OCCORD Welcomes New Executive Director

July 27, 2016 -- Jamie Way

Congratulations to our affiliate OCCORD in Orange County, California on the appointment of its new Executive Director. On August 1st, the board and staff of OCCORD welcome Shakeel Syed as incoming Executive Director. He brings more than two decades of experience managing nonprofit organizations and advocating for marginalized communities.

Syed’s advocacy and activism is rooted in the principle that every person deserves respect and equal opportunity and that change does not come from top-down, but rather bottom-up. One of his core value is to work together in alliances and coalitions for the common and the greater good.

Syed knows OCCORD and Orange County well. During his tenure as Chairman of the Board of Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, Syed has been steadfast in advocating for a just and fair economy for working families. Syed did not hesitate to challenge powerful corporations when they compromised the rights of workers. He has marched, fasted and put himself at risk of arrest as an expression of his conscience and his belief in fairness and respect for workers. As the Vice President of the board of American Civil Liberties Union (Southern California), Syed works to protect, preserve and defend the civil rights and liberties of every person. As a board member of the Death Penalty Focus, he works to abolish the death penalty in our nation.

Syed comes to OCCORD after serving as the Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, where he organized, empowered and mobilized communities for more than a decade. He led the Council to become a leading voice on issues of xenophobia against immigrants and participated in a walking pilgrimage of Dreamers from Sacramento to Bakersfield.

Syed holds two masters degrees in the natural sciences and continues to live as a student for life. He is married and has four adult children.