Making Home Through Community: A conversation with Murad Owda, Rocki Simōes, and Ryan Berg

Join us on Thursday, 2/27 for February’s Kaleo Express workshop – Making Home through CommunityA conversation about housing justice, and our own stories of making home and coming home with Murad Owda, Rocki Simōes, and Ryan Berg.


All are welcome and registration is free. 

Thursday, February 27th. Bagels, coffee, non-dairy treats, gluten-free delights, and good company starting at 8:30 a.m. Workshop from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30a.m

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (A pro-Queer, pro-LGBT, progressive, multi-faith seminary.) 767 Eustis Street, Saint Paul. (See parking information below.)

For years, the amazing organizers at Avenues for Youth have been creating new ways of making homes for youth who lack access to housing. For February’s KaleoExpress, we are thrilled to welcome three of Avenues’ organizers – the fabulous community leaders Murad Owda, Rocki Simōes, and Ryan Berg.
We will share a reflective and interactive conversation about the impact of housing justice on Black, Native, Brown, Indigenous, POC, Queer and Trans youth, about the identities of place and belonging that shape our ideas of home, and about the experiences of home that shape our lives.
We will also have the chance to learn about the deeply innovative work that Rocki, Ryan, and Murad are leading at Avenues for Youth, and will learn how we can each get involved.

We would love for you to come on the 27th. REGISTER HERE!

Feel free to come late and leave early – we know that folks have lives that do not always run in straight lines. Children welcome!

United is fully accessible to power-chairs, has gender-neutral and single stall bathrooms, and is located close to bus lines and light rail.

If you have access needs, please contact Kaleo Co-Director at so that we can accommodate you. We will be live-streaming the event for people who aren’t able to be there in person.


Please park in the south lot at the corner of Wabash and Eustis Streets. You will see a large metal structure in the parking lot, and a large “CASE” sign over the main entrance doors. You will *not* see a sign for United Theological Seminary. Once you come in the building, proceed straight ahead past the various creative iterations of tables, couches, past the workspaces under construction, and past the whimsical indoor lawn games, and look for the “United Theological Seminary” sign. Enter the door underneath the sign, and follow the internal directions to the chapel.

ABOUT Murad Owda

Born and raised in a Palestinian refugee camp in Palestine, Murad Owda is a political and social activist. He has co-created a multitude of networks including over 50 communities from different countries to work together for campaigns for social justice. He co-edited a journal for Palestinian refugees, and many projects to support vulnerable communities in the region. Currently, he is the program manager of Abule Collective Housing Program at Avenues for Youth, working with youth who are experiencing homelessness and community members who are willing to share their homes to re-establish a collective ‘we’.

ABOUT Rocki Simōes

Raquel (Rocki) Simões  is a white Brazilian who came to the United States in the late 80s, fell in love with women and rice krispies treats (not necessarily in that order) and decided to stay. Most of her community organizing work has focused on queer youth, homelessness, and social justice. Most of her personal work has focused on being a loving friend, partner, ex-partner, anti-racist community member, and parent. On a good day she does some of these things well. Rocki has been at Avenues for Youth since 2007 and has a long history with the GLBT Host Home Program (now ConneQT), which she helped start in 1997.

ABOUT Ryan Berg

Ryan Berg is a writer and program manager of community engagement for the ConneQT Host Home Program of Avenues for Youth. His debut book, No House to Call My Home: Love, Family and Other Transgressions, won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award for General Nonfiction, the 2016 NCCD Media for a Just Society Award, and was listed as a Top 10 LGBTQ Book of 2016 by the American Library Association. He lives in Minneapolis with his two dogs, River Phoenix and Jackie-Bear.


Calling Forth

Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice & Social Transformation offers a home for movement-building where our spiritual practices meet our work for justice and where our work for justice meets our varied faith traditions. We nourish relationships that honor and include our full spiritual selves. We convene spaces that invest in community across tradition and belief, and we organize with that community to take public action towards collective liberation.

Currently, Kaleo Center lives out our vision in three ways:

  1. We organize people across diverse faith traditions and communities of spiritual practice to act in meaningful solidarity with front-line local and national organizing for justice and liberation.
  2. We work in multiple settings to train leaders across diverse faith traditions and communities of spiritual practice in practices of community organizing and social transformation.
  3. We convene  a national field of social transformation within seminary education that fosters innovation and creativity for a new generation of spiritually-grounded movement makers.

Our work is possible because of the generosity and commitment of our donors. Thank you for making sure that we can continue to act boldly in the world towards justice. Become a Kaleo donor here!

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