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Kalia Abiade is the Program Director for the Pillars Fun,
a philanthropic initiative focused on Muslim civic engagement in the United States. Pillars is working to strengthen efforts to take on bigotry and create avenues for Muslims to engage in their communities by establishing a funders collaborative, scaling investment efforts in marginalized Muslim communities, and partnering with cross-racial movements. Prior to joining Pillars, Kalia spent four years at the Center for New Community, a national advocacy and research organization based in Chicago. She last served as advocacy director, leading CNC's outreach, community organizing, and strategic communications to uphold immigrant, refugee, and religious rights. In that role, Kalia helped establish and convene a national anti-hate collaborative and trained hundreds of grassroots activists to directly challenge the policy proposals and rhetoric of the most aggressive anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim organizations and activists in the country. Kalia brings to her work more than 15 years of journalism experience and she is a contributor at In These Times. She was a 2015 participant of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute and currently serves as an adviser to MuslimARC, the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative. She lives with her husband and their three children in Chicago.
Alejandro Celorio Alcántara is Head of the Hispanic and Migration Affairs Section at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, D. C.,
working with the 50 consular offices of Mexico in the United States in promoting integration initiatives and in the deployment of consular protection and assistance actions. He has been a career Mexican diplomat since 2006. Before coming to Washington, D.C., Alejandro worked for more than three years at the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, California as Consul of Protection and Legal Affairs. In such capacity, Alejandro was in charge of several consular programs offering direct assistance to Mexican nationals in criminal, labor, civil and immigration matters.
Alejandro was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico. He graduated from the Universidad La Salle with a law degree. He received a MA in Sociology of Law in the Basque Country of Spain, as well as two LLMs, one in International Transactions and Comparative Law at the University of San Francisco Law School and the other in U.S. Law at the University of Houston Law Center.
Nisha Agarwal is Commissioner of the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.
An accomplished public interest lawyer, she is a leading voice in immigration reform at the local and national level. She led the development and implementation of IDNYC, the country's largest municipal identification program, ensuring that all New Yorkers have the peace of mind and security that comes from recognized identification. She was also an instrumental force in creating ActionNYC. Launched in 2016, ActionNYC provides free, safe immigration legal help to every immigrant New Yorker in their community, and in their language. Under Commissioner Agarwal’s leadership, MOIA will launch ActionHealthNYC, an affordable health care system that will provide comprehensive primary and preventative care to immigrants who are ineligible for health insurance due to immigration status. Prior to her MOIA appointment, she worked with Judge Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, to establish the Immigrant Justice Corps, recruiting recent law school graduates and partners with non-profit legal services providers to offer free legal representation to immigrants. She received her B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard College, her J.D. from Harvard Law School, and was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University.
Jaime Arredondo, Director at Accion Politica PICUNista
Jeanne Batalova, Senior Policy Analyst and Manager of the MPI Data Hub at the Migration Policy Institute
Bio coming soon.
Megan Barry is the Seventh mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.
Her election in the Sept. 10, 2015, runoff, after receiving the most votes in the Aug. 6 general election, represents a historic milestone as she is the first female mayor of Nashville.
Barry's election is also historic in that she is the first Metro Council member to ascend to the office of mayor. First elected in the runoff election of 2007 for the position of Council at-large, Barry went on to receive the most votes of the five winning at-large candidates in 2011.
Barry's focus as mayor will be on improving the educational outcomes at our public schools, engaging regional and state partners to develop a unified vision and plan for transportation, creating more affordable housing options for residents of all backgrounds, and continuing to grow our economy while ensuring all parts of Davidson County share in the prosperity.
Megan Barry is married to Bruce Barry, a professor of organization studies at Vanderbilt. Their son, Max, is a junior in college, and they share their home with two rescue dogs, Hank and Boris.
Ellen Beattie is Senior Director, Program Quality & Innovation with the International Rescue Committee (IRC),
which provides resettlement and immigrant integration services in 30 US cities. She oversees a national portfolio of integration programs, including mental health & wellness, immigration services, economic empowerment, food security & agriculture and women’s protection. With the IRC in executive leadership roles since 2003, her background is in international and community development with international organizations including, United Nations Development Program, German Agency for International Development and Heifer International. Ellen holds a BA from Rice University, a Masters in Regional Development Planning from the Los Andes University , Colombia and did graduate studies in Development Sociology at Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock is a Senior Policy Analyst of the National Skills Coalition,
focusing on immigration, adult basic education and ESL. She analyzes policies, makes recommendations, and coordinates with National Skills Coalition member organizations to address issues facing adult learners, including immigrant workers. Amanda has authored numerous publications and policy recommendations on immigrant integration, workforce development, and adult education. She has extensive experience engaging state and federal policymakers. Prior to joining NSC in 2015, Amanda was Vice President of Policy and Evaluation at the nonprofit Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians in Philadelphia. In that role, she led the Welcoming Center’s policy and communications work on adult education, workforce and economic development issues. She also served as Policy and Communications Director for IMPRINT, a national coalition of nonprofit organizations focusing on the integration of immigrant professionals. Amanda holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied American Civilization with an emphasis on minority populations. She is based in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
Deepak Bhargava is the Executive Director of the Center for Community Change,
a social justice organization that empowers low-income and people of color to build social movements to improve their lives. He joined CCC in 1994 serving first as Director of Public Policy before becoming executive director in 2002. Bhargava has stewarded the organization’s pioneering work to support and grow the immigrant rights movement including the successful campaign to achieve major executive action. During his tenure, the organization has also helped its partner organizations strengthen their leadership and civic engagement capacity, and contributed to significant policy change in areas such as healthcare, retirement security, affordable housing, improved refundable tax credits for low-income families, and access to good family-sustaining jobs. Deepak emigrated to the US from India as a child, grew up in the Bronx (go Yankees!) and currently resides in New York City with his partner Harry Hanbury.
Dr. Jorge Boero is a licensed psychologist at Athena Consulting and Psychological Services.
He is a generalist treating a variety conditions across the life span. His practice tends to consist of individuals diagnosed with mood, anxiety and childhood disorders, as well as those experiencing family and marital difficulties. Dr. Boero specializes in forensic work that includes immigration issues, competence to stand trial, diminished capacity, and insanity defenses. In particular, he is highly experienced in the examination of Spanish speaking clients in forensic cases. He conducts a range of psychological evaluations with children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Boero is a native of Argentina and is fully bilingual in Spanish and English. He received his MA and Ph.D from the University of South Dakota, and completed his postdoctoral training at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry.
Annie G. Bonz is a MEntal Health Technical Advisor at the International Rescue Committee.
She provides technical guidance and support to IRC staff, both domestically and globally, in the design and implementation of trauma-informed mental health and psychosocial support programming for refugees and immigrant communities. She currently focuses her expertise domestically in the development of culturally appropriate programs to address emotional distress and impacts of trauma among refugees resettled to the U.S. She has over a decade of experience in serving children and families impacted by conflict and displacement, including work throughout Africa, the Syrian region, and across the U.S. She is a New York State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) and a National Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC), with an MA in Art Therapy from New York University.
mary bontrager is executive vice president of regional talent development for the greater des moines partnership (DMS)
where she oversees all areas of talent recruitment and development, diversity, inclusion and education relations. Mary first joined Des Moines Partnership (then known as The Chamber) in 1992 as Membership Services Manager and has since served in multiple roles including Vice President of Business Growth and Senior Vice President. She’s also worked for Savage-Ver Ploeg and Associates (SVPA), The Weitz Company and Storey-Kenworthy Company. Bontrager currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Grand View University, Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa, Iowa Collage Access Network (ICAN), and Project Iowa. She also services on the State of Iowa’s High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) Task Force, the Governor’s South Central Region STEM Advisory Board, Education Attainment Division Advisory Council for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), Central Campus Advisory Council, Business Advisory Board for the Drake Chapter of Enactus, Central Iowa Workforce Investment Board, and the Leadership Council for United Way’s OpportUNITY initiative and Marketing.
Emily brandon is program manager for global talent and workforce inclusion at Greater LOUISVILLE inc.
She works with the local business community, international professionals, educational institutions, government agencies and the non-profit sector to connect talented individuals with the relationships and resources needed to thrive in the city and region. Emily’s prior professional experience includes five years leading all international programs at Georgetown College and a year in Antwerp, Belgium with the Fulbright program teaching English, US culture, and the mysteries of the Electoral College. As a child, she spent nearly 10 years living and learning abroad in France, Burundi and Kenya. Emily holds a B.A. in English and Philosophy from Georgetown College and a Master of Cultures and Development Studies from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. She speaks fluent French, conversational Spanish and Dutch, and has a basic knowledge of Swahili.
Kate brick is the director of state and local initiatives at new american economy,
a bipartisan coalition of business and political leaders working to create smart, sensible immigration policies in cities, states, and nationally. Kate has 10 years of experience working on immigration issues in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and Europe through her time at Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Unbound Philanthropy, the Migration Policy Institute, and the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Kate holds an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a BA in Latin American Studies from The George Washington University.
Sarah Cacicio is the advocacy manager for English Language Learners in District 79, new York City Department of Education's Alternative Schools and programs
She works to expand access to need-based services for immigrant and multilingual students by partnering with City agencies and community-based organizations that specialize in meeting the sociocultural, linguistic, health, and legal needs of immigrant youth. She also teaches courses in bilingual education at Hunter College, City University of New York. Previously, Sarah contributed to the development of curriculum and assessments for Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE). Sarah earned an M.A. in Bilingual and Bicultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Claudia Calhoon is the Director of Health Advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition
Claudia Calhoon joined the NYIC in 2014 as Health Advocacy Senior Specialist and became the Director of Health Advocacy in 2015. She leads development and execution of city and state campaigns to improve health access, coverage, and delivery for immigrant communities. Claudia has provided leadership to a diverse array of public health and non-profit settings including the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, the Open Society Foundations and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cuenca, Ecuador. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the HHC Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP) Performing Provider System and the Community Advisory Board of the NYU Center for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities.
Claudia is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Public Health Program at CUNY Graduate Center. She received a MPH from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and a BA in American History from Earlham College.
Luisa F. Cardona is the Deputy Director of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs - Welcoming Atlanta
where she oversees the day-to-day operations of the office and ensures the fulfillment of all office priorities with a specific focus on citizenship and language access initiatives. Born in Colombia and raised in the metro Atlanta, Luisa has always been passionate about helping others. As an immigrant, Luisa understands the needs of her community and has worked tirelessly to empower, educate and advocate for minority families. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Luisa served as an attorney both in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. In this capacity, Luisa advocated on behalf of immigrant workers, tenants, and DREAMers. Luisa holds a law degree from the American University’s Washington College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University.
Christine G. Chen is a Staff Attorney for Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA's Citizenship Project.
Chen provides legal assistance and direct representation to immigrants wishing to undergo the process of naturalization. Chen engages in direct legal services, grant management, technical legal assistance, and capacity building. Chen takes on the most complex naturalization cases representing clients with disabilities, criminal records, and client’s facing deportability issues. During law school, Chen was an Asian American Bar Association Law Fellow and an extern for the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). After law school, Chen worked on trafficking cases at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO) and assisted employment based immgutiigration cases at The Walt Disney Company. Chen received her JD from Depaul College of Law where she specialized in Public Interest Law.
Nikki Cicerani, President and CEO of Upwardly Global
Bio coming soon.
amy coffman, currently serving as a special assistant to mayor ethan berkowitz of anchorage, alaska,
She has spent the last two decades working and volunteering in public policy and politics, including in the Alaska Legislature, Amnesty International, AARP and AFS Intercultural Programs. She’s worked on various local and statewide candidate and issue campaigns, promoting people and measures that support equality, tolerance and progressive agendas. As a former union organizer for the American Federation of Teachers, she learned that one of her greatest skills is “organizing people who don’t realize they just got organized.” She carries that mission with her today in her work in the Mayor’s office where she serves as lead staff for the Welcoming Anchorage initiative. Furthermore, she is responsible for policy and programmatic issues on international relationships, collaboration with the University of Alaska, LGBTQ communities, and workers’ rights. Amy was born and raised in Kansas City, MO, and has been an Alaskan since 1995 when she moved to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and received a B.A. in Linguistics.
Chris Coleman is a staff attorney at the Tennessee Justice center in Nashville.
He received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 1993 and his J.D. from Northwestern University in 2003. Following law school, Chris clerked for the Honorable Joan Humphrey Lefkow on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. After returning to Nashville, Chris joined the firm of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, where he represented plaintiffs in antitrust and mass torts litigation. He is the author several publications on the Affordable Care Act, including “Ongoing Barriers to Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act,” published in Clearinghouse Review, and “NFIB v. Sebelius: An Uncertain Victory for the Affordable Care Act” and “The Affordable Care Act in 2014: Are You Ready?”, both published in the Nashville Bar Journal. Chris is also an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt Law School, where he teaches Poverty Law.
Rabbi Darryl Crystal serves a Temple Israel in Omaha, Nebraska where a church, synagogue, and mosque have come together to create the Tri-Faith Initiative.
Rabbi Darryl Crystal serves a Temple Israel in Omaha, Nebraska where a church, synagogue, and mosque have come together to create the Tri-Faith Initiative. Each congregation celebrates its faith and at the same time participates in joint activities, including building new religious homes on a campus which will also house a Tri-Faith building as a welcome center and provide programs on the three traditions. He has been a rabbi for 30 years and worked as an interim rabbi in congregations throughout the United States for 13 years. He has also worked on the issue of immigration reform in many of these communities. Rabbi Crystal was ordained at the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion. He has studied at Gratz College in Philadelphia and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.
Glenn Scott Davis, Program and Policy Specialist of the Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs
Bio coming soon.
Susan downs-karkos is director of strategic partnerships at welcoming america,
where she oversees technical assistance for local governments, nonprofits, refugee resettlement organizations, and local collaboratives working to promote welcoming communities for immigrants and receiving communities. She works with other international, national and regional experts who are actively strengthening the immigrant integration field and helps guide technical assistance under the White House’s Building Welcoming Communities Campaign. Prior to this work, Susan served as Director of Integration Strategies at Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, where she managed programs for foreign trained health professionals and health literacy. She also served for more than a decade at The Colorado Trust, where as a senior program officer, she designed and managed the Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families Initiative, which engaged immigrants and members of receiving communities in local immigrant integration efforts. She is a former national board co-chair of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees.
Maria Elena Durazo is the international Union vice president for civil rights, diversity, and immigration at unite here,
representing 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to working at UNITE HERE, Maria Elena was the first woman elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO—a position she held for nine years. She represented more than 300 local unions and over 600,000 workers in every key industry. In 2010, Maria Elena was elected a Vice President of the national AFL-CIO Executive Council, serving as the first leader of a local labor movement on the highest body of the AFL-CIO. She was also Chair of the National AFL-CIO’s Immigration Committee. In 2003, Maria Elena was National Director of the Immigrant Workers’ Freedom Ride, a national campaign to address the nation’s immigration laws. She has been elected to numerous national positions within the Democratic National Party, served on several Los Angeles City Commissions under mayors Tom Bradley, Richard Riordan, and Antonio Villaraigosa, and sits on multiple boards, including LAANE, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Los Angeles Coalition, and United Way.
Mark espinoza is senior director of Public affairs for wal-mart stores, inc. in bentonville, arkansas.
In his position, Mark sets strategy for the company’s outreach opportunities and social investments, and coordinates external outreach efforts for Walmart’s US Financial Services, New American Integration and Community Relations efforts. Prior to Walmart, Mark spent over 14 years at State Farm Insurance Company in Bloomington, Illinois. He began his career there as an information technician and his last post was as Public Affairs Manager, responsible for overseeing State Farm’s national relationships in the Hispanic community and all efforts tied to the philanthropic focus of the company – community and economic development. He also lead State Farm’s Public Affairs Great Lakes division with oversight over media, legislative, community, communications and customer relations efforts. Mark is a Board Member of the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas, and has served on a variety of national advisory committees, including Corporate Board of Advisors for the National Council of La Raza, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute – National Housing Initiative, NeighborWorks® Insurance Alliance, Financial Services Roundtable, Local Initiative Support Corporation, and Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA).
BRIDGiT a. evans is the founder and president of fuel | We power change,
a culture change studio in New York City. She is widely recognized as one of the foremost thought leaders in the culture change strategy field. A professional artist and strategist, she has dedicated her career to the relentless investigation of the potential of artists to drive cultural change in society. She founded Fuel in 2008 as the permanent home for her collaborations with leading social change innovators, designing long-term culture change strategies for social justice movements that use transportive story experiences—often in the pop culture realm—to shift long-held narratives, values, beliefs and behaviors of mass audiences. Currently, Bridgit designs culture change strategy for Unbound Philanthropy and consults on narrative change and audience engagement strategies for Ford Foundation. Prior strategy design commissions include NYCLU/ACLU’s Policing and Culture strategy, Make It Work, National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Caring Across Generations and #BeTheHelp campaigns; Breakthrough’s #ImHere for Immigrant Women campaign; GEMS’ Girls Are Not for Sale campaign; and Don Cheadle’s “Live for Darfur” campaign. Bridgit is a professional off-Broadway actor, a devised theater maker (MFA, Columbia University; BA, Stanford University), and a 2015-16 Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow.
wendy feliz is the communications director at the american immigration council.
Wendy manages a highly effective communications operation, working to drive a rational conversation about immigration in the United States. Her experience in public policy/advocacy communications spans her career in the communications field, which has included positions with New America Media, the Open Society Institute, and WAMU 88.5 FM. Earlier in her career she provided direct service to clients through programs at The California Hispanic Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and the Young Adult Institute. Wendy has an MA in Public Communication from American University, a BA in Liberal Arts from New School University, and an AA from East Los Angeles Community College.
congressman Luis V. Gutierrez is the senior member of the illinois delegation in the u.s. house of representatives.
Now in his twelfth term, he is an experienced legislator and energetic spokesman on behalf of his constituents in Illinois' Fourth District in the heart of Chicago. Rep. Gutiérrez is nationally recognized for his tireless leadership championing issues of particular importance to Latino and immigrant communities. He has been at the center of every major legislative debate on immigration reform and immigration issues for more than a dozen years. He played an instrumental role in advocating for executive action by President Obama to provide deportation relief to long-term undocumented immigrants and their families. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – and a series of executive actions announced in 2014 – are partly the result of Congressman Gutiérrez’s consistent and persistent advocacy in Washington. Married and both a father and grandfather, Rep. Gutiérrez was born and raised in Chicago to parents who had themselves migrated to Chicago from Puerto Rico in the early 1950s. He previously served as an Alderman in the City of Chicago, a teacher, social worker and cab driver, among other diverse experiences.
Emmylou Harris, Singer/songwriter and Jesuit Refugee Service Ambassador
Already celebrated as a discoverer and interpreter of other artists’ songs, 13-time Grammy Award-winner Emmylou Harris has gained admiration as much for her eloquently straightforward songwriting as for her incomparably expressive singing. She is listed as one of VH1s 100 Most Influential Women in Rock and Roll and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. Long recognized for her commitment to righteous causes, she was instrumental in organizing “Concerts for a Landmine Free World” in the late 1990s and is an ardent defender of animal rights. As Jesuit Refugee Service’s advocate and ambassador, she spearheaded “Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees,” this past October. The 11-city tour raised monies and awareness to support JRS’s Global Education Initiative, designed to help refugees gain access to educational opportunities in camps and urban settings.
mahvash hassan is an immigrant integration and civic engagement consultant
who focuses on collaborative multi-sector initiatives in support of equitable and engaged communities. She is the author of Neighbors Together: Promising Practices to Strengthen Relations with Refugees and Muslims. Her projects include a community foundation collaborative to enhance Muslim civic engagement and developing inclusive public engagement resources for local governments through the Institute for Local Government in California. Mahvash is a Board Member of Welcoming America, the Piedmont Education Foundation, and a former Board Member of the Association of Dispute Resolution Northern California. She also works to promote inclusive practices in the local public schools and support fair and impartial policing in her community. Her international experience includes working with UNICEF in New York and Indonesia. Mahvash holds a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a BA in political science from Bates College.
Tony Heriza, producer of the documentary Care: a dcoumentary film and director of media production for the american friends service committee,
Tony has been engaged in media for social change since the 1970s—producing, editing, teaching and working with community organizations. His documentaries have covered a wide range of issues, including gentrification, immigration, and the politics of race and gender. His film Concrete, Steel & Paint was seen widely in the U.S. and was recently screened in several cities in Colombia to stimulate dialogue about restorative justice and the peace process. Tony has taught documentary production at Rutgers University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Jack Holmgren is the Strategic Capacity Advisor for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc (CLINIC).
In his role, he’s supervised CLINIC’s national training and technical support staff, and started and expanded Catholic immigration legal services programs. He teaches, writes and consults on program management, Board of Immigration Appeals recognition and accreditation, and other aspects of immigration law and practice. In addition to his work with CLINIC affiliates, Jack assists Muslims, Arab and South Asian organizations, and other faith-based and ethnic groups, to launch and grow local immigration law programs. He also assists programs in the Domestic Violence Survivor network. Jack works out of CLINIC’s Oakland, CA office and is a member of the California State Bar. He is a graduate of Monterey College of Law and has practiced immigration law exclusively since 1987.
Eddie Huang is a chef, writer, TV host, fashion designer, speaker, and producer based in New York City and Los Angeles
whose work is recognized for bridging food with music, culture, comedy, politics and metropolitan life. He is the chef and owner of the popular Taiwanese restaurant Baohaus in New York City’s East Village. As a creator, Eddie has produced several projects under the moniker “Fresh Off the Boat.” It became the title of his ingenious travelogue series with VICE Media, a “genre-bending venture of subcultures through the lens of food.” In 2013, Eddie adopted the “Fresh Off the Boat” name for his first book and memoir, a New York Times Bestseller in its first week of release. 20th Century Fox optioned the memoir and brought Eddie on to produce the sitcom, which was the #1 ABC mid-season sitcom in America for 2015. In its third season, the show is the first Asian-American-family centric sitcom in nearly 20 years, and the first of its kind featuring a Chinese or Taiwanese family. Eddie is an editor-at-large for VICE and MUNCHIES and has written articles and columns for The New York Times, ESPN The Magazine, New York Magazine, and more.
tom hughes is the director of newcomer prgrams for oakland unified school district (OUSD).
Newcomers are the fastest growing student group in OUSD. By the end of the school year, it is projected that one out of every seven OUSD high school students will be a newcomer. OUSD’s support for unaccompanied minors has been groundbreaking as the first district in the country to hire a specialist to connect students to the legal and social services they need to meet their most basic needs so that they can focus on their education. In his role, Tom supports the development and expansion of the 16 current newcomer programs across the city. He strengthens district systems to support the recent immigrant population, and directs the provision of services for unaccompanied minors, refugee and asylee students in partnership with community organizations. Previously, Tom was a teacher and principal in Oakland.
Hyojin Im is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work.
She is currently working on the Refugee Healing and Wellness Partnership project in Virginia to build capacity of service providers and community stakeholders for trauma-informed and culture-sensitive programs, and to strengthen partnerships among agencies for seamless transition of refugee resettlement. She has experience working with diverse refugee and immigrant communities and organizations, both domestic and international, including the Center for Victims of Torture, UNHCR, USAID, and IOM. She also developed and implemented culturally responsive mental health and psychosocial interventions to refugee communities in Kenya, Malaysia, and the U.S. to promote refugee well-being and social capital. She received Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and postdoctoral training at the UC Berkeley, focusing on the impact of refugee trauma on resettlement and social integration.
Deepa Iyer is the senior fellow at the center for social inclusion,
where she provides analysis, commentary and scholarship on equity and solidarity in America’s changing racial landscape. She coordinates the #SolidarityIs campaign, an effort by racial justice organizations to explore principles of multiracial solidarity. A South Asian American activist, lawyer, and writer, Deepa’s first book, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future, was selected for an American Book Award and appeared on the top 10 list of multicultural nonfiction books. Previously, Deepa served as executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) for a decade as well as Legal Director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, Trial Attorney at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and Staff Attorney at the Asian American Justice Center. An immigrant who moved to Kentucky when she was twelve, Deepa graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School and Vanderbilt University. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of Race Forward. Deepa blogs at www.deepaiyer.com and tweets @dviyer.
Pramila Jayapal was elected in November 2016 to be the next congresswoman from Washington's 7th district.
She will be the first woman to represent the district, the first person of color in Washington’s Democratic delegation, and the first South Asian American woman to ever serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to her election to Congress, Pramila served as Washington State Senator for the 37th Legislative District. She was the first South Asian American ever elected to the State Legislature, and served as the only woman of color in the State Senate. Pramila is an immigrant from India, who came to the United States by herself at the age of 16 to go to college. For the past 20 years, she has devoted her life to ensuring that others have opportunity and justice, internationally and domestically. She is founder and former Executive Director of OneAmerica, Washington state's largest immigrant organizing and advocacy organization. Founded in the wake of 9/11 to take on hate crimes, discrimination, and civil liberties abuses by the Bush Administration against Muslims, Arabs and South Asians, OneAmerica successfully sued the Bush Administration to stop the deportations of over 4,000 Somali Muslims across the country, registered over 23,000 New American citizens to vote in the state’s largest voter registration drive, and helped to pass Washington’s DREAM Act. She also led the national We Belong Together campaign on women and immigration, and helped pass Seattle’s $15 minimum wage. Pramila is the recipient of numerous awards and in 2013 was named a White House Champion of Change.
Cristina Jimenez is co-founder and managing Director of the United We Dream network.
Originally from Ecuador, Cristina came to the U.S. with her family at the age of 13, attending high school and college as an undocumented student. Cristina has organized immigrant youth and workers for the passage of pro-immigrant policies at the local and national level for the past 9 years. She was recently named among Forbes “30 under 30 in Law and Policy,” one of “21 immigration reform power players” and one of 5 non-profit leaders who will influence public policy by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She co-founded the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the Dream Mentorship Program at Queens College, was an immigration policy analyst for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and an immigrant rights organizer at Make the Road New York. Cristina holds a Masters degree in Public Administration & Public Policy from the School of Public of Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Business from Queens College, CUNY.
Silja Kallenbach is Vice President of the US Division of World Education.
With over 30 years of experience in adult education, Silja has worked as an administrator, professional development provider, program developer, researcher, and teacher. Silja has worked for World Education since 1994 and currently oversees World Education's portfolio of work and leads program development in the U.S. Some of the projects that Silja designed, secured funding for, and worked on include: Networks for Integrating New Americans, the National College Transition Network, the New England Learner Persistence Project, and the Adult Multiple Intelligences Study. From 1994 to 2011, Silja served as the Director of the New England Literacy Resource Center at World Education. Silja grew up in Finland and is a US and Finnish citizen.
Amaha Kassa is the founder and Executive Director of African Communities Together (ACT).
Amaha is an Ethiopian immigrant with 22 years of professional experience as a labor and community organizer, nonprofit director, and social entrepreneur. For nine years, Amaha directed East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), a workers’ rights nonprofit in Oakland, California, growing it from a startup to one of the leading organizations in its field. Prior to launching ACT, Amaha earned his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. In 2012, Amaha launched ACT with the support of a Black Male Achievement Fellowship from Echoing Green and Open Society Foundations. Since then, ACT has grown into a membership organization with chapters in New York and D.C., run several successful policy campaigns, and emerged as a key voice on African immigrant issues.
Andrew Lim is Associate Director of Research at the Partnership for New American Economy,
a bipartisan coalition of business and political leaders working to create smart, sensible immigration policies in cities, states, and nationally. He has more than 6 years of research experience in migration, integration, and public policy in North America and Europe, through his work with the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning of New York City, Susan Jackson Associates, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Andrew holds an MA in urban policy from the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris–Sciences Po, and an MSc in regional and urban planning from the London School of Economics. He received his BA from Boston College in international relations and French.
Suzette brooks masters is a philanthropic consultant, strategist and integration expert.
From 2007 to 2016, she directed immigration-related grant making at the J. M. Kaplan Fund, a private family foundation in New York City. She specialized in early-stage catalytic investments to promote immigrant integration, with a focus on innovative state and local policy, educational access for immigrant youth, workforce integration, and promotion of welcoming climates for newcomers. In recognition of her philanthropic impact, she has received awards from Welcoming America, New York Immigration Coalition, American Immigration Council, National Partnership for New Americans, and Upwardly Global. Prior to joining the Kaplan Fund, she consulted with nonprofit organizations and published extensively on immigration policy subjects. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Ms. Masters practiced law for several years before she shifted her attention to immigrant issues. She is active in civic matters, co-founding New York Cares, a path breaking volunteer organization, and serving on a number of nonprofit boards in leadership roles, including the Tenement Museum, HIAS, National Immigration Forum, and Lawyers Alliance for New York. Ms. Masters is also a graduate of Amherst College and Kings College, Cambridge University, which she attended on a Marshall Scholarship.
Francesca Menes, a 2016 candidate for Florida House of Representatives, District 108 is the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC).
She was born and raised in Miami's Little Haiti community. She graduated from Florida International University, earning her BA in Political Science and Women's Studies and her Master's in Public Administration, with a certificate in Community Development.
With FLIC, she leads the development and implementation of strategic legislative, policy and voter engagement campaigns. Francesca has coordinated the Florida Wage Theft Task Force, coordinated a national network campaigning for Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, successfully led the statewide campaign “We Are Florida’s Future” to pass in-state tuition for undocumented students in 2014 and led the campaign to create the Office of New Americans of Miami-Dade County, establishing a public-private partnership.
In addition to representing FLIC with various national organizations, she sits on the National Steering Committee of the Black Immigration Network and also co-coordinated the #Rights4ALLinDR, a broad coalition of organizations and individuals advocating for human rights and dignity in the Dominican Republic. She serves on the Miami-Dade County (MDC) Commission for Women and the MDC Community Action Agency (CAA) Executive Board.
David Miliband is President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC),
where he oversees the agency’s humanitarian relief operations in more than 40 war-affected countries and its refugee resettlement and assistance programs in 26 United States cities. Under Miliband’s leadership, the IRC has expanded its ability to rapidly respond to humanitarian crises and meet the needs of an unprecedented number of people uprooted by conflict, war and disaster. Miliband’s parents fled to Britain from continental Europe during World War II and its aftermath. As the son of refugees, he brings a personal commitment to the IRC's work. From 2007 to 2010, Miliband was the 74th Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom, driving advancements in human rights and representing the U.K. throughout the world. In 2006, as Secretary of State for the Environment, he pioneered the world’s first legally binding emissions reduction requirements. Miliband graduated from Oxford University in 1987 with a first class honors degree in philosophy, politics and economics, and received a master’s degree in political science in 1989 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he attended as a Kennedy Scholar.
Jennie Murray, Director of Integration Programs, National Immigration Forum,
bringing years of experience working at the intersection of immigration services and the private sector, as well as in refugee resettlement and career pathway support. Jennie leads the New American Workforce citizenship and English-language training initiative and the newly formed Corporate Roundtable for the New American Workforce. Before joining the Forum in 2013, she served as the Director of Programs at Jubilee Jobs and Outreach Coordinator at Catholic Charities’ Washington, D.C., Refugee Center. Raised in Los Angeles and Nashville, Jennie graduated from Union University and earned her master’s from Wesley Theological Seminary.
Petula McShiras is the AILA Attorney and Supervisor/Director of the City of Littleton Immigrant Resources Center (LIRC),
housed in the Bemis Public Library. Petula manages the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) recognized program, which is a recipient of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Citizenship & Integration Grant. In 2015, her small staff served nearly 300 Citizenship and English students, and submitted 170 citizenship applications. Prior to joining LIRC, Petula worked as an Attorney Advisor for the Denver Immigration Court through the Attorney General's Attorney Honors Program. In the past she has presented on the unauthorized practice of law, the intersection of immigrant and public benefits, library and government initiatives, and naturalization to various social service organizations, including individuals seeking BIA Accreditation. Petula received her JD from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law, an MA in Conflict Resolution from the University of Denver, and a BA in Political Science and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame.
Andrea Northwood is the Director of Client Services at the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT),
an international NGO based in Minnesota that works to heal the wounds of torture and to end torture worldwide. CVT currently operates clinical programs in Minnesota and Atlanta, as well as Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, and Uganda. She has worked at CVT since 1995 in a variety of roles, including the provision of healing services to survivors, training, research, and program development and administration. In 2015, she worked with colleagues at CVT and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to start a partnership extending healing services to refugee torture survivors in Atlanta. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and child development from the University of Minnesota.
Ilhan Omar is the newly elected, Minnesota House Representative for District 60B.
She is the first Somali-American, Muslim woman in the nation to hold an office at this level. She is an experienced policy analyst, progressive DFL activist, coalition builder and community educator. Most recently, she served as the Director of Policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women, where she empowered East African woman to take civic leadership roles in their community. Ilhan lives in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis with her husband and their three children. Ilhan's interest in politics began at the age of 14 when she was as an interpreter for her grandfather at local DFL caucuses. Watching neighbors come together to advocate for change at the grassroots level made Ilhan fall in love with the democratic process. Ilhan’s steadfast belief in the American dream of democracy has driven her to make our district, city, and community a better place for everyone. Through her work as a policy analyst and community advocate, Ilhan has advanced important issues, including support for working families, educational access, environmental protection, and racial equity.
Anshantia "Tia" Oso is the National Organizer at Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
and a member of BAJI’s senior leadership team. Tia is responsible for developing and implementing strategy for BAJI's national campaigns, coalitions and program initiatives, including public education and trainings. Tia manages BAJI’s flagship project—the Black Immigration Network (BIN)—a national network of over 40 organizations in communities serving African-Americans and immigrants of African descent to build relationships, develop skills, and advance an agenda for immigrant rights and racial justice. Mobilizing thousands of advocates for various issues in the public interest, Ms. Oso is a dynamic social justice champion, organizing campaigns such as “PHX For Trayvon” and leading the historic "Say Her Name" action at the Netroots Nation 2016 Presidential Candidate Townhall. A community engagement specialist experienced in social change initiatives, Ms. Oso is a firm believer in the ability of everyday people to become change-makers in their communities.
rhonda ortiz is the managing director of the program for environmental and regional equity at the center for the study of immigrANT INTEGRATION AT USC.
In her role, she manages the Centers, leads research projects and conducts research. She has co-authored numerous reports, including California Immigrant Integration Scorecard; Making Change: How Social Movements Work and How to Support Them; Immigrant Integration in Los Angeles: Strategic Directions for Funders with Manuel Pastor; Connecting at the Crossroads with Manuel Pastor and Jennifer Ito; The Color of Change: Interethnic Youth Leadership for the 21st Century with Manuel Pastor and Jennifer Ito; and Sustainable Advocacy for Fair Credit and Fair Banking with Manuel Pastor and Vanessa Carter. Fluent in Spanish, she has lived in Mexico and worked with a team of researchers to develop economic development projects between immigrant Hometown Associations in Los Angeles and their communities in Jalisco, Mexico. Ortiz was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Rockwood Fellowship for a New California. She holds a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA.
Angel Padilla, Policy Analyst at the National Immigration Law Center
Angel Padilla works closely with other health project staff to develop and implement NILC’s federal immigrant health policy agenda. Prior to joining NILC in February 2014, he was an immigration policy consultant at National Council of La Raza. Before that, he was a legislative assistant for Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), advising on issues related to health care and the Affordable Care Act, among others. Mr. Padilla also has interned with the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council and the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree from Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Matthew Parks is a Director and CRA Officer at Discover Bank,
overseeing all of the bank’s community development activities. In that role, he oversees the Bank’s CRA investments, mortgage and community development loan portfolios and works closely with area nonprofits to meet the needs of low and moderate people in Delaware.
Angelica PeÑa is the California deputy director of civic engagement for naleo education fund,
leading their statewide community programs. She joined the NALEO team in 2012 and has since worked extensively on the organization’s significant civic engagement efforts related to elections and naturalization for the Latino community. Based in Los Angeles, CA she is responsible for the strategic development, planning and implementation of the California portfolio to further the organization’s mission of facilitating the full participation of Latinos in the American political process. Angelica holds a Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Karen Philippi, Deputy Director of the Office for New Americans at State of Michigan
Bio coming soon.
Ilse Pollet is the Program Coordinator for the Alliance for Language Learners’ Integration, Education and Success (ALLIES),
bringing over 15 years of experience working at the intersection of adult education and immigrant integration. In her current role, she strengthens and expands the multi-sector collaborative network between ESL providers, workforce development boards, public agencies and community-based organizations championed by ALLIES. She also supports the development and implementation of an Immigrant Integration Framework across ALLIES partners. Before joining ALLIES, she oversaw the ESL program at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, serving refugees and immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ilse was born in Belgium and moved to California in 2006.
Andy Posner is the Founder & CEO of Capital Good Fund,
a nonprofit, U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution based in Providence, Rhode Island. He has helped the organization grow to a 21-person staff, a $2 million budget, and with operations in Rhode Island, Florida, and Delaware. Andy is a firm believer in the dream of Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the so-called father of microfinance, to put poverty in museums. When not working, he can be found writing poetry and essays, cycling, and hanging out with his beautiful wife, Bianca, and his Beagle, Chance.
Luis a. quiÑones is the director of the education and workforce department at the latin american YOUTH center (LAYC) and ADJUNCT professor in psychology at ana g. mèndez UNIVERSITY system.
Witnessing firsthand the opportunities that education provided his family, he was inspired to dedicate his career toward the advancement of underserved communities. He serves as one of the organizational trainers for Racial Equity, Cultural Competency, LGBTQ and Positive Youth Development trainings at LAYC, and on various committees and panels regarding education, college access, equity and advocacy. He was awarded the Mustard Seed Community Service Award by the Siembra First Education Foundation, Maryland. A native of Puerto Rico, Luis received his Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico and his Masters of Counseling Psychology at Bowie State University, Maryland.
Suman Raghunathan, SAALT's Executive Director,
joined the organization in February 2014. As Executive Director, Suman coordinates SAALT’s overall efforts to amplify diverse South Asian voices advocating for progressive change in the US. Suman is a passionate and seasoned immigrant rights advocate with extensive experience on the range of issues addressed by SAALT, deep connections to South Asian communities, and relationships with key partners in the racial justice and immigrant rights movements. She has experience in leading non-profit organizations, having first served as Interim Executive Director and then as a long-time member of the Board of Directors of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, one of SAALT’s close partners.
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Suman has a keen understanding of the issues affecting South Asian and other immigrants in the United States. She has deep experience conceptualizing and coordinating multifaceted and multi-issue campaigns that span numerous proposals and stakeholders, and assembling the coalitions critical to advancing them. Through her work at organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Progressive States Network, and the New York Immigration Coalition, Ms. Raghunathan has developed expertise on policy issues, directed immigrant leadership development programs, launched newcomer civic engagement campaigns, and implemented capacity-building and advocacy campaigns.
Suman received her undergraduate degree in international relations from Brown University and has a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy in New York City.
Tara Raghuveer is the Deputy Director of the National partnership for New Americans (NPNA).
Tara leads NPNA’s policy and advocacy work. In 2015 she led the development of NPNA’s New American Dreams Platform, an immigration agenda for 2016 and beyond. Tara also oversees NPNA’s communications team, internship program, and the National Immigrant Integration Conference. With the support of a broad coalition, she developed the Community Navigator curriculum which has trained over 7,800 immigrant leaders to deliver community-driven legal services. Tara has been cited in publications like the New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, NPR, and Slate. Her research on eviction and poverty in Kansas City is cited in Evicted. She graduated from Harvard College, where she was the student body president. Tara is an Australian-born Indian-American who came to the US with her family in 1996, has since lived in New York, St. Louis, Iowa City, Kansas City, Boston, and is now based in Chicago. She tweets @taraghuveer.
Melissa Rodgers is the Director of Programs at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), based in San Francisco.
She directs the New Americans Campaign (NAC), a national initiative bringing together national and local organizations, in partnership with a funder collaborative, to increase naturalization among eligible lawful permanent residents. She also contributes to ILRC’s manual, Naturalization and U.S. Citizenship: The Essential Legal Guide. Melissa brings more than a decade of non-profit leadership experience to her role. Prior to joining the ILRC, Melissa was the Director of Blue Shield of California Foundation’s Health Care and Coverage program, Directing Attorney of the Child Care Law Center, Associate Director of the UC Berkeley School of Law Center on Health, Economic & Family Security, and a Directing Attorney and Director of the Health Consumer Center at the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. She also founded a medical-legal collaboration program with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, created and co-taught medical-legal courses at both Stanford Law School/Stanford Medical School and University of California at Berkeley School of Law/University of California at San Francisco. Melissa has a Master’s of Education as well as a law degree with honors from Harvard University.
Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition
Reverend Alexia Salvatierra is the founder of the Faith-Rooted Organizing UnNetwork and a co-founder of the national Evangelical Immigration Table and the 2007 New Sanctuary Movement.
In addition to coordinating the Welcoming Congregations/Guardian Angels Network for the Southwest California Synod and assisting at Hope Lutheran Church, she serves as a consultant for national and international organizations, including: World Vision, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and the Christian Community Development Association. She is the co-author of Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World with Dr. Peter Heltzel. From 2000 to 2011, she was the Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. Rev. Salvatierra is an adjunct faculty member at national and international seminaries including: the New York Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Universidad Teologica de la Iglesia Apostolica, and Duke Divinity School Summer Intensive, and has lectured at a variety of academic institutions, including the University of Southern California and UCLA. She has been awarded the Changemaker award from the Liberty Hill Foundation, the Stanton Fellowship from the Durfee Foundation, the Amos Award from Sojourners, the Giants of Justice award from CLUE LA and the Prime Mover fellowship from the Hunt Alternatives Fund.
Mayor Madeline Rogero is Mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee.
She was sworn in as the 68th Mayor, and the first woman to hold the office, in December 2011 and is currently serving her second term, winning re-election with 98.8% of the vote. Her career includes serving as the city’s community development director, Knox County commissioner, non-profit executive, urban and regional planner, community volunteer and neighborhood champion. She is a former consultant to Capital One and America’s Promise, and former executive director of Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Foundation and Knoxville’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth. Mayor Rogero postponed her college studies in the mid-'70s to work with Cesar Chavez to help farm workers improve their living and working conditions. She has a B.A. in Political Science from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Mayor Rogero was elected to the Advisory Board for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Smart Growth America Local Leaders Council. She previously served on President Obama’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and also on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s Task Force on Aging.
Vilma Rozen organizes immigrant workers on staten island and works in home elder care,
advocating for it to be seen as a profession and be paid a living wage. Vilma was born and lived much of her adult life in Costa Rica, raising five children and running a catering business. In her 40’s, she fell in love with an American man who planned to move to Costa Rica. When he became ill, they both moved to the U.S. so that he could keep his health insurance. Vilma and her husband married, but she earned too little—first cleaning houses, then providing elder care—to pay the fees to apply for a green card. She became involved with the immigrant rights movement and served on the Board of Domestic Workers United. In 2010, Vilma began taking care of Dolores, a 90-year-old former independent businesswoman whose dementia required 24-hour care, seven days a week. Dolores had no family nearby so Vilma became her lifeline and primary caregiver until she died this year. Vilma finally received her green card in 2014, was able to bring her daughter to the U.S. in 2015, and will soon be joined by her youngest son.
Ambassador Carlos Sada is the mexican Ambassador to the U.s.
Ambassador Sada has been working most of his life for the Mexican public sector, including as Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles (2013-2016), Consul General of Mexico in New York (2011-2013), Minister for Congressional Affairs at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, DC (2007-2011) Consul General of Mexico in Chicago (2000-2007), Consul General of Mexico in San Antonio (1995-2000), Mayor of the City of Oaxaca, State of Oaxaca, Mexico (1993-1995), Consul General of Mexico in Toronto, Canada (1989-1992), and Secretary of Social and Economic Development of the State of Oaxaca (1986-1989). Consul General Sada holds a degree in industrial engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. He completed graduate studies at the University of Newcastle in Great Britain, at the University of Deft in the Netherlands, and from the Public Administration Institute of The Hague, in the Netherlands.
Ralph J. Schulz, Jr. is President and CEO of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce
During his ten years of leadership, the Chamber played a key role after the 2007 recession to secure a period of unprecedented growth in the region with a business relocation and expansion strategy called “Partnership 2020.” Additionally, the Chamber was the lead organization that created the nationally recognized Nashville Entrepreneur Center and the passage of a public referendum supporting construction of the Music City Center convention facility. Schulz also led the movement to improve public school performance through the creation of the Academies of Nashville and becoming a respected publisher of data on the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area with the annual publication of the Vital Signs report. He joined the Chamber after a 30-year career in nonprofit management, marketing and fundraising, including six years of those years as CEO of the Adventure Science Center in Nashville. Schulz is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, and currently serves on numerous civic and nonprofit boards, including the Center for Nonprofit Management, Nashville Health Care Council, Alignment Nashville, Tennessee Business Roundtable and Father Ryan High School, as well as on the MTA Strategic Plan Advisory Committee.
Sonya Schwartz is a Research Fellow at the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy's Center for Children and Families (CCF)
where she works with advocates at the state level to improve access to health coverage for low-income children and families. She leads CCF’s work on coverage for immigrant families, monitoring and analyzing policy issues related to health reform implementation, Medicaid, CHIP, health insurance marketplaces, the basic health program, and more.
Sonya was most recently a program director at the National Academy for State Health Policy, where she led State Refor(u)m, an online network for health reform implementation. Sonya has designed and led projects, written papers, produced events, and provided technical assistance on a broad range of health reform and state health policy issues, including implementation of health reform, health insurance exchanges, essential health benefits, coverage expansions through Medicaid and CHIP, and commercial insurance reforms. Sonya speaks regularly to a wide variety of state and national audiences such as provider and consumer groups, patient advocates, academic institutions, and other think tanks. She also has experience speaking to a variety of news media, appearing on the Diane Rehm Show, Marketplace, and in US News Health, the Los Angeles Times, Politico and Bloomberg BNA.
Prior to joining NASHP in 2005, Sonya worked as an advocate to expand access to health care and nutrition benefits for low-income populations such as immigrants and people living with HIV and AIDS. She holds a JD from the UCLA School of Law Program in public interest law and policy, and a BA in political science and Italian from Middlebury College. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two small boys
AZADEH SHAHSHAHANI IS LEGAL & ADVOCACY DIRECTOR WITH PROJECT SOUTH.
Azadeh has worked for a number of years in North Carolina and Georgia to protect the human rights of immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities. She previously served as National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project Director with the ACLU of Georgia. Azadeh is a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. Through the NLG, Azadeh has participated in international delegations, including to post-revolutionary Tunisia and Egypt, a delegation focused on the situation of Palestinian political prisoners, and election monitoring delegations to Venezuela and Honduras. She has also served as a member of the jury in people’s tribunals on Mexico, the Philippines, and Brazil. Azadeh also serves as Chair of Georgia Detention Watch, Co-chair of the US Human Rights Network Working Group on National Security, and on the Advisory Council of the American Association of Jurists. She is the author or editor of several human rights reports, including a 2012 report titled “Prisons of Profits: Immigrants and Detention in Georgia,” as well as law review articles and book chapters focused on racial profiling, immigrants’ rights, and surveillance of Muslim-Americans.
Heather Skrabak is the Associate Director of Policy and Advocacy with the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO).
She helps to support policies and programs that benefit the health of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities in AAPCHO’s 35 members clinics. Heather’s immigrant health work includesensuring access for immigrants in health care, through language access, right to health, and ACA enrollment policy.
She leads a multi-year 15-site civic engagement program in AAPCHO’s community health centers. Her policy focus areas also include appropriations, payment reform, and the needs of Limited English Proficient populations.
Heather comes to AAPCHO from the American Diabetes Association, where she assisted with developing the ADA’s health disparities policy platform. She supported the capacity-building and advocacy efforts of a 30-member volunteer council of health disparities experts and advocates. Previously, Heather was a Community Healthcorps member at East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, where she tackled food access and childhood obesity in Boston.
Heather studied Migration & Public Health at Boston University.
Debbie Smith is an Associate General Counsel at the headquarters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
where she is the immigration counsel for the International Union. She works on immigration issues impacting SEIU’s 400,000 immigrant members. Debbie has specialized in immigration law during her more than 30 years of practice in the non-profit, private and public sectors. Prior to working at SEIU, she was a senior attorney at Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), a staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, a partner at the immigration law firm Simmons & Ungar, the national coordinator of the landmark American Baptist Churches (“ABC”) class action settlement, and a staff attorney at the International Institute of the East Bay
Rich Stolz is the Executive Director of OneAmerica
Washington State’s largest immigrant rights advocacy organization. Rich brings more than 15 years of experience at the intersection of policy, politics and organizing across a broad spectrum of issues impacting low-income communities and communities of color, including jobs and income support policy, immigration policy, infrastructure investment and environmental justice. At the Center for Community Change, he coordinated the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a national coalition of immigrant rights organizations responsible for some of the largest mobilizations and protests in American history in the work to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. He managed the Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign, a multi-million dollar, cross sector campaign with more than 900 organizational endorsers. He also helped to found and staff the Transportation Equity Network, a multi-ethnic organizing strategy focused on the impact of transportation policy on job access, community development, and environmental justice. Rich was born in Seoul, South Korea. Growing up in California, he was always conscious of his bi-racial identity and what it means to be a citizen, ideas which were framed by his and his mother’s experience as newcomers to the United States.
Dr. Julie Sugarman is a policy analyst at migration policy institute's (MPI) National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy.
She focuses on issues related to immigrant and English Language Learner students in elementary and secondary schools, including policies, funding mechanisms, and district- and school-level practices that support high-quality instructional services. She also works on the particular needs of immigrant and refugee students who first enter U.S. schools at the middle and high school levels. Prior to MPI, Dr. Sugarman worked for 15 years at the Center for Applied Linguistics, specializing in the evaluation of educational programs for language learners and dual language/two-way immersion programs. Dr. Sugarman earned her Ph.D. in second language education and culture from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Sabrina Terry is the Senior Strategist for the Wealth Building Initiative within NCLR's Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation.
She currently oversees a national financial inclusion program, that integrates financial capability resources and immigrant legal services, to assist Latinos plan for their financial future when they seek legal assistance to become U.S. citizens. Mrs. Terry also works with affiliates and financial institutions to increase safe and affordable small dollar loan products within immigrant communities.
Laura Vazquez in the Program Manager for Immigration initiatives at the National Council of La Raza.
In her role, Laura works closely with NCLR Affiliates and other advocates to increase the capacity of immigration legal service providers. She also monitors immigration policy and conducts legislative and administrative advocacy in order to advance just and humane reforms to the immigration system.
Jessica Vosburgh is the Executive Director of Adelante Alabama Workers Center,
a worker-led community organization dedicated to defending and expanding the rights of day laborers, domestic workers, and other low-wage and immigrant workers in the Birmingham area. Jessica is also a Staff Attorney at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Her focus areas include lawyering in support of social movements and the intersections of immigration, criminal justice, employment and labor, and civil rights law. Jessica received her JD from Yale Law School.
Hannah Winnick is Program Director for Transatlantic Dialogues on Democracy and Social Policy at the Heinrich Boell foundation North America.
The program aims to enhance transatlantic policy exchange on two core issues: 1) Migration & Integration, which promotes responsible policies for the humane and dignified treatment of migrants and refugees, as well as their comprehensive integration into schools, workplaces, and societies, and 2) Digital Societies, which promotes a nuanced dialogue on both the challenges to civil liberties and the opportunities for innovation of digital technologies.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Hannah worked as Transnational Liaison at Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), an organization dedicated to strengthening the Latino non-profit sector in the US and Latin America. She has also worked with LEAD, the Mercator Capacity Building Center for Leadership and Advocacy in Berlin, to examine new models of leadership in German diplomacy. She has a broad range of international experience, having lived, worked, and studied in Germany, France, Turkey, the Dominican Republic, Israel and Portugal. Hannah holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she focused on international negotiation and conflict resolution, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Amherst College.