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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.

After completing this training, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate 2-3 strategies for social workers working with gangs to contribute to decreased gang violence in marginalized communities
  • Summarize approaches in work with gang members that emphasize compassion, kindness, and kinship as key tools for combatting despair and decreasing marginalization

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. 

After completing this training, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate 2-3 implications of the Golden Rule for professional ethics
  • Describe 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.

After completing this training, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate ancestral resources and the connections to Indigenous ways that have sustained generations of people in Latina/o communities
  • Outline 2-3 strategies for social workers seeking to build resiliency and foster wholistic justice in the Latina/o communities in which they work

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-ovallle

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Examining Immigration Policy Through a Christian Lens: Practice and Advocacy Implications

NACSW has an exciting panel discussion planned for Saturday, November 20th from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm PT (1.0 CE) featuring Mary Rawlings, Department Chair & Professor, School of Social Work, Azusa Pacific University, Sandy Ovalle of Sojourners (Saturday Evening Banquet Speaker), Jonathan Fung, Director of Legal Services, Immigration Resource Center of San Gabriel Valley and Elizabeth Patterson Roe Associate Professor, Malone University. These distinguished panelist will discuss with our attendees current issues concerning Immigration. Some of the topics they will be discussing include:

  1. Helping social workers understand current policy relative to immigration and undocumented status, helping social workers understand that current policy makes it really hard for people to come to this country legally and the impact on service delivery to persons in this country that aren’t legal residents. There will be an update on the DACA legislation as well.
  2. Outlining critical context and understanding of the current crisis of unaccompanied minors at the border.
  3. Discussing ways that social workers and people of faith can get involved to advocate for more just policy and to meet needs of people seeking asylum and those here seeking legal status.
  4. Sharing biblical perspectives on immigrants and immigration.

After completing this training, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate several Christian perspectives on immigration policy and service delivery
  • Describe the current immigration structure in the United States including current policy, environmental context and barriers to entry
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