The Justice Institute

The Justice Conference believes that every Christian should pursue justice as a consistent lifestyle. This includes multiple forms of solidarity and advocacy. This is why our Justice Institute event in Washington, D.C. will be centered around the theme of advocacy.

At this event, we will teach you the practical steps to advocating for better national policy regarding immigration and other issues that affect marginalized people groups. On Day Two, using the equipping you have received, you will be able to exercise your newly acquired advocacy knowledge in person by being guided through the halls of Capitol Hill and matched with legislators in your area for an opportunity to make congressional asks.

Don’t miss this advocacy event at The Justice Institute in Washington, D.C.

Immigration & Advocacy
Justice Institute DC || SEPT 12-13 2018

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Immigration & Advocacy
Justice Institute DC || SEPT 12-13 2018

Justice Institute DC || Speakers

The speakers for this year’s Justice Institute DC will be speaking on the topics of immigration and advocacy.

Jenny Yang

VP of Advocacy & Policy at World Relief

Jenny Yang provides oversight for all advocacy initiatives and policy positions at World Relief. She has worked in the Resettlement section of World Relief as the Senior Case Manager and East Asia Program Officer, where she focused on advocacy for refugees in the East Asia region and managed the entire refugee caseload for World Relief. Prior to World Relief, she worked at one of the largest political fundraising firms in Maryland managing fundraising and campaigning for local politicians. She is co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate, serves as Chair of the Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) Africa Work Group, and was named one of the “50 Women to Watch” by Christianity Today.

Matthew Soerens

US Director of Church Mobilization, @WorldRelief

Matthew Soerens serves as the US Director of Church Mobilization for World Relief, which is the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals. In that role, he helps evangelical churches to understand the realities of refugees and immigration and to respond in ways guided by biblical values.

Nathan Bult

Director of Government Affairs for Bethany Christian Services

Nathan Bult is the Director of Government Affairs for Bethany Christian Services, an international child social services organization in 36 states and 15 countries that is dedicated to keeping families together and bringing families together. He began his career in the U.S. House of Representatives with Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02) and more recently served as a senior communications adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services. Nathan brings over seven years of public-service experience to Bethany. He advised and developed legislation in a congressional office and helped lead communications efforts at the largest civilian cabinet-level
department of the U.S. federal government. Nathan represents Bethany before members of Congress and government officials while building relationships and partnerships.Nathan joined Bethany in January 2018 and lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Laura.

Adam Estle

Director of Field and Constituencies for the National Immigration Forum

Adam Estle brings a wealth of national and local experience in the immigration world to his role as Director of Field and Constituencies for the National Immigration Forum. Adam coordinates the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network of faith, law enforcement, business leaders, veterans and others. He serves as the liaison between the Forum’s work around the country and its Washington, DC headquarters.

Before joining the Forum in 2015, Adam served in several non-profit roles in Phoenix, Arizona: as the executive director for Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, director of a center providing housing and care for unaccompanied immigrant children at Neighborhood Ministries, and director of an immigration legal resource center at LifeBridge Community Alliance. In 2015, the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona honored him with their Hero Award for his local multifaith peacemaking efforts with his church and the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.
Adam currently resides with his wife and four children in his hometown of Peoria, Arizona, where he is an elder at Orangewood Church of the Nazarene and enjoys coaching his kids in ice hockey. He has degrees from Olivet Nazarene University (BA) and Fuller Theological Seminary (MA in Global Leadership).

Jacinta S. Ma

Director of Policy and Advocacy

Jacinta S. Ma is the Director of Policy and Advocacy. Her role at the Forum is to lead the development of the Forum’s policy priorities and their work to have these policies implemented. She has more than 20 years of experience in law, policy, and civil rights. Most recently she was the Deputy Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Washington, DC where she oversaw a team of lawyers and other professionals working on civil rights issues that affected the Asian American community such as immigration and immigrant rights. She has a wide-range of experience as a civil rights attorney on issues as diverse as employment discrimination to transportation equity to litigating bias-motivated threats or intimidation cases. Jacinta received her J.D. from New York University School of Law and her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Travis Wussow

VP for Public Policy and General Counsel at ERLC

Travis Wussow is the Vice President for Public Policy and General Counsel for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The ERLC is the public policy and ethics organization of the Southern Baptist Convention, an American protestant denomination with 16 million members and nearly 40,000 churches. Mr. Wussow manages ERLC’s public policy efforts in Washington, DC. Prior to his current role, Mr. Wussow launched ERLC’s first international office located in the Middle East.

Prior to joining the ERLC, Mr. Wussow served as executive director for central ministries and general counsel at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas. Before serving at the Austin Stone, Mr. Wussow practiced energy, regulatory, and legislative law with Jackson Walker LLP, the largest private law firm in Austin, Texas. Mr. Wussow received a B.B.A. in Finance, with honors, from The University of Texas at Austin and a J.D., with high honors, from The University of Texas School of Law. While in law school, Mr. Wussow served as an articles editor for Texas Law Review and is a member of the Order of the Coif. Mr. Wussow is married and has two daughters.

Cory Smith

VP of Policy, Advocacy & Communications at Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)

Cory Smith has led policy advocacy work for nearly two decades, developing and executing strategic plans, issue plans and legislative campaigns; managing staff; fundraising; and building diverse coalitions to protect the human rights of vulnerable populations, including immigrants and refugees, as well as individual rights, and civil rights and civil liberties. Smith has advanced these rights through federal legislation, appropriations, and executive branch measures. Smith has been integral in the drafting of key pieces of legislation by building coalitions of unusual allies such as conservative faith-based organizations, civil rights groups, immigrant rights and women’s rights organizations, while working strategically with Republican and Democratic staff. .
As the Vice-President of Policy, Advocacy and Communications at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Smith is charged with creating the strategic vision and advocacy plans for the organization that builds support among policymakers, promotes the work and services of KIND to the broader community, and establishes KIND as an expert on the protection of unaccompanied minors. Smith was a key strategist in drafting and building support for “The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act,” and “the Secure the Northern Triangle Act.”
As Senior Policy Counsel for Humanity United, Smith led the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) coalition advocacy efforts both to successfully reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2013 and to secure nearly $100 million dollars in new federal funding and report language to combat modern day slavery.
As Deputy Campaign Manager for Legislative Affairs at the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Smith led a national, state, and local coalition of over 100 immigrant rights, labor, civil rights, faith-based, and community rights organizations to advance comprehensive immigration reform by seeking passage of the “Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (S.1033) to final passage of S.2611 by a vote of 62-36 in the U.S. Senate.
Smith founded and has been President of Smith Strategies LLP for 7 years, and served as interim Executive Director for the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress. In both these roles, and as a Vice-President at KIND, Smith has been responsible for managing large budgets, hiring, supervising and evaluating various staff including directors, program managers and assistants and building a small business with diverse clients. Smith has also gained development experience, including grant writing and reporting and identifying and meeting with prospective donors to communicate the vision and mission of the various programs. Smith has built and executed annual budgets and has extensive experience communicating externally and internally regarding the mission and vision of the various organizations he directed. He has acted as a spokesperson for the media, spoke at external events, testified before federal and state legislatures and participated in high-level policy discussions with key policy makers and other influential stakeholders including senior staff and members of the U.S. Congress, and senior officials in the Executive branch.
In addition to his advocacy work, Smith has authored books, advocacy materials, and op-eds for major news outlets, and taught as an adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Active in his community, Smith has served on the boards of national and state organizations and committees. Smith received his J.D. from the University of Oregon and is a member of the Washington State Bar.

Emily B. Gray

Sr. Vice President, US Ministries

or over 35 years Emily Gray has served in cross-cultural ministry. She is currently the Sr. Vice President for US Ministries with World Relief. In this role she oversees the national network of World Relief offices serving immigrants and refugees in partnership with the local churches. Emily was called to this post in 2016, after serving for six years with World Relief’s largest office in the Chicago suburbs. Prior to World Relief Emily served as a full-time as a missionary in Central America in the early 80s, and has remained involved in a number of ministries both in Central America and the United States since that time. She is a founding member with 16 years’ experience on the board of Mission Lazarus, a Christian mission providing spiritual, medical, educational and agricultural development in some of the poorest areas in Honduras and Haiti.

Emily is a graduate of the Instituto de Lengua Española in San Jose, Costa Rica, earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Abilene Christian University and holds a Master of Social Work from Boston University. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Emily has worked in mental health, international adoption, hospital social work, philanthropy and in hospice care. She sees her work at World Relief as combining her two passions of cross-cultural missions and provision of quality human services to vulnerable people. She has been married Dr. Cary Gray for 32 years.

Hannah Mills

Program Manager for the Unaccompanied Children’s Programming

Hannah Mills joined Bethany Christian Services after graduating from Albion College in 2012 with a Bachelors of Arts in sociology and ethnic studies along with a minor in Spanish. She began her career with Bethany in 2012 as one of the first case managers for the Transitional Foster Care program. Since then, Hannah has served as the supervisor of the Transitional Assessment Center, a residential program for immigrant teenage boys, and as the Site Supervisor for the Grand Rapids Transitional Foster Care branch. She is currently Bethany’s Program Manager for the Unaccompanied Children’s Programming in the state of Michigan, providing oversight and contract management for all branches of Transitional Foster Care in the state of Michigan. She is in process of completing her Masters in Social Work with a focus on policy, planning and administration from Western Michigan University.

Liz Dong

Co-Founder, Voices of Christian Dreamers

Liz Dong is the co-founder of the Voices of Christian Dreamers initiative, a Dreamer-led movement seeking to change the conversation about immigration in the Church and beyond through story-sharing and other efforts. Liz has also worked in immigration advocacy with World Relief and the Evangelical Immigration Table, helping Christians respond to immigration from a biblical perspective. Having herself been welcomed into the church and introduced to Jesus as a young immigrant from China, Liz is passionate about seeing more churches welcoming the stranger in Christ’s name. Liz holds a BA from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing graduate studies at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Baldemar Velasquez

Born in 1947, Baldemar grew up in a migrant farmworker family based in the Rio Grande valley of Texas. Every year, his family would migrate to the Midwest and other regions to work in the fields planting, weeding, and harvesting crops like pickles, tomatoes, sugar beets, and berries. They traveled in trucks and old cars, and often lived in barns and converted chicken coops. The family eventually settled in Ohio, and Baldemar worked in the fields seasonally through his high school years to help support the family. In 1969 he became the first member of his family to graduate from college, graduating from Bluffton College with a BA in Sociology.
Incensed by the injustices suffered by his family and other farmworkers, Baldemar founded the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) in 1967. Under his leadership FLOC has set international precedents in labor history, including being the first union to negotiate multi-party collective bargaining agreements, and the first to represent H2A international guest workers under a labor agreement. Baldemar is an internationally recognized leader in the farmworker and immigrant rights movements. His commitment to justice and human dignity have led to recognition by many labor, government, academic, and progressive organizations, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, a Development of People Award by the Campaign for Human Development of the U.S. Catholic Conference, an Aguila Azteca Award by the Government of México, and several Honorary Doctorates from Bowling Green State University, Bluffton University, and University of Toledo. In 2009 Baldemar was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council.

Quina Aragon

Author & Poet (Presenting Artist)

Quina Aragon is a wife, mother, and artist who enjoys writing, copyediting, and creating spoken word videos. She resides in Tampa, FL with her husband Jon and beautiful, two-year-old daughter. Jon and Quina are members of Living Faith Bible Fellowship where they serve as leaders of the small group ministry. Quina's articles, poems, and spoken word videos have been featured on The Gospel Coalition, Risen Motherhood, The Witness: BCC, Rapzilla, and Designed Marriage. Her first children's book, Love Made, releases in February with Harvest House Publishers. Quina writes at her website, and you can find her as @Quina_Aragon on Twitter and Instagram.

Amena Brown

Author & Poet

Amena Brown is a poet, speaker, author, and event host. Named one of Rejuvenate Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 Changemakers, Amena is the author of five spoken word CDs and two non-fiction books: Breaking Old Rhythms and her latest release How to Fix a Broken Record. She has performed and spoken at events across the nation such as Creativity World Forum, IF Gathering, and Chick-fil-A Leadercast, as well as touring with Gungor, Ann Voskamp and the Voices Project Historically Black College and University Tour.
Amena is also the host of the limited edition How to Fix a Broken Record podcast about her book of the same name and the co-host of podcast, Here for the Donuts. She and her husband, DJ Opdiggy, live in Atlanta where they host an open mic every fifth Thursday at Urban Grind Coffee.

Live, Amena is always insightful, entertaining, and poignant. Her message and approach work extremely well with most audiences. Below explains her topics and approach:


8:00 AM
9:30 AM-11:30 AM
General Session 1
What is Advocacy? What is the Current State of Affairs?
11:30 AM-12:00 PM
12:00 PM-1:30 PM
General Session 2
Policy Briefings on Refugees, Border / Asylum, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
1:30 PM-2:45 PM
Boxed Lunch
3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Advocacy + Hill Meeting Training by Region
Learn how to effectively interact with congressional members in your area. You will learn the process of advocacy, what to expect, the impact it makes, and how to make congressional asks.
5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Dinner on Your Own
6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Amena Brown LIVE in DC | A night of poetry and comedic storytelling
9:00 AM
Breakfast Meeting
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Hill Meetings
Use the equipping you received during Hill Training to exercise your newly acquired advocacy knowledge in person. Each participant will be guided through the halls of Capitol Hill and matched with legislators in his or her area for an opportunity to practice making congressional asks. (Participants are welcome to leave personal belongings at St. Mark’s Episcopal until completion of Hill meetings).
Travel Information


St. Mark’s Episcopal Church – 301 A St SE, Washington, DC 20003

Time & Date:

Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM EDT (doors open at 8:30 AM)
Thursday, Sep 13, 2018 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM EDT (doors open at 8:30 AM)

Hotel & Travel:

Capitol Skyline Hotel – 10 I St SW Washington, DC 20024

Click Here for Room Block

Boutique hotel downtown with views of the Capitol dome. To be included in the “Justice Institute Room Block” call and reference this name or click this link to book your room. Rooms are limited and are on a first come, first served basis for 9/11/18 – 9/15/18. Rooms must be booked prior to 7/27/18.

Other D.C. Hotel Options:
You may be able to book an individual reservation at a hotel that is closer or cheaper on your own. Utilize your favorite hotel search engine to find other hotel options close to the venue.