Who We Are

The Oakland Peace Center is a physical space and a network of people and organizations. There are also staff and a board whose mission is to breathe life into the building and strengthen the connections among the partners so that together we can create a peaceful and just Bay Area.


Founder/Director: Sandhya Jha

Sandhya comes from a background in community organizing and political engagement, including recently serving as Director of Interfaith Programs at East Bay Housing Organizations and currently serving on the board of East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy and on the steering committee of Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy. She is an anti-racism trainer for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a regular public speaker across the country on issues of race and social justice. Her most recent book, Pre-Post-Racial America: Spiritual Stories from the Front Lines was one of Publishers Weekly’s top five books on race and religion in 2015. She also loves to sing and play guitar and to cook meals for her expansive family of choice here in Oakland. You can reach her at sandhya@oaklandpeacecenter.org.

Facilities Coordinator: Clidell Jackson

ShrineClidell “Franceyez” Jackson is an avid green jobs advocate, athlete, artist and activist. Jackson is the Chairman and CEO of AMG7 Entertainment and Green Team Leader of Green Carpet Clean LLC. As a youth he co-founded and facilitated the eco-justice, hip-hop and digital arts based United Roots Center in Oakland, Ca. At the age of 18 he became a international basketball star touring professionally; later he created the fashion lines AMG7, Moment Of Truth and Straight Independent. He has worked with PIC, Youth Radio, Green For All, NASA, the Port Of Oakland, the Golden State Warriors, Community Grows SF and countless others. He knows the heart of this work as well as the logistics and seeks to build power through peace. Read an article about Clidell HERE! You can reach Franceyez at facilities@oaklandpeacecenter.org.

ARTivist-In-Residence: Marvin K. White

Marvin is currently the Public Theologian in Residence (’17-’18) at First Church Berkeley and a recent Yerba Buena Center for the Arts “Equity” Fellow (’16-’17). He is the author of four collections of poetry: Our Name Be Witness; Status; and the two Lammy-nominated collections last rights and nothin’ ugly fly. His poetry has been adapted for stage at San Francisco’s Theater Rhinoceros and he has performed his original work at YBCA. As a former member of the critically acclaimed theater troupe The Pomo Afro Homos he has performed nationally and internationally. As a Teaching Artist for WritersCorps he has led creative arts and writing workshops for a range of audiences. He holds a fellowship in the national African-American poetry organization, Cave Canem; and formerly sat on the board of Fire & Ink, a national black LGBT writer’s organization. He is articulating a vision of social, prophetic and creative justice through his work as a poet, artist, teacher, collaborator, preacher, cake baker, and Facebook Statustician.


Peace & Partnerships Communicator,
Todd Atkins-Whitley

Todd comes to the Oakland Peace Center from Dallas, Texas where he got involved as a community organizer in Dallas’ LGBT community after raising his kids in the North Central Texas community he grew up in and leaving a 26-year job in corporate communications in DFW. Todd discovered a particular affinity for justice work and coalition building and was able to bring together different justice-oriented organizations around a variety of intersectional issues, drawing attention to these collaborative efforts through digital, print, and social media marketing. (And his bullhorn.) He brings that passion for collaboration and communication to the OPC and our peace partners.

Todd moved to the Bay Area in 2015 to attend Pacific School of Religion where he graduated with a Masters of Divinity and certificates in Sexuality and Religion and Spirituality and Social Transformation this past May. He and his husband Miguel are a part of a growing family—four sons, two grandsons, and another grand on the way. They are thrilled to join the peace-making work here in the Bay Area. Todd blogs at thetoddwhitley.com. You can reach him at communications@oaklandpeacecenter.org.

Operations Manager

To contact our operations manager, email operations@oaklandpeacecenter.org.


Karen BarrettA native and resident of Berkeley, Karen  represents the Northern California-Nevada Region of theKaren's CCH Pic Christian Church, Disciples of Christ (DOC), United States and Canada on the Oakland Peace Center Board of Directors.

Karen has served on several boards in the region as well as nationally, to include Christian Church Homes of Northern California, Disciples Seminary Foundation, General Board,  Regional Board and Administrative Committee of the Christian Church (DOC).  She is active on the local level with her congregation, Mills Grove Christian Church (DOC)  and an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Karen has also been a member of the local women’s chorus, The Distaff Singers, as well as the Oakland Symphony Chorus and the Oakland Cathedral of Christ the Light Dedication Choir.

Peggy Bristol is an immigration attorney, with particular emphasis on asylum and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, a humanitarian form of immigration relief for minors who cannot reunify with one or both parents due to abuse, abandonment or neglect. She teaches at Contra Costa College and serves with Tapestry Ministries, a partner of the Oakland Peace Center. She is usually in the front row when her husband Art is playing saxophone.





IMG_2271Patricia Contreras Flores is a Michocana Purepecha born Bay Area raised proud Brown mujer. Immigrant, bi-lingual, and grand daughter of hard working farmers that are a constant reminder keeping her firmly rooted and aware of all her gifts to this movimiento. A former youth worker for 12 years she is humbled to play a continual role in the lives of young folks including former students in addition to being ‘that’ Tia to her nieces and nephew. Currently a community organizer for East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy she works tirelessly in service to workers. She loves to talk stories with her mom Gloria-her most cherished human being-and is working to write a collection of family stories. Running, reading, practicing yoga, eating/cooking comida sabrosa, dancing, and nurturing herself through the presence of loved ones all make her come alive.


my faceAimee Fields is an Oakland native and long standing member of First Christian Church of Oakland, a partner with the OPC. She is finishing her Bachelor’s at UC Berkeley with a degree in American Studies with an area of concentration in Black Identity and Media Representation. Her ultimate goal is to work with youth in need of mentorship particularly through the media. She also serves as a Music Education Specialist and Music Teacher at a local music school in Alameda CA. When she’s not studying and working she runs her own small baking business, loves spending time with her friends and family (including her 2 big dogs), and building her many Pintrest boards up with ideas and plans.




Phil Lawson. Reverend Lawson has spent his entireRev.-Phil-Lawson- life on the front lines of social justice movements with the Methodist Church, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panther Party, the immigrants rights movement, and as a Pastor in many churches throughout the United States. He was subpoenaed by the US Congress in efforts to undermine the Black Panther Party, studied with Bayard Rustin, and co founded with Dr. Vincent Harding the National Council of Elders.  Reverend Lawson was the Director of Interfaith Services for the East Bay Housing Organization and was instrumental in building Interfaith support for “Occupy Wall Street.”  He is a co-founder of the Black Alliance for Justice Immigration.


ACTC_web_pics-43E.J. Pavia is a Youth Organizer and Program Coordinator for Urban Peace Movement, a partner of the Oakland Peace Center. Originally from Baldwin Park, a predominantly Latino suburb of Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Valley, E.J. has made his home in Oakland since graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 2011. With a background in multi-cultural theatre and a degree in Latin American and Latino Studies, E.J. brings with him a passion for creative writing, performance-based community building, and critical socio-political analysis.


1d2793d1-2f91-4aef-b27a-da74b874c8afAngela Urata is the Operations Director for Niroga Institute, where she brings together her experience in nonprofit management, commitment to social justice and passion for yoga’s potential to heal individuals and transform communities.   She is a certified yoga instructor and joyfully teaches yoga at an Asian American Senior Center and serves on its Board.  She dances whenever she can and believes in the power of the story to fully inhabit who we are and who we may become in the world.