Meet the Team
Rev. Jennifer Gutierrez
Rev. Jennifer Gutierrez is an ordained United Methodist minister and has served as Pastor in several Los Angeles churches. She was Director of Urban Ministry for the Cal-Pac conference of the UMC, and most recently served as Executive Director of the Museum of Social Justice in Los Angeles. Rev. Jennifer also has a Master of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology and is currently working on her Doctorate of Ministry, also from Claremont.
Her commitment to CLUE’s mission and vision is unquestioned and she brings a deep understanding of labor and economic justice as well as the immigration issues facing our communities.She has been involved with CLUE for several years as an active clergy member, part of the Los Angeles Committee, a board member and, most recently, our interim ED beginning in January 2022. As a clergy member Rev. Jennifer also understands the connection between the labor and faith communities that has been CLUE’s focus and commitment since its inception.
Rev. Walter Contreras
Rev. Walter is a Member at Large of the Presbytery of San Gabriel Valley of the PCUSA. Walter has served as an associate Superintendent and the Coordinator of Hispanic Ministries for the Covenant Church and Director of Outreach and Hispanic Church Planting for the Pacific Southwest area. He has worked as a consultant for Esperanza USA in California, Tucson and Tacoma. His passion for community development and community transformation in ministries of compassion, mercy and Justice has always driven his heart.
Rev. Thiên Ân (Mary) Duong
Senior Faith-Rooted Organizer (Associate)
Thiên Ân (Mary) Duong is an Associate Pastor of Maywood Church. Born and raised in Asia, she has long witnessed the power of faith communities in resisting oppressive systems, fighting for liberation, and embodying hope in society. After pursuing an undergraduate degree in Intercultural Studies and Business Administration, she completed her Master of Divinity to learn spiritual tools and traditions to help sustain and empower communities for transformation in the face of violence and injustice.
Senior Faith-Rooted Organizer
Lucero graduated from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) with a Bachelor’s degree in Global Cultures and History and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning. She first joined CLUE in 2017, where she led the CLUE immigration work in Orange County. She primarily organizes in Santa Ana and mobilizes the faith community in support of equitable community development dedicated to promoting economic justice, building community wealth, and healthy neighborhoods. Lucero sits on the board of THRIVE Santa Ana, the first community land trust in the City of Santa Ana. Her faith is grounded in God’s love for justice and calls her to stand with the most vulnerable in the fight for dignity, justice, and respect.
HR Admin Manager
Kara comes to CLUE from the world of after-school youth programs, where she worked as an administrator for five years. She has been a part of the African Methodist Episcopal church all of her life and aspires to be a youth pastor. Until then, she’s excited to serve as CLUE’s HR and Admin Manager, while simultaneously serving as the director of the Young Peoples Department at Johnson Chapel Santa Ana AME Church.
After growing up in a Chinese and Ashkenazi Jewish family in Cerritos, he studied history and music at UC Irvine, and earned a Master’s in Jewish studies at NYU. He has since pursued a career in social justice organizing, working with the California Democratic Party and CAIR on electoral campaigns and Census outreach, and serving in volunteer leadership roles with Bend the Arc and Never Again Action. Matthew teaches Hebrew School at Temple Isaiah, is a member of the Boyle Heights Chavurah, and serves on the Grant Advisory Committee of the Jews of Color Initiative. He feels called by his faith and identity to help build a multiracial democracy in Los Angeles in solidarity with workers, immigrants, and our diverse communities.
Pastor Stephen “Cue” Jn-Marie
Pastor Cue is a former Virgin Records hip-hop artist who became the pastor at Skid Row’s Church Without Walls years ago. He has been active with CLUE since 2009 and on staff with CLUE since 2014.
Adam is a faith-rooted organizer with CLUE: Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice in Orange County. Following his passion to teach, he ended up having to survive as an adjunct professor, teaching part-time between seven different colleges, and throughout this experienced humiliating working conditions and years without health insurance. Fed up, in 2014 he quit and joined the labor movement to help hundreds of adjunct art faculty like himself organize their unions in Los Angeles. He later joined NUHW as an organizer, accompanying healthcare workers at Fountain Valley Hospital in Orange County as they demanded respect from management and quality care for their patients.
In 2017, after his neighbor, Romulo, was abducted by ICE while dropping his daughters off at school, Adam reconnected with his Jewish justice roots and began volunteering with CLUE in the fight against Trump’s unconscionable attacks against immigrants. His spiritual life was then further agitated after participating in CLUE’s summer-long Young Religious Leaders Fellowship.
As a worker Adam has been a shop steward and bargaining team member, and in addition to teaching has been an artist, musician, art community organizer, and a massage therapist in grocery stores.
As a Jew he feels called to stand with those fighting injustice and demanding dignity for all. Do you feel that call in your heart, too? Do you believe a new world is possible? Then please call me and let’s organize!
Immigration Program Director
Guillermo Torres spearheads CLUE’s immigration and outreach campaigns. Guillermo was the lead CLUE organizer for the successful living wage campaign in Long Beach as well as the first-ever Flying Food workers unionization campaign at LAX. In that capacity, he also advocated for strong community benefits agreements in new building developments, particularly for securing local, diverse hiring, and worker rights. Prior to joining CLUE, Guillermo was a Teamster and an immigrant rights activist. His faith is a vital part of his work. Though he was raised a Pentecostal, he only reconnected with his faith in 2007, after a painful encounter. He sees this God’s love revealed in his work to heal injustices and suffering in our community.
Director of Development
Jacki’s passion for justice and human rights dates back to her college days at San Diego State University where she worked to pass California’s historic insurance reform initiative Proposition 103 and began organizing high school and college students as a member of Amnesty International. She graduated SDSU with a Bachelors in Journalism. Since then, she has worked in media and nonprofits, including serving as Chief Development Officer for Homeboy Industries, Development Director at The Broad Stage, and Development Director for KCRW. Jacki is a lay leader in the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica, where she raised her three children. Her faith calls her to “side with love” and work for justice for all.
Rev. Melissa McCarthy
Rev. Melissa McCarthy serves as canon to the ordinary in the six-county Diocese of Los Angeles. Born and raised in Bakersfield, McCarthy is a 1998 graduate of the University of California, Riverside, with a bachelor of arts degree in religious studies. She has worked professionally in the performing arts, including teaching, performing, and arts administration. She has served on the boards of Canterbury USC and Camp Stevens, where she works as a chaplain each summer. In addition, Rev. McCarthy has been a facilitator and mentor for the newly ordained in this diocese for the last seven years.
Ali Tweini is a revenue analyst for the UCLA Health System, a position he has held since 2011. Before that, he was a vice-president in the board of directors at Cedars-Sinai Federal Credit Union. He has long been active in the fight for workers rights and currently serves as Political Coordinator of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 2010. He is also a member of the Teamsters 2010 Executive Board. He is committed to fighting for workers’ place at the decision-making table.
Mary Stancavage is an empowered dharma teacher with a deep commitment to engaged Buddhism (which means working towards equality and justice wherever necessary). She has practiced meditation, and cultivated a spiritual practice for more than 30 years.
Derek Smith has been a community and political organizer in LA and Orange County for over 20 years. He has worked on several living wage campaigns in cities such as Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Long Beach, and Anaheim. He was inspired to join the labor movement after witnessing the courage and tenacity of Santa Monica housekeepers fighting for their union at the Miramar Hotel. Through policy and direct action, he hopes to continue the partnership of low wage workers and community and faith leaders. Prior to joining UFCW 324, where he serves as political director, he worked with UNITE HERE Local 11 and LAANE.
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels is the Rabbi Emeritus of Beth Shir Shalom, the progressive Reform synagogue in Santa Monica/West Los Angeles. He received his rabbinic ordination and his honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
“Rabbi Neil” brought original music and pioneering spiritual celebrations to Beth Shir Shalom, intimate Shabbat gatherings weaving a tapestry of music, study and prayer (with innovative texts and translations).
Rabbi Comess-Daniels is active in many community organizations, especially those involving communal repair, including Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), of which he is a founding board member and from which he received a Giants of Justice Award, Muslim Public Affairs Council (Peace Award), Upward Bound House (Community Spirit Award), the National Conference of Community and Justice (Distinguished Merit Award), the Santa Monica Area Interfaith Council, of which he is a past chair, Martin Luther King Jr. Westside Coalition (Community Light Award).
Rabbi Dr. Stephen J. Einstein
Member at Large
Rabbi Stephen Einstein is the Founding Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley, Orange County. He is the co-editor of Introduction to Judaism: A Sourcebook, which was used for basic Judaism courses throughout North America for over three decades. He is also co-author of Every Person’s Guide to Judaism. Rabbi Einstein is Past President of the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council and an active member of the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue. He served on the Fountain Valley School Board for six years and on the School District’s Personnel Commission for 27 years.
Christopher French is a Senior Asset Manager at Hollywood Community Housing, a non-profit affordable housing developer that provides housing and supportive services for low-income families and formerly homeless individuals.
He studied religion and social change at Claremont School of Theology and has a breadth of experience in faith rooted organizing, electoral politics, nonprofit operations, and finance gained through his employment at Greenpeace and CLUE among others.
Rooted in his Grandfather’s faith-based pacifism; the failed anti-war protests against the second Iraq war, a life-altering accident, and working low wage jobs transformed his worldview and his faith from a personal assent to one that requires an ongoing active co-creation of a just world with others.
His previous work at CLUE has shown him the sacred and unique power of clergy and workers working together to make that change.
Member At Large
John Grant is the President Emeritus of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 770.
He graduated University of California at Santa Barbara, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude with a specially-designed major in Urban Studies, in 1973. He received his J.D. from Loyola Law School in 1976, the same year he passed the California Bar Exam.
John then became a meat packer at a Los Angeles slaughter house. He worked there for nine years. He was one of the leaders of the 1976 walkout and strike at Farmer John (for which he was illegally fired in 1977 and was later restored to work by the National Labor Relations Board). While there, he served as Shop Steward and Vice-President of the Local.
In 1985, he was hired by the Local where he served as a Union Representative, Packinghouse Director, In-house Counsel, Secretary-Treasurer and President, as well as VIce-President of the California State Federation of Labor and of the UFCW International Union. He retired from the Local in 2022. He still serves as Chair of the UCLA Labor Center Advisory Board.
He is a member of Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanjii Buddhist Temple, where he was confirmed in 1997.
Griselda Mariscal has over 25 years in the labor movement and currently works in the Organizational Development Department with United Healthcare West, SEIU-UHW. The daughter of Mexican immigrants and a native of Los Angeles, Griselda’s activism began in 1994 against California’s Proposition 187. Upon graduation from Occidental College, Griselda joined with the Culinary Union, HERE in Las Vegas, Nevada and then HERE, Local 11 in the fight to give a voice to hotel and restaurant employees in Santa Monica, CA. As part of the “Living Wage” movement, she collaborated with community organizations, including CLUE. Griselda subsequently joined the American Federation of Labor, Western Region, AFL CIO, where she continued to fight alongside hotel workers, airline customer service representatives, and immigrant workers in California, Arizona and Nevada.
She has spent the last 16 years in the fight for healthcare justice and quality patient care. She worked first with the United American Nurses’ Union, where she ran organizing campaigns for nurses in Michigan, Minnesota and Kentucky. For the last decade she has been with SEIU, fighting alongside healthcare professionals in Nevada and California. It is her deep belief that working people have real power when they act collectively, and that their collective power is enhanced through coordinated efforts with community groups, such as CLUE. Griselda has faith in a God of justice and dignity, and for those ideals she has worked and has even been arrested several times in acts of civil disobedience. Griselda is a mother of two powerful, beautiful girls.
Rabbi Daniel Mehlman
Member at Large
Rabbi Daniel Mehlman works for Temple Ner Tamid of Downey.
Pastor Bridie Roberts
Member at Large
Pastor Bridie Roberts is the Community Organizing Director for UNITE HERE Local 11 and associate pastor for Hollywood United Methodist Church. Pastor Roberts has extensive experience in Faith-Rooted Organizing (as a former Program Director at CLUE), and staff development and training.
Personnel Chair, Santa Monica CLUE Committee Member
Vivian Rothstein was introduced to activism through the civil rights movement of the early 1960s. She was a Mississippi Freedom Summer volunteer in 1965 and later a community organizer in Uptown Chicago working to build “an interracial movement of the poor”.
In 1967 Rothstein participated in a peace delegation to North Vietnam to witness American bombing of civilian targets. Upon returning to the U.S. she helped organize the Jeannette Rankin Brigade in January, 1968, the first national women’s march against the Vietnam War in Washington D.C. as well as subsequent meetings between American and Vietnamese women to end U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Rothstein was a founder of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (CWLU) in 1968, one of the first women’s liberation organizations established at the time (and featured in “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry”). CWLU included a rape hotline, speakers bureau, liberation school for women, pregnancy testing clinic and many other local projects.
Rothstein has been with the L.A. Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) for the past 20 years, working to lift standards for low wage workers in Southern California. She initiated an archive and oral history collection covering the work UNITE HERE Local 11, the local hotel workers union, which is now housed at the UCLA Research Library.
Member at Large
Michael Soto is the SoCal Political Community Coordinator for the National Union of Healthcare Workers. The son of Latinx immigrants, raised in the hills of Ventura County, both of Michael’s parents worked so he spent early years with his grandparents in the San Fernando Valley. A devout Catholic Michael’s Abuelo was a deacon of his church and his Abuela was said to have given over 1,000 burritos to feed the hungry, both of them instilled Michael with a strong sense of justice and the importance of giving back to the community. As a teenager during the great recession, Michael witnessed numerous friends and family struggle while the rich and powerful profited, during this time Michael recognized the need to combat economic injustice and saw that the labor movement was one of the few avenues to empower working people. When Michael’s mother joined the California Teachers Federation, it allowed Michael to learn more about the labor movement and issued him to become an activist in college and beyond. After a few years of working in electoral politics, Michael decided to join NUHW where he has the privilege of advocating for caregivers and their patients.
Rev. Gary Bernard Williams
Member At Large
Pastor Gary Williams was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He is the pastor of Saint Mark UMC in the heart of South Los Angeles. He’s passionate about congregational revitalization, spiritual transformation, and community engagement. Pastor Gary has a prophetic, progressive, and transformative vision of what South Los Angeles can be.