Rev. Samuel Casey
Pastor Samuel J. Casey is the Senior Pastor & Co-Founder of New Life Christian Church in Fontana with his wife Pastor Tamika Casey. Pastor Casey also serves as the founding Executive Director of Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE). COPE was founded in 2000 and has been dedicated to building effective leadership among the clergy, community members, and local parents through local, regional, and national training that builds the capacity of individuals to revitalize the communities in which they live, work, and worship. COPE has successfully led and organized outreach campaigns in support of key legislative policies, including AB 743, San Bernardino City Unified School Districts Task Force for African American Student Achievement, Local Control Funding Formula, Prop 30, Prop 47, and School Discipline Reform that will ultimately seek to eradicate the School-to-Prison Pipeline, and Civic Engagement Campaigns that seeks to engage voters beyond election cycles. More recently, he led the ReTHINK Public Safety SB Coalition in demanding that San Bernardino County Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
Felicia Jones is the Deputy Director and Chief Strategy Officer with Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) in San Bernardino, CA. In this role, she supports the organization’s multi-issue racial and social justice organizing through campaign strategy, coalition building, policy advocacy, grassroots leadership training and fund development. She has spearheaded and facilitated multiple collective impact efforts bringing communities and institutions together to advance racial equity through creation of new institutional policies, practices, and investments in racial equity. She has helped to leverage and fundraise to bring over $15 million in organizational and regional funding. She currently serves as a co-chair of the Inland Empire Black Equity Initiative, is a regional coalition of Black-led organizations developing a shared agenda for policy and systems change to uplift black people and communities across the Inland Empire. As a co-chair, she also helped to establish the Black Equity Fund, a pooled fund effort and partnership between the IE-BEI and the Inland Empire Funders Alliance to strengthen and scale Black-led and empowering organizations’ sustainability and capacity to lead systems change work. She serves on the advisory board for the California Black Freedom Fund, a funding initiative dedicated to Black power-building and organizing in California. She was recently nominated to serve on the Strategic Advisory Council with Education Trust West, a statewide research and policy advocacy organization focused on educational equity and justice. She also co founded a giving circle of grassroots donors (B.L.A.C.C.) to support black led community organizations working on the frontlines of racial justice.
She was born and raised in South Los Angeles and is a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles, California. She resides in San Bernardino county.
Emeritus – Rev. Benjamin Briggs
Senior Organizer/Director of Civic Engagement
Benjamin Briggs served as the Director of Civic Engagement Programs and was responsible for developing and leading the organizations voter education, engagement, and electoral work. He has been with COPE since its beginning and under his leadership, COPE has amassed significant political power educating and organizing over 10,000 voters resulting in important policy shifts in the Inland Empire region and the state of California. He is respected community leader serving on multiple committees in the
He is the Senior Pastor of the Greater New Light Christian Church in Perris, California. Pastor Briggs and his wife have three children and an abundance of grandchildren.
Sonya Gray-Hunn is a Community Organizer with Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE). Her work as a grassroots organizer has allowed her to play a role in parent engagement and housing justice movements. In these roles, she helped to organize a diverse coalition of parents to help win $1.3 million appropriations for parent engagement resulting in a new framework for parent engagement and the creation of Enrollment and Resource Center in San Bernardino City Unified School District. She also led local lobbying efforts to push for rent control policies through Proposition 10 and 21; and worked to pass legislation to address rent gouging, housing discrimination, and displacement. Working with state and local housing justice advocates, she has organized to help pass rent moratoriums and other protective measures to keep people housed in response to the pandemic. She coordinated an emergency response aid program providing food, transportation, and housing support to more than 100 families experiencing hardship during the pandemic and worked with legal advocates to support tenants victimized by forced displacement. Sonya is a newly elected Democratic delegate representing the 40th Assembly District.
Prior to her work as a community organizer, Sonya worked in early education as a teacher. As an educator, she observed the many struggles children and their families faced. She noticed that children and their families were demonstrating a higher level of anxiety due to poor housing conditions or lack of stable housing. As a classroom teacher, she understood that more work needed to be done. After leaving early education, she enrolled in school to continue her education as an Americorp Fellow, which exposed her to non-profit social justice work. Since then, Sonya has been a strong champion for grassroots community members, particularly families whose voices are often left out on critical policy matters. As a mother of six children, Sonya’s heart is committed to working for the betterment of her community.
Demita Burgess joined COPE in 2006 and is the Program Coordinator for our Health Access by providing Medi-Cal Enrollment support to members of the community through outreach and Covid-19 Vaccination Clinics. Ms. Demita also coordinates our CEP Phone Banking Team during our seasonal campaigns with “California Calls” and “We are California.”
Ms. Demita was acknowledged for her work with COPE and California Calls by providing information to the community and letting them know that they also have a voice to change the inequalities in the community. She graduated from Loma Linda University Gateway College as a Certified Community Health Worker. She was promoted to Organizer and completed a five-year Healthcare project (SBCMORE), securing MediCal for all.
Admin/Program Manager of Health Services
Laniea King holds a double Master’s Degree in Education and Curriculum Development. With over 25 Years of Administrative Experience, she joined COPE in 2020 as the Administrative Assistant. Over that past year, she began to lend a hand with our Covid-19 Vaccination Clinics, where she provided support in the areas of Patient Intake and offered structural support of the clinic’s operations. This has led her to become Program Manager of Health Service for COPE. She is now responsible for putting together Covid-19 Educational Town Halls and Vaccination Clinics in partnership with our Faith Leaders and Vaccinating Partners for the community. Her work has grown and made space for the Health Equity Collaborative, which is a partnership with COPE and Dr. Jacinda Abdul-Mutakabbir, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy University of California San Diego, in order to address other Health Disparities that are affecting the community outside of Covid-19. Laniea has received acknowledgement through publication on Vaccine Hesitancy: Academic Partnership Model to Promote COVID-19 Vaccine Equity within Racially and Ethnically Minoritized Communities. She also manages the COPE Medi-Cal Enrollment team, which supports community members by enrolling them into the Medi-Cal program through the County of San Bernardino.
Jewel Patterson is a Lead Organizer for Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (C.O.P.E.). She joined C.O.P.E. in 2016 where she designed and launched a grassroots organizing and leadership development program for Black youth called R.E.A.L. (Race, Education, ARTivism and Leadership). Through the R.E.A.L. Program and various C.O.P.E. Youth engagements and activities (such as the Youth Artivism Retreat, Black Youth Hangout and Black Radical Unity Hub) C.O.P.E. has raised the consciousness and capacity in youth across the IE, ages 14-29. Throughout her time with C.O.P.E., Jewel has received her Master’s in Counseling, and was recognized by Assemblymember Eloise Gomez-Reyes’ office as a 30 Under 30 honoree for 2020. As a Black, queer feminist community organizer Jewel’s work continues to focus on serving traditionally marginalized communities in the Inland Empire by using organizing and ARTivism.
Devona has provided family support services in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties for more than 13 years. She brings a vast knowledge of early childhood education, public service navigation, and a broad network of resources and community connections within both Counties. In addition to supporting families around birth support. Another high priority is surrounding herself with community members, and local and state-wide leaders. Adding her voice to the voice of the people and advocating for change. At this time, Devona holds the position as President of the District African American Advisory Council and Chair of the California Breastfeeding Coalition.
Min. Quan Williams
Civic Engagement Organizer
Minister Quan has a background in legislative advocacy and has led public policy efforts in California, Illinois, Virginia and on Capitol Hill in D.C. The intersection of faith and justice is very important to her and she is ecstatic to be one of the newest organizers at COPE (Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement) where she is continuing and increasing civic engagement efforts. Education wise, Quan has a Bachelor’s degree in Pan African Studies: Arts & Literature from California State University, Northridge, a Masters degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Masters degree in Divinity from Virginia Union University. She has written an unpublished autobiographical fiction titled What A Little Moonlight Can Do – a nod to Billie Holiday. She is an auntie to two nieces and one of them is deaf. Quan is learning American Sign Language so that she will always be able to communicate with both of her niecey poohs.
Rev. Carl Wiggins
Pastor, Eagles Wing Christian Church
Dr. Len Cooper
Rev. Ernest D. Dowdy
Pastor, Highland Church of the Living God
Rev. Keith Tolbert
Pastor, Life Center Church
San Bernardino, CA
Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches
San Bernardino, CA
Pastor, Predestined in Christ