AROC’s work is led by a team of collective (advisory board), staff, and members.
- Lara Kiswani, Executive Director
- Lina Baroudi, Immigration Attorney
- Sharif Zakout, Youth Program Coordinator
- Shaker Jarrar, Lead Organzier
- Omar Ali, Operations & Communications Coordinator
Lara Kiswani, Executive Director
Lara Kiswani is a Palestinian born in the Bay Area. She has worked as a youth and adult educator, and is currently a member of Al-Juthoor of the Arab Shatat, a local Palestinian folkloric dance troupe, and the Executive Director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC).
Lina Baroudi, Immigration Attorney
Lina Baroudi, an immigrant from Syria, has worked in the field of immigration law for more than thirteen years. She earned her juris doctorate from Golden Gate University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University. During that time, Lina was involved with community organizing through the San Francisco chapters of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and the National Lawyers Guild; she also serves as a pro bono mentor for other attorneys through the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco’s Asylum Program. Lina was recently named a “Rising Star” for 2015 by Super Lawyers. Lina maintains a private immigration firm in San José and is also the immigration attorney at AROC’s Arab American Legal Services
Sharif Zakout, Youth Program Coordinator
Sharif Zakout is a San Francisco born and raised Palestinian American who recently graduated with a BA in Legal Studies from UC Santa Cruz. Sharif has been active in Santa Cruz’s Committee for Justice in Palestine and Rainbow Theater. He has previously been involved with directing, theater, and music outreach within high schools in California. He has also worked as a student residential adviser with experience in counseling and program organizing. Currently Sharif is an active member of the Bay Area chapter of the Palestine Youth Movement. Sharif is a self proclaimed hip hop aficionado and he loves to go around cyphering to meet new people. One day he hopes to help rebuild Palestine once we return. Sharif is currently the youth organizer at AROC.
Shaker Jarrar, Lead Organizer
Shaker Jarrar is a Palestinian born and raised in Jordan. He received his Master’s degree in Sociology where he worked on issues concerning Jordanian day laborers in the public sector. He organized in the student movement and played a key role in the Arab Uprisings against privatization, policing, imperialism, and corruption. He is currently the lead organizer at AROC, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. He is committed to highlighting the Palestinian cause within the context of the broader Arab struggle for justice against neo-liberalism and state violence.
Omar Ali, Operations & Communications Coordinator
Omar Ali is an Egyptian-Filipino who migrated to San Francisco from Egypt in 2007. He holds an M.A. in International & Multicultural Education with an Emphasis in Human Rights from the University of San Francisco, where he examined how mainstream corporate media saturated the narratives of the Egyptian people. He helped to organize countless demonstrations and events during and after the Egyptian Uprising of 2011. Omar has been politically active for the past several years around issues in Egypt, Palestine, and Iraq and has a particular interest in immigrant rights, anti-repression and surveillance work and is the operations and communications coordinator at AROC.
Advisory Board and Lead Members
Chris Lymbertos is an immigrant born and raised in Iran whose parents are Syrian and Armenian. Living deeply in the contradictions and challenges of her transcontinental and exiled identity in the U.S. since 1976, she has dedicated her work to changing the conditions that contribute to individual and collective trauma and oppression both here and in her homelands. She believes that a wholistic transformative approach is essential in order for us to build strength and power as a movement for justice that responds to immediate and long term needs, heals the legacies of violence, trauma and oppression individually and collectively for the sake of liberation.
She has been working in and with Social Justice non-profit organizations in the Bay Area since 1991 including generationFIVE, San Francisco Women Against Rape, the DataCenter, among others. For the last 5 years, Chris has been a member of the Arab Resource and Organization Center and has been organizing and active in the Bay Area South West Asian/North African (SWANA) communities for 20 years.
Chris is currently the Deputy Director at generative somatics/Strozzi Institute, a for profit/non-profit tandem organization whose mission is to grow a transformative social and environmental justice movement that integrates personal and social transformation to forward systemic change.
Lily Haskell is a Moroccan American organizer who worked with AROC as Program Director from 2007-2012. Her previous work centered around youth development and multi-racial political education. Lily has contributed to and led Arab organizing and educational initiatives through cultural and political work, as well as anti-war organizing for over 10 years. Lily graduated from Wesleyan University with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology. Originally from Georgia, she has been living in Oakland for 7 years.
Lubna Morrar is a Palestinian poet, currently studying Pre-Law and Ethnic Studies in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most recently, Lubna and her work were featured on the popular Arabic news network, Aljazeera Arabic. Not only an artist, Lubna has also been recognized as a significant contributor in the greater Palestinian community, both locally and internationally. An Oakland resident, Lubna has worked closely with the Arab Youth Organization (AYO) since 2009. Lubna comes from a long line of political activism, especially as the women in her family have instilled in her a strong political and humanitarian consciousness for all victims of race inequality.
Rama Kased completed her Masters in Education with a concentration in Equity and Social Justice at San Francisco State University in 2008. As a co-founder of 2 youth organizations in Brooklyn, New York, her wide range youth work experience includes curriculum development, base building on school campuses, and leadership development. Both youth organizations focused working in the Arab Community of Brooklyn, New York, post 9/11. She currently serves as the Projector Coordinator and instructor at the Metro Academies a program through the Health Education Department at SFSU.
Ramsey El-Qare is 28 years old and was born and raised in San Francisco. He is currently a student at City College of San Francisco taking photojournalism classes, and has also taken political science classes at San Francisco State University (SFSU). He is both a member and leader of the General Union of Palestinian Students at SFSU, and the Palestinian Youth Network (PYN). Ramsey works with his family business as a property manager.
Reem Assil is an Arab American social justice activist residing in Oakland, CA. Over the last decade she has worked for various economic and social justice organizations. She was an organizer with the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, organizing residents and workers to fight for community benefits from economic development in the East Bay. Prior to EBASE, Reem worked in the racial justice and labor movement, running national organizing training programs at the Center for Third World Organizing and organizing airport workers in San Jose with SEIU Local 1877.
Reem’s formative organizing experience comes from her work around Palestine. She helped to organize a grassroots city divestment campaign in Somerville, MA with the Somerville Divestment Project. Her passion lies in building power for Arab communities locally and is working with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center in San Francisco, CA to build an organization of empowered committed members fighting for social justice locally and in the Arab world.
Sami Kitmitto holds a PhD in Economics and currently researches K-12 education at a non-profit organization in Palo Alto. His activism work has included anti-war work, union organizing, reproductive rights, and Palestine Solidarity work in both student and community settings.