Local to Global Justice Virtual Forum
[In]Justice in the Borderlands: Immigrant and Refugee Stories
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Imani Grace Lewis-Norelle
No Mas Muertes, Tucson
Imani grew up in the Midwest and is a graduate of Earlham College where they earned a BA in Peace and Global Studies. In pursuing their degree, Imani spent time in Northern Ireland, where they studied the historical context and sociopolitical dynamics of the Troubles, and Rwanda, where they were challenged to re-examine their perception of peace and reconciliation. Imani was a 2017 recipient of the Thomas Watson Fellowship, during which time they continued to be challenged to transform their understanding of peace and justice as they explored how communities survive and create in the face of structural and historical violence. Imani became involved in the desert aid program of No More Deaths in 2018 and has lived in Southern Arizona for the past two and a half years, continuing to collaborate with NMD throughout this time. As part of their involvement with the organization, Imani has worked to support the growth of programming and resources for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color) volunteers in the No More Deaths desert aid program, and is excited to be part of the 2nd and 3rd BIPOC only monthlongs happening in March and April 2021. They currently live in Tucson, working as a preschool teacher and at Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, and they continue to learn daily from the people and community in their life.
Zaira Emiliana Livier
Executive Director, Peoples Defense Initiative, Tucson
Zaira Emiliana Livier is a Mexican-born human rights activist, writer, storyteller, and abolitionist. Currently, Zaira serves as executive director for People’s Defense Initiative, a grassroots, anti-capitalist organization that she co-founded in 2018 as a community defense front against repressive policies and structures. In line with their “Sanctuary for All” mission, the PDI collective has led campaigns and programs such as the Tucson Sanctuary initiative, Feeding Those Who Feed Us, and the Tucson Tenants Union. Previously, Zaira has organized with LUPE Tucson and Jobs with Justice along the intersection of migrant rights and labor.
Lutheran Social Services Southwest Refugee Serices, Phoenix
Sarah Eary is the Associate Director for Refugee and Immigration Services, a division of Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest - Phoenix office. Sarah started working for Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest after retiring from a career in education administration. Sarah has lived and worked in China, the United Arab Emirates and the Navajo Nation. Sarah is dedicated to developing sustainable, high quality support programs that engage community partners to assist with long term refugee integration. Sarah has over 25 years of experience in all aspects of education administration including English Language Learning, Early Childhood, Reading Intervention, Education Technology and intervention with at-risk populations. Areas of expertise and responsibility include: refugee resettlement daily operations, asylum seekers services, refugee & asylum seekers support services program development, women’s empowerment, children services, training and interpretation, housing, co-sponsorship and volunteer management.
Attorney Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado
Born in Douglas, AZ, Ray is an owner of Ybarra Maldonado Law Group (YMLG), which has been awarded as one of the fastest growing law firms in the U.S. YMLG focuses on aggressive representation for the Spanish speaking community in the areas of immigration, criminal, and personal injury. Ray has attained not guilty verdicts following state and federal jury trials as well as winning cases at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court. He has appeared live on CNN, MSNBC, and Univision discussing immigration issues. He is a graduate of ASU and Stanford Law School.
Tempe favorite Walt Richardson II, has been singing, writing songs, and playing guitar as far back as he can remember. At one time he was planning to pursue a career in bio-chemistry. That was when he learned the power of music and live performance. Richardson is the host of the popular “Walk-in Wednesdays” Open Mic Night series and the award-winning Songwriters’ Showcase concert and television series. “In the Spotlight” allows him to continue his support of the live music community.