Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Our Staff

Michelle Seyler

Executive Director

At the heart of Michelle’s philosophy for social change is her fundamental belief that the noble values of faith and spirituality guide our universal fight for equity and humanity. 

Before joining CLUE in 2019, Michelle oversaw the Naturalization and Family-Based Unit at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), where she supervised a team of people to secure legal status and citizenship for thousands of immigrants in Southern California. Michelle also worked as a manager and policy advocate for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a communications and marketing consultant for Healing Courage, a researcher and legal consultant for Foundation Beyond Belief, and a family advocate and counselor for La Casa de Las Madres. 

Michelle received her Bachelor of Arts degree from American University and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law. She is a Certified Domestic Violence Counselor and an Advisory Board member for Healing Courage. She also sits on the board of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law.

Thiên Ân (Mary) Duong

Faith-Rooted Organizer (Associate)

Thiên Ân (Mary) Duong is an Associate Pastor of Maywood Church. Born and raised in Sài Gòn, Việt Nam, 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.

Lucero Garcia

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.

David Jaimes

Faith-Rooted Organizer

David was born in Lima, Peru but grew up in Santa Ana, CA. His parents are pastors and they work with small Spanish-speaking immigrant Pentecostal churches. He is currently serving at Santa Ana UMC and pursuing ordination. David holds degrees from Barclay College and Fuller Theological Seminary in Theology. He has worked with various immigrant communities seeking justice as well as mobilizing faith leaders to action and compassion.

Pastor Stephen “Cue” Jn-Marie

Faith-Rooted Organizer

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 Overton

Faith-Rooted Organizer

Adam is a faith-rooted organizer working in Orange County. After humiliating working conditions and no health insurance as an adjunct professor, he joined the labor movement. With SEIU he helped organize adjunct faculty at art schools throughout Los Angeles, and with NUHW he worked with Fountain Valley hospital workers to demand fair treatment by management. He has been involved with Bend the Arc’s Immigrant Solidarity Committee and other immigrant rights coalitions in the fight against Trump’s racist deportation machine. He has been a shop steward, bargaining team member, CLUE Young Religious Leadership Fellow, massage therapist, artist, musician, and art community organizer. His faith calls him to stand with those fighting injustice and those demanding dignity for all.

Guillermo Torres

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.

Jacki Weber

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.

Our Board

Mary Stancavage

Co-Chair

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.

More about Mary Stancavage

Rev. Gary Bernard Williams

Co-Chair

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.

More about Rev. Gary Williams

Derek Smith

Treasurer

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 Dr. Stephen J. Einstein, Secretary

Secretary

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. 

Rev. John E. Cager

Member at Large

Pastor John Cager is the Senior Minister of the Ward AME Church in Los Angeles and has served as a pastor, social justice warrior, and social entrepreneur for over three decades. Rev. Cager’s commitment to serving the least, the lost, and the left out started at the iconic First AME (FAME) Church of Los Angeles where he created the MTA-funded Immediate Needs Transportation Program for seniors and disabled persons; and the Disneyland Summer Employment Program for youth from south Los Angeles.

Currently, he is the President of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders, as well as the Founder of the Faith Community Coalition of Greater Los Angeles. Cager also holds a variety of leadership posts within his denomination and is an active board member of several public benefit organizations. John was named Inland Valley Pastor of the Year in 2007, and has been married to the love of his life since 1994. 

La Mikia Castillo

Member at Large

La Mikia Castillo is Co-Founder & Principal of Castillo Consulting Partners, and an adjunct professor and alumna of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, where she received dual masters degrees in Public Policy and Urban Planning, and Certificates in Public Management and Political Management. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California San Diego with double majors in Ethnic Studies and Urban Studies & Planning. She is an Afro-Latina who was born and raised in Los Angeles with family roots in Panama, and is an activist and community organizer who is committed to improving outcomes for underserved communities. Professor Castillo teaches classes that focus on social innovation and the social context of urban planning, as well as Black and Latino relations. Her personal life experiences and faith encourage her passion for seeking justice and promoting policy changes that will make it possible for all communities to thrive.

Rev. Jennifer Gutierrez

Member at Large

Rev. Jennifer Gutierrez is an elder in the California Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church, having served as pastor at St. John’s UMC in Watts, as the Director of Justice and Compassion ministries for the conference, as Director of Urban Ministry for the conference, and as pastor of Pico Union Shalom Ministry, a Spanish-speaking mission church near downtown Los Angeles. Throughout her ministry, Rev. Gutierrez has helped begin a number of new initiatives, including the Cal-Pac Neighborhood Immigration Clinics and the Cal-Pac Shalom Cohort. She is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Museum of Social Justice, which features exhibits on a variety of topics affecting the most marginalized communities in Los Angeles. She lives in East Los Angeles with her generous husband, three talented children, and two beautiful dogs. 

Griselda Mariscal

Personnel Committee

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.

Vivian Rothstein

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.

More about Vivian Rothstein

Rev. Melissa McCarthy

Member at Large

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.

Rabbi Daniel Mehlman

Member at Large

Rabbi Daniel Mehlman works for Temple Ner Tamid of Downey.

Pastor Bridie Roberts

Personnel Committee

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.

Michael Soto

Member at Large

Michael Soto works for the National Union of Healthcare Workers

Ali Tweini

Personnel Committee

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.