Isaac Luria, Director, Auburn Action, is an organizer, communicator, and technologist with a decade of experience helping progressive political and faith-based advocacy organizations build constituency, raise money, and achieve impact on issues of pressing social concern. At Auburn, he leads Auburn's advocacy and online campaigning efforts, as well as Auburn's training programs helping faith leaders use digital organizing techniques to heal and repair the world. Isaac writes and comments frequently on the intersection of movement building, politics, technology, and social change on Twitter (@isaacluria) and as a blogger on the Huffington Post. Previous to Auburn, Isaac was the Vice President of New Media and Communications at J Street, where he developed and managed traditional communications, new media, and technology strategies at both the national and local levels. He built a database of 170,000 members through viral advocacy campaigns and partnerships and raised millions of dollars online from small donors for J Street endorsed political candidates. Previously, Isaac worked with Donordigital in San Francisco, developing and implementing online fundraising and advocacy strategies for major national non-profit organizations such as NARAL Pro-Choice America, Earthjustice, Parents’ Action for Children, Amnesty International, Human Rights Campaign, and the Campaign to Defend the Constitution. Isaac holds a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Trinity College. From 2007 to 2008, Isaac lived in Jerusalem as a Dorot Fellow. Isaac is in the family business - his mother is an ordained UCC Minister with a history of social justice activism and his father is a historian of progressive, religious movements. A proud member of the Park Slope Food Coop, Isaac lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children, Caleb and Eva.
Valarie Kaur, Founding Director, Groundswell, is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, advocate, and public speaker. A third-generation Sikh American, she combines storytelling and advocacy to advance campaigns on racial justice, immigration reform, religious pluralism, and gender equality. Her critically acclaimed documentary film Divided We Fall (2008) on hate crimes after September 11th has inspired national grassroots dialogue. Valarie has clerked on the Senate Judiciary Committee, traveled to Guantanamo to report on the military commissions, and helped lead a multi-pronged campaign against racial profiling in East Haven, CT. She has been invited to speak on her work in 200 U.S. cities and media outlets such as CNN, NPR, The New York Times, and the BBC. Valarie holds a Bachelor’s in religion and international relations at Stanford University, a Master’s in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she trains students in the art of visual advocacy as director of the Yale Visual Law Project.
Michelle Reyf, Campaigns Manager, Auburn Action, studied Government and Anthropology at Dartmouth College. Upon graduating, she put her love for politics, people, and the Internet together as part of the New Media team of J Street. After a New Media Bootcamp at the New Organizing Institute, Michelle was Director of Digital Media at Auburn Seminary. Today she is the Campaigns Manager for Groundswell – part online organizer, part campaign coach, part digital strategist.
Dan Greenman, Technology Manager, Auburn Action, has worked with nonprofits for the past decade, focusing on operations, production, development and technology. Prior to joining Auburn, Dan was label manager and director of administration at JDub, a noted record label and Jewish cultural organization. Previously, he worked in documentary film production and as a journalist. Dan earned his B.A. in Journalism from Ithaca College.
Rev. John H. Vaughn, Executive Vice President, Auburn Theological Seminary, led the Twenty-First Century Foundation’s response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita from relief to rebuilding. He created the Black Men and Boys program that is forming a national policy agenda shaped both by and for local communities. He also served as one of four senior pastors at the historic Riverside Church as Minister for Education and Social Justice.
Macky Alston, Director of Auburn Media, leads Auburn’s efforts to provide informed, engaging coverage of religion in the media. Alston is an award-winning filmmaker and an organizer in the worlds of media and religion. He has received the Sundance Film Festival Freedom of Expression Award, the Gotham Open Palm Award, three Emmy nominations, and appeared widely in the press, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show and The New York Times. Alston is currently making a documentary film about the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and the church/state battle over LGBT equality entitled The Truth Will Set You Free.
Jake Goodman, Program Associate, Auburn Media, is a community organizer and educator. He is a founding member of Queer Rising, which demands full equality, dignity and protection for all queer people through nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience. As a Jewish educator, Jake has taught, spoken and served as scholar-in-residence at seminaries, synagogues, churches, JCC's, camps and retreat centers across the United States and in Israel. He is the pre-school storyteller at the 14th Street Y, and a company member of Storahtelling, for whom he previously served as Associate Director. Boards: Guiding Proud and the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club (Treasurer). Jake holds an MA in Experiential Jewish Education from the Davidson School at JTS and a BFA in Acting from Emerson College.
The 2013 Stanford University Baccalaureate address by Groundswell's Founding Director, Valarie Kaur.
People of faith all over the country are calling their Senators, but it's Kentucky's Senator Rand Paul who has positioned himself as the key person who can pass an immigration bill in the Senate and the House. Join people of faith calling on Rand Paul to prioritize justice for immigrant families and a path to citizenship NOW.
Click to learn about the campaign to provide "safe sanctuaries" to the LGBTQ Community in our faith communities in response to a rising trend of hate crimes toward the LGBTQ Community in NYC and beyond.
Our legislators in NY are debating a bill that can help fight sex trafficking. Join the petition calling on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to support theTrafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act.
While the Senate debates, there's 1 deportation a minute in America. Read this impassioned blog by Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church, and member of the New Sanctuary Movement.
Our report back to you about how things are going, what we’ve learned, and what we think is next for Groundswell and Auburn Action.