Leadership Bios

Auburn Action:

Isaac Luria is a leader in the multifaith movement for justice and a pioneer in prophetic communications for social change. As the brains behind Auburn Seminary's Groundswell digital platform, he helped grow the online faith-based social action network to a community of 115,000 people committed to faith-based social change. Isaac is also a trusted strategist and trainer in modern organizing with digital tools, faith-rooted story-telling for social change, and prophetic communications. Previous to his current role as Vice President of Auburn Action at Auburn Seminary, Isaac was the Vice President of New Media and Communications at J Street where worked passionately to build the political constituency in the United States to advocate for a secure Israel at peace with its neighbors. He is also currently a New Media Fellow at the New World Foundation.

Writing and Thought Leadership:

"How Story-Telling Changes Hearts and Minds." Tikkun Magazine. Nov 5 2014.
"Why We're Building an Ark." Sojourners. Sept 19, 2014.
"Making Money and Politics an Issue of Faith." PDF Report. Dec 2014.
"What Changes at Change.org Say About About us, Online Advocacy, and Our Movements." Huffington Post. Oct 30, 2012.
"In Machers vs. Obama, the Youth have Voted." The Forward. July 24, 2009.
"Stop Strip Mining Our Souls; Let’s Compost Non-Profit Culture." Let's Talk Movement Building. December 19, 2014.

Valarie Kaur, Founder, Groundswell, is an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights advocate, and interfaith leader who centers her work around the power of storytelling.  As founder of Groundswell at Auburn Seminary, she provided the vision and mission to form what is now the largest multifaith online organizing force for social justice. She has led national campaigns on hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, marriage equality, and solitary confinement. She is a prolific public speaker and frequent political contributor on MSNBC to the Melissa Harris-Perry Show. Her opinion essays regularly appear on CNNThe Washington Post, and The Huffington PostValarie earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, where she founded the Yale Visual Law Project to train students in the art of storytelling for social change. The Center for American Progress calls Valarie, a Sikh American, “a standout figure in the world of interfaith organizing and activism” and one of 13 national faith leaders to watch.

Michelle Reyf, Director, Groundswell, is a faith-rooted online organizer, campaign coach, and digital strategist. She manages, supports, and connects campaigns for justice started on the Groundswell platform by faith leaders and organizations, as well as Groundswell's social media inspiration project. Michelle originally came to Auburn Seminary as Director of Digital Media after working on the New Media team of J Street. She is an alum of Dartmouth College and the New Organizing Institute's New Media Bootcamp.

Dan Greenman, Technology Manager, Auburn Action, has worked with nonprofits for the past decade, focusing on operations, production, development and technology. Prior to joining Auburn, Dan was label manager and director of administration at JDub, a noted record label and Jewish cultural organization. Previously, he worked in documentary film production and as a journalist. Dan earned his B.A. in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Auburn Theological Seminary:

Rev. John H. Vaughn, Executive Vice President, Auburn Theological Seminary, led the Twenty-First Century Foundation’s response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita from relief to rebuilding. He created the Black Men and Boys program that is forming a national policy agenda shaped both by and for local communities. He also served as one of four senior pastors at the historic Riverside Church as Minister for Education and Social Justice.

Macky Alston, Director of Auburn Media, leads Auburn’s efforts to provide informed, engaging coverage of religion in the media. Alston is an award-winning filmmaker and an organizer in the worlds of media and religion. He has received the Sundance Film Festival Freedom of Expression Award, the Gotham Open Palm Award, three Emmy nominations, and appeared widely in the press, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show and The New York Times. Alston is currently making a documentary film about the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and the church/state battle over LGBT equality entitled The Truth Will Set You Free.


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