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Staff and Board
Brian Stefan-Szittai came to the InterReligious Task Force staff in 1999. Before joining IRTF, Brian taught sociology at Bowling Green State University-Firelands College and Lorain County Community College. Brian also brought to IRTF several years of experience in community organizing and advocacy for immigrant rights in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a four-county area on the Texas-Mexico border. Brian co-managed a shelter for Central American refugees and organized faith communities in support of Central American refugees through the Border Association for Refugees from Central America (BARCA). Also through BARCA, Brian did community organizing with Mexican immigrant families in rural colonias. During his years in South Texas, Brian served as chair of the Refugee Rights Coalition, director of the Peace and Justice Commission at a Catholic parish, and co-founder/co-director of the Coalition of Colonia Service Agencies. In Cleveland, Brian is active with music ministry at St. Patrick Church, the Community Land Trust, and 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 rust-belt town of Youngstown, Ohio. Chrissy devotes passion for social justice to a union-laborer father and concern for Latin American solidarity to a 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 Chrissy helped with the creation of the 501c3 Hiram Farm Living and Learning community for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and was co-founder of the Olive Branch fair trade store in Hiram, OH.
Chrissy joined IRTF as co-coordinator in 2013. Currently, Chrissy serves as 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). She 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), Christian Peacemaker Teams (ECAP-Colombia, CPT IK-Iraqi Kurdistan), 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
Rapid Response Network Coordinator
IRTF Board of Trusties
Lyz Bly is a professor at Cleveland State University, a destuction homestead co-op member and a yoga teacher. She is an alumn of Kent State University, The Ohio State University, and Case Western Reserve University. She is passionate about art, yoga, traveling, and helping to create a new world centered on healing the planet and its inhibitantas. She was lead to IRTF by a woman who suggested that Lyz connect with the organization while she was doing research and philanthropic work in Guatemala.
Heather Craigie - secretary
Heather Craigie works in the Center for Service and Social Action at John Carroll University. Heather has recieved 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. 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
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 anual memorial service at the Commemoration of the Martyrs Human Rights Dinner for Central America and Colombia. She has traveled to Guatemala, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Neatherlands, France, England and Bulgaria. Rachel finds hope in younger fellow justice fighters.
JP Graulty - co-chair
JP Graulty works in the Center for Service and Social Action at John Carroll University. 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.
Annette Iwamoto - co-chair
Annette Iwamoto is the Strategic Initaitives Manager at Povidence House, Inc. Annette is an alumna of Trinity College and Case Western Reserve University. She is passionate about social and racial justice, increasing civility, and research in evidence based soluntions to community problems, as well as art and traveling. Annette has traveled all over the world in Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Pure, Argentine, Chile, Bolivia, Uriguay, Japan, India, British Isles, France, Belgium, the Neatherlands, and Germany. She reccomends that you read Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. A fun fact about Annette is that she once had gymnasitcs class with the Olsen twins.
Joann Rymarczyk-Piotrkowski is the Director of Campus Ministry at Ursuline College and the 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. Joann finds hope in the young people she works with everyday.
Andy Trares - treasurer
Andy is the Deputy Director of the May Dugan Center in the Near West Side of Cleveland. He is a graduate from John Carroll University. Andy serves on the boards of Lake Erie Ink, Ohio City Inc., and Community Shares of Greater Cleveland. He enjoys serving with the Cleveland Catholic Worker and the Lake Affect LGBTQ+ Alternative Health Clinic.