Rabbi Jonathan Klein
Rabbi Jonathan Klein proudly serves as the Executive Director at CLUE-LA. Prior to his ordination in 1997 from Hebrew Union College, Jonathan served congregations in Flagstaff, Arizona and Rye, New York. Upon receiving his rabbinical degree, he served three years as Director of KESHER, the Reform Movement’s College Department and then eight years as the Allen and Ruth Ziegler Rabbinic Director of USC Hillel, in Los Angeles. He is a songleader, music enthusiast, and lover of Jewish mysticism. An ardent environmentalist, he promotes sustainability with his communal involvements as a member of the board of the Coalition on the Environment in Jewish Life (COEJL-SC), as a member of the Environmental Commission of Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass’ district, and by serving on the Environmental Initiatives Committee of the Tel Aviv/Los Angeles Partnership. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, and on the executive boards of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis and Jews Against the War.
Prior to his role at CLUE-LA, Rabbi Klein served as the Development Director for Progressive Jewish Alliance, a result of his involvement as a lay leader there on its Economic Justice Working Group Steering Committee and as a member of its Los Angeles Regional Council. Prior to fundraising work, he is particularly proud of and nostalgic for his first job in the organization as a Community Organizer!
Rabbi Klein is the proud father of thirteen year-old son, Rachmiel, eleven year-old daughter, Kinneret, and six year-old daughter, Zimra.
Pastor Bridie Roberts
Pastor Bridie C. Roberts has been an activist and organizer for many years. Formerly she served as the Pastor of Pico Union Shalom Ministries, a progressive Shalom Zone Ministry of the United Methodist Church serving the heart of the inner city of Los Angeles in Pico Union. Under her leadership, this Spanish speaking/bilingual ministry focused on neighborhood peace building, free community education programs. It also worked on community organizing, homeless immigrant outreach, and the completion of a substantial affordable housing project for the neighborhood.
For the past eight years Ms. Roberts has also served with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Los Angeles. Her work has included clergy organizing on multiple campaigns, the development and leadership of the Young Religious Leaders Project, and acting as Senior Organizer for the CLUE LA. She currently serves full time as Program Director. Recently, Ms. Roberts was honored to be chosen to participate in an interfaith study tour and delegation to Egypt and Syria in a program coordinated by the National Peace Organization and ISSNA, and funded by the State Department. It was a joy to take CLUE’s message of community organizing and concern for workers to the global community. Previously Ms. Roberts has worked as a community organizer around affordable housing issues, grass roots urban planning and community greening, and community poverty issues in New York City, NY, Seattle, Washington, and Des Moines, IA. Originally from Miami, Florida, Bridie has lived in many places in the US, and attended college at Grinnell College, in Grinnell, IA, graduating with a BA in Political Science. In 2006 Ms. Roberts graduated from the Claremont School of Theology with a Masters of Divinity, emphasis in Urban Ministries. She has studied and traveled in Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America. Pastor Roberts is currently affiliated with Hollywood United Methodist Church, where she serves as Ministerial Candidate.
Elizabeth has spent the last thirteen years working in education, devoted to all students’ fair access to education. She began as a special education teacher, but taught for the last four years Art History at the college level. Elizabeth received an MA in Art History and Gender Studies in 2008 and has used the object of art as a basis for understanding social injustice. Her work at CLUE LA allows her to take her belief of justice for all beyond the classroom into the community she inhabits and loves. She believes that the united struggle for social transformation – economic, racial, and otherwise – starts locally and reverberates outward to the global community. Additionally, Elizabeth believes that faith communities are uniquely situated as they speak from a place of ancient tradition rather than current political trends. This appeals to her because it moves away from a simplistic fight over American politics and shifts the debate to one about human dignity and worth.
Gabriella organizes in Santa Monica for CLUE-LA. She is originally from Los Angeles, and has always had a passion for social justice. Beginning in junior high, Gabriella participated in various mission trips through both her church and school. While these were positive times with lifelong memories, she always felt there was so much more to be addressed. Gabriella attended Westmont Christian College in Santa Barbara originally majoring in biology. After hearing a message from Father Greg Boyle with Homeboy Industries, she changed her major to Liberal Studies with the intention of becoming an Elementary School Teacher in the inner city. During her time at Westmont, she worked briefly with Homeboy Industries, as well as Harambee Christian Family Center. She saw first- hand profound needs within inner-city communities that were not widely addressed and this concerned her. In the Fall of 2001, Gabriella did a study-abroad-program on the US/Mexico Border with Borderlinks. This deep immersion into a world filled with injustice fueled a desire to be part of lasting change. After graduating, Gabriella continued her education at Azusa Pacific University and went on to teach. She taught elementary school as well as junior/senior high school classes, but ut after 4 years realized that this was no longer the direction she desired to go in. She felt the Lord calling her elsewhere. Still seeking to work for justice, Gabriella began fundraising for various nonprofit organizations, joining CLUE-LA in 2012.
Guillermo works at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with CLUE-LA’s clergy committees in the San Pedro, Wilmington, and Long Beach committees. Guillermo was CLUE-LA’s organizer during the living wage campaign in Long Beach, and continues to organize with hotel worker, ports truck drivers, and local clergy. After years as a Teamster, local businessman, and immigration rights activist, Guillermo comes to CLUE with a wealth of experience and a heart for the various communities we work in and with.
Christopher recently completed his BA in Education and is now currently attending Claremont Lincoln for an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies looking at the intersection of Religion and Politics in social movements. He previously worked with Greenpeace for their global warming campaign and other issues around environmental justice. He was also a hotel front desk worker and a member of UNITE HERE Local 2 in the Bay Area. Christopher understands economic justice and his work at CLUE LA as integral to understanding his faith in praxis. When not working at CLUE LA and not in school-which is rare; he draws, paints, and watches too many movies.
Zachary Conron joined CLUE in June 2013. He is a Catholic with a special love for the history and spiritual traditions of his church. As well as working for an interfaith non-profit, he also comes from an interfaith family.
Zach earned a B.A. in History with a Minor in Peace Studies from Wheeling Jesuit University. As a student activist he led his school to drop the food service company Sodexo, because of their investments in the private prison industry.
Before joining CLUE, Zach worked as a social studies teacher and a political organizer on numerous campaigns, including the 2012 Living Wage Campaign in Long Beach. In his work he is motivated by the idea that the love you show your neighbor is the love you show to God.
Zach is our West Los Angeles organizer, and is working with CLUE CA and the California Council of Churches as a Certified Educator for Covered California, the statewide health insurance exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act. Ask him about healthcare today!
Nina Marie Fernando is a Sri-Lankan American vocalist, activist, hopeful idealist, and life-long learner. She first joined the CLUE-LA family in the summer of 2009 as a Young Religious Leaders Fellow primarily working on the Clean & Safe Ports campaign in Long Beach. She came back in 2010 organizing for Immigration Reform which included the epic bus ride to Arizona to protest against the racial profiling law, SB1070 and continued to show up and support CLUE-LA with her music and presence for a number of actions and events. She graduated from The Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands with a B.A. in Social Change through Music and Religious Studies and went on to be a part of the inaugural class of Claremont Lincoln University, a growing multifaith and multicultural consortium of schools and organizations, receiving an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing in on Religious and Cultural Studies: Ethics and Community Engagement. She now works as a musician in greater Los Angeles as well as an organizer for CLUE-LA’s UFCW and OUR Walmart campaigns.
Sam joined CLUE LA in August 2012 after a summer fellowship with the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. He grew up in San Bernardino, CA and graduated from UCLA in 2011. After college, Sam performed civil disobedience at an Occupy encampment, organized unions with caregivers and public servants, built a digital media archive for a local healthcare workers’ union, and worked with youth in Chinatown and Lincoln Heights for community development and against Walmart’s entry into Chinatown. He writes CLUE-LA’s e-mails, manages this website, and tweets at @clueLA.
Off the clock, Sam tweets @spsook, organizes with Asian Pacific American trade unionists, plays saxophone, studies California history, and reads on the bus.