Many young lives have been negatively impacted by the ongoing current pandemic. Though numerous lives, professions, and livelihoods have been unexpectedly disrupted, the repercussions have been far worse for the underserved and underrepresented. Many underserved have unfortunately lost access to quality affordable housing, supportive family services, daily school-provided musical expression, and most importantly, the easy convenience to internet access. The vulnerable and oppressed communities are ready to be revitalized. Church, are you ready to do the work?
Benita Hopkins has worked in the non-profit sector for years as the Director of Education for Generations United who serves the immigrant population and for Love Never Fails, committed to the trafficked population. She is the current Northern and Central California Liaison for the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative and oversees her 1st Fruits Arts Project to offer underserved students of all ages the opportunity to express themselves and find healing through the arts. One of Benita’s favorite quotations by Dr. King is: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Human trafficking and other injustices are critical to her work.
Damon Owens is the Lead Pastor of Genesis Church-Antioch; a vibrant multi-generational church community who is committed to sharing the gospel, local missions, workforce and community youth development. Raised in East Oakland, CA, Damon is also the Executive V.P. of Dalet Access Labs, Inc. Dalet Access addresses the digital divide by providing high speed fiber-like wireless internet to urban, rural, and tribal communities. He is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Development. Damon is a loyal Raiders fan and is married to Shantell with 3 daughters and 5 beautiful grandchildren: Christian, Anaiyah, Gia, Olivia, and Derrick Jr.
Esther Carver grew on her family’s cattle ranch in California. She earned her degree in Intercultural Studies at Fresno Pacific University in 2008. Esther moved to the downtown neighborhood of Lowell in 2007 and now raises her three children there. She completed the Pink House Urban leadership internship in 2009 Esther directed their City Life program for three years for Youth For Christ. She is a DVULI alum of 2014, and has served as the Executive Director for the Lowell Community Development Corporation since 2013. Esther is passionate about collaborating to serve her community.