Steve Choi, Esq. is the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella advocacy and policy coalition of nearly 200 member groups representing New York State’s immigrant communities. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Choi was the Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, which organizes, advocates for, educates and serves Korean and Asian community members in New York. Prior to that, Mr. Choi was a Staff Attorney and the founding Director of the Korean Workers Project at the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund, the only project on the East Coast focused on providing free legal services to low-wage Korean immigrants.
Michelle Morazán is the Managing Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. Before joining the NYIC in July 2014, Michelle consulted with a number of nonprofit organizations in the New York metro area on organizational development, strategic communications and resource development projects. Prior to that, she worked with Alianza Dominicana for over 7 years, holding several positions within its leadership, including Director of Institutional Development and External Affairs. She has also worked with the Office of the Public Advocate, The New Democracy Project as its Executive Director, and the New York City Department of Education as the Director of Public and Community Affairs. Michelle often teaches courses on US Politics and Government, Immigration Politics, and NYC Politics within the City University of New York system.
Camille Mackler, Esq.
Director of Legislative Initiatives
Director of Health Advocacy Jackie Vimo is the Director of Health Advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition. She is currently a member of the Regional Advisory Committee of the New York State Health Benefit Exchange established under the Affordable Care Act and was a member of the Health Disparities Workgroup of Governor Cuomo's Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT). Jackie has been working for over 15 years in the field of public policy on a broad array issues, including: HIV/AIDS, public health, workers’ rights, racial justice and immigration. Jackie has done social justice work in Argentina, where her family lives, and has held policy positions at organizations such as Make the Road New York and The New York AIDS Coalition.
Senior Education Advocacy Associate
Mubashar (Max) Ahmed is the Education Advocacy Associate with the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC). He has worked on schools and Latin-Consulate partnerships through the Consular ID Project, which gives consular identification to immigrant parents who may lack IDs to access their child’s school and attend parent teacher meetings, he has worked with NYC Council Members to fund the $18M DACA project which allows city funding for NYC youth to receive DACA & educational services, and with DREAMers and undocumented youth to advocate for federal immigration reform through testimony & speeches at rallies, hearings, legislative meetings, press conferences and communication with media. He has testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education to provide educational supports and a sound education to the City’s 150K English language learners. Max works closely with community leaders across NYC & NYS during monthly collaborative meetings to discuss education issues for immigrant students and their parents, informing City and State advocacy materials on education policy. He also coordinates the NYIC Parent Guide to College Project that provides immigrant parents with workshops, resources, and information on sending their children to college.
Special Projects Associate Mayra Aldás-Deckert is the Special Projects Fellow at The New York Immigration Coalition where she provides administrative and logistics assistance for Consular ID Events. She attended Brooklyn College where she obtained her B.S. in Business Management and Finance as well as the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador where she completed three years of Commercial Engineering with focus in Management and Business Planning. A native of Ecuador, Mayra moved to NYC almost 9 years ago. Mayra joined the New York Immigration Coalition in 2014.
Murad Awawdeh is the Civic Engagement Coordinator at the New York Immigration Coalition, and a longtime and dedicated community organizer and advocate. Murad coordinates the Civic Engagement Collaborative and works with the Coalition’s member agencies on civic engagement initiatives, such as voter registration, public education, Get Out the Vote Campaigns, and voter protection. He works closely with NYIC member agencies to meaningfully engage immigrant communities in the electoral process, to support capacity and movement building.
Before joining the New York Immigration Coalition, Murad worked on social, youth, environmental, and climate justice initiatives. He facilitated initiatives to help engage indigenous community residents to build local leadership, transform their lives and neighborhoods in Southwest Brooklyn.
Health Advocacy Senior Specialist
Claudia Calhoon joined the NYIC in 2014 as Health Advocacy Senior Specialist. She is responsible for program development and management of NYIC’s advocacy to ensure health access for all immigrant communities in New York. Claudia has led program development and operations in 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. Most recently, she worked at NYU School of Medicine where she oversaw an NIH-funded research core to promote health disparities research and community engagement in medical research.
Claudia has strong interest in implementation of the Affordable Care Act and health access and equity. She 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.
Immigration Campaign Organizer
Immigration Advocacy Manager Christina Chang is the Immigration Advocacy Manager at the New York Immigration Coalition. Before joining the NYIC, Christina was the Advocacy and Organizing Coordinator of the MinKwon Center for Community Action in Flushing, Queens. Prior to that, she was the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff and General Counsel to former Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. Christina served as a Fulbright Fellow in South Korea and received a B.A. in Political Science from Wellesley College.
New Americans Volunteer Coordinator
As the New Americans Volunteer Coordinator, Kiwi Grady works to engage highly skilled immigrant volunteers in Sandy Recovery efforts in New York City, in addition to supporting general volunteer and community partner engagement in the work of the NYIC. Kiwi earned a bachelor’s degree in Gender and Sexuality Studies and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study and the NYU Steinhardt School of Education, respectively. Prior to coming to the NYIC, Kiwi managed student leadership development programs and organizational chapters at GLSEN, and peer education-in-residence and social justice programs at NYU’s Department of Residential Education.
Regional Outreach Associate
Francis Madi is the Regional Outreach Associate on Long Island for the New York Immigration Coalition. She coordinates immigration services and advocates for immigrant communities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Prior to working with the Coalition, she organized around Immigration issues for the Arab American Association of NY and La Fuente Inc. in Brooklyn and Long Island. Born in Venezuela, she has been a Long Island resident for 8 years.
Senior Administrative and Operations Associate
Juan J. Ramirez started with the NYIC in August of 2007 as the Executive Assistant. In his current role as the Senior Administrative and Operations Associate, he works closely with the Managing Director and the Administrative Manager on internal projects, administrative planning, and human resources. Juan also works on events and coordinates logistics for the NYIC’s days of action, membership events, and the annual gala. On his off-time, he volunteers with iMentor, an organization working towards empowering students from low-income communities and increasing college readiness, and has volunteered with nonprofits that focus on education.
Gillian Rowland-Kain initially joined the New York Immigration Coalition in September 2013 as a Membership and Communications Fellow through the AmeriCorps program, Public Allies. Previously, Gillian worked at buildOn, a youth development organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education, as a Program Coordinator through NYC Civic Corps, an AmeriCorps program run by the Mayor’s Office of Service. Gillian is passionate about ending human rights abuses and is an active member of Amnesty International.
Gillian holds a B.A. in International Relations from Connecticut College and a M.Sc. in Human Rights and International Politics from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Oriana Sanchez is the Administrative Associate at the New York Immigration Coalition. Before joining the NYIC in March, 2013, Ms. Sanchez worked as a Legal Assistant with a private attorney in Jackson Heights for seven years. While at the law office, she assisted with immigration matters, helping immigrants adjust their status and naturalize.
Development Associate Laurie Smolenski is the Development Associate at the New York Immigration Coalition. Before joining the NYIC in September, Laurie advocated for issues of local and national importance to New York City’s immigrant communities, including comprehensive immigration reform, adult education and resident voting rights. Before moving to New York, Laurie completed a Master’s degree in International Relations with a focus on women’s and immigrant rights from the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain through a Rotary Global Grant. Her international field experience includes working with human trafficking survivors in Spain and researching indigenous women in the Solomon Islands. She regularly contributes to Waging Nonviolence.
Manager of Education Advocacy
Training and Membership Associate
Jonathan Vidal is the Training and Membership Associate at the New York Immigration Coalition. He manages logistics for the Training and Technical Assistance program, and handles all administrative process for membership. Mr. Vidal has worked with the New York Immigration Coalition since 2006. He is a graduate of York College with a B.S. in Business Administration.
Tea Tammistu joined the NYIC team as an Education Fellow at the start of 2014. Before this fellowship she worked for several years in the field of the integration of immigrants in Estonia and the United Kingdom. At the NYIC, Tea advocates for eliminating barriers that prevent immigrant parents from being more involved in their children’s education.