Our Board of Directors & Staff

(in alphabetical order by last name)

Sarrah headshotSarrah AbuLughod: Muslim

Sarrah AbuLughod is the Community Engagement Manager at The Family and Youth Institute, a non-profit dedicated to researching issues and developing resources for American Muslim youth and families. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor’s in Human Development & Family Studies and is currently working on her Master’s in Islamic Studies and Christian Muslim Relations with a certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy at Hartford Seminary.

She previously worked as the Manager of Family Services with the Opportunity Scholarship Program in Washington DC. Additionally she taught at the Saturday Environmental Academy and lead many an outdoor activity during her time working with the DC branch of Green Muslims where she served as a board member.

She has also served as a board member with the Muslim Public Service Network as well as the Next Wave Muslim Initiative and is currently a board member with the Stony Point Center in addition to this position.

Sarrah is dedicated to finding ways to motivate people through their faith practices towards more sustainable living and looks forward to working with VAIPL to continue this mission.

Richard Cizik: Evangelical Presbyterian, Anglican

Richard Cizik is the President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a faith-based organization committed to an agenda that fosters values consistent with an open and free society. Cizik participated in Climate Forum 2002, at Oxford, England, which produced the “Oxford Declaration” on global warming. He was instrumental in creating the Evangelical Climate Initiative, introduced in 2006. The following year, Cizik formed a group of scientists, including nobel laureate Eric Chivian and Harvard Professor Emeritus Edward O. Wilson, along with leading evangelical pastors and professors, to compose a groundbreaking document entitled “Scientists and Evangelical Call to Action.”

Cizik graduated with a B.A., cum laude, Political Science, Whitworth University (1973); Master of Divinity, Denver Seminary (1979); M.A., Public Affairs, The George Washington University School of Public & International Affairs (1985). In 2005, he was awarded the Ecclesiastical degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causae, The Methodist Episcopal Church, USA.  In 2014, Whitworth University awarded him a Doctorate in Humane Letters (D.H.L.) for his pioneering theological work in creation care. Cizik sits on advisory boards of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, and the Evangelical Environmental Network.

KendylCrawford_headshotKendyl Crawley Crawford: Baptist

Co-Chair
kcrawford@vaipl.org

Kendyl Crawley Crawford is the Richmond Conservation Program Coordinator for the VA Chapter of the Sierra Club working on community organizing around climate change and toxic pollution. She has spent time closely organizing with faith communities in Richmond, VA that resulted in a ‘Creation Care and Grassroots Organizing’ Summer Course Intensive in 2015 housed at Virginia Union University Samuel D. Proctor School of Theology. She received a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in Marine and Environmental Science from Hampton University in 2012 and has a Master’s of Science in Environment, Science and Society from University College London where she conducted research on social movement organizations mobilizing around air pollution in London on a Marshall Scholarship. In 2015, she successfully completed the Midwest Academy Organizing for Social Change Training.

She is also a member of the NAACP and has volunteered for several organizations including Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the City of Hampton Clean City Commission. She currently is working towards a Master’s of Nonprofit Studies degree at the University of Richmond. Kendyl has received a National Hampton Alumni Association Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, a Proclamation from the City of Hampton, VA and also was declared a Young Futurist by theRoot.com. She is excited to be at the forefront of congregational organizing efforts taking place in Virginia around the issue of climate change which has far-reaching justice and moral implications.

rev-m-deleRev. M. Dele: United Church of Christ, Baptist

mdele@vaipl.org

Rev. M. Dele is a renaissance woman who has lived and worked on the prophetic edge of social change in California, Oklahoma, Washington D.C. and Virginia. She is a grandmother, theologian, and Climate Reality Leader who uses her skills as a permaculturist and contemplative to assist churches train the next generation of mission leaders in faith, ecology and policy. A storyteller and meditation teacher, her ministries have emphasized wholeness, spiritual disciplines, and cultural celebration for community empowerment. Dele’s faith response to climate change is that “redemption of the soil is inextricably linked to redemption of the soul.”

Dele received her M.Div from Howard University; B.A. from UC-Riverside. Her social justice response to climate change is rooting adaptation knowledge in communities most vulnerable with the least resources to bounce back. She issues a clarion call to faith communities to become hubs of sustainability, which solidify local food sovereignty and water security. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ with Baptist affiliations. She serves on the Earthcare Coalition-UN Decade of African Diaspora; as regional liaison for Green the Church; council member for the National Congress of Black American Indians. In 2009 Dele founded Nature’s Friends, a faith based permaculture institute, to train environmental stewards in underserved communities so that ALL may adapt to climate change. She is developing the Soil & Souls mission enterprise to train 300 climate mission leaders in Cuba and then dispatch them to communities in the U.S. that need the most assistance. Passionate about Creation Care, she spreads the “Gospel of the Garden”, encouraging people of all faiths to join in promoting the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

Rev. Dr. Faith Harris headshot NEWRev. Faith Harris: Baptist

Co-Chair
faithybharris@gmail.com

Rev. Dr. Faith B. Harris is a minister, community organizer, and activist as well as adjunct faculty for The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University (STVU).

She teaches several courses for STVU’s Center for Lifelong Learning (Continuing Education) and in its Master of Divinity degree program among them are Systematic Theology and Creation Care, Grassroots Organizing, and the Church, and has taught other practical theology courses for STVU.

Dr. Harris volunteers for a number of interfaith and grassroots organizations among them, Organizing for Action and Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. She is passionate about serving the faith community advocating for creation care and other justice issues to improve the quality of life and faith for all.

She demonstrates her passion and faith through the diverse activities of community organizing, teaching, public speaking, and ministry in the university, the community, and the church.

She has earned the Doctor of Ministry Degree and the Master of Divinity degree, from Virginia Union University and a Masters of Sacred Theology, with an emphasis in Practical Theology, Christian Social Ethics, and Ecclesiology from Boston University School of Theology.

Laura File Long: Christian

Staff
lfilelong@vaipl.org

Laura File Long grew up in southern West Virginia where coal was king — except, of course, in the small towns that had been decimated and abandoned after the mines dried up. However, it was not until her time at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where she majored in History and Religious Studies, that she became invested in educating herself and others about social justice and environmental issues. Inspired by her Christian faith and the charge in Micah 6:8 to seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God, Laura worked through WVWC’s Center for Community Engagement to create opportunities for awareness, education, and action.

Laura is committed to a future in faith-based social justice work. She is extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn from and be a part of the IPL team.

Rosina Pohlmann headshotRosina Pohlmann: United Methodist

Intern
Rosina Pohlmann is a student in Wesley Theological Seminary’s M.Div program. She currently resides in Charlottesville, VA with her husband, where she is an intern at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church. She is passionate about creation care and tends to organize for faith-based climate action wherever she goes. She has worked on divestment campaigns, taught at climate teach-ins, helped organize marches, founded green teams, and written about climate justice, among other initiatives. IPL has always been a resource and inspiration for her, and she is very excited to be on board!

Rampy_portraitAna Rampy: “secular” Buddhist

Intern
ana.sa.rampy@gmail.com

Ana Rampy is a rising third-year student at Emory & Henry College in Southwest Virginia. She is a Mass Communications/Environmental Studies double major and the current president of her college’s Association for Religious Diversity. She is passionate about the interconnectedness between environmentalism, social justice, and interfaith community-building.

Having spent a significant amount of time in rural Virginia, she understands the vitality of green initiatives in former “coal country,” and how one’s faith can serve as an olive branch between environmental justice and disenfranchised communities in Appalachia. As a “secular” Buddhist, she uses her faith to remain steadfast in her advocacy for Earth, as well as basing her principles on the Buddha’s teachings of compassion for all living beings.

Elizabeth Stevens: Christian, ecumenical

Staff
estevens@vaipl.org

Elizabeth Stevens has been working for climate justice in various roles since 2013, including as the Administration Assistant for the Unitarian Universalists for Social justice, the former Program Associate and Community Organizer for Interfaith Power & Light (MD.DC.NoVA) through two faith-based service corps, and as a volunteer for Virginia Interfaith Power & Light and Interfaith Youth for Climate Justice.

She graduated from Messiah College with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Sustainability Studies. It was in college that Elizabeth realized the implications of a Christ-follower’s call to being a good steward to Creation in order to love God and our neighbors. She became active in the Grantham Community Garden at Messiah College and a member of an intentional, environmentally conscious community, the Restoration House.