Suzanne O’Hatnick - President
Suzanne O'Hatnick is the president and founder of Interfaith Action for Human Rights, (IAHR) which operates in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Suzanne directed the Maryland International Center for 19 years and served as an organizational development consultant to grassroots non-profit organizations in the U.S. and abroad during that time. From 1996 to 2000, Suzanne worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina, serving with Christian Peacemakers Teams in Central Bosnia, with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe OSCE on human rights in Banja Luka, and with the United States Agency for International Development USAID in a country-wide program based in Sarajevo. She is the author of articles and essays on Bosnian culture. Upon her return from Bosnia, Suzanne taught in the sociology department of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Suzanne has been active as a volunteer in her community in Baltimore, Maryland, as a member and former Maryland Legislative Coordinator for Amnesty International USA, former board member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture Action Fund, and in her Quaker Meeting, Stony Run Friends Meeting in Baltimore. Suzanne is also a member of the Friend of a Friend Coalition and Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform MAJR.
Rabbi Charles (Chuck) Feinberg - Executive Director
Charles M. Feinberg was a congregational rabbi for 42 years. He served and led congregations in Wisconsin, New York, British Columbia, and Washington, DC. He served as a rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC from 2006 to 2015. Adas Israel is the largest Conservative Congregation in the metropolitan area. Rabbi Feinberg has served as the chairperson of the Social Action Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly. He has also been co-chairperson of T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. During his career, Rabbi Feinberg has been an advocate for Central American Refugees, the poor and the homeless, for interfaith dialogue and cooperation, and for respecting the human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis. Rabbi Feinberg received his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Rabbi Feinberg recently began his second year as Executive Director of IAHR.
Jack Lahr - Vice President
Jack Lahr is a retired lawyer with the D.C. office of Foley & Lardner LLP. Jack has been involved in pro bono litigation throughout his career in private practice and continues to represent death row prisoners in Alabama. Jack has been board chair for the DC Legal Counsel for the Elderly, and the Fair Trial Initiative in Durham NC.
Perry Apelbaum - Treasurer
Perry Apelbaum is currently serving as the Staff Director for the House Judiciary Committee Democrats. Mr. Apelbaum has long served as the top Committee aide to Ranking Member John Conyers, including during the impeachment of President Clinton. He led the Committee's staff during the investigation of politicization at the Bush Justice Department and the subsequent contempt of Congress proceedings against the Bush Administration, and is known on Capitol Hill as an expert on medical malpractice policy and intellectual property issues. Before joining the Committee staff, Mr. Apelbaum was an associate at Covington & Burling. He received his JD from Harvard Law School and attended the University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree.
Gay Gardner - Secretary
Gay Gardner is a member of Little River United Church of Christ in Annandale, Virginia, and has been a volunteer human rights activist for more than 30 years. In addition to her involvement in Interfaith Action for Human Rights and its predecessor, the Washington Region Religious Campaign against Torture, she serves on an advisory committee for Amnesty International USA's Security with Human Rights Program, which addresses human rights violations committed in the context of terrorism and counter-terrorism. Earlier, she focused on justice and accountability issues in work for Amnesty International on, first, Uruguay, then El Salvador and Honduras, and later the former Yugoslavia. Gay also co-founded a local chapter of Amnesty International in Alexandria, Virginia, and served as that group's coordinator for 10 years.
Before retiring in 2014, Gay worked at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management as a legislative analyst and in other positions, including as senior advisor to the Assistant Director for National Healthcare Operations, helping to implement the Multi-State Plan Program under the Affordable Care Act.
Rev. Maybelle Taylor Bennett
Maybelle Bennett is a Pastor of the Covenant Christian Community, one of whose social justice interests is in advocacy against the disproportionate mass incarceration of people of color. The church is a recent participant, along with other Christian congregations in the Healing Committee training effort where church members learn many ways to be agents for healing to incarcerated citizens, their families and those returning to their communities after being incarcerated. Rev. Bennett has experience in facilitating conversations among people who often have legitimate, but competing interests, including developers and neighborhood residents; communities surrounding academic institutions and institutional representatives; and people of different religious traditions around issues of race and varying spiritual perspective.
A planner by profession, Rev. Bennett is an administrator at Howard University, where she managed the University's latest campus master plan process. She continues to guide the plan's implementation through the public review and input procedures necessary to retain the respect and trust of Howard's neighbors and meet the requirements of and obtain official approvals from the District of Columbia.
Diamonté Brown is a proud native of Baltimore City with a B.S. in Sports Management and Communications from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in secondary education from Grand Canyon University. In addition to her ongoing work as a high school teacher of English, Diamonte has been active in IAHR working both under a grant and as a volunteer.
Diamonte helped organize several events as well as two Advocacy Days in Annapolis. Additionally, she joined Suzanne O’Hatnick and Chuck Feinberg in making presentations to congregations around the state of Maryland about the abuse of solitary confinement. She also involved returning citizens to speak to congregations and to participate in Advocacy Days.
Diamonte has served as executive director for Out for Justice, an organization that advocates for the reform of policies that adversely impact returning citizens. Diamonte conducted advocacy training sessions for Out for Justice and for the Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform for diverse audiences made up of citizens eager to lobby for reform, tailoring her presentations to each audience. Her enthusiasm is infectious and her commitment is clear.
Diamonte had an early brush with the law, receiving probation before judgment, and lost a sister to violence. Both experiences introduced her to a system of justice in need of reform.
Creative, innovative, tenacious and fearless are just a few of the extraordinary characteristics that have defined and honed Kimberly Jenkins-Snodgrass’s commitment to her professional journey, one that encompasses all areas of national and international entertainment development and production. Her 25-year career and expertise in Business Artists Management/Special Event Coordination, Public Communications and Social Activism, is an on-going representation of her ability to successfully meld the Entertainment/Social Activism triad to create awareness and engaging dialogues via productions that offer thoughtful, historic perspectives and context.
Kimberly’s passion for the entertainment industry began while serving as an NCO in the United States Army. It was after her military service that veteran Jenkins-Snodgrass partnered with Kitson & Associates in 2009 to secure talent and sponsorship for the historic Sojourner Truth Unveiling held at the U.S. Capitol—Emancipation Hall. The capacity event participants included First Lady Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Ms. Jenkins-Snodgrass is a tireless advocate for justice, civil and human rights. It is her 16-year partnership with the late Justice Warrior, Joyce Ann Brown and her family’s personal struggle to see justice served and free their son who was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated. It was while Jenkins-Snodgrass and Joyce Ann Brown traveled the country fighting wrongful incarceration and educating communities about Mothers (Fathers) for the Advancement of Social Systems Inc. (MASS), a successful and proven reintegration to society program, that she experienced the injustice of the system firsthand with her son’s wrongful incarceration. Her faith in the system was lost. But her story is one that far too many American families experience and it has strengthened her resolve to work for equality.
She is a Partnering consultant at MASS, board member of Interfaith Action Human Rights (IAHR), a member of ColorOfChange and she supports the efforts of Centurion Ministries (CM) and the Center on Wrongful Convictions/Women’s Project, Northwestern Law (CWC). Her past commitment to civic/social partnerships extended into working closely with the late legendary civil rights activists Dr. C. DeLores Tucker, Chair, National Congress of Black Women (NCBW). Kimberly’s services were instrumental in the historic taping of “Modern Day Civil Rights Struggle,” a Visionary Leadership Project.
Dick Marks was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia from 1967 to 1969, and served as Administrative Officer for the Pan-American Health Organization from 1973 to 2002. In his retirement, Dick has served as member and Chair of the Honduras Coordinating Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; taught ESOL in the Montgomery County Literacy Council program; served as a CASA volunteer, assisting the staff with setting up administrative functions; and helped to organize Montgomery County Citizens Against the War. As a long-time active member of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Silver Spring, Maryland, Dick has represented his church within the National Religious Campaign Against Torture NRCAT and also was a founding member of NRCAT’s DC-area partner and IAHR’s predecessor, the Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture. Dick has led his church in NRCAT’s banner campaign and letter-writing advocacy efforts, sponsored screenings of anti-torture videos, and joined in efforts to close Guantanamo and end U.S.-sponsored abuse of detainees
Louis Sawyer, Jr.
Louis Sawyer Jr. is an advocate at University Legal Services in the District of Columbia. University Legal Services is a private, non-profit organization that serves as the District of Columbia's federally mandated protection and advocacy system for the human, legal and service rights of people with disabilities
Louis is a survivor of the Criminal Justice/Mental Health systems respectively within the District of Columbia. On September 12, 2013, Louis was sworn in as a member of the Mayor’s Commission on Reentry and Returning Citizen Affairs and currently serves as its chairperson. Louis also serves as a member of the Criminal Justice Coordination Council CJCC’s Reentry Steering Committee.
Louis was released from prison in 2010 after serving a 25 year sentence. Since being released Louis has been dedicated to reentry activism through faith based and volunteer activism. During Louis’ time in prison, he saw the need to offer hope to the hopeless and provide insight to those who are in darkness. Through Louis’ visionary lens, the Men of Principles, a Faith-Based/Mental Health Community Mentoring Initiative was created. The Mentoring Initiative promotes accountability, character, and integrity by investing in the lives of those that the criminal justice/mental health system and society have written off. Louis believes that individuals living with mental illness who have transitioned out of the criminal justice system can live productive lives when given adequate support.
For the past nine years Bonnie Tamres-Moore has been a human rights activist focused on the issue of torture. She is a founding member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and has recently founded 'torture is wrong', a secular organization opposing torture through activism and education. Bonnie often speaks and teaches classes on the subject of torture, activism and human rights. In 2005 Bonnie created the 'torture is wrong' banner program in Austin, TX asking faith communities to hang a 'torture is wrong' banner and participate in education and dialogue on the subject of torture. She placed over 120 of these banners around the country and directed many of the discussion programs. In 2008 she partnered with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and Rabbis for Human Rights in an expansion of the banner program called "Banners Across America". These ongoing programs have placed over 600 banners in every major religious denomination in America, in all 50 states. Bonnie has spoken to over 150 different groups since 2005, both secular and faith-based.
Bonnie has taught classes on torture, activism and human rights at St. Edward's University, Angelo State University and St. Stephen's School. She is currently working on a National Conference on Solitary Confinement and a documentary on Torture.