Who We Are

About

LA Voice is a multi-racial, multi-faith community organization that awakens people to their own power, training them to speak, act, and work together to transform our County into one that reflects the dignity of all people.

We believe all people have power and a voice. Every day we amplify that power by uniting diverse faith voices to stand-up for what their communities need, winning changes that improve the lives of all Angelenos.

LA Voice 2020 Annual Report

LA Voice’s organizing presence is based throughout LA County, across 5 county supervisorial districts and 28 strategic cities. Throughout the county, we have 65 congregations, 26 with teams, and 17 of them with teams that can deliver.

In addition to this, LA Voice holds strategic power relationships with U.S. Congressional representatives, mayors and city councils of major cities within the county to facilitate a progressive racial equity agenda in the region

Congregations

37 congregations are participating in the 2022 LeadsTeam and Power Campaign: 

All Saints Pasadena, Pasadena
Baldwin Park United Methodist Church, Baldwin Park
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Hollywood
Centro de Vida Victoriosa Church, Los Angeles
Chosen Generation Fellowship Church, Long Beach
Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas
Culver City Presbyterian Church, Culver City
Dolores Mission, Los Angeles
First Baptist Church of Pasadena, Pasadena
First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, Los Angeles
Grace UMC, Los Angeles
Greater Zion Church Family, Compton
Homeboy Industries, LA County
IKAR, Los Angeles
Inglewood First United Methodist Church, Inglewood
Islah LA, Los Angeles
LA CORE
LALMA, Los Angeles
Leo Baeck Temple, Los Angeles
McCarty Memorial Christian Church, Los Angeles
Nefesh, Los Angeles
New City Church, Los Angeles
Pasadena Mennonite Church, Pasadena
Rose City Church, Pasadena
Saint Mark UMC, Los Angeles
St. John Chrysostom, Inglewood
St. John the Baptist, Baldwin Park
St. Louis of France, San Gabriel Valley
St. Luke Holy Baptist Church, Long Beach
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Long Beach
Stephen S Wise Temple, Los Angeles
Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles
Transformative Justice Team
Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach (UUCLB), Long Beach
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Los Angeles
Word of Encouragement Church – Pico Union, Los Angeles
Youth Cohort

Board of Directors

Umar Hakim (Chair) 

Umar Hakim is the Executive Director of the ILM Foundation and a member of Masjid Ibaadillah. In addition to organizing with LA Voice, he is an active alumnus of USC’s American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute and NewGround Muslim- Jewish Partnership for Change. He is currently serving as executive director of the ILM Foundation.

Francisco Flores

Francisco Flores attends Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hollywood. He is an art and design specialist and has been involved with LA Voice for over seven years. He is a Salvadoran immigrant.

Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro

Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro is Dean’s Professor and Chair of the Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Southern California. Her recent collaborative work includes service on the Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation and work with both Hispanas Organized for Political Empowerment (HOPE) and the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI). She sits on two boards: Community Partners and LAAAWPPI. Today Dr. Hancock Alfaro is also the Founder of RISIST, the Research Institute for the Study of Intersectionality and Social Transformation.

Manjusha Kulkarni

Manjusha P. Kulkarni (Manju) is the Executive Director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), a coalition of forty community-based organizations that serve and represent the 1.5 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County.  Manju also serves as a Lecturer in the Asian American Studies Department of UCLA, teaching “Ethnic, Cultural and Gender Issues in America’s Health Care Systems” and “South Asian American Communities.”  Manju was recently appointed by Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve on the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program Advisory Committee.

Pat Marr

Patricia Marr attends the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach.  She has been connected to the PICO network for 20+ years, was a founding member of our sister organization in Long Beach which recently merged with LA Voice, served on its staff for 8 years, and its board for 3 years.  She is a retired court reporter who worked in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Scott Minkow

Scott Minkow received his BA at Stanford University and spent several years working in Northern California. Scott then returned to L.A. for graduate studies at USC and Hebrew Union College. Since then, he has worked for most of his professional career within local and national Jewish organizations, focusing on development, programming, innovation, and grant-making. What inspires him most is building community and strengthening connections.

Rev Dr Najuma Smith-Pollard

Rev. Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard is Founding Pastor of Word of Encouragement Church and Program Manager of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement. She speaks frequently about women’s empowerment, women in ministry, sexual violence awareness, civic engagement and the Black church.

Daria Nunez, Dolores Mission (In Memoriam) 

Daria Nuñez attends Dolores Mission Church and has been involved with LA Voice as a leader for more than seven years. Ms. Nuñez is also a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA). She is an immigrant from Mexico.

Faith in Action

Staff

Rev. Eddie Anderson

South LA Regional Community Organizer

Rev. Eddie Anderson is a graduate of Morehouse College and Claremont School of Theology.

He currently serves as the Senior Pastor at McCarty Memorial Christian Church in Los Angeles where his primary task has been calling forth a new moral imagination by working for the dignity, justice and love for those with their backs against the wall of oppression through lending his voice and body to the movement for Black Lives and various other activist efforts in Los Angeles.

Melanie Baker

Operations Assistant

Melanie is the Operations Assistant for LA Voice. She brings the experience of working in the administrative department for two large churches, one in Texas and one in Chicago, as well as working in operations for a Retreat and Conference Center

Melanie is currently working towards her Masters degree in Theological Studies from Loyola Marymount University, and intends to focus her studies on Feminist Theology and Spiritual Formation. She is passionate about faith which is active and focused on justice for all.

Rachel Bishop

Chief Operating Officer

Rachel Bishop is the Chief Operating Officer for LA Voice. She came to Los Angeles from Brooklyn to join the LA Voice staff in June 2015.

She previously served as Development Director for United Community Centers, a social justice oriented community center in East New York, Brooklyn.

Prior to that, she spent five years with the League of Young Voters in a number of roles ranging from Operations Assistant to National Programs Director.

She has a B.A. in Political Science from New York University. In her free time, she likes to make music, cook food, and take naps.

Maura Chen

Housing Project Associate

Maura Chen is the Housing Project Associate with LA Voice. They work between organizers and developers on drawings for PSH and other affordable housing types to be built on congregation-owned land across LA County. Chen is an artist, educator, architectural designer, and urbanist from Los Angeles (Tovaangar) with experience working in the East Bay, San Francisco, Brooklyn, and West Philly.

Their current research focuses on community kitchens to combat food apartheid and connect historically disadvantaged neighborhoods. The occupation of interstitial urban space, infrastructural spatial types, and intersection of race, gender, class, and informal economies figure prominently in the work. Chen has been an artist in residence at Dirtbaby Farm in Philadelphia, volunteer cook with The People’s Kitchen, and produce runner for West Philly Food Not Bombs.

They hold a BA from the University of California Berkeley and a Masters from Princeton School of Architecture, and have been published by Pidgin Press, Haus Red, and Disc Journal. Chen loves to dance, camp, hike, ocean swim, garden, read, and listen to live music.

Yvonne Figueroa

Lead Community Organizer

Yvonne Figueroa was exposed to community organizing while attending California State University Long Beach.

After graduating, she worked on various political and community campaigns before joining the labor movement in the long term care industry.

On her off time, she leads communications for her church in Lancaster.

She loves hiking, camping, reading, live music, eating, and is open to all kinds of new experiences!

Rev. Zach Hoover

Executive Director

Zachary Hoover is the Executive Director of LA Voice and is in his thirteenth year with Faith in Action (formerly PICO Nat’l Network).

He holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard  and is ordained in the American Baptist Church.

Zach first learned organizing from Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. Since joining LA Voice, he has led organizing campaigns that have dismantled unfair car impound policies targeting immigrants, increased access to groceries in food deserts, increased public accountability for reinvestment by major financial institutions, increased voter participation in communities of color, removed obstacles to employment for formerly incarcerated Angelenos, and bridged gaps between communities divided by race, class and geography.

Rabbi Jocee Hudson

Clergy and Formation Lead

Rabbi Jocee Hudson joined  LA Voice as the Clergy and Formation Lead in July 2021.

Jocee received rabbinic ordination, as well as Masters in Hebrew Letters and Jewish Education, from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University.

Prior to joining LA Voice, she was an Associate Rabbi at Temple Israel of Hollywood.

Jocee and her partner Rook are the proud parents of Sela, Max, and Solomon, who fill their lives with so much love.

Sarah Jawaid

Director of Special Projects

Sarah Jawaid is an organizer and certified leadership coach that has been with LA Voice for 5 years.

She previously worked on criminal justice reform issues, particularly with black and latino Muslims in South Los Angeles.

Janice Johannsen

Development Manager

Janice is responsible for managing the day-to-day functions of the Development Team as well as providing fundraising strategies to increase and sustain funding. In this newly created position, she will be responsible for grants management, individual donor campaigns and events, and donor stewardship and cultivation.

Janice made a career transition from being a corporate trademark paralegal to fundraising when she realized that she is most passionate about work that transforms lives and creates opportunities. Her first introduction to nonprofit work was when she started fundraising efforts to send children-in-need to school in the Philippines. She has also served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Step Up Savannah (Georgia) and has worked at other nonprofits such as Advancement Project California and Southern California Public Radio.

Janice is a proud wife and mother to two adorable rescue dogs. She loves to travel and her dream destinations tend to be the more exotic. When she can’t go anywhere, she experiments with her Instant Pot.

Velvet Magallon Nestlehutt

Operations Director

Velvet first joined our team as our first full-time Operations Assistant in September 2015.

Velvet holds a Masters of Science in Nonprofit Management from the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California State University, Los Angeles.

Her prior experience includes an administrative internship with New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and a position as Administrative Support Assistant at California State University Los Angeles.

Dawn Modkins

Lead Community Organizer

Dawn Modkins is a Long Beach native, a mom of Black sons and a business owner.  She is a long-time union, political, and community organizer and is grounded in PICO CA’s faith based community organizing models from her previous years of employment with our network.  Dawn was instrumental in the formation of the Black Lives Matter Global Network as its first National Organizing Director and co-founded the Long Beach Chapter of Black Lives Matter.

Dawn’s work life has been grounded in fighting for working class people of all cultures, backgrounds and various working class sectors, communication workers, security workers, and both city and county employees. She’s been a teaching fellow with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and led civic engagement campaigns as the organizing director at Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE LA).

Dawn’s studies in Industrial Organizational Psychology at CSULB supports both her healing justice work with families directly impacted by state and police violence and her work addressing institutional & systemic racism and anti-Blackness.

Shortly after co-founding the Long Beach Chapter of BLM, Dawn committed herself and her organizing strengths to her local communities of Long Beach.  She is an alliance, coalition and community builder centering her work in Black community and around those most impacted by Institutional and systemic violence.

Angel Mortel

Lead Community Organizer

Angel Mortel is an 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 out of her experiences in Brazil, but also from living and teaching in inner city 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.

Pastor John Oh

Project Manager for Faith in Housing

Pastor John Oh is the Project Manager for Faith in Housing. His role is to facilitate the building of affordable and permanent supportive housing on congregation and denomination-owned land. He comes from over fifteen years of parish ministry in LA County and has “the soul of an organizer” stemming from his Wesleyan roots of social justice and spirituality. He is passionate about reducing environmental impact and designing greener buildings as a LEED AP with a background in construction engineering and management. John has a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Yesenia Padilla

Communications Manager

Yesenia Padilla joined LA Voice as communications manager in May of 2022. Yesenia has over a decade of experience in communications strategy and narrative development for movement-building organizations. 

Yesenia came into movement work as an organizer, working with organizations such as ACLU, the San Diego Labor Council, and the SAFE California Campaign, experiences which primed them for developing messaging and strategy that truly represents programmatic work. As a communicator, Yesenia has cultivated and managed communications programs for Alliance San Diego, the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, the Southern Border Communities coalition, and Lawyers for Good Government. 

Yesenia is also a published freelance journalist, writing for Complex Magazine, Thought Catalog, and Shades of Noir, and is credited with being the first journalist to write about gender-neutral terms in Latinidad for a national publication. 

Yesenia’s poetry has been published in Queen Mob’s Teahouse and The Angel City Review. They were one of the curators of San Diego’s largest experimental poetry series, Now Poetry, and a founding editor of Lumen Magazine

In their free time, Yesenia continues to organize various projects, from helping expand a Narcan distribution in partnership with the San Diego Department of Public Health, conducting desert search and rescue operations as part of Aguilas del Desierto, to building a mutual aid network for grocery runs in response to COVID-19. Currently, Yesenia is currently the coordinator of the DSA-LA Mutual Aid Committee. 

A fronteriste for life, Yesenia enjoys spending time with their family and friends in the borderlands deserts, hot yoga, and cooking. 

Yesenia received their Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing with a minor in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

Alyssa Perez

Civic Engagement Organizer

Alyssa joined LA Voice staff in July 2022 as our Civic Engagement Organizer, and has been a leader with LA CORE for several years, a racial equity organizing initiative in the Jesuits West province.After her graduation from Loyola Marymount University (LMU), she worked for two years at St. Martin de Porres Elementary School in Belize City with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Alyssa also holds a Masters degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of San Francisco. These experiences were the foundation of her passion for community organizing, and her strong commitment to living a faith that does justice.In her previous role, she oversaw advocacy programs and alternative break immersions, and she continues to serve as a Resident Minister in the LMU community.Alyssa loves spending time with her family (especially her two baby nieces!), reading, traveling, and has a growing love of writing poetry.

Jordan Salviati

Program Manager

Jordan Salviati joined LA Voice in March 2020 as an Executive Assistant.

Jordan holds a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Richmond the American International University in London and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media Studies from Azusa Pacific University.

Before joining LA Voice, she was a talent acquisition coordinator and recruiter for a staffing agency in Orange County, California. Her passion for social justice and human rights, however, began when she worked at the Center for Reconciliation and Diversity in college. During hertime there, she created and facilitated a college workshop for first-generation high school students from inner-city Los Angeles.

Some of her prior volunteer experience includes facilitating workshops for immigrant and refugee women at the Ethiopian Women’s Empowerment Group in London and working with the social outreach program Ethembeni, located in South Africa.

In her free time, you can find Jordan at the movie theatre or watching Netflix, traveling to new places and dancing.

Beatriz Sandoval

Community Organizer

Beatriz is a community organizer with LA Voice. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Chihuahua, Mexico, and a High School Diploma here in the United States. After graduating with her BA in Physical Education, she began working with youth people to interrupt the cycle of poverty in her town, organizing them and fighting for parks and spaces where they could play, do sports, and be trained for jobs.

Beatriz has over twenty years of experience in community-based outreach and organizing. As a physical education teacher in an elementary school, she organized her students’ mothers to reclaim the after-school building to exercise and play sports, and collaborated with local Institutions to develop programs to serve people with diabetes and High blood pressure. 

Beatriz has more than fifteen years of teaching experience, and more than ten years of experience in small business management. She is familiar with volunteer recruitment and training, and has fought for civil rights; working as a strategist in campaigns such as Proposition 30, 47,57, 10, and 20, and Bills such as AB 60 and SB 54. Beatriz is a Spanish speaker and speaks English as my second language. Beatriz has received recognition for community outreach from congregational, state, and local members. She is passionate about empowering, educating, and connecting individuals to information and resources. She is reliable, honest, hardworking, and always willing to learn more and improve.

Aliyah Shaikh

Community Organizer

Aliyah is a Community Organizer at LA Voice

Andrea Vocos

Community Organizer

Andrea is an organizer with LA Voice. Born and raised in Orange County, she began organizing in high school, working on climate change, poverty, and LGBTQI+ campaigns. She credits growing up in a low-income immigrant household with her early political awakening.

Andrea has a B.A. in journalism from The New School. She was previously an organizing committee member, Spanish language outreach coordinator, and Events Committee co-leader for the North Brooklyn chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Prior to that, she organized with Oxfam for almost a decade in both California and New York.

Joe Strummer once said, “Without people, you’re nothing,” which Andrea follows as her personal ethos. Another world is possible.