STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
June 1, 2017
Donald Anthonyson, Families for Freedom
Donald is Interim Director of Families For Freedom (FFF), a New York-based multi-ethnic defense network by and for immigrants facing and fighting deportation. FFF seeks to repeal the laws that are tearing apart our homes and neighborhoods and to build the power of immigrant communities as communities of color, to provide a guiding voice in the growing movement for immigrant rights as human rights.
FFF has evolved into an organizing center against deportation and is a source of support, education, and campaigns for directly affected families and communities — locally and nationally.
Donald was born in Antigua and is involved in Civil Society and social issues in Antigua and the Caribbean. He is a member and past president of the Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) the largest environmental group in the Easter Caribbean. He is also a member of the NGO Network (ANU), which he has represented at forums including the CARICOM Heads of Government meetings and the EU/ACP trade and development meetings. Donald migrated to the US and have been involved in various social issues ranging from police brutality (Elenanor Bumphers Justice Committee) and anti-racial responses (NYASA) to immigration. He is also involved in community organizing of the Antiguan Diaspora in New York. At FFF, Donald was a former Board member and led the efforts of the International Deportee Justice Campaign and produces a monthly radio show on 99.5 FM WBAI.
Melonie Griffiths, Massachusetts Jobs With Justice
Melonie has a long history of community engagement/ advocacy in the Boston area. Her work as a community organizer began at City Life/ Vida Urbana, shortly after fighting off a post foreclosure eviction that allowed her and her family to remain in their home.
She played a crucial role in building a base of community leaders that organize around housing displacement and gentrification in Greater Boston and Brockton. As lead organizer, she anchored national bank negotiations, shared the anti-displacement organizing model and coordinated mass mobilizations. Much of this work happed through the National Right to the City Alliance, where she served as a steering committee member for 2 years. In 2103 she became the Organizing Director of Mass Jobs with Justice after serving on the Executive Committee for 4 years. She is currently organizing communities in Boston and Brockton around worker’s rights, immigrant rights, public education and corporate accountability. As part her effort to build a black organizing network in Boston, she is currently committed to prioritizing projects that open up access to political education and leadership development for grassroots leaders of color.
Amanda Jackson, Americans for Financial Reform
Amanda possesses a background in global affairs, rooted in highlighting structural based inequalities and socio-economic challenges. Amanda has shown demonstrable leadership on two intercontinental issues, food security and immigration throughout the Southeast, West Africa, and Mexico; and has led many issue and electoral based campaigns. Amanda’s expertise in grassroots organizing, advocacy, and organizational development has been leveraged to build proactive civil and human rights coalitions across the country. With a seven year background of managing public interest projects, Amanda is an experienced nonprofit management professional with a specialty in building communities and strengthening leaders. Amanda is passionate about service and volunteerism and is very involved in civic organizations. Amanda also loves reading, the theatre, and traveling.
Trina Jackson,Network for Immigrants and African Americans in Solidarity
As an activist and organizer, Trina Jackson has facilitated numerous trainings, workshops and dialogues on racial justice, anti-oppression organizing, and reproductive justice for women of color. In addition to coordinating the work of NIAAS (Network of Immigrant and African Americans in Solidarity), she works as an organizational development consultant to social justice nonprofits in Boston. She has served as an advisory board member of the Mass CEDAW Project, is a founding member of Boston Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, Boston Women of Color Coalition for Reproductive Justice, and serves on the Board of Directors for Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), an environmental justice organization. Born and raised in Kentucky, Trina also studies African American women’s environmental activism and recently completed a paper on African American women’s gardening traditions from slavery to the present. She is also a writer, amateur nature photographer, loves yoga, and talking daily walks around the pond in her neighborhood.
Jonathan Jayes-Green, UndocuBlack Network
Jonathan was born in Panama and has lived in Maryland since the age of 13. He proudly embraces his Afro-Latino heritage and has Jamaican and Panamanian roots. He received his associate’s degree from Montgomery College, where he served on the Board of Trustees, and received his bachelor’s degree with honors from Goucher College.
Former Governor Martin O’Malley appointed Jonathan as a member of the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs where he served as the youngest member in the history of the Commission. Shortly thereafter, he was hired to lead both the Commission on Hispanic and Caribbean Affairs. As administrator for both Commissions, Jonathan worked on Maryland’s response to the humanitarian crisis with Central American children fleeing violence, developed a memorandum of understanding between the Caribbean Commission and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and worked with and mentored immigrant youth around the state. He was also very involved in passing the Maryland Dream Act, and worked closely with Equality Maryland defending marriage equality.
Some of Jonathan’s numerous awards include: a Public Service Award from Telemundo; recognition for Youth in Public Service from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation; the Youth Achievement Award from the American Immigration Council; and a Public Service Award from Congressman Chris Van Hollen. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Liberty’s Promise.
Nunu Kidane, Priority Africa Network
Nunu is an activist originally from Eritrea. She is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley she has worked in Africa related program and policy developments for over two decades. She’s written and spoken extensively on migrants’ rights, land rights & resource extraction, human rights and racial justice. For the past nine years, Nunu has worked in grassroots mobilization of new African communities in the Bay Area and nationally. In January 2012 Nunu was recognized as a “Champion of Change” and received an award from the White House for the work with new African diaspora communities. She is founding member and current Director of Priority Africa Network (PAN), an advocacy organization based in Oakland, California and serves in the Steering Committee of BAJI.
Gerald Lenoir, Lenoir & Associates
Gerald has been in and around nonprofit organizations for over 35 years. He was the Executive Director of two nonprofit organizations—the Oakland-based (now Brooklyn-based) Black Alliance for Just Immigration (2006 to 2014) and the San Francisco Black Coalition on AIDS (1989 to 1995). He is the cofounder and past board chair of the HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County (HEPPAC) in Oakland. He is also a founding board member of Priority Africa Network. In addition, he served as a program manager and community organizer for two Seattle-based organizations—the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).
In 1995, Gerald formed Lenoir and Associates and for 11 year provided consultant services to nonprofits organizations and small businesses in California and throughout the country. In September 2014, he resumed his consulting business.
Francesca Menes,Florida Immigrant Coalition
Francesca Menes, the Policy & Advocacy Director with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), was born and raised in Miami, Florida in the community of Little Haiti. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies and her Master’s in Public Administration with a certificate in Community Development from Florida International University. She conducts strategic legislative targeting and policy analysis to the different campaigns led by FLIC and its member organizations, such as the Florida Wage Theft Task Force, the statewide campaign “We Are Florida’s Future” to pass in-state tuition for undocumented students in 2014 and a 2014 Voter Engagement Program in 2 counties and 5 cities knocking on over 45,000 doors. For 2 years, Francesca was the coordinator of a national network of organizations fighting for the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status. Additionally, she is the FLIC representative to the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, and the States Voices 501 c.3 Civic Engagement Table. Francesca also serves as a member on the Board of Directors of South Florida Jobs with Justice and was recently appointed by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman to a 4 year term on the Commission for Women. Francesca has received numerous honors and recognitions, including being name one of the 20 under 40 Emerging Leaders in South Floridaby the Miami Herald.
Sian Miranda Singh OFaolain, Consultant, Writer, Strategist
Sian (first name pronounced shann) brings an intersectional, multicultural, feminist perspective to her social justice work. With family migration stories that span the globe, hailing from Ireland and the African and Indian diasporas in the Caribbean (Guyana and Puerto Rico), she is passionate about the connections between racial justice and migrant rights. After a fellowship working on migration, policing, and human rights in South Africa, Sian returned to the U.S. and has been organizing nationally against racial profiling and criminalization ever since. Sian became a member of the Black Immigration Network in 2011, served on the planning committee for two kinship assemblies, and is thrilled to support BIN’s unique and critical work serving on BIN’s Steering Committee. Sian lives with her partner and daughters in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Michelle Parris, Immigrant Defense Project
Michelle is Training & Resources Director and Staff Attorney with Immigrant Defense Project. She brings to the work several years as a public defender in the Criminal Defense Practice at The Bronx Defenders, where she developed a keen understanding of the challenges of representing immigrant clients. Michelle was previously awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship focused on indigent defense for defendants with mental health issues. Michelle is a graduate of Stanford Law School where she was a student attorney with Stanford Law’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. She was also Board Member of the Stanford Black Law Students Association, a coordinator and translator for the Housing Pro Bono Program, a Juvenile Detention Facility Teacher for Street Law, an Editor for the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and a member of the Stanford Latino Law Students Association.
Dalitso Ruwe, Scholar, Activist and Organizer
Born and raised in Zambia, Dalitso moved to the U.S in 2002. He graduated from California State University Fresno in 2012. While a student at Fresno State he was awarded the Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks Leadership award in 2008, Jan and Bud Richter Community Service Award in 2010, Outstanding Campus Student Leader in 2011 and the Outstanding Graduate Student Community Service Award in 2012 . Dalitso was recently recognized as one the Tuxedo Seven, a group of young African-American males working as role models in the Boston area through their chosen fields. Dalitso has served as the primary research assistance for McFarland Press 2012 Jayz: Essays on Hip Hop Philosophers King, Palgrave 2013, The Cultural Impact of Kanye West and Palgrave 2013 Hip Hop as a Post-Modern Art Form. He has given keynote speeches and guest lectures at Wittenberg University, The University of Nebraska, Boston University and Clark University and social and political presentations at community centers. Currently,Dalitso is pursuing his Graduate Studies in Africana Philosophy at Texas A&M.
Opal Tometi, Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Opal Tometi is a Nigerian-American strategist, writer and community organizer. Ms. Tometi is a co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, a historic political project and network launched to combat structural racism. Ms. Tometi is credited with initiating the online platforms and social media strategy during the project’s inception. A millennial trailblazer, Ms. Tometi is widely respected for her creativity and bold leadership. At age 28 she became the Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) – the United States’ only national immigrant rights organization for Black people. There she has a track record of successful campaigns that have advanced migrant rights and racial justice. She is currently being featured in the Smithsonian’s new National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) for her catalytic contributions to modern day social movements.
An international thought leader, Tometi most notably, addressed the United Nations General Assembly, a privilege only a few US Black leaders have been afforded. Tometi has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BET and her words have been published in popular outlets such as Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and TIME Magazine. She has received several awards and recognitions for her human rights work including being named “A New Civil Rights Leader” by CNN, the Los Angeles Times and ESSENCE magazine for her cutting edge work. And in 2016, Tometi, alongside her fellow BLM co-founders she received an honorary doctorate, the Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Award, BET’s Black Girls Rock Community Change Agent Award, and recognition by Fortune, POLITICO ad Marie Claire Magazines for being among the world’s fifty greatest leaders. A sought-after orator, Tometi has spoken at the University of Arizona’s commencement ceremony, the Atlantic Washington Ideas Forum, Harvard University, Yale and universities nationwide.
Zerihoun Yilma, Associate Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
Zerihoun Yilma has over 20 years of experience in both for-profit and non-profit management. His experience in the private sector has shaped his unique expertise for the non-profit sector. Zerihoun joined the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) in 2001 and currently serves as the Associate Director. He has helped the organization achieve financial stability and maintain strong internal systems. Before coming to CHIRLA, Zerihoun worked in the financial services industries in Los Angeles and in Africa, and managed and oversaw small-scale manufacturing plants and service industries. Zerihoun is a community leader and has provided technical assistance to several small non-profit organizations in Los Angeles. He is a co-founder of the charter school Academia Moderna, the African Public Health Coalition, and the Californians for Humane Immigrant Rights Leadership Action Fund, a C4 organization that promotes and advocates for immigrant rights.
Zerihoun is a community leader and has provided technical assistance to several small non-profit organizations in Los Angeles. He has also served as the Vice-President of the Board of the Virgin Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles. Zerihoun has had professional and academic journeys in different countries including India, Botswana, Namibia, and Ethiopia, receiving his Masters Degree from Poona University. His previous experience in corporate management and accounting for several for-profit companies has shaped his expertise in the non-profit sector.
Aly Wane, Peace Activist/Organizer
Aly Wane is an undocumented Peace Activist and established organizer with several groups, including the Syracuse Peace Council, the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse, the Workers’ Center of CNY, Black Lives Matter, Syracuse and the American Friends Service Committee. His work focuses on migrants’ rights, racial justice, and economic justice. He originally came to the U.S. as the son of a diplomat that worked at the United Nations. He eventually traded his diplomat visa for a student visa and completed his studies with a BA in Political Science from Le Monye College in Syracuse.
Tia Oso, National Organizer
Anshantia “Tia” Oso is a member of BAJI’s senior leadership team, serving as the National Organizer. Tia is responsible for developing and implementing strategy for BAJI’s national campaigns, coalitions and program initiatives such as public education and trainings, includiing managing the Black Immigration Network (BIN). 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.