Mrs. Aliya Farooq has a degree in Business Administration from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She was born in Washington DC and raised in Maryland. Aliya moved to Chester, Virginia in 1997, when her husband began his medical practice in Hopewell. She served on the Board of Directors at Iqra Academy of Virginia from 2000 to 2015, in the positions of secretary, vice-chair, chair and consultant. Since then, Aliya has been an active member of several local interfaith organizations such as Richmond Interfaith Climate Justice League and Salaam Shalom. With Richmond Interfaith Climate Justice, she was able to assist in three educational programs regarding urgent climate change issues, held at the Islamic Center of Virginia. She has also contacted other local Mosques and has encouraged them to implement greener practices. Aliya believes that women are the backbone of all societies and have the power to create change within communities.
Mr. Mark Hoggard is a disciple of Jesus Christ in the Roman Catholic Christian Tradition. He holds an M.Div. in Theology from St. Meinrad School of Theology, and an M.A. in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame. He has over 30 years of experience in parish ministry, currently as a Pastoral Associate at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Norfolk, Virginia. He also serves in the choir and on the Care for Creation team at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hampton, VA. He is passionate about liturgy, peace and justice issues (especially environmental concerns), and helping parishes and individuals discover their God-given talents and use them to spread the Gospel. Mark serves on the Board of the National Association for Lay Ministry and is a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. He is trained in group facilitation methods by the Institution for Cultural Affairs USA and is a Level I Strengths Coach with Gallup Faith Practices. He also enjoys volunteering regularly with the Sierra Club.
Dr. Laura Hartman was born and raised in Kentucky, where she learned to love trees and find spirituality in the mountains. She studied religion in college and graduate school, earning her Ph.D. in environmental ethics in 2008. She has been an invited speaker on environmental topics in a variety of Christian and non-Christian contexts and has experience with interfaith dialogue. She is the author of The Christian Consumer: Living Faithfully in a Fragile World (Oxford, 2011) and the editor of That All May Flourish: Comparative Religious Environmental Ethics (Oxford, 2018). She has taught in the environmental studies program at Roanoke College since 2018. She lives in Roanoke and loves to sing, ride the bus, and pray for the healing of creation.
Rev. Dr. LaKeisha Cook: Baptist
Rev. Dr. Lakeisha Cook is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia from where she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor concentration in Religious Studies, and a Master’s of Divinity. She also earned Master’s in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from the Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. She is the founding pastor of the Imani Community Church of Tempe, Arizona, and has served as a program administrator for the Kyrene School District in Tempe, AZ . She is currently serving as the Criminal Justice Reform Organizer for Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy in Richmond, Virginia where they successfully led a campaign that abolished the death penalty in Virginia.
Ms. Kendyl Crawley Crawford: Baptist
Ms. Kendyl Crawley Crawford has served in several volunteer and staff leadership positions with Virginia Interfaith Power & Light over the past seven years, including Director, Co-Director, Chair, and Co-Chair. As the former Richmond Conservation Program Manager for the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, she worked on community organizing around climate change and toxic pollution with communities around the state. She received a bachelor’s degree 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 2018, she received a Master’s of Nonprofit Studies degree at the University of Richmond and was chosen to be Student Commencement Speaker representing her class. Kendyl currently serves on the Virginia Conservation Network Board, on the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice, the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group, the Clean Energy Advisory Board, and the Virginia Community Rights Network Advisory Council.
Swami Dayananda: Interfaith Yogi
Swami Dayananda is an environmental advocate and a monastic student of Swami Satchidananda. She lives in the Yogaville community in Buckingham, Virginia where she is a Hatha Yoga teacher. She served as a director of Yogaville Environmental Solutions (YES) from 2014 to 2017 to conduct peaceful protest against Atlantic Coast Pipeline and has served as a director of LOTUS Center for All Faiths. Her service with faith and the environment led her to work with the Union Hill Baptist Church, when the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) was announced in 2014 to be built within one mile of two churches in the community. In 2015, she joined Friends of Buckingham, to protect the environment and to stop Environmental Injustice. She took the Climate Reality Project training by former Vice President Al Gore in 2019, and was one of the clergy who spoke at an event dedicated to Environment and Climate Justice at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. She believes that the Rights of Nature can contribute greatly to legally protect our environment and serves as a member of the Advisory Council for the Virginia Community Rights Network (VACRN). She has since become a farmer focused on sustainability and healing, growing hemp for flowers and experimenting with hemp for fiber. Her farm, Grown for Good LLC, is now developing vermiculture, compost, and sustainable soil; also growing vegetables and healing herbs at the farm. She also manages a rental property near Yogaville where she plans to attract programs related to interfaith, social and environmental justice issues.
Mr. Steve Fishbach: Jewish
Mr. Steve Fishbach is the Litigation Director at the Virginia Poverty Law Center, the state support center for all the civil legal aid programs in Virginia. Before moving to Virginia, he worked for 30 years at Rhode Island Legal Services, the only federally funded legal aid program in Rhode Island. He has served on several boards in Rhode Island and is presently a board member of the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative. In Rhode Island, Steve was a founding board member of the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island and served on the boards of one small community development corporation boards: Good News Housing/Community Land Trust (also a founding board member). He has assisted several organizations with drafting articles of incorporation, by-laws, and applications for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Steve provides legal opinions on matters that come before the board and also advises the Board on laws and legislative proposals related to environmental justice and climate justice.
Rev. Monica Flippen is a native of Richmond, VA, and is the youngest of four siblings. She is Vice President of KEi Architects, where she has been employed for over 18 years. She’s a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects and Construction Specification Institute. Monica has a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology and Mathematics, a Master’s degree in Mathematical Sciences and is currently matriculating through the Master of Divinity Program at The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, Virginia Union University (STVU). Monica is passionate about creation care and is an advocate for education and awareness within faith-based organizations. She currently serves as the student representative for the Green Seminary Environmental Certification Program at STVU. Monica’s goal is to encourage, equip, and enlighten others to grow in the grace and knowledge of creation care.
Dr. Sally Johnston: Presbyterian
Dr. Sally Johnston has enjoyed a vocation in educational ministry in a variety of settings: campus ministry, church education, university teaching and administration, and theological education. A graduate of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (MA 1979; EdD 1994), her doctoral dissertation theorized the educational implications of eco-theologian Sallie McFague’s Models of God. Since 2013, the urgency of our climate crisis has propelled Sally to devote much of her free time to eco-faith practices in her home, church, and community. As a volunteer with VAIPL and a member at Second Presbyterian Church she has been engaged in environmental justice advocacy and education. She has led ecojustice workshops and presented papers at national gatherings of religious educators (APCE and REA) and taught eco-theology classes at her church. Her desire is to help religious educators and people of faith discover the biblical and theological foundations for eco-justice and to enjoy the healing gifts of eco-spirituality. Sally recently served as an adjunct professor (2019) for Union Presbyterian Seminary and is currently volunteering in a project to help green the seminary’s curriculum.
Rev. Dr. David Arnez Jones was born and raised in Highland Park, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Rev. He is currently a pastor at the Williams Memorial Baptist in Roanoke, Virginia. Pastor Jones has initiated a broad, progressive agenda for this historic church. He may be heard each Sunday on WTOY radio at 8:30 a.m. on the radio broadcast “Think on These Things.” Rev. Jones has earned the Associate of Divinity from Mid-Atlantic Theological Seminary; the Bachelor of Ministry and Master of Biblical Studies from Jacksonville Theological Seminary; the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Jones is the Political Action Chair of the Roanoke Branch of the NAACP and is involved in several community action groups including the Northwest Faith Partnership, the Equal Justice Group, RAISE (Roanoke Area Interfaith Stewards of the Earth), the Pledge to End Racism, and the Roanoke Gun Violence Task Force.
Rev. Andrew Millard has served the Mission of the UU Fellowship of the Peninsula (Newport News) since 2010. Born and raised in England, he came to the United States for graduate school in physics; some years later he joined the Sierra Club, the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, the World Pantheist Movement and the Unitarian Society of Hartford (in that order). He went back to school at Hartford Seminary before transferring to the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. Andrew lives in Gloucester with Allison, their pre-teen daughter and their furry family.
Rabbi Daniel S Alexander: Jewish
Ordained a rabbi in 1979 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi Dan served nine years as the Executive Director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation at the University of Virginia. He has taught in the Department of Religious Studies at UVA, for the Chaplaincy Services of the UVA Health System and at churches, schools, and civic organizations. In 1988, he began a 28-year career as rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, retiring and becoming Rabbi Emeritus in 2016.
Rabbi Dan earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Wesley Theological Seminary in 2002 and completed a two-year training in Jewish Spiritual Direction in 2007. He founded the Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by People in Congregations Together (IMPACT), an organization devoted to social justice in Charlottesville. A lifelong lover of the outdoors, he has served as one of IMPACT’s representatives on the national Steering Committee, Care for Creation. He has also served on IMPACT’s Strategy and Research Committees for the local Care for Creation work.
Rabbi Alexander and his wife have been blessed by their two adult children and four
Ms. Sonal Iyer has over 15 years of experience working in non-profit and government sectors in environmental sciences, public health, strategic continuous improvement, spiritual teaching, and k-12 STEAM programs. She is a fellow at Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute, holds Master of Science (Biology/Toxicology), Master of Technology (Environmental Science & Engineering), Master of Science (Microbiology), Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) degrees and Six Sigma Lean Black Belt certification. From 2010 till 2020, Ms. Iyer was a teacher at the Chinmaya Mission of Richmond where she led the weekly classes for K-12 students, planned and executed festival celebrations and annual day functions.
As HCPS school Destination Imagination (DI) coordinator and First Lego League team manager, she has led the information and mentoring sessions to expand DI program, recruit adult volunteers, and help with fund-raising while creating awareness for reducing waste and reusing/recycling discarded materials for school projects. Sonal is corporate member at the Hindu Center of Virginia and a life member of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). She currently serves on the board of Central Virginia chapter of Destination Imagination. Sonal believes that the true commitment for a cause comes from within and one of the most important ways to get people to commit is to empower them through knowledge.
Renada Harris is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, business owner, and fierce community activist. She is the Executive Director of the Brown Grove Preservation Group, which aims to fight industrial gentrification and protect 150 years of community history. Her goal is to bring awareness to EJ communities and engage stakeholders around environmental injustice while navigating cultural differences. She has organized networking events for organizations involved in environmental and reparative justice and isn’t afraid to call out corporate leaders who have contributed to environmental injustice. She is a dynamic leader capable of forming collaborations and developing public education opportunities that support community-led efforts.
Renada has worked with African American Redress Network, a partnership between the Thurgood Marshall Center at Howard University and the Institute of the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. Climate Action VA, Resolutions Addressing Systemic Racism, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Africatown, First Repair from Evanston, Illinois, NAMATI, NCOBRA, Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative, and Sierra Club to name a few.
As a leader in the movement, Renada underscores the importance of bringing the issues of environmental injustice to the forefront of people living in these communities.