Community Organizing Residency Participants
COR Cohort 5
Abu Qadir Al-Amin
Abu Qadir Al-Amin, received his first appointment as Resident Imam in 1981 by the esteemed leader of Muslim Americans; Imam W. Deen Mohammed. Imam Al-Amin has served as Muslim Chaplain at the Federal Prison FCI Dublin, CA. Additionally, he worked for the Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice as Program Director and Associate Director for 23 years. As Imam of the San Francisco Muslim Community Center, he served as Convener of Western Regional Imams' from 1995 thru 2010. He has been involved in city and state wide issues and concerns as a community organizer. His travels on behalf of the Muslim community include visits to Saudi Arabia, Thailand, China, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Imam is married to D. Hafsah Al-Amin they have 4 offspring and 5 grandchildren.
Currently I work at Jewish Community Action as an organizer for our criminal justice reform campaign, as well as a project aimed at increasing affordable housing options in the Minneapolis suburbs. I received my Masters in Social Work from the University of Minnesota in 2014, and prior to becoming an organizer I worked for approximately 5 years in direct services providing mental health support for children and families. There are many social justice issues that I am passionate about, including violence against women, racial justice and immigration reform. Outside of my position at JCA I have recently become involved with a Twin Cities based movement called "Break the Silence," which aims at eliminating the stigma of sexual violence and enhancing community supports for survivors of sexual assault.
Maya Bhardwaj is a community organizer with Faith in New York, building local leadership to obtain affordable housing as well as living wages, criminal justice reform, and racial and social justice for our community in New York City. She has previously helped start an organizing firm fighting violence against women in her home country of India, organized on several election cycles throughout the US, and supported community health organizing in Cambodia, small holder farmer organizing in Argentina, and student organizing in France. She is also an avid world traveler and nomad, having traveled in over 30 countries, is passionate about collaborative art spaces in community activism, and hopes to complete her scuba diving divemaster certification very soon.
I was raised in a Chasidic community on Chicago's far north side. After completing my undergraduate degree, with a major in History and a minor in Justice Studies, I began graduate work toward a PhD in history with an emphasis on reimagining Jewish Diaspora life and culture in Poland in the years between the two World Wars. I recently left the program to do community organizing full time. I work on housing justice issues in Chicago, primarily organizing with Project Based Section 8 tenants and Section 8 voucher holders to preserve, protect, and improve affordable housing in Chicago.
I'm an Immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico, who experienced the struggles that represents being undocumented. I am a person who has faith and strong values as the center of my life, who truly believes that every single human being deserves to live with dignity and has the responsibility to protect their intrinsic values. I really enjoy to feel and see the transformation trough the empowerment of the community. My life experience guides me through the journey of organizing. I'm a mother of two beautiful girls who motivate me every single day to imagine the world that we deserve.
Margari Aziza Hill is co-founder and Programming Director of Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), assistant editor at AltMuslimah, and columnist at MuslimMatters. She is a member of the Advisory Council of Islam, Social Justice & Interreligious Engagement Program at the Union Theological Seminary and the winner of MPAC’s 2015 Community Changemaker Award. She is also a freelance writer with articles published in Time, SISTERS, Islamic Monthly, Al Jazeera English, and Huffington Post. She has given talks, lectures, and workshops in various universities and communities across the country.
Traci Ishigo is a community organizer and solidarity builder informed by the personal, the Japanese American experience, and her work within diverse communities. Traci is the descendant of a Japanese first generation immigrant and Jodo Shinshu Buddhist community leader in Hawaii who was targeted and forced to work hard labor in a WWII incarceration camp. Today, she brings her Jodo Shinshu and Zen Buddhist traditions into the work she does as the Program Coordinator of the Japanese American Citizens League - PSW District and within community spaces beyond.
Aber Kawas graduated in 2014 from The City College of New York's International Studies Program with a concentration in Latin American Studies. Aber has interned at CAIR New York, Urban Justice Center's Street Vendor Project and is now the Youth Lead Organizer at the Arab American Association of New York. She has worked with several organizations in the city around issues such as immigration, police surveillance, racial profiling, etc., and hopes to work to improve the conditions of immigrants in the New York area by providing programs and services to both them and their children. In addition, she has focused her academic career thus far on studying parallels between Latin America and the Middle East and solidarity movements between indigenous groups in both regions. She hopes, through her works and studies, to bring together several ethnic/religious communities in the future to advocate in unity against social injustices.
Following in the footsteps of his grandmother, mother and sisters, Jason proudly calls himself a social worker. While earning his Master of Social Work at USC, he concentrated on anti-hunger policy, working primarily with MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Hunger Action L.A. and Community Services Unlimited. Since graduate school, he has focused his time on faith-based community organizing, first, in a volunteer capacity with Bend the Arc, and now professionally with IKAR, a Jewish spiritual community in Los Angeles. Jason is a dedicated artist and teaches regular photography classes at the Long Beach LGBTQ Center.