Sandy Valenciano is crimmigration strategist, who organizes at the intersection of criminal justice and immigrant rights with abolition practices. Sandy is an immigrant from Zacatecas, Mexico, who has spent most of her life in the Bay Area. Sandy graduated from Sonoma State University, where she obtained her Bachelors in Psychology. Sandy led leadership development and campaign strategy while at the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA), where she served as the Executive Director. She has organized grassroot efforts to build community defense models to stop the criminalization, detention and deportation of immigrant communities. Sandy has organized and led campaign victories such as the TRUST Act, Health for undocumented young adults, TRUTH Act, Due Process for All, Dignity Not Detention Act (SB29), AB 103 (creating state oversight of immigration detention), and AB32 (banning private prisons and imigration detention centers). Sandy is Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s Andy Grove Fellow.
Arianna Salgado is a queer immigrant born in Mexico and arrived in the United States at the age of 6. She began organizing in high school with the West Suburban Action Project, Nuestra Voz, and the Immigrant Youth Justice League; undocumented led organizations that sought to create safe spaces for undocumented people and resources for higher education. Arianna currently organizes with OCAD, a grassroots organization that fights against the criminalization and detention and deportation of undocumented people. Arianna currently lives and works in Chicago.
Alejandra Pablos is a social justice organizer, activist, and writer working at the intersection of immigration and reproductive justice. She has been targeted by ICE for deportation and is fighting for her freedom.
Born south of the Mexico border, Alejandra and her brother Jesus were raised in Santa Ana, California by their mother Rossy. Her mother’s business ambitions later moved the family to Tucson, Arizona, where Alejandra first learned what it means to be a person of color in the United States.
At age 16, Alejandra became a community organizer. Her first job was working at her local city after-school program. This introduced Alejandra to working with young people, and she continued playing a role in the lives of pre-school and school aged children for the next six years. In 2009, Alejandra graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. During her youth, Alejandra was arrested and convicted of several charges, including Driving Under the Influence and possession of drug paraphernalia, some of which were felonies under Arizona state law. The arrests combined with an immigration system that targets people with a criminal record, particularly felonies, led to Alejandra’s detention by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents at a routine probation visit. As Alejandra realized, there was nothing “permanent” about her residency status. She spent 2 years at the Eloy Detention Center in Southern Arizona, one of the worst detention centers in the country. She lost her residency and was placed in deportation proceedings even though her parents were naturalized citizens.
After a long legal battle, Alejandra was released from detention. Since then, she has worked to advocate for human and civil rights, dedicating her life to organizing for immigrant rights and reproductive justice. She has also become an active member of Mijente, a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx movement building and is a storyteller with We Testify, a project of the Nation Network of Abortion Funds, where she shares her abortion story as a form of resistance and liberation nationwide. Alejandra is a strong advocate for immigration reform and ending mass incarceration, and has worked with many immigrant rights and criminal justice organizers throughout the country. She also worked as the Virginia Field Coordinator for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, where she organized to raise the voices of Latinas and for policy change at all levels of government on issues that impact their lives.
In 2018, as part of her local organizing, Alejandra led demonstrators at a peaceful protest in Virginia outside of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where she was later singled out and detained by DHS agents. Her detention garnished national attention and sparked a viral movement demanding her freedom. As a result, she became nationally recognized as an immigrant rights and reproductive rights activist. Her detention lasted 43 days. Along with Mijente, NLIRH, and the support of organizers across the country, she was granted an immigration bond and released from Eloy Detention Center. Alejandra is currently organizing her own deportation defense campaign called #KeepAleFree in order to stay permanently with her community. You can read more about her and her work on DemocracyNow, ReWire, Latino USA, TeenVogue, Slate, Huffington Post, amongst others.
Sarath S. Suong is a co-founder and former Executive Director of Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM), founding Board Co-Chair of the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE), and current National Director of the Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN). Born in the Thai Refugee camp Khao I Dang, his family fled Cambodia during the civil war and eventually immigrated to his hometown of Revere, Massachusetts. To cope with the violence, pain, and injustices facing Southeast Asians, he became a community organizer, centered around the unique intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. PrYSM community based organization in Providence, Rhode Island who mobilizes Southeast Asian youth and families, queer and trans youth of color, and survivors of state violence to build grassroots power and organize collectively for a world without prisons and police. ARISE prepares, promotes, and empowers Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian students for educational and career success. SEAFN is a national family of grassroots Southeast Asian organizing groups committed to fighting deportations and building a Southeast Asian movement based in gender justice and queer liberation. Sarath moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1998 to attend Brown University. He majored in Ethnic Studies with a specific focus on Southeast Asian immigration, resettlement, and resistance. Sarath loves his family, friends, young people, and is the biggest X-Men fan you’d ever meet.
Donald Anthonyson, Executive Director at Families for Freedom, was born in Antigua, and migrated to the U.S. in 1979. He got involved in social justice issues ranging from police brutality, anti-racial responses, to immigration. He lives in Harlem, NY.
Donald became a member and later organizer, and now Executive Director at Families For Freedom (FFF) after he was detained and placed in immigration removal proceedings for a decades old misdemeanor conviction. He has led FFF’s efforts of the International Deportee Justice Campaign, co-facilitated 2 consular roundtables and produced FFF’s monthly radio show, the War on Immigrants Report, on 99.5 FM WBAI.
Founded in September 2002, Families for Freedom is a New York-based human rights organization, by and for immigrants facing and fighting deportation.