About Us

Officers


Jack Lahr- Chairperson

JackL.jpgJack 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.   

 


Rabbi Charles (Chuck) Feinberg  - Executive Director

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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 third year as Executive Director of IAHR.

 

Kimberly Jenkins-Snodgrass - Vice-Chairperson

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Kimberly Jenkins-Snodgrass is a tireless advocate for justice, civil and human rights. During her partnership with the late Justice Warrior, Joyce Ann Brown, and her family’s personal struggle to see justice served, she has traveled the country fighting wrongful incarceration. She has also educated communities about Mothers (Fathers) for the Advancement of Social Systems Inc. (MASS), a successful and proven reintegration to society program. When Ms. Jenkins-Snodgrass experienced the injustice of the system firsthand with her son’s wrongful incarceration, her faith in the system was lost.  However, 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 Mothers (Fathers) for the Advancement of Social Systems Inc. (MASS) Inc., a “Delayed But Not Denied 2” co-author and author of “U Can’t Have Him.”

Ed Kopf- Treasurer

Ed_kopf__2.jpgEdward J. Kopf has over twenty years of experience in leadership positions in finance, operations, marketing, and strategic planning. In addition, he has consulted extensively with owners, executives and boards of large and small corporations on a wide variety of management and financial issues. During the last 10 years he has mediated conflicts within family and partner-owned businesses and consulted on turn-around, expansion and sale strategies. From 1997 to 2017, Ed was a management consultant providing interim senior management services (as CEO, COO, or CFO) and consulting to organizations in transition. Ed consulted with business leaders and shareholders on management, financial, and strategic planning issues.

Ed has held leadership positions in the following community and religious organizations: J Street: The Political Home for Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Americans, Greater Washington Co-Chair Jewish Community Relations Council, Board Member Yachad [DC Housing Preservation], Former President and Advisory Board Member of Ann Frank House: Homes and Hope for DC’s Homeless, Former President and Board Member of Adas Israel Congregation, Docent at the Library of Congress         

Gay Gardner - Secretary

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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.


Board Members


Perry Apelbaum

perry_apelbaum.jpgPerry 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. 

Rev. Maybelle Taylor Bennett 

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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

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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. 

June Kress

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June Kress has more than 40 years of experience as a criminal justice researcher, policy analyst, program director, consultant, and academic. From January, 2004 until June, 2017, she served as the Executive Director of the Council for Court Excellence, a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization that since 1982 has worked to improve the administration of justice in the local and federal courts and related agencies in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. 

Prior to entering the non-profit sector, she served for nine years as a senior policy analyst in the US Department of Justice, and completed a year as a loaned intergovernmental executive with the DC Council Judiciary Committee. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from New York University and a masters and doctorate from the School of Criminology, University of California, Berkeley.

She is a member of the board of directors of Anne Frank House, Adas Israel Sisterhood, Tzedeck DC, NCRC-National Child Research Center, and is an active member of Leadership Greater Washington and the Cosmos Club. 

Dick Marks

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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

Margaret (Mardi) Mellon

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Margaret Mellon is a respected expert on biotechnology, antibiotics and food safety. She holds a doctorate in molecular biology and a law degree from the University of Virginia.  

In 1993, Dr. Mellon founded the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to promote the adoption of science-based farming systems that are simultaneously productive, environmentally benign, and resilient in the face of stress. Under Dr. Mellon’s leadership, the program critically evaluated products of genetic engineering for their contribution to sustainable agriculture and urged the reduction of unnecessary antibiotic use in animal agriculture.  

Dr. Mellon has published widely on the potential environmental impacts of biotechnology applications. She has also served three terms on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture and for many years taught a popular course in biotechnology and the law at the Vermont Law School. She was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1994).

Dr. Mellon is now a science policy consultant in the areas of antibiotics, genetic engineering and sustainable agriculture.

Suzanne O'Hatnick

Suzanne O'Hatnick is the founder and first president of Interfaith Action for Human Rights. Suzanne directed the Maryland International Center for 19 years and served as an organizational development consultant to grassroots non-profit oraganizations in the U.s. and abroad during that suzanne.jpgtime. 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. 

Suzanne 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. In June of 2017, Suzanne received a Distinguished Alumna award from Hollins University for her human rights work.

 

Watch This Video as Gay Gardner Tells the Story of how IAHR was founded.

 


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