Bio of panelists & speakers
Shane Claiborne graduated from Eastern University and did graduate work at Princeton Seminary. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Eastern. His adventures have taken him from the streets of Calcutta where he worked with Mother Teresa to the wealthy suburbs of Chicago where he served at the influential mega-church Willow Creek. As a peacemaker, his journeys have taken him to some of the most troubled regions of the world – from Rwanda to the West Bank – and he’s been on peace delegations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Shane is the visionary leader of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. Shane’s books include Jesus for President, Red Letter Revolution, Common Prayer, Follow Me to Freedom, Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers – and his classic The Irresistible Revolution.
Rev Phillip Lawson
Rev. Phillip Lawson recently retired as the Interfaith Program Director for East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) and leads EBHO’s interfaith initiative, the Interfaith Action in Housing Program. EBHO is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to working with communities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to expand affordable housing opportunities through education and advocacy. Under Rev. Lawson's leadership, EBHO has significantly expanded support of interfaith communities in their affordable housing efforts and expanded their capacity to address the housing crisis in the East Bay. Rev. Lawson brought to EBHO a wealth of experience leading both interfaith and community-based collaborations in the East Bay. Before joining EBHO, Rev. Lawson was Pastor of Easter Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond from 1992 to 2003. Rev. Lawson has been and continues to be active in the East Bay with groups, such as Richmond Vision 2000, Northern California Inter-Religious Conference, Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP), Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights and California Council of Churches. Rev. Lawson served as Adjunct Professor at Starr King School of Ministry in Berkeley, CA until April, 2012.
Rev. Jeff Moore
Rev. Jethroe (Jeff) Moore II received an Associated Arts Degree from Evergreen Valley College and a B.S. Degree in Bible & Theology, Management and Ethics from San Jose Christian College . Rev. Moore is licensed and ordained to preach the gospel at the Emmanuel Baptist Church under Rev. Dr. Willie T. Gaines Jr., is registered as an Intentional Interim Pastor with California Southern Baptist, and is current Pastor of the Rehoboth Christian Center. Rev. Moore also currently serves as President of the San Jose/Silicon Valley National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He is married with two children.
Rev. Ben Daniel, author, The Search for Truth about Islam
Ben Daniel is a Presbyterian minister and an award-winning writer with an international following. His book The Search for Truth About Islam: A Christian Pastor Separates Fact from Fiction (Westminster John Knox Press, 2013) is an attempt to help Christians set aside negative stereotypes about Islam. His first book, Neighbor: Christian Encounters with "Illegal" Immigration (Westminster John Knox, 2010) was named 2011 religion book of the year by ForeWord Reviews, a journal that highlights and reviews books from small and independent publishers. He is a Huffington Post blogger, and provides commentary for KQED FM. His writing has been translated into four languages and has been published by a variety of local, regional, national, and international print media and has appeared on Beliefnet.com, TheRevealer.com, and on the websites of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the United Nations' mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is a graduate of Westmont College and of Princeton Theological Seminary.
Pamela Olson grew up in small town Oklahoma and studied physics and political science at Stanford University. She lived in Ramallah for two years, during which she served as head writer and editor for the Palestine Monitor and as foreign press coordinator for Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi's 2005 presidential campaign. Fast Times in Palestine is her first book, and she is currently working on a second book called Palestine, DC. You can reach Pamela via her website, www.pamolson.org.
Terry C. Holdbrooks, Jr. had a lot of expectations from joining the military. He hoped to become a better American, a better soldier, a better person. He would never have thought, in his wildest atheist dreams, that he would become a Muslim. His story is the story of an American soldier's journey to Islam having found it in the 'armpit of the world', Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Maleeha Haq is an attorney whose practice focuses exclusively in immigration law, with a particular focus on asylum and family immigration. Ms. Haq appears regularly before the San Francisco Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, as well as the federal courts in complex deportation proceedings. A graduate of University of Michigan Law School, Ms. Haq also served as a research fellow in the Refugee Policy Department of Human Rights Watch, and represented refugees before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Cairo, Egypt. Ms. Haq was awarded the Wiley E. Manuel Award from the California State Bar for her pro bono services on behalf of indigent clients, and currently serves as the Vice President of the Executive Board of the Bay Area chapter of the Counsel for American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
A Bay Area native, Bhawana Kamil received a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from UC Berkeley. Soon after graduating, she accepted Islam in September of 2000. Bhawana traveled overseas to Cairo, Egypt to study Arabic and Islamic Studies for which she received graduate diplomas. She completed a Masters degree in Philosophy from San Jose State University, where she subsequently taught Ethics. She is an active member and past president of the Bay Area chapter of the Muslim American Society. She has spoken at a variety of settings, including schools, universities, churches, conferences, and camps on several topics including ‘An Introduction to Islam,’ ‘Women in Islam,’ ‘Challenges Facing Muslim Youth in the West,’ ‘Geography of the Muslim World,' and 'Understanding Shariah.' Bhawana currently teaches Philosophy at Evergreen Valley Community College in San Jose. She is married, and has two children, Khadijah and Justice.
Raj Jayadev is the Executive Director of Silicon Valley De-Bug (www.siliconvalleydebug.com) a media, advocacy, and community organizing non-profit based in San Jose. Through the production of a bi-lingual magazine, a weekly television show, a weekly radio show, and a multimedia website De-Bug serves as a platform for the Valley's least heard voices -- youth, immigrant communities, low-wage workers, those formerly incarcerated and more. While De-Bug has been a nationally recognized for its innovations in community media and advocacy, the organization also serves as an important local vehicle for communities to make advances in social justice through community organizing campaigns. Jayadev’s writings have been printed in dailies across the country, and his organizing work has been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, PBS and more. Jayadev has been the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships and awards revolving around social justice leadership.
Hani Khan is a Bay Area native and a recent graduate from UC Davis with degrees in Political Science and Communication. At the age of 19 as a sophomore in college, she faced her first real world experience when she was fired for wearing her hijab after working at Hollister, sister store of Abercrombie and Fitch, for 4 months. Instead of turning away from adversity, she persevered and faced it head on when she challenged the discrimination. Over 3.5 years later, Hani has won against major retailer Abercrombie & Fitch. At only 23, she has made history with the landmark decision and the effects on future religious discrimination occurring in the workplace.
Dr. Roberta Ahlquist is Professor in the College of Education at San Jose State University in San Jose, California. Her research and writing is in the areas of critical race theory, critical pedagogy, countering hegemony, and indigenous knowledges. She has published widely in these areas. Her most recent contribution is a co-edited book, Assault on Kids: Hyper-accountability, corporatization, deficit ideologies and R.Payne are destroying our schools (Peter Lang, 2011). She has been a visiting scholar and researcher in Queensland, Australia, a Fulbright Scholar in Turku, Finland, and recently returned from research in Pakistan, India, and the Middle East, critiquing and comparing Western and neo-colonial curriculum from an anti-oppressive framework. She is President of a non-profit multicultural resource center, Our Developing World, in Saratoga, California, that reaches out to teachers at all levels of schooling, to provide resources and alternatives to the dominant mainstream curriculum that most students receive in schools.She sees herself as a social justice educator and activist.
John Titus is a retired college administrator and mental health counselor. A devoted husband and grandfather, he is most widely known as the father of Alicia Nicole Titus, who was violently murdered while working as a flight attendant on United Airlines flight 175 on September 11, 2001. Since Alicia’s death, John has become a strong advocate for peace and social justice, writing articles, doing documentaries, political activism and giving talks all over the United States, Canada and Italy on these and related issues. He has spoken at universities, colleges, churches, the American Muslim Voice Convention, the Department of Peace Conference, at a congressional committee to reintroduce the Department of Peace Bill, the Alleati per la Pace conference in Riccione, Italy and the Global Nonviolence Conference to name a few. He has joined with other peace organizations such as the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, the National Peace Academy and the Champaign County Peace Alliance along with others. He is a current member and former steering committee member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization of 9/11 victim’s family members and friends that officially formed in February of 2002 to speak out on the atrocities of war, especially civilian casualties, to promote transparency in government decisions about the 9/11 attack, to encourage alternatives to war and to further efforts towards peace and justice throughout the world.
As the Executive Director for the CAIR San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA) chapter, Zahra Billoo strives to promote justice and understanding at local and national levels. In 2009, Zahra joined CAIR-SFBA and immediately embraced her roles as community organizer and civil rights advocate. She frequently provides trainings at local mosques and universities as part of CAIR’s efforts to empower the community, while building bridges with allies on key civil rights issues. Zahra also represents victims of discrimination and advocates for positive policy changes that uphold civil rights for all. In March 2011, at her direction, CAIR-SFBA filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice challenging their warrantless use of GPS tracking devices to target American Muslims. Her work with CAIR-SFBA has been highlighted in local and national media outlets including KTVU, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. Most notably, she made waves when she appeared on FOX News’ O'Reilly Factor in Fall 2010 to discuss invasive TSA practices. A 2010 recipient of the San Francisco Minority Bar Coalition's Unity Award and a 2011 recipient of the South Asian Bar Association of Northern California's Public Interest Attorney of the Year Award, Zahra has been a devoted labor rights advocate for several years. While in college, she worked with the California Faculty Association on issues including faculty salaries and the defunding of public higher education. While in law school, Zahra was awarded the Peggy Browning Fund Fellowship to work with the National Employment Law Project. Zahra graduated Cum Laude from California State University, Long Beach with degrees in Human Resources Management and Political Science. She earned her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, and was admitted to the California Bar in 2009.