After an extensive national search, the Fellowship of Reconciliation-USA (FOR-USA) is proud to welcome our next executive director, Ariel Gold.
Ms. Gold, a veteran peace and justice advocate, is taking the helm as the organization’s first Jewish executive director. Prior to this groundbreaking appointment, for the past seven years Ms. Gold worked at CODEPINK Women for Peace, where she was the national co-director and a Middle East policy analyst.
Founded in 1915, FOR-USA is the nation’s oldest interfaith peace and justice organization, and part of the global International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) movement with branches, groups, and affiliates in more than 50 countries. FOR-USA and IFOR have counted among their active members several Nobel Peace laureates, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Following decades of concentrating on international affairs, including advocacy for a just peace in Israel/Palestine, Ms. Gold resonated with the deep urgency of FOR-USA’s focus on interrupting violence and injustice within the United States and its impact on and intersection with systemic violence, war, and military occupation globally. “The work FOR is currently undertaking is enormously important and immediately inspired me to apply for the position,” said Gold. “Given the rise of white supremacy, and the intersecting, ongoing epidemics of racial inequality and gun violence as well as the current attacks on trans rights and bodily integrity, it is necessary and vital to address our issues at home in order to best contribute to the pursuit of peace worldwide.”
Ms. Gold has felt a connection to FOR-USA since she first encountered the organization as a young person during her involvement in the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s and ‘90s. At the age of 17 she was inspired to engage in her first act of civil disobedience while protesting underground nuclear testing in Nevada on Western Shoshone Nation land.
Her commitment to faith-based activism intensified while raising her children in the U.S. Jewish community. In between her children’s bar and bat mitzvahs, she took them to spend three weeks in the West Bank living with Palestinian families to “experience firsthand the humanity of those living under occupation and understand the obligation that Jews of conscience have to work for peace and equality in Israel/Palestine.” Ms. Gold cites the Catholic Worker movement and Jewish Voice for Peace as two important influences on her organizing experience.
“It is with great humility that I follow in the footsteps of a long list of incredible people involved with FOR, including early racial and gender equality activist Jane Addams – who joined FOR-USA in 1919 and withstood harsh criticism for her embrace of pacifism during WWI – and radical labor activist and lesbian Grace Hutchins, who joined FOR-USA in 1920,” said Gold. “I am immensely honored to take a position once held by A.J. Muste, the renowned clergyman, political thinker, and peacemaker who served as FOR’s executive director from 1940 to 1953.”
“We are thrilled at the selection of Ariel Gold as our next executive director,” said Chrissy Stonebraker-Martinez, chair of FOR-USA’s National Council. “Ms. Gold’s depth of experience, prophetic analysis, and courageous witness promises to re-energize our grassroots movement. In an era of exponentially-increasing violence against targeted bodies and communities, we are profoundly inspired by Ms. Gold’s legacy of nonviolent solidarity work with cross-sectional feminist and womanist movements around the world.”
“As the newest executive director of FOR, I aim to grow the organization’s profile such that religious institutions of numerous faiths seek out and take advantage of FOR resources, such as curricula and multimedia tools being developed today through FOR’s program team and Wink Fellowship,” declared Gold. She added, “As the first Jewish executive director of FOR, I am also excited to revitalize FOR’s presence in my own faith community. We celebrate FOR’s historic leadership in launching and strengthening religious peace groups, such as the Jewish Peace Fellowship – founded in 1941 to support Jewish conscientious objectors – and anti-war and civil rights activists who ground their commitment to nonviolence in Torah, Talmud, and other sacred and religious texts, and I look forward to deepening such creative ties and emergent partnerships.”
Ariel Gold will officially assume the role of FOR-USA executive director on August 1st.
Contact: Ethan Vesely-Flad, firstname.lastname@example.org