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Keynote Speakers 2021

Opening Plenary:
Thursday, November 18th, 2021 at 7:00 pm (PST) (1.0 CE)

Father Greg Boyle –

Founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.

“Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship”

Gregory Boyle will share how compassion, kindness and kinship are the tools to fight despair and decrease marginalization.  Through his stories and parables, all will be reminded that no life is less valuable than another.

Presenter Bio: A native Angeleno and Jesuit priest, from 1986 to 1992 Father Boyle served as pastor of Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights, then the poorest Catholic parish in Los Angeles that also had the highest concentration of gang activity in the city.

Father Boyle witnessed the devastating impact of gang violence on his community during the so-called “decade of death” that began in the late 1980s and peaked at 1,000 gang-related killings in 1992.  In the face of law enforcement tactics and criminal justice policies of suppression and mass incarceration as the means to end gang violence, he and parish and community members adopted what was a radical approach at the time: treat gang members as human beings.


Alan Keith-Lucas Lecture:
Friday, November 19th, 2021at 11:30 am (PST)(1.0 CE)


Rev. James C. Raines, PhD, MDiv., MSW –

Professor at California State University, Monterey Bay, CA

One-Anothering: A Christian Approach to Professional Ethics

The phrase “one another” is used 65 times in the New Testament. Using John 13:34 as a starting point, this institute will discuss the implications of the Golden Rule for professional ethics, identifying the ethical problems with a literal approach, and recommending a more nuanced principled approach for professional ethics. It will also explore the implications for Christian social work practice with believers and nonbelievers. Finally, it will investigate whether or how a Christian’s conscientious objection should influence professional ethics and practice.  

Presenter Bio: Jim is an ordained Presbyterian minister and President of the School Social Work Association of America. He has been President of the Illinois Association of School Social Workers and the Midwest Council of School Social Workers. He has written four books published by Oxford University Press. He was the Department Chair of Health, Human Services and Public Policy at California State University Monterey Bay from 2010 – 2016. He was Chair of the Senate Curriculum Committee Council from 2013-2017. Jim is a lifetime member of NACSW.


Banquet Speaker: Saturday November 20th 2021 at 7 pm (PST) (1.0 CE)

Sandy Ovalle –

Director of Campaigns and Mobilizing, Sojourners

Rooted: The communities and practices that have kept us alive 

Sandy will reflect on the ancestral resources and the connections to Indigenous ways that have sustained generations of people in Latina/o communities fostering resiliency and providing a valuable resource to those working to build wholistic justice.

Presenter Bio:

Sandy Ovalle is a native of Mexico City. Currently, she serves as the Director of Campaigns and Mobilizing for Sojourners in Washington, DC. In her role, Sandy oversees church mobilization and activist engagement around different justice areas including: climate, democracy and voting, immigration, women and girls, nonviolence and peace. Sandy leads the strategy behind SojoAction, the mobilizing arm for Sojourners. Before this, Sandy worked with immigrant and refugee communities, providing direct legal and resettlement services as well as mobilizing faith groups for advocacy around issues that impacted these communities. Sandy has also worked in campus ministry with college students in Texas and California through Destino Movement.

She holds an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Sandy is the 2018 recipient of the Olga Martinez award for excellence in ministerial work. 

She loves writing poetry, gathering people around a table full of home-made pozole, and thinking about the complexities of living in between worlds as an immigrant Latina.

Publications by Sandy can be found at https://sojo.net/biography/sandy-ovalle

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