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Staff and Board
Brian Stefan-Szittai came to the InterReligious Task Force staff in 1999, bringing to IRTF several years of experience in community organizing and advocacy for immigrant rights in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Brian co-managed a shelter for Central American refugees, organized support from faith communities through the Border Association for Refugees from Central America (BARCA), and worked to move unaccompanied minors out of detention and reunite them with relatives. Also through BARCA, Brian did community organizing with Mexican immigrant families in rural colonias that lacked basic infrastructure (potable water, waste water systems, paved roads) and services (postal delivery, school buses). During his years on the Texas/Mexico border, Brian served as chair of the Refugee Rights Coalition, director of the Peace and Justice Commission at his church, and co-director of the Coalition of Colonia Service Agencies. Returning to Ohio in the 1990s, Brian taught sociology at Bowling Green State University-Firelands College and Lorain County Community College, as well as ESL (English as a Second Language).
Through IRTF, Brian has organized NE Ohioans in support of worker justice (fair trade and anti-sweatshop campaigns), LGBTQ solidarity, and immigrant defense. He helped to coordinate Ohio’s first-ever LGBTQ delegation to Central America. Brian coordinates IRTF’s Rapid Response Network, which responds to 6 urgent human rights cases each month. He represents IRTF on the Steering Committee of Cleveland Jobs with Justice and the Immigration Working Group CLE. Outside of IRTF, Brian is active with music and environmental stewardship ministries at his church, housing justice through the Community Land Trust, and hospitality for unhoused people through the Cleveland Catholic Worker Community.
Brian is a native of Massillon, Ohio, and graduate of Canton Central Catholic High School. Brian holds a BA in Political Science (Bowling Green State University) and an MA in Sociology (Syracuse University), with concentrations in ethnic identity and conflict resolution.
Chrissy was raised in the legacy industrial city of Youngstown, Ohio. Chrissy devotes passion for social justice to her union-laborer father and concern for Latin American solidarity to her mother, who found refuge in the US from Medellin, Colombia, during the height of the civil war in the 1980s. Chrissy received a BA in International and Financial Management from Hiram College and an MA/MEd in Higher Education Administration and Counseling from Kent State University. At Kent, Chrissy worked in Student Affairs, coordinated experiential education, civic engagement and service learning trips, taught Student Development and Leadership courses and served on the staff Sustainability, Equity and Professional Development committees. While studying at Hiram College, Chrissy helped with the creation of the 501c3 Hiram Farm Living and Learning community for people with autism spectrum disorders, and co-founded the Olive Branch fair trade store at Hiram College.
Chrissy joined the IRTF staff in 2013. Currently, Chrissy serves as a representative to the United Nations for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (iFOR), Co-Moderator of the Disciples Peace Fellowship (DPF), Co-Chair of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR/FORUSA), Chair of the Ohio Fair Trade Network (OFTN), on the Council of School of Americas Watch (SOAW), and as a steering committee member of the Ohio Poor Peoples Campaign (PPC) and Christian Peacemaker Teams (ECAP-Colombia, CPT IK-Iraqi Kurdistan). Chrissy is proud to be a community organizer, organizing in the greater Cleveland area, with groups such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), the Student Farmworker Alliance (SFA), Alliance for Fair Food with the Fair Food Program (AFF/FFP), Witness Against Torture (WAT), Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD), Tree of Life Education Fund (Israel/Palestine), the Asociacion de Trabajadores del Campo Nicaragua (ATC), Refugee and Immigration Ministries with Disciples Home Missions (RIM DHM) and others. Her favorite organizing groups in Cleveland are: Amplifying BIPOC (AMPNEO), Clevelanders for Public Transit (CPT), the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University (SJI), and the Cleveland chapter of DSA.
Program Associates - volunteer corps members
Marc Alvarado email@example.com
Paul Schmitt firstname.lastname@example.org
Quin Galvin email@example.com
Janet Allt, CPA
Jean Gillet - office
Mary Hurley, HM - Rapid Response Network Coordinator
Patt Needham - database
Ditte Wolin - database
Board of Trustees
Heather Craigie works in the Center for Service and Social Action at John Carroll University. Heather has received degrees from Earlham College and the University of Arizona. She enjoys spending time with her family, grant writing, mindfulness and self-care, and is passionate about activism and social and envionmental justice. Her favorite social justice hero is Dolores Huerta (co-founder of the United Farm Workers). A book that Heather reccomends is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Heather loves that she has found people with similar passions and values at IRTF.
Rachel Rosen DeGolia - co-chair
Rachel Rosen DeGolia is the executive director of the Universal Health Care Action Network. Rachel is an alumna of the University of Chicago and Cleveland State University. She is passionate about politics, social justice, reading, cooking, strength training, and bicycling. Her favorite IRTF event is the annual memorial service at the Commemoration of the Martyrs. She has traveled to Guatemala, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Neatherlands, France, England and Bulgaria. Rachel finds hope in younger fellow justice fighters.
JP Graulty - treasurer
JP has recieved degrees from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Dayton. He is passionate about peace, economic justice, his Catholic Faith, and board games. JP has traveled to the Philippines, Japan, China, Canada, the UK, and Australia. His communities of friends, neighbors, and loved ones gives him hope. A fun fact about JP is that he played the tuba in high school and college.
Rev Ellen Huffman - co-chair
Sr. Diane Pinchot, OSU
Joann Rymarczyk-Piotrkowski - Community Shares Rep
Joann Rymarczyk-Piotrkowski is assistant director Newman Campus Ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. She previously served 19 years as director of campus ministry at Ursuline College. She is also dean of the Cleveland Ecumenical Institute. She hes recieved degrees from Xavier University, the Univerisity of Cincinnati, Ursuline College, and St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology. Joann is passionate about faith, family, and food. Her most poignant IRTF memory was her first trip to the Protest of the School of the Americas. Her favorite social justice hero is Dorothy Day (co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement). Joann finds hope in the young people she works with everyday.
Keely Veatch - secretary