Meet the Young Religious Leaders Fellowship Summer 2023

CLUE is delighted to announce the arrival of our latest fellows, who will participate in a rigorous training program in faith-rooted organizing and contribute to a crucial social justice campaign led by an experienced organizer. 

Charlotte Nim (任彥澄) but folks call me Char 🙂 I grew up in Monterey Park/SGV but home is also Hong Kong and where the people are. Recently I’ve been based in Western Massachusetts with the UMass Alliance for Community Transformation (UACT), learning how to build community and sharing collective knowledge across difference— and all the joys, conflict, struggle of that process. Through this organization as a college student, I saw one of our community partners (Pioneer Valley Project) bring community members, faith leaders, and youth to fight for change. It was the first time I’ve witnessed faith in action or a church aligned with social justice. My faith journey feels very fresh but I’ve come to realize I grew up around practices and rituals drawn from many faiths (even if not explicitly named… talk to me about qigong!). But I have always had a strong desire to feel at home, or in community. I am drawn to the Buddhist idea that if I am not at home with myself, I am not at home anyplace with anyone. This sounds similar to knowing ourselves to be our best selves to support one another, no? I’m at a place where my burgeoning faith, organizing (spaces), and queer paths are intersecting around liberation, community, love; I am eager to tap in and support CLUE’s work towards justice, to learn and practice faith-rooted organizing, and connect to a larger faith community.

Daniela Lozano Hernandez, I am 22 years old, and from Bloomington, CA. I am currently attending UCR studying Sociology with a minor in Education. I am Catholic, and enjoy serving in church by helping out specifically with religious education. I also enjoy serving the IE community and provide support as much as I can. In my free time, I like to spend time with my friends, my family and my dog. I love to stay in and watch movies as much as I enjoy going out ( maybe staying in a little more). This summer, I am excited to implement my faith into my work and to learn how to better serve the community. Most importantly I look forward to expanding my network and getting to know people of different backgrounds, faith paths and point of views who, like me, are looking to make a difference.

Isaiah Clayton, I am from Inglewood California. I currently attend Cal State Long Beach. I am a Christian and this summer I am hoping to learn how to better organize individuals, and create and execute an effective plan towards change. I have a passion for justice and I am glad I can be part of a program that seeks to bring that to fruition for others. As for some more personal things about myself,  I am  22 years old, adopted, colorblind, a music producer, and a poet. I love music but as of now my focus has been Christain RnB and Christian Rap. 

Celeste Rivero is a first-generation Mexican American woman born and raised in Orange County. Influenced by her Christian upbringing, she is driven by a deep desire for justice and social change. Celeste developed a strong sense of community and social responsibility from an early age. Growing up, she witnessed the power of faith and compassion in fostering connections and supporting those in need. Inspired by these values, she received a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services at Cal State Fullerton and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work at Boston University. Celeste has experience working directly with the unhoused, immigrant, and low-income communities, providing them access to much-needed resources, and currently works in the Community Health Services division at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove. Through her experiences, she has seen how necessary systemic change is to provide our communities with equal access to resources and opportunities. Through the YRLF, she aspires to learn how to engage community members and develop initiatives that address the unique needs of the most vulnerable in Orange County and work toward economic justice on a systemic level.

Ezra Golub, I’ve spent just about my whole life in Los Angeles being born in Mar Vista and now living in the San Fernando Valley. I’m now attending college at Wheaton in Massachusetts where I’m studying political science and history. I’ve had a long-term interest in politics since middle school and engaged with some local student organizing in high school. This interest is at least partially rooted in the value of “Tzedek” or justice, which I was brought up on in my Jewish community at Ikar. Working with CLUE Justice this summer, I aspire to expand my hands-on organizing skills while making a tangible difference in my community.

Jordyn Carpenter, I was born and raised in Long Beach. I recently graduated from UC Berkeley where I studied global development, public policy, and human rights. I come from a Christian background, specifically the United Methodist Church. Growing up in the UMC gave me a community that sparked my passion for activism and helping people. I hope this summer will help me see the things I’ve learned the past four years studying inequality and social issues in action in the world, and that I’ll get back in touch with my SoCal community.

Jose Armendariz and I am a 32 year old Chicano man and unfortunately I am also an impacted person who spent 16 years of my life behind bars for a crime that I did not commit. I truly believe that my personal experience is now an asset and something that helps me understand how the criminal Justice system operates by viewing things through a different lens. I am also a member of Transforming Justice OC an abolitionist organization with the aim of reimagining Justice. I am Messianic, which is a form of Judaism however with the faith and belief that Jesus was the true Messiah. Over this summer I hope to learn a new and different form of organizing that will offer me the opportunity to use my faith to fight for Social Justice issues that require humanity, love, and compassion, something that our country’s labor system, criminal and military system are no longer leading in as we have separated further from God. 

Lailah Bezan, and I am a Junior Political Science major entering my last year at UCLA. Ethnically, I am half-Libyan half-Mexican, born and raised in the Inland Empire. My faith tradition would be Sunni Muslim, my mother a convert from the Catholic tradition and my father a born and raised Muslim. From this fellowship, I hope to learn how to use my personal beliefs as a guide for social justice. In so many other spaces of my life, having a faith and expressing it was frowned upon or presented as antithetical to real social justice. But for myself, my faith guided me to feel for and help all human beings— even those outside of my belief system. Through this program, I hope to find more confidence in my beliefs and how I share them. Not just that, but I am eager to learn about the different avenues I can take in fighting the injustices towards people society largely ignores.