Last year was a time of dynamic engagement for social justice, and progressive faith leaders and religious communities spearheaded much of the action. They tackled the crisis in our immigration system, poverty, climate change, threats to religious freedom and women’s reproductive rights, criminal justice, voting rights, and more. From houses of worship offering prayer vigils around the country to faith-based groups leading rallies outside the U.S. Supreme Court, people of faith are giving public witness to the moral values embedded in our nation’s policies.
Working strategically at the local, state, and national levels, religious leaders and faith advocates remind us how important faith voices are as we work together to create a more just and equitable nation. This year promises to be filled with more vibrant faith engagement. As we look ahead, the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative has crafted a list of 15 progressive faith leaders and groups to watch in 2015 as they work to bring about enduring change.
11. Rudy Lopez. Lopez is the incoming executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, or IWJ. A former senior organizer for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement with the Center for Community Change, Lopez has more than a decade of experience in grassroots organizing, leadership development, and education and outreach in disenfranchised communities. That, along with a commitment to comprehensive immigration reform, led him to join last year’sFast for Families bus tour, as well as the board of NETWORK Education Program, the education arm of the national Catholic social justice lobby behind Nuns on the Bus. With increased visibility and strong connections in the faith-based advocacy community and grassroots networks, Lopez is the right person to build on IWJ’s successes organizing people of faith andraising the profile of labor issues such as increasing the minimum wage and preventing wage theft.