Americans United Youth Advisory Council

The Youth Advisory Council assists Americans United for Separation of Church and State in promotion of the organization’s mission and goals to young people. Youth Advisory Council members:

  • Are familiar with and actively promote the cause of religious liberty and the separation of church and state
  • Keep the organization appraised of trends in outreach to youth, and promote the organization to young people
  • Work to increase membership and participation of young people in Americans United
  • Participate in email and online discussions on how to promote Americans United to a younger audience

2017 Youth Advisory Council


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HARSHINI ABBARAJU

Harshini Abbaraju is a high school student from Greenville, South Carolina. She is passionate about progressive politics, civil rights, and intersectional feminism. She is a former federal judicial intern and is now a U.S. Senate Page and an active member in High School Democrats of America. She aims to pursue a career in civil rights law.


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Luqmaan Bokhary

Luqmaan Bokhary is a Muslim-American student from San Diego, CA at Brown University studying International Relations with a focus in the Middle East. His passions for Muslim advancement, intersectional activism, and progressive politics have caused him to get involved with High School Democrats, Muslim Students Association, and local community organizing groups. Luqmaan eventually hopes to be able to pursue a legal or policy-making career, or perhaps a combination of the two!


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CLAIRE BRAINARD

Claire is a 2015 graduate of The American University in Washington, D.C. where she earned her Bachelors in Comparative Religious Studies and a minor in History. While studying as an undergraduate, she focused her studies on the Abrahamic faiths, Buddhist religious practice, and philosophy. She also holds extensive interest in early Church, Holocaust, and World War II resistance history. During her time as a student at American University Claire served as the President of the Episcopal Campus Ministries (ECM) and was an active member of American University’s Interfaith Council, United Methodist Student Association (UMSA) and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF). After earning her degree, she started at Americans United for Separation of Church and State as the Advocacy Intern from fall 2015 through spring 2016. Claire is currently working as a youth minister with the Edge ministry program at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Fayetteville, GA and is currently in charge of starting the young adult ministry program there.


MATT DE STASIO

Matt De Staiso was the 2014 spring intern at Americans United. Since that time he has worked as a grant evaluator for a humanist nonprofit and as a paralegal for child abuse attorneys before taking on law school at the University of Pennsylvania. Raised Unitarian Universalist, a dedication to religious liberty and a pluralistic society has been and will continue to be a common thread in his professional career. As a student, he spends his free time volunteering for the Reproductive Justice Project, reading science fiction, and exploring Philadelphia.


NOAH FITZGEREL

Noah Fitzgerel graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a degree in political science and religious studies with honors, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. At Brown, Noah served as student president of Brown RISD Hillel and as content director of the Brown Political Review. He follows politics closely, having worked for MSNBC and ABC News, and is particularly passionate about religious freedom and the separation of church and state—causes for which he has worked and written in Washington. Noah serves as a founding member of the youth advisory council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and is an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.


DELANEY GOLD-DIAMOND

Delaney Gold-Diamond is a student at the University of Chicago where she is pursuing degrees in Political Science and Romance Languages and Literatures. Before interning at Americans United in the summer of 2016, Delaney worked for her congressman, an immigration attorney, and several other positions in the legal, political, and nonprofit fields. As a competitor on the Moot Court and the Mock Trial teams at UChicago, Delaney hopes that her interests in church-state separation, politics, and justice will propel her into a legal career. 


THOMAS SHEEDY

Thomas Sheedy is a secular activist from East Setauket, New York, who focuses on secularism and the acceptance of Atheists in America. He is a Senior at Ward Melville High School where he started a Secular Student Alliance on campus. He gained attention from his local secular community as well as secular students across the country. After graduating, he plans to continue his secular activism while pursuing a degree in Political Science.


AMANDA SCOTT

Amanda Scott is a government major at Georgetown University, where she is a recipient of the 1789 Scholarship and member of the Georgetown Scholarship Program. She graduated summa cum laude from Faulkner State Community College with an A.A.S. in paralegal studies and the Paralegal Award for outstanding scholarship. She aspires to become a public interest lawyer specializing in constitutional and civil rights law. Before joining Americans United Youth Advisory Council, Amanda founded her own nonprofit organization, Mobile Equality, and served on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Alabama.


PETER ZUPAN

Pete went to the University of Colorado at Boulder with a BA in Philosophy of Law, influenced by his passion for Church/State separation. He then went on to become the Vice President of the Secular Students and Skeptics Society and also the Volunteer Network Coordinator for the Colorado Regional Secular Student Alliance. He worked as an intern for Americans United for Separation of Church and State before moving to Columbus, OH to work for the Secular Student Alliance as a Campus Organizer.