Willie Baptist is a formerly homeless father who came out of the Watts uprisings, the black student movement, and worked as an organizer and shop steward with the United Steelworkers. He has 40 years of experience organizing the poor, including with the National Union of the Homeless, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, the National Welfare Rights Union, the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, and many other networks. Willie serves as the Poverty Initiative Scholar-in-Residence and is the coordinator of the Poverty Scholars Program.
Jan Rehmann, Dr. phil. habil, teaches philosophy and social theories at Union Theological Seminary and at the Free University in Berlin. He has published several books, including on theories of ideology, Nietzsche’s influence on postmodernism, Max Weber, and on the churches in Nazi Germany. Jan is also co-editor of the Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism (HKWM).
Chris Caruso has over 15 years experience training social movements, community organizations, NGOs, unions, and foundations in political education and information technology. He is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York and an Instructional Technology Fellow for the Macaulay Honors College at City College. Chris researches poverty, social movements, and new media. He received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Liz Theoharis is the coordinator and cofounder of the Poverty Initiative. She has spent the past 15 years organizing the poor in the United States. Liz received her MDiv from Union Theological Seminary in 2004 where she was the first William Sloane Coffin Scholar. Currently, Liz is a PhD candidate and Henry Berg Scholar in New Testament and Christian Origins. Liz is certified for ordination to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Colleen Wessel-McCoy has been involved with the Poverty Initiative since 2004 and currently works as the Fellows Program Coordinator. She received her undergraduate degree from Agnes Scott College and worked for several years as a community organizer in Chicago before moving to New York City to attend Union Theological Seminary, where she earned a Masters of Divinity in 2007. She is currently a PhD student in the field of Christian ethics.
John Wessel-McCoy is a project organizer at the Poverty Initiative. He is originally from Decatur, Illinois, and worked for several years as a union organizer. He earned a MA in 2009 from Union Theological Seminary.