Faith in Public Life Welcomes 2019 Summer Interns and Fellow to the Team

Selena Grover

Hometown: Naperville, IL

College: University of Michigan 


How are you fueled by your faith?

Nirbhau, Nirvair. Without fear, without hate. This line in Baani, or Scripture, fuels me every day.

As a Sikh, I strive to be a person who is both kind and courageous. This means always looking for

ways to support others no matter what the consequences might be. My Sikh faith gives me

confidence and a community of people who push me to these ideals. In this day and age where

negativity seems to be everywhere, Sikhi (Sikh faith) inspires me to bring more love and bravery

into the world.


What are you working on at Faith in Public Life?

At Faith in Public Life, I am working on a project to help bring FPL’s services to more Sikhs. FPL is

a voice for faith communities everywhere, and I am excited to help give more Sikh voices a

platform to speak. These voices will bring new perspectives and support to the issues we tackle

in our organization. I have also been working with the communications department to craft media

roundups, press releases and mailings.


Michael Vazquez

Hometown: Military Brat

College: Weber State University (Undergrad), Duke University (Grad School)


How are you fueled by faith?

My faith is a multifaceted crystalline impetus towards robust, thoughtful and radical justice work.

It is what gives me the hope that one day we will in fact see equity and justice brought to those

in most dire need of it. My faith drives my belief that justice is possible, today. It is the source of

hope, and hope is what makes the work possible.


What are you working on at Faith in Public Life? 

My work centers on expanding advocacy efforts for intersectional LGBTQ+ non-discrimination

legislation and programming. My hope is that through my work with FPL and our partnerships in

local communities, we might see the lives of LGBTQ+ folks dignified and honored in every area

of life.


Nitisha Giran

Hometown: Chandler, Arizona 

College: Vassar College ‘20


How are you fueled by your faith?

The Sikh concept of Seva, selfless service, has really resonated and guided me throughout my

life. Growing up, seva was synonymous with racing to pass out the most napkins to everyone

after Ardaas (closing prayer) at a Sunday service. Seva only began to root itself with greater

depth much later in my life. When I started volunteering in high school, my parents were

frequently inconvenienced to drive me to wherever I needed to be. To convince them to drive

me, I began arguing that volunteering at the hospital or the local art festival was another form

of seva because the American city we lived in was our sangat (community). It was then that I

began to wonder what seva really meant to me and why it is so valued in Sikh teachings. Seva

is a means to bring one closer to God. By caring for another person, one learns to humanize

and love every member of our sangat and in turn, recognize the divinity that exists in every

one of us. Guru Arjan Sahib Ji said, “He who lowers his mind to the dust of all men's feet, Sees

the Name of God enshrined in every heart" (Sukhmani 111.6). My relationship with seva is my

path towards developing a stronger connection with God and all of their creations.


What are you working on at Faith in Public Life?

I am the Organizing and Operations Intern at Faith and Public Life, and have been involved with keeping our Census Ambassadors (a network of faith leaders) informed on the status of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census and on what steps they can take in response to the Supreme Court decision. In addition to census work, I have had the pleasure of learning and experiencing the ins and outs of operating a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, such as managing lists of donors and drafting grant proposals and reports.


Michael Anderson

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

College: University of North Florida


How are you fueled by your faith?

My faith is fueled by the fact that everyone is included in God’s family. I was born and raised

in the church. I had seen the importance of community and people coming together. I saw

what people could do to people who are different, even coming from inside the church. My

faith taught me that no matter what the people, world, and church says, I am a child of God.

One of my favorite quotes from a pastor is if you want to see change in the church always

start with the youth or young people.


What are you working on at Faith in Public Life?

This summer I’m working on getting our network of clergy, faith leaders and communities of

faith in Florida out and actively doing justice in the public square. In the South, people can

be very timid when it comes to speaking out in the public square, but I believe that we have a moral obligation to stand up for everyone. I have power house pastors teaching me and supporting me. That is what the church and faith is all about.


Nada Merghani

Hometown: Omdurman, Sudan

College: University of North Carolina Charlotte


How are you fueled by your faith?

I am fueled by my faith because of the strong moral and ethical system that guides me

through Islam. My religion and my faith has taught to support people, love others, offer

resources and care whenever I could, and to fight tirelessly for the things that are right.


What are you working on at Faith in Public Life?

The NC Faith in Public Life team and I are working against HB 370 and any other oppressive

legislation that affects undocumented and immigrant communities in negative ways. 


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