sits down with Crystal Cardona, who serves as the Campus Minister for Outreach and Justice and teaches in the department of Women, Gender and Ethnic Studies at Saint Martin’s University, as she shares how she teaches justice work to her students through her experience in years of direct support work. Crystal is originally from California and relocated to the Pacific Northwest to attend Saint Martin’s University. After graduating from Saint Martin’s with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology, she completed a year of service as a Jesuit Volunteer in Phoenix, AZ and received a Master of Social Justice from Loyola University of Chicago while working at a mental health agency full-time. One of her roles Saint Martin’s University is to serve as the advisor to the Catholic Relief Services Student Chapter. She had the opportunity to travel with Catholic Relief Services University Delegation in 2019 to Rwanda.

We discussed:  

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The Spirituality of Organizing with Michael Alcantara

Community organizer or rabble rouser? Peacebuilder or troublemaker? Community organizer, Michael Alcantara has taken some heat for his organizing efforts, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing justice for the sake of restoring human dignity to his Filipino siblings. On this week’s episode Samantha and Michael sit down and discuss how community organizing is inherently spiritual and how people of faith can respond to the crises in the Philippines. Michael is a member of PUSO Seattle (Philippine US Solidarity Organization) and ICHRP (International Coalition for Human for Human Rights in the Philippines). He is a graduate of Seattle University, and recently wrote an article for A Matter of Spirit Summer 2021 issue.

We discussed:  

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Finding Our Purpose with Dr. Patrick Reyes

Samantha sits down with Dr. Patrick Reyes to discuss how decentering and disrupting white supremacy culture allows communities of color to find their purpose. Dr. Patrick B. Reyes is the author of the bestselling book The Purpose Gap: Empowering Communities of Color to Find Meaning and Thrive, as well as the award-winning book Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood. A Chicano educator, administrator, and institutional strategist, he is the Senior Director of Learning Design at the Forum for Theological Exploration, Patrick is the president-elect of the Religious Education Association and serves on several boards in the education and the non-profit sectors supporting the next generation of BIPOC leaders and educators. Patrick holds a Doctorate and Master of Arts from Claremont School of Theology, a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology, and is a proud graduate of the California State education system, graduating from California State University at Sacramento (Sacramento State). He is also host of the Sound of the Genuine podcast. Sound of the Genuine, a production of the Forum for Theological Exploration, seeks to explore meaning and purpose. You can listen to Sound of the Genuine on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Audible. You can learn more about Patrick at thepurposegap.com.

We discussed:  

  • The Purpose Gap: Empowering Communities of Color to Find Meaning and Thrive
  • Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood
  • https://fteleaders.org
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Education Equity with Marcos Gonzales

In this episode, Samantha sits down with Marcos Gonzales to discuss how we can achieve education equity in our society. Marcos wrote about teaching through the pandemic in the Spring 2021 issue of A Matter of Spirit. Marcos Gonzales serves as the Director of Trauma-Informed Education at Chicago Jesuit Academy. His pursuit of a faith that does justice has taken him from the islands of Micronesia as a Jesuit Volunteer to the streets of Los Angeles working at Homeboy Industries as a case manager. He received his BA in theology and master’s degree in education from Loyola Marymount University and completed his master’s degree in social work at Loyola University, Chicago.

We discussed:  

  • Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
  • Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
  • Dr. Bettina L. Love, We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of the Educational Freedom
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Introduction – Welcome to Justice Rising!

Featuring host and Justice Educator, Samantha Yanity and Executive Director, Will Rutt. On this episode, Samantha and Will share the inspiration behind Justice Rising and what listeners can anticipate in the first season. Listen here on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Podbean


Please contact us at ipjc@ipjc.org, or call 206 223-1138.