Martha Cecilia Ovadia

Martha Cecilia Ovadia is a Senior Program Associate for equity programs and communications at an equity and sustainability non-profit in South Florida. Prior to joining philanthropy, Martha Cecilia worked as a marketing assistant for social science journals at SAGE Publications and as a graduate assistant to the Arts and Culture department of the City of West Hollywood. Martha Cecilia is a Colombian-American theologian, activist, agitator, and writer--focusing on race, gender, and sexual identity. She is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. candidate in Religious Studies and English Literature at Claremont Graduate University, currently avoiding writing her dissertation, tentatively titled "Feminist Anxiety and Responses in Dystopian Young Adult Literature Post-Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale."  * Please do not ask her when she will finish. She holds an MA in Religion, Ethics, and Culture with an emphasis on Feminist Theology and Sexual Ethics from Claremont Graduate University. She wrote her MA thesis on J.K. Rowling's Theology of Harry Potter and is not afraid to reveal that she is a Colombian Ravenclaw married to a Ohioan Hufflepuff. She has BA in Religious Studies from Florida State University, where she focused on Catholic sexual ethics. When not working, writing, or annoyingly engaging people in late night conversations over whiskey as a pop-culture theologian, Martha Cecilia enjoys reading on a comfy chair, traveling, karaoke, thrifting treasures, working with rescue dogs (the bigger, the better), netflixing, and olympic napping. Oh, and her dogs are instafamous: @threelittledirewolves

Sara Hof

Sara Hof kicks the shins of patriarchy from her small Los Angeles apartment while binging netflix, pizza, and scotch.  She has a couple of masters degrees, one in divinity from Wake Forest University and one in women's studies from Claremont Graduate University, and enjoys reading and thinking about both while doing nothing with either.  Her most notable achievements are yet to come, which can be done easily because, to date, that honor goes to not falling down the last time I went rollerblading. 

John Erickson

John Erickson is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Religious History and holds two MA’s from Claremont Graduate University.  John serves as a commissioner on the California Commission on the Status of Women, having been appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2017.  In addition to the Commission, John serves as the President of the Hollywood Chapter for the National Organization for Women, a Boardmember for the City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, a Boardmember for the ACLU of Southern California, the Legislative Action Chair for Stonewall Democratic Club, and a Boardmember for the National Organization for Women (NOW).  He co-founded the digital publication the Engaged Gaze and just launched the weekly podcast Pop! Culture Theologians.  He contributes regularly to a number of online publications on the topics of LGBTQ history, feminism, masculinity studies, and American religious history.

John was one of the main organizers of the Women’s March Los Angeles on January 20, 2017, that brought together 750,000 people to Downtown Los Angeles as well as in 2018.  He was also a coordinator for the #ResistMarch on June 11, 2017, that brought together 100,000 people to the City of West Hollywood.

Amanda Smash Hyde

Amanda Smash Hyde is a certified aesthetician and owner of Amanda Hyde Skin in West Hollywood, CA. She is the Co-Founder of the Cannabis Education Forum, a platform for local cannabis activists to discuss the issue of cannabis and the legalization of marijuana, a member of the City of West Hollywood’s Women’s Advisory Board, and was recently elected to served as a delegate to the 50th Assembly District for the Democratic Party. She is an affordable housing, women’s right, social justice advocate and fat activist.

Anjeanette LeBoeuf

Anjeanette LeBoeuf is a Ph.D candidate in Women Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University. She is the Queer Advocate for the Western Region of the American Academy of Religion. Her focuses are divided between South Asian religions and religion and popular culture. She has become focused on exploring the representations of women in all forms of popular culture and how religion plays into them. She is an avid supporter of both soccer and hockey. She is also a television and movie buff which probably takes way too much of her time, but she enjoys every minute of it. Anjeanette has had a love affair with books from a very young age and always finds time in her demanding academic career to crack open a new book.

Chelsea Byers

Chelsea Byers is the Chair of the Campaign to End the Statute of Limitations on Rape and Sexual Assault. She coordinates and facilitates creative direct action trainings and resource development to support movement organizers around the globe with Beautiful Trouble and has mobilized thousands of change-makers through grassroots advocacy training and campaign development. Chelsea has organized dozens of public demonstrations for social justice, held vigil for political prisoners and whistleblowers, and earned media at the 2016 Republican National Convention for gun violence prevention advocacy. After she disrupted and ended his hateful speech during a campaign stop in Las Vegas on January 20th, 2016, Donald Trump said of Chelsea, “That’s a young woman that doesn’t know... She’s Lost... To hell with her.” In 2014, Chelsea was named 'Proud Community Ally' by the Northern Arizona Pride Association for her work organizing Flagstaff’s largest rally in history against discrimination legislation SB 1062. Chelsea is a contributor to the feminist blog The Engaged Gaze and a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus. In July 2017, Chelsea launched the Mural Map LA - a free resource to build community through greater accessibility to street art in Los Angeles.

Dr. Marie Cartier

Dr. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall(Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine. She is also a published poet and playwright, accomplished performance artist, scholar, and social change activist. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) and an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting), both from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is co-chair of the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion session of the national American Academy of Religion and co-chair at the regional level of the Queer Studies in Religion session, founder of the western region Queer Caucus, and a perma-blogger for Feminism and Religion. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style, and a 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified Hatha Yoga teacher.

Pamela O'Leary

Pamela O’Leary is a diversity and inclusion leader. She is also the youngest appointed Planning Commissioner at the City of San Mateo,  and elected member of the San Mateo County Democratic Party. Previously, her background includes roles in nonprofit management and higher education, including work at Capitol Hill and the United Nations. 

Elizabeth A. Craigg-Walker

Elizabeth A. Craigg - Walker has a diverse background, as she has studied both undergraduate and graduate work in the following fields: English and Public Administration. While attending Claremont Graduate University, she has received a Certificate in Women's Studies and master degrees in Educational Studies and Political Science. She is currently completing her doctorate in educational studies with a focus study on Pepperdine University LA Campus between the years 1972-1981. She has worked in academia for 11 years as a college instructor in face-to-face settings and in online learning communities within the fields of English, Public Administration, Political Science, Developmental Reading, Developmental Writing, Critical Thinking, Academic Strategies, and Communication. In addition, she has worked in learning resource centers, research labs, and advancement. She has worked for private and public colleges in a 2-year and 4-year setting, as well as a Christian and secular environment. Her wealth of knowledge allows her to be a great asset to understanding how to help guide future college instructors as a Prepared Future Fellow at Claremont Graduate University. In her political interest, she is interested in revitalizing communities, such as Detroit and Presidential Politics along with voter behavior.

Jawhara Atiya

Jawhara Atiya is a UCLA graduate living in the Bay Area, passionate about all things social justice, philanthropy, and urban planning. When not working, you can find her hitting a spin class, complaining about the DNC, or reading articles about well-designed cities. 

Jessica Salmans 

Jessica Salmans holds her M.F.A. in Design for Stage and Film and is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Prior to joining the ranks of Higher Ed. Faculty, Jessica was an Adjunct Instructor, a Child Welfare Investigator and social worker, a Middle School Teacher, and a curriculum development specialist. She has worked passionately on the front lines of community service and education from multiple angles, always focused on children and families. Jessica is a storyteller and visual artist and uses that passion in her work as an educator and activist. She is also a Holocaust historian and focuses on performance art as therapy. Jessica makes her home in rural western Oklahoma where she tries valiantly to bridge the gap between her hyper-conservative evangelical roots and her progressive politics. Jessica is an avid writer and reader of fiction, road-trip addict, outdoor enthusiast, and amateur chef. 

Kalle Westerling

Kalle Westerling is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre and Performance and a Futures Initiative Graduate Fellow at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and Director of HASTAC Scholars, a vibrant student network within The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC). Currently, he is completing his dissertation on the history and aesthetics of male-identified bodies in 20th-century burlesque and 21st-century boylesque, “The Roots and Routes of Boylesque: Queering Male Striptease and Burlesque in New York City from 1930s Golden Age Burlesque to the New York Boylesque Festival in the 2010s.” His monograph, La Dolce Vita (Normal 2006) treats the history of the Swedish drag company After Dark. He regularly delivers scholarly papers at the annual conferences for the American Society for Theatre Researchers (ASTR) and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). Recently, his performance-related theatre work has included an English translation and dramaturgy of August Strindberg’s The Pelican for the Voyage Theatre Company’s 2016 production in New York City.

Kate Davis

Kate Davis is completing her Ph.D. in Women’s Studies in Religion with an emphasis on American Religious History. She spends a lot of her time thinking about, writing about, and talking about sex, which is not always as exciting as you might think. She lives in a creaky Victorian house in Ohio with her math professor husband and their two cats. 

Kevin Jahi Johnson

Kevin Jahi Johnson is just another brother in the digital age dedicated to the best in pop media consumption, lifting the veil on outmoded sociocultural thinking, and dope-ass recipes. He's also pretty good at karaoke.

Kirsten Castañeda

Kirsten Castañeda is an artist/amateur writer currently pursuing a BA for English and Communications in New Orleans, LA. She's a daughter of Mexican immigrants and considers herself an unapologetic Latina feminist. She enjoys living a nomadic lifestyle traveling the country out of Yolanda (her '97 Isuzu Rodeo) with her road dog, Paco whenever she gets a break. Catch her on Instagram @kirbear2012 or twitter 

Kirsten Gerdes

Kirsten Gerdes is a Ph.D. candidate in Women's Studies in Religion with an emphasis in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. She's also a Senior Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Azusa Pacific University and an adjunct professor of religion at California Lutheran University. Because her academic interests are relatively diverse, she has actively pursued interdisciplinary scholarship. With a B.A. in Music Theory/Composition and a B.A. in Global Studies and Philosophy from Azusa Pacific University, she chose to earn an interdisciplinary M.A. from New York University in Humanities and Social Thought, focusing on gender politics and literary cultures. Her current research interests revolve around embodied subjectivity and tracing the historical trajectory of the emergence of the modern self. As a result of this focus, her work has been presented at several international conferences and published as chapters or articles in volumes spanning the fields of theology, philosophy, religious studies, history, literature, and gender studies. She loves pop culture and spends a lot of her time convincing her friends, family, and students that they could understand the world better if they just learned how to do a feminist Marxist reading of zombie movies. 

Laura Barclay

Rev. Laura Barclay, MDiv, MAMFT, is a practicing Marriage and Family Therapy Associate and ordained Baptist minister. Laura holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary ('16), a Masters in Divinity from Wake Forest University ('08), and a Bachelor of Arts from University of Louisville ('05). She previously worked in denominational ministry and released her first book, "With Us in the Wilderness" in 2014 about spiritual narrative and empowerment. She loves spending time with her spouse Ryan Eller and her two dogs, Gryffin and Dobby, as well as watching Harry Potter movies and talking a great deal about the intersection of mental health, the Church, and public policy, making everyone extremely uncomfortable at the dinner table. She does not enjoy having to tell all her friends to keep calling their representatives to preserve basic human rights, but hey, we are living in the dumpster fire of Trump's America...


Melissa Mihm

Melissa Mihm works at an equity and sustainability non-profit in South Florida.  Prior to joining the philanthropy, Melissa earned her bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Florida. While attending the University of Florida, she became heavily involved with the local student-run newspaper—The Independent Florida Alligator—where she served as crime reporter, metro editor and managing print editor. After graduating, she took time off to travel before diving into political campaign work, having worked on Hillary Clinton's campaign. Melissa enjoys reading, photography, cuddling with her dogs, being outside, traveling, and cooking for her friends and family. 

Sara Ivy

Sara Ivy received her Masters in Social Work from Arizona State University and has been advocating for our countries most vulnerable populations since graduating in 2008.  She currently serves on the board for Hollywood’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, as their New Membership Coordinator and believes without a doubt that the answers to our nation's inequality are women persisting until equality has reached all of humanity.  Her grassroots involvement includes co-facilitating a bi-weekly women’s community action group, which serves to create instant political action and advocacy steps, as well as long-term community service opportunities.  She is a fierce advocate of LGBTQ peoples! 

Becca Spence Dobias

Becca Spence Dobias is a mom, wife, doula, and childbirth instructor. She has a Master's degree in Applied Women's Studies. She is particularly interested in issues surrounding feminist parenting, Appalachia, and reproductive justice.

Stacey Jones

Stacey Jones is a Hoosier-born, Los Angeles-based media professional who writes about dating, career-ing, and trying to be a better person.

Sylwia Dudzinska

Sylwia Dudzinska is an wondrously energetic (how/why do not ask, she is still not sure) human being who works in film and television in Los Angeles as an Assistant Director. She finds examining the work she creates, her workplace and the world of film in general, fascinating. To see how we reflect, project, self assess and illustrate humanity through anything we all create is intriguing— what do we want? What are we like? Where are we heading? What are we actually trying to say and what’s more, how do people perceive and receive the yield of our labors. Working in an industry that remains to this day dominated mostly by white men, her reflections often lean towards feminism, power dynamics, and activism in general. She holds a liberal world view with a clear emphasis on humanism. She believes in environmental stability: a balancing of humanity with the natural world and have a tendency towards globalism. She is an ardent lover of plants, animals (cats!) and a passionate reader. She happily contemplate food, art (of any kind…though she will say she still hasn't figured out the modern stuff very well), philosophy, science, politics, history, religion with an emphasis on secularism and sexuality. Constantly curious, fervently hungry for more knowledge, she is devoted to the philosophy of “qui tacet consentire videtur” and so she always try to speak in favor of what she believes and hold dear because silence is so often consent.

Zoe Nicholson

Zoe Nicholson carries one message, WAKE UP! ~ from Liberation Theology in the 60’s, organizing in the Women’s Movement and Gay Rights, fasting for the ERA, NOW liaison for the National Equality March to heckling the president to repeal DADT. Zoe formally studied Vajrayana Buddhism for 12 years and was formally initiated January, 1989, as a Buddhist monk and teacher. Leaving the ashram and silent meditation, she expanded her practice as an Engaged Buddhist. Zoe advises fasters and high risk takers, embracing non-violent direct action. Speaking to one or 10,000, her spirit is always available, her meditation is activism. Zoe continues her lifelong call to Engaged Service to Social Justice. Today she serves the City of Long Beach on the Human Relations Commission. She is the founder of Elders Rising, Uplifting LGBTQ Elders, Transcending Age. She is writing a one woman performance of, “Tea with Alice and Me,” on Alice Paul and non-violent direct action. Books: The Engaged Heart, The Hungry Heart and Matri, Letters from the Mother. Films: March On, Inez Milholland ~ Forward into Light.  and

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