Community Organizing Residency Participants

2014 COR Residents: Bay Area

Shira Batalion

Cantor Shira Batalion was invested as a cantor through the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2005.  She is currently the Executive Director of JYCA, Jewish Youth for Community Action a youth led social justice organization in Oakland, CA. Cantor Shira Batalion was previously the Rabbi/Cantor of Congregation Beth Hagivot in Fountain Hills, AZ , before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in late 2012. Shira was on the Staff of the Obama Campaign as a Field Organizer in 2012 in Orlando FL and in 2008 in Dayton Ohio. Shira also served as the music specialist at Pardes Jewish Day School, and as the Spiritual Leader of Temple B’nai Abraham in Bordentown, NJ, as the Education Director for Congregation Bet Haverim. Shira has participated in a variety of different types of community organizing efforts and social justice work.

Jose Daniel Pinell

Daniel Pinell was born in Managua, Nicaragua in 1985, and was raised during the tumultuous time of the Nicaraguan civil war. Coming to the United States in 2003 at the age of 17 and as a Catholic looking into doing urban and street ministry he got involved in prison ministry with Comunidad San Dimas and after leaving seminary, he joined an Ecumenical Christian order called InnerCHANGE in 2011, where he ministers to youth at risk inside and out of Juvenile Hall in San Francisco and Oakland. He joined EBASE in 2013 to work with FAME as an Immigrant Rights Organizer. As an Immigrant himself, he understands the pains and joy of migration, along with the loss of rights that comes with the move.

2014 COR Residents: New York

Cris Hilo

Cris joined the Arab American Association of New York as Youth Lead Organizer in March 2014. For the past six years, Cris Hilo has been educating, organizing, and mobilizing in the diverse communities around immigrant and workers' rights. She is a member of GABRIELA New York and works on issues of violence against women and children, especially human trafficking of migrant women. She had worked at Philippine Forum in Woodside, NY working on youth development and alliance work with worker organizations including jornaleros and street vendors to uphold immigrant rights. Alongside with her organizing in the Filipino Community, she has worked on union campaigns with nurses' and teachers' unions, including the American Federation of Teachers. She also does work with the Episcopal church, St. James Episcopal Church in Queens, New York - currently working on the issue of human trafficking. She finished her undergraduate degree in Natural Resources specializing in Environmental Justice and Community Education at Cornell University. She is originally from Los Angeles, California, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.

Pippi Kessler

From 2011-2014, Pippi Kessler was the Program Director at Ma'yan, a Jewish feminist educational organization, where she led feminist leadership programs for teen girls and workshops for parents and teachers. She now works as an independent consultant and speaker, a Ma'yan consultant, and as the Education Director at ImmerseNYC. With Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, she is working to organize domestic workers and employers as part of the Shalom Bayit campaign and also works with JFREJ young people as part of the Youth Brigade team. She is also the Director of Rowe Young People’s Camp, a summer program for 8 through 11-year-olds in western Massachusetts, and leads conferences for parents and educators about the ethics of working with young people. She was the National Coordinator for The Mothers Circle program at the Jewish Outreach Institute, a support and education program for women of other religious backgrounds raising Jewish children. She is currently completing her Masters degree in Social-Organizational Psychology at Teachers College. 

Melissa McCrumb

Melissa McCrumb joined the Make the Road team in January of 2013 to coordinate MRNY’s Sandy Recovery. She worked with the Sandy team to deliver high quality workforce development, legal and case management services to Sandy survivors, as well as help build organizing strategies and campaigns to shape policy and ensure a just and equitable rebuilding. Currently Melissa oversees MRNY’s Sandy Recovery, Small Business and Health Organizing. Melissa previously worked as a DART organizer where she lead campaigns focused on juvenile justice, and drug treatment and mental health care for ex-offenders.  She studied Anthropology at the University of Virginia.

Hajera Siddiq

Hajera Siddiq is organizing intern with Long Island Civic Engagement Table. She is currently still in college and is very motivated in social justice issues. 

Simone Zimmerman

Simone Zimmerman is organizing with Hand in Hand: the Domestic Employers Network. She was raised in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley. Simone was the J Street U National Student Board President and organized on campus to shift the American Jewish community's discourse and activism surrounding Israel/Palestine. Simone is thrilled to have the opportunity to join New York City's vibrant progressive organizing scene, and in particular to be joining a powerful, diverse coalition of inspiring women who are working to change the culture and political reality around domestic work, advocating for dignity and respect for workers and employers alike. 

2014 COR Residents: Twin Cities

Mohamed Ahmed

I am a 39 years old Somali, born, brought up and schooled in Kenya. I worked for United Nations for five years before relocating to United States to join my family, I got blessed with a beautiful baby girl whom I am looking forward to be the best father any child can get. Currently, I work with Somali Action Alliance as their Field Director.

Jessica English

Before joining TakeAction MN as an Economy Organizer, Jessica was instrumental in an Occupy Homes MN campaign to raise awareness about the growing rates of homeless children and the blight of vacant homes in the aftermath of the sub-prime loan crisis.  Prior to Occupy Homes MN, she was a Volunteer and Membership Coordinator with Coffee Party USA, organizing volunteers to produce four weekly, internet radio shows, and her own show which was dedicated to social and economic justice issues. Jessica’s passion for organizing is fueled by her own experience with homelessness and poverty – experienced both in her childhood and, as a single mom of four daughters, after her divorce in 2011.  As an Organizer with the Economy Program, Jessica engages people experiencing poverty wages, chronic unemployment and generational poverty nearly every day, in order to work together to create a more just economy.  She believes we all do better when the unique insights, stories, experience, voices, leadership and wisdom of the folks directly affected by economic injustice are elevated and are central to the work of creating an economically just Minnesota.

Lauren Muscoplat

Lauren Muscoplat is from Minneapolis, MN and grew up there for most of her life.  I have worked as a community organizer with Jewish Community Action for over 6 years.  My work mainly has involved working alongside immigrant communities on immigrant rights issues, as well as working with youth and in congregations on popular education based social justice trainings and curriculum development.  I have three daughters, Penina, Dahlia and Ayla (6/4/2 years old) and love all things related to music, food, biking and celebrating the gifts of life. 

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