On Monday, January 28 join us at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in NYC as we explore the vital connection between faith and the advancement of human rights through a panel discussion with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Gerardo Reyes-Chavez, theologians Brian McLaren, Obery Hendricks, and Hussein Rashid, Rachel Kahn-Troster of T’ruah and moderated by Noelle Damico of the Alliance for Fair Food!

Today tens of thousands of farmworkers in seven states are harvesting free from slavery, sexual violence, and fear through the Fair Food Program which Harvard Business Review called “among the most important social impact stories of the past century.”  Now the program’s model is being translated to supply chains around the world.

 At a time when some corporations have more power than nation states and at a moment when human rights are under attack on every side, this gathering will provide common ground for us to reflect and marshal our moral and spiritual power on the side of human dignity and freedom. 

Click the image to download our flyer!

Click the image to download our flyer!

“I'm coming [to on Common Ground] because the unprecedented victory of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers is my favorite modern-day David and Goliath story to share with students. The CIW's wisdom and resourcefulness affirm human dignity, provide an ideal model for teaching social transformation, and inspire both faith and hope.” - Jacqueline Richard

More about our keynote panelists

Gerardo Reyes Chavez is a senior staff member with the award-winning human rights organization, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW).  Mr. Reyes is a farmworker and has worked in the fields since age 11, first as a peasant farmer in Mexico and then in the fields of Florida picking oranges, tomatoes, blueberries, and watermelon.  A CIW member since 1999, Mr. Reyes has worked with consumer allies to organize national actions in the Campaign for Fair Food.  As part of the implementation of the Fair Food Program, Mr. Reyes conducts workers’ rights education with thousands of farmworkers on participating tomato farms. Mr. Reyes speaks regularly about the Fair Food Program at events across the country, such as the Harvard Law School, the Aspen Institute, among others.  The Aspen Institute named him a 2018 Ricardo Salinas Scholar. He was a keynote speaker at the 2018 TEDMED Chaos+Clarity Conference.

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Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is an Auburn Senior Fellow and a leader in the Convergence Network, through which he is developing an innovative training/mentoring program for pastors, church planters, and lay leaders called Convergence Leadership Project. He works closely with the Center for Progressive Renewal/Convergence, the Wild Goose Festival and the Alliance for Fair Food’s Faith Working Group. His most recent joint project is an illustrated children’s book (for all ages) called Cory and the Seventh Story.

A life long social activist, Obery Hendricks is one of America’s foremost commentators on the intersection of religion and politics. He is the most widely read and perhaps the most influential African American biblical scholar writing today. The Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation has called his work “the boldest post-colonial writing ever seen in Western biblical studies.” Cornel West calls him “one of the last few grand prophetic intellectuals.” A former Wall Street investment executive and college president, he is currently a Visiting Scholar in Religion and African Studies at Columbia University and Emeritus Professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary. An Ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Hendricks holds the Master of Divinity with academic honors from Princeton Theological Seminary, and both the M.A. and Ph.D. in Religions of Late Antiquity from Princeton University

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Image courtesy of Ali Ansary, 2010

Image courtesy of Ali Ansary, 2010

Hussein Rashid has a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University, a Masters in Theological Studies focusing on Islam, and an MA and PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, focusing on South and Central Asia from Harvard University. His research focuses on Muslims and American popular culture. He writes and speaks about music, comics, movies, and the blogistan. He also has a background in South and Central Asian studies, with a deep interest in Shi’i justice theology. He has published academic works on Muslims and American Popular Culture, Malcolm X, qawwali, intra-Muslim racism, teaching Shi’ism, Islam and comics, free speech, Sikhs and Islamophobia, Muslims in film, and American Muslim spaces of worship. His current project focuses on the role of technology in teaching religion.

Rachel is T’ruah’s Deputy Director. Ordained in 2008 from the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she was a student activist and leader, she is a noted speaker and writer on Judaism and human rights, including speaking internationally on behalf of the U.S. State Department on the issue of human trafficking. Her writing has appeared on CNN.com, the Forward, the New York Daily News, the Huffington Post, and many other publications. Rabbi Kahn-Troster was named to the Jewish Week’s 2011 “36 under 36” for her human rights activism. She serves on the boards of the Alliance for Fair Food and and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.


Noelle Damico works with the Alliance for Fair Food, organizing institutional and grassroots involvement in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Campaign for Fair Food since 2001.  A Senior Fellow at the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, she serves on the board of directors of the Fair Food Standards Council that monitors the CIW's internationally recognized Fair Food Program.  An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Rev. Damico served as national staff for the UCC and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), organizing thousands of people of faith across the country to join CIW in successful rights advocacy. Rev. Damico teaches community organizing and social change at NYU Wagner and lectures widely on human rights and corporate accountability at universities conferences including keynotes at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe High Level Conference on Human Trafficking, the US Department of Justice’s National Human Trafficking Conference, and the NGO Working Group on Food and Hunger Policy at the UN.