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Seven young adults begin in justice leadership

The Justice Leadership Program (JLP) for young adults, ages 21 to 35, is welcoming seven new interns in September, said Elizabeth Dickinson, manager of the JLP program, which is an affiliate of the UCC Young Adult Service Communities Network.

New 2016-17 partner agency are and Earth Ministry. New congregations are First Congregational in Bellevue and Northshore UCC in Woodinville.

The interns are Iris Chavez, David Choi, Latanya Jenkins, Emily Martin, Anya McMurrer, Denise Parry and Daniel Solomon.

Iris Chavez is interning at the Church Council of Greater Seattle and Keystone UCC in Seattle. Raised in Spokane, Iris graduated from Whitworth University with a double major in sociology and political science/international studies with a minor in French. She seeks to bring people of different cultures together. Iris was an Act Six scholar at Whitworth, a leadership and scholarship program that addresses under-representation on college campuses.  She was a cultural diversity advocate on her campus leadership team. With her interest in activism and advocacy that flourished with her involvement in United Students Against Sweatshops, she is eager to begin working toward social change and social justice with JLP.

David Choi joins Faith Action Network to work with more than 100 congregations advocating for social justice in Washington’s halls of power. He’ll partner with the Rev. Greg Turk and at All Pilgrims Christian Church to be stewards of God’s mission in Seattle.  A longtime native of Virginia, David is American born with Korean roots. He recently graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied government. Arriving from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., he is on a life-journey of following Jesus and a quest to discover what the “West Coast, Best Coast” is about as he moves from Washington to Washington.

Latanya Jenkins begins her year of leadership, advocacy and education with placement in the Justice Leadership Program with Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and Plymouth UCC in Seattle.  She recently earned a bachelor’s in social work with a minor in global African studies at Seattle University.  There she was a freshman mentor, resident assistant and president of Black Student Union. Latanya wants to do advocacy work and to be challenged professionally and spiritually as she prepares for a career that centers the voices and actions of oppressed and marginalized communities.


Emily Martin will be interning at Earth Ministry and serving at First Congregational UCC, Bellevue. She was born and raised in the St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn., and came to Olympia to attend Evergreen State College to study environmental justice. Emily is excited to be working on issues at the intersection of social and environmental justice this year.


Anya McMurrer, originally from New Jersey, recently graduated from McGill University in Montreal with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with minors in English and music. While there, she was involved in several mental health initiatives. She volunteered and helped to manage McGill’s student suicide hotline, worked in peer counseling as a resident advisor, and worked as the mental health coordinator for the Students’ Society, ensuring that students had access to quality behavioral health care. Anya, who is also passionate about racial and economic justice, will work with the Greater Church Council of Seattle in housing and homelessness and will serve with Northshore United Church of Christ this year.

Denise Parry is excited to work with the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and Prospect Congregational UCC. A native of Gold Beach, Ore., Denise recently graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology and a minor in gender and queer studies. At UPS, Denise involved in the Puget Sound Queer Alliance, Needlecrafts for Charity, Advocates for Detainees Voices, Puget Sound Garden Club, Advocates for Institutional Change and Repertory Dance Group. Denise is passionate about the intersections of poverty, disability and marginalized identities and they presented research exploring these intersections at the 2015 and 2016 Lewis and Clark Gender Studies Symposium, as well as the 2016 Pacific Sociological Association Conference. Denise, who previously worked in a chemical storeroom for UPS bioethics and gender programs and at a fishery in rural Alaska, expects to be challenged intellectually and spiritually by this experience.


Daniel Solomon is a 23-year-old Connecticut native and member of the East Woodstock Congregational Church. Currently working at Plymouth Church in Seattle and at 350 Seattle, he is eager to partner with the activists there and at other agencies. He has done mission work for the UCC, on multiple trips to Bolivia and through fundraisers and soup kitchens around Connecticut.


The 2015-16 interns who completed their internships announced their plans, said Elizabeth.

Ann Marie Do, who worked with CCGS, will spend time with her family, reflecting on her year and considering seminary.

Hannah Long-Higgins, who interned with Unite Here, is blogging and doing photography in New York City, where she is studying at Columbia University School of Journalism.

Alyssa Nedrow, who was with FAN, is traveling and taking photos in Cambodia and Thailand for two months.

Julia Urban, who helped the Coalition on Homelessness, is dispensing java and justice as a barista in St. Paul, Minn.

Abby Velasco was hired as development and event coordinator with the Housing Alliance, where she was the JLP intern.  She will continue to serve at Prospect UCC and be part of the JLP community this year.

They valued their experiences and classes in community organizing, undoing racism, creating sustainable change, joining rallies and living in intensive community.

For information, call 206-320-0432 or visit or

Persons interested in participating in the 2017 to 2018 internship year may visit


Copyright © September 2016 - Pacific Northwest Conference United Church of Christ News


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