Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Faith leaders have been busy during the first year of the Biden administration, from defending democracy at home and abroad, to fighting for the dignity of LGBTQI+ community,  to calling for action to address climate change.

Today, the Center for American Progress is announcing its 22 Faith Leaders To Watch in 2022. The annual publication celebrates these leaders to showcase the diversity of religious voices advancing social justice.

This year’s list includes leaders who have been on the front lines for decades, along with others who are relatively new on the scene. They are based in a range of settings, including local congregations, nonprofits, academia, and journalism, and they come from many faiths.

“These leaders from a wide spectrum of faith traditions are all working to build a more inclusive and just world for future generations,” said Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, fellow for Religion and Faith at CAP. “Our goal is to showcase the diversity of religious leaders working to advance social justice.”

This year’s 22 faith leaders to watch are:

  • Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Washington director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action
  • Danté Stewart, a minister, essayist, cultural critic, and author of Shoutin’ in The Fire: An American Epistle
  • The Rev. Angela Williams, the lead organizer of the Spiritual Alliance of Communities for Reproductive Dignity
  • Aasees Kaur, a civil rights advocate and community organizer who currently serves as the senior legal client manager at the Sikh Coalition
  • The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, president of Auburn Seminary in New York
  • Qasim Rashid, a human rights lawyer, author, and host of SiriusXM’s “The Qasim Rashid Show”
  • Guerline Jozef, co-founder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance
  • Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, the founder and CEO of Dayenu, a new organization mobilizing the Jewish American community to address the climate crisis
  • Anantanand Rambachan, professor emeritus of religion at St. Olaf College, president of the board of Arigatou International NY, the co-president of Religions for Peace, and board of directors chair of the Minnesota Multifaith Network
  • Olga Segura, the author of Birth of a Movement: Black Lives Matter and the Catholic Church and the opinion and culture editor at the National Catholic Reporter
  • Sensei Kritee Kanko, a Zen priest and senior scientist in the global climate program at the Environmental Defense Fund
  • The Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, chief operating officer of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
  • The Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer, bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Salima Suswell, an American Muslim leader, entrepreneur, political strategist, and the first Muslim woman appointed to the Pennsylvania Commission for Women
  • Calvin Burke, a queer activist and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, a Catholic religious sister, spiritual counselor to people on death row, and a leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty
  • Rabbi Sandra Lawson, director of racial diversity, equity and inclusion at Reconstructing Judaism
  • The Rev. Jennifer Butler, a Presbyterian minister and the CEO of Faith in Public Life
  • Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, a modern orthodox rabbi and the founder and president of Uri L’Tzedek, an orthodox Jewish social justice organization
  • Sahar Pirzada, manager of movement building at HEART Women and Girls, which works to advance reproductive justice and combat gendered violence
  • Nikki Toyama-Szeto, executive director of Christians for Social Action, previously Evangelicals for Social Action
  • The Rev. Melissa Florer-Bixler, pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church and author of multiple books, including the recent How to Have an Enemy: Righteous Anger and the Work of Peace

Read the column: “22 Faith Leaders To Watch in 2022” by Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons and Maggie Siddiqi

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org.