We're excited to bring such an amazing group of speakers and performers together for the NIIC.

Learn more about them below.

List in formation. Check back for updates!


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 is the secretary-treasurer for pcun,

Oregon’s farmwork union, and the Director of Accion Politica PCUNista (APP), Oregon’s progressive Latino 501c4 organization. Jaime was born in Las Ranas Michoacan, Mexico and immigrated to Salem, Oregon with his family in 1990. Jaime’s family received their permanent residency through the Immigration Reform Control Act of 1986. He worked as a farmworker picking crops for 12 years until he landed a job as “beverage boy” at Willamette University’s cafeteria, his first exposure to higher education. He went on to graduate from Willamette earning degrees in Rhetoric/Media Studies and Spanish. In 2005, he began working with Farmworker Housing Development Corporation as a Community Organizer and later became Director of Fund Development. In 2011, Jaime was recognized by Shelterforce, the oldest community, economic development magazine in the nation, and selected as one of 6 under 36 young leaders in the country. He currently serves on Western Oregon University’s Board of Trustees and Oregon’s Youth Development Council.

Jeanne M. Atkinson is the Executive Director of CLINIC, 

the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC). At CLINIC, she developed the CARA Family Detention Project to provide volunteer legal representation and advocacy on behalf of mothers and children held in Dilley and Karnes City, Texas. Jeanne founded and co-chairs the Committee for Immigration Reform Implementation and speaks nationally on topics including family detention and implementation of immigration reform.

Eileen A. Auld is Citi's Community Development Director for the New York Tri State MArket.

In this capacity, she serves as Citi’s point person for all franchise-wide community development activity within the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and leads Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships such as Cities for Citizenship. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Eileen to serve on the Workforce Development Board, which is part of the NYC Office of Workforce Development. She also serves as a board member of the Flushing Willets Point Corona LDC and the NYC Change Capital Fund, and has prior served on the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Financial Empowerment Advisory Council and the NYC Department of Small Business Services’ NYC Bank Advisory Council.

Eileen has been with Citi since 2003 and previously served as Citibank’s Director of National Initiatives and Community Programs. Prior to joining Citi, Eileen was appointed Assistant Commissioner, Community Affairs of the New York City Police Department in January 1998.  Serving under Commissioners Safir, Kerik and Kelly, Eileen managed Police Department resources and personnel to oversee programs to meet community needs. After the events of 9/11, Eileen assisted in the Police Department’s coordination of service delivery at the Family Assistance Center and the Javits Center after Flight 587. Eileen began her career in government at NYC Community Board 2 as the Assistant District Manager before accepting a position at the Queens Borough President's Office in 1990, where she was an assistant to Borough President Claire Shulman and the Chairperson of the Queens Task Force to Eliminate Graffiti. Eileen holds a degree in Business Management and graduated with Honors from Queens College with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Urban Studies. She is a graduate of The Columbia University Business School, Police Management Institute. 

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

Nikki Cicerani became President & CEO of Upwardly Global in April 2009 after serving as founding Managing Director of the organization’s New York office. During her tenure as CEO, the organization expanded from two major metropolitan areas to five, launched online, virtual services, and elevated its mission from a local program to a national conversation around skilled immigrants’ value to the United States. Upwardly Global’s services now reach thousands of underserved immigrants and refugees across the country. Nikki is a founding member and serves on the steering committee of IMPRINT, a coalition of organizations working to promote and implement best practices in the integration of immigrant professionals. She has advised the White House Domestic Policy Council on the economic integration of foreign-trained professionals, and has served as an expert panelist at national and international forums on migration, including the 2010 Cities of Migration Conference, 2014 Global Great Lakes Conference, and the 2011 and 2013 Clinton Global Initiative meetings on the U.S. economic recovery. Prior to joining Upwardly Global, Nikki worked in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School, where she was president of Columbia Women in Business, and a bachelor’s degree in Policy Analysis from Cornell University.

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

Glenn Scott Davis is Program and Policy Specialist for the City of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. He was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut and has lived in Seattle since 2010. Glenn oversees the Ready to Work Program, as well as assists departments in building equitable career and education pathways for immigrants and refugees. Throughout his life, Glenn has been deeply involved in the labor movement working for workplace and economic rights. In his past work, he has helped to expand educational and employment opportunities for immigrants and refugees, communities of color, and all working people. Glenn has co-authored several publications including A Handbook for Adult Learning: Educational Philosophy & Program Standards; Washington State SEIU 775 Long-Term Care Training, Support & Career Development Network: A Blue Print for the Future; and Sustaining Worker Voice and Quality Care: A New Model of Transformative Learning in Nursing Homes. He was supervising editor of the textbook Gerontology, the Theory and Practice of Person-Centered Care widely used in New York City’s long-term care sector.

Adela de la Torre is the Communications Director for the NAtional Immigration Law Center.

In this role, she works with others to conduct communications research and helps shape messaging for major legal and policy campaigns. Under her leadership, NILC’s media presence has grown, and NILC experts are now sought-after thought leaders who help shape the news. Adela joined NILC in 2009 as a communications specialist. Prior to joining NILC, she served as a media relations specialist for the George Washington University, where she earned her B.A. in International Affairs and her M.A. in Latin American Hemispheric Studies.

Manuel Dimas, Treasurer of Knights of Columbus

Manuel Dimas was born in Mexico and moved to the US twice as a young boy, the first time when he was about 5 years old and the second time at 13. He has lived in the small towns of Nebraska for the majority of his life. He has been married for 17 years and has three children. He has worked in the city of Crete for over 15 years and has been a volunteer for many local organizations during that time. Manny currently belongs to: Knights of Columbus where he serves as the treasurer, Friends of the Library’s vice-president, Crete Medical Area Foundation Secretary, and a Teammates mentor.   

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).

Kamal Essaheb directs the National Immigration Law Center's federal, state, and local policy and advocacy work.

Prior to joining NILC, Mr. Essaheb was a practicing immigration attorney at CUNY Citizenship Now, a nonprofit immigration legal services provider in New York City. He is a graduate of Fordham Law School, where he was a Stein Scholar in Public Interest Law and Ethics. line

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.

Marjorie Fine is a fundraising and philanthropic consultant helping nonprofits and their funders

– particularly those who use community organizing as a way to effect social change to- move from surviving to thriving.  She believes how groups raise money is as important to achieving their goals as are their programs, leadership development, policy and advocacy campaigns. Current clients include the Four Freedoms Fund, UU Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, Midwest Academy, Color of Change, Jewish Voice for Peace, Ultraviolet, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Haas Jr/Flexible Leadership Award, Center for Environmental Health and MH Action. While her early years were spent as a Buckeye, she is a proud Brooklyn-American. A former foundation executive for over 20 years, she thinks fundraising is organizing and that those involved in fundraising, whether paid or unpaid, staff, board member or volunteer, are the unsung heroes of social justice movements.


Adonis Flores is the Immigrant Rights Organizer for Michigan United,

a social justice organization that advocates for policies that protect civil rights, workers rights, immigrant rights and promote economic growth for all Americans. Adonis has organized campaigns that advocate for the just treatment of refugee children fleeing from violence in Central America. He has been involved in campaigns for tuition equality, promoting equal access to higher education for undocumented students in Michigan through instate tuition policies. Adonis has also been a leader in the national campaign for comprehensive immigration reform, advocating to stop the deportations that separate families, and for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). He is a DREAMer and DACA recipient who has lived in Detroit since he was 8 years old. He is currently studying Global Supply Chain Management at the School of Business Administration, and is a student at the Center for Latino and Latin-American Studies, at Wayne State University.

Diana Gordon is Professor Emerita of Political Science and Criminal Justice of the City University of New York.

She lives in Greenport, NY, on the North Fork of Long Island; her book about immigrants in her town is Village of Immigrants; Latinos in an Emerging America, She currently writies articles about immigration in small towns; she also blogs on her website, www.smalltownimmigration.com.

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.

Jonathan Jayes-Green (@JAyesGreenJ): Afro-Latino, Queer, DACA-mented Community Organizer. Co-Creator of the UndocuBlack Network and the first Undocumented and Black Convening.

Jonathan is an undocumented Afro-Latino from Panama and was raised in Maryland. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with honors from Goucher College and is the co-founder of the UndocuBlack Network, a group advocating for undocumented African, Caribbean and Afro-Latinx folks through policy, story-sharing and community building.

Jonathan served as the Administrator of the Governor’s Commissions on Hispanic and Caribbean Affairs for the Governor of Maryland. There he served as a public policy and outreach liaison between the Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities and the Governor. He was one of the leading voices in crafting the Governor’s response to the humanitarian crisis with Central American children fleeing violence, he was one of the key members planning and executing the policy rollout of the Governor’s executive order severing the state’s relationship with ICE and continued to  mentor immigrant youth around the state.

In 2010-2012, Jonathan joined several immigrant youth with Casa de Maryland, the state's largest immigrant advocacy organization to lobby and advocate for the passage of the Maryland Dream Act both through the Maryland General Assembly and at the ballot box during the referendum campaign. At the same time, he joined a joint campaign with the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization at the time, Equality Maryland, to advocate for an intersectional understanding of undocumented LGBT folks affected by both the Dream Act and Marriage Equality - both upheld successfully that November.

Jonathan is a big believer in creating unique paths and pursuing nontraditional options. He spends a lot of time thinking about how to make the world a better place, how to have more authentic, meaningful relationships and how to travel for free.

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.

Ed Kissam, a Trustee of the WKF Family Fund,

is a researcher who has worked on farmworker and immigrant issues for many years and done extensive field research in California, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington. His work on census-related issues includes a 1993 report on Hispanic response to census forms/ procedures and a 2007 report for targeting outreach to migrant/seasonal farmworkers prepared for the Census Bureau. He has also worked with California Rural Legal assistance in assessing and publishing analyses of census undercount of rural immigrants in the 1990, 2000, and 2010 decennial census. From 2001-2006 he directed the “New Pluralism” study of immigrant settlement in rural U.S. communities and a subsequent study of Latino entrepreneurship in North Carolina and Iowa. Kissam is currently a trustee of the WKF charitable giving fund which supports a range of local immigrant integration initiatives, as well as policy analysis and advocacy at the national level.  He is active in several networks of philanthropists, the Census Funders Initiative 2020, and in Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees.

Isha Lee is Chief Network Officer at Welcoming America.

She is a non-profit practitioner fluent in external affairs, government relations, and organizational development. She has 10 years of experience at national and local organizations. Her recent roles include Chief of Staff for the national communications team at Teach For America and a founding staff person at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. She is an alumna of Davidson College where she majored in political science and Goddard College where she received an M.A. in sustainable business and community.

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.

Matthew Lopas is the Health Campaign State and Local Manager and Health Policy Attorney of the National Immigration Law Center.

In this capacity, he engages in policy advocacy and coalition-building to protect and improve immigrants’ access to affordable health care through federal programs, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and efforts to expand programs to cover the remaining uninsured. His work focuses on outreach and support to groups working at the state and local level. He manages a national coalition of advocates and health care assisters, and he leads NILC’s efforts to support state and local campaigns to advance expansion of health care programs. Prior to joining NILC as a fellow, he interned for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) in the health policy office of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and he worked as a law clerk for the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism and a JD from the American University Washington College of Law.

David Lubell is the Founder and Executive Director of Welcoming America,

a burgeoning immigrant welcoming movement. As a social entrepreneur David inspires people to build a different kind of community -- one that embraces immigrants and fosters opportunity for all. Welcoming America, established in 2009, works in over 100 cities and towns across the country, supporting nonprofits and local governments to transform their communities into inclusive places where everyone thrives. David began his career as an Advocacy and Organizing Director of Latino Memphis. He later founded and became Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). At TIRRC David helped found Welcoming Tennessee, the model for what is now Welcoming America. David's award-winning concept has gained recognition nationally and internationally. The White House honored Welcoming America as White House Welcoming America Champions of Change for its innovations in immigrant integration. In 2014 the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and BMW Group distinguished Welcoming America as a recipient of their Intercultural Innovation Award, honoring its work in promoting intercultural understanding. A Wesleyan University graduate, David received an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University.  

Samantha Magadaleno is the Director of Community Organizing at the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation.

In that role she supervises staff and works with grassroots organizations that want to learn how to do community organizing. Samantha has been working on community organizing to advance social justice topics across the United States for over 7 years. She also leads One Michigan for Immigrant Rights, training youth in community organizing. Recently, she has also given organizing training in Standing Rock, North Dakota. Samantha is a graduate student at Wayne State University, studying Communications-Public Relations in Organizational Communication. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Texas Pan American. Samantha also has a certification from Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education in Leading Nonviolent Movements for Social Change and is a graduate of the Xito Xican@ Institute for Teaching and Organizing.

Geri Mannion is Program Director of Carnegie Corporation's Strengthening U.S. Democracy and Special Opportunities Fund.

Geri brings a wealth of experience about the role of philanthropy in challenging, improving and deepening civic dialogue. She has directed the division since 1998, after staffing the Corporation’s Special Projects program for almost ten years. While the Corporation continues to support projects that focus on improving voter engagement among those least likely to vote, the Strengthening U.S. Democracy Program focuses primarily on immigrant civic integration. Active in professional organizations that work to strengthen the philanthropic and nonprofit world, Mannion currently chairs the Council on Foundations’ Selection Committee of the Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking.


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.