Rev. Alexia Salvatierra
Director of Justice Ministries, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Adjunct Professor, Urban Studies Department
B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz
M.Div., Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary
Alexia is a Lutheran Pastor with over 35 years of experience in community ministry, including church-based service and community development programs, congregational and community organizing, and legislative advocacy. In addition to coordinating the Welcoming Congregations Network for the Southwest California Synod of the ELCA, she currently serves as a consultant (training, facilitating, organizing and leading strategic planning) for a variety of national/international organizations, including World Vision USA/World Vision International/Women of Vision, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and the Christian Community Development Association. She has been a national leader in the areas of working poverty and immigration for over 20 years, including the co-founding of the national Evangelical Immigration Table (a very broad coalition of moderate and conservative evangelical leaders and institutions advocating for immigration reform.).
She is adjunct faculty at the New York Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Eastern University and New Theological Seminary of the West, and has taught at Vanguard and Biola Universities as well as lecturing at a variety of academic institutions, including the University of Southern California and UCLA. From 2000 to 2011, she was the Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice—beginning as the director of CLUE in Los Angeles and then as the first CLUE-CA director. CLUE-CA is a statewide alliance of organizations of religious leaders who come together to respond to the crisis of working poverty by joining low-wage workers in their struggle for a living wage, health insurance, fair working conditions and a voice in the decisions that affect them. CLUE-CA utilizes an original “faith-rooted” organizing model which integrates insights from the civil rights movement, Latin America and the Philippines to equip faith leaders to contribute their unique gifts and resources to larger movements for economic and social justice. Under Alexia’s leadership, CLUE-CA became known for its leadership development program for young leaders. CLUE-CA was the initial lead agency for the New Sanctuary Movement, in which congregations in 37 cities around the country accompanied and supported immigrant workers and their families facing deportation, and the “Our Children” project in Orange County which engages immigrant and non-immigrant evangelical congregations in joint ministry to immigrant youth facing deportation.
Before coming to CLUE-CA, Rev. Salvatierra founded multiple programs and organizations, in the US and overseas. These included a gang prevention program for at-risk immigrant youth in Fresno, a community computer center and an intergenerational community garden where the elderly taught at-risk youth to grow produce in Oakland as well as a collaborative of UC students, homeless leaders and congregation members providing emergency services in the streets of Santa Cruz and the migrant farmworker camps in Watsonville. She was founding director of the Berkeley Ecumenical Chaplaincy to the Homeless, a program that integrated social services, community organizing, pastoral care, and economic development for the homeless that was replicated in six US cities. In the Philippines, she trained urban poor women in Manila to serve as chaplains to their neighbors. She has been awarded the Changemaker award from the Liberty Hill Foundation, the Stanton Fellowship from the Durfee Foundation, the Amos Award from Sojourners, the Giants of Justice award from CLUE LA and the Prime Mover fellowship from the Hunt Alternatives Fund.
- Salvatierra, A., & Heltzel, P. (2013). Faith-rooted organizing: Mobilizing the church in service to the world. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press.