Groundswell is a growing online community of more than 200,000 people who believe faith can be a force for good in the world. Faith-rooted leaders, organizers, and others motivated by faith and moral commitment come to Groundswell to be inspired to take faithful action, to learn how to organize in a digital age, and to use cutting-edge tools to support their work healing and repairing the world.
Groundswell is proudly powered by Auburn Seminary. Created in the spirit of Auburn’s mission to “trouble the waters and heal the world,” Groundswell is Auburn’s platform that equips leaders in multifaith movements for justice with the digital communications tools, training, and resources they need to catalyze change.
When we say MULTIFAITH, we mean people motivated by faith, spirituality or moral commitment to stand up, speak out, work together, and take action.
When we say MOVEMENTS, we mean a wide variety of organizations, leaders, donors, activists, people, and connective tissue who, motivated by faith and moral commitment, are working to heal and repair the world.
When we say for JUSTICE, we mean that we are advocating for a world that is free, strong, compassionate, and prosperous—and animated by a commitment to values of Human Dignity, Vulnerability, Right Relationship, Sacred Safety, Compassion, Pluralism, Hospitality, Embodiment.
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 200,000+ 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 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.
Michelle Reyf is Director of Groundswell. With super powers in digital chaplaincy and strategy, her work is as a faith-rooted online organizer, campaign coach, and trainer. Email Michelle if you have a campaign idea and you think Groundswell can help (we usually can!), or if you're a faith leader or organizer interested in building community or power with digital tools. 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, and a practicing yogi.
Dan Greenman is director of technology at Auburn Seminary. He oversees Auburn’s technology strategies and assists in powering the online initiative, Groundswell, working to optimize its online presence and email communications. Previously he was the constituency manager in Auburn’s Philanthropic Partnerships department. Greenman has more than a decade of experience at nonprofits, working in operations, production, development and technology. Prior to joining Auburn, Greenman was label manager and director of administration at JDub, a noted record label and Jewish cultural organization. Previously, he handled production and outreach of award-winning documentary films and worked as a journalist in New York and California. Greenman earned his B.A. in journalism from Ithaca College. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, son and cat.
Esther Meroño came to Auburn by recommendation of the New World Foundation through UCLA's Dream Summer program. At Auburn, she supports various programs, from email writing and implementing for Groundswell, to video production and content curation. Before moving to New York, Esther worked as the managing editor and columnist for an independent music and culture print magazine in Salt Lake City, and as a freelance writer and organizer for the bicycle community.
Macky Alston is vice president for strategy, engagement and media at Auburn Theological Seminary, where he works to equip faith leaders to stand for justice through the media. Alston founded Auburn Media in 2002 and served for ten years as its director, innovating a range of programs related to media and religion and training over 3,500 faith leaders — among them many of the most influential religious leaders of our day — on a wide range of justice issues. Alston is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films include “Love Free or Die,” premiered Sundance, broadcast PBS October 29, 2012; “Hard Road Home,” PBS 2008; “The Killer Within,” Discovery Films 2006; “Questioning Faith,” HBO 2002; and “Family Name,” PBS 1998. He has won awards at Sundance twice, received the Gotham Open Palm Award and earned three Emmy nominations. He has appeared widely in the press, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show and The New York Times. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary, he comes from a long line of ministers in the American South and grew up exposed to the power of religion, politics and the media, as charismatic leaders on the Left and Right shaped society and history for generations to come. Read more about him at www.mackyalston.com.
Rev. John Vaughn is the executive vice president at Auburn Theological Seminary. Before joining Auburn, Rev. Vaughn served as the program director for the Twenty-First Century Foundation, a national foundation based in Harlem, New York, that advances strategic giving for Black community change. He led the Foundation's signature initiatives — “Black Men and Boys” along with “Gulf Coast recovery and rebuilding.” Before joining the staff of the Twenty-First Century Foundation, Rev. Vaughn served as the executive director of the Peace Development Fund, which provides funding, training and assistance for grassroots peace and justice community organizing throughout the United States and select countries internationally.
From 1996 to 2000, Rev. Vaughn served as the minister for education and social justice at the Riverside Church in New York City, where he oversaw the Church's ministries with children, youth, young adults, adult education, social justice, social services and small grants. Rev. Vaughn has also served as the director for community development at the Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC) in Boston, Mass; the executive director of East Harlem Interfaith in New York City; the action assistant at The Riverside Church, and the assistant minister at the Hamilton United Methodist Church in San Francisco, Calif.
An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches, Rev. Vaughn received his undergraduate degree from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass and his Master of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif. He is married to the Rev. Dr. P. Kimberleigh Jordan, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. They are the proud parents of a two sons, an eleven-year old son named James and a seven-year old named Caleb.
Valarie Kaur is a leading American interfaith leader and founder of Groundswell. As a lawyer, filmmaker, and Sikh activist, Valarie helps communities channel their stories into movements for social change. She has made award-winning films and led multimedia campaigns on a wide range of issues: hate crimes against Sikh and Muslim Americans, racial profiling, gun violence, marriage equality, immigration detention, and solitary confinement. A Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary, she is a regular television commentator on MSNBC and opinion contributor to CNN, NPR, PBS, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Hill and The New York Times. Valarie earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, where she founded the Yale Visual Law Project to train future lawyers to make films for social and policy change. Valarie is currently the Media and Justice Fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, where she co-founded Faithful Internet and advocates for Internet freedom and access. The Center for American Progress calls Valarie “a standout figure in the world of interfaith organizing and activism” and among 13 progressive faith leaders to watch. Valarie believes that “the way we make change is just as important as the change we make.”