A Racial Equity and Immigrant Justice Partnership with Echoing Green: Meet the Fellows
Earlier this year, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund announced a $1.5 million partnership with Echoing Green to launch the Racial Equity and Immigrant Justice initiative, a fellowship to support immigrants and refugees of color in the United States and Canada. Through Echoing Green’s fellowship program, the initiative is supporting 19 Fellows — six brand-new Fellows, as well as follow-on support for 13 Echoing Green alumni who are addressing systemic issues of racial equity, immigration, and economic mobility to create more equitable communities and economies for all.
We’re thrilled to introduce the initial Fellows chosen through this partnership thus far, who are taking action to build wealth, realize justice, and create access to opportunities for immigrants and refugees of color.
The following four visionary leaders, all of whom identify as women of color, are newly selected 2022 Fellows. They are receiving an unrestricted grant of $80,000 over 18 months to support their work, gaining access to a community of like-minded leaders, strategic partners, and industry peers, and receiving a continuum of leadership support valued at $200,000 per Fellow, including wellness programming and pro-bono legal support.
- Shelly Anand: As co-founder of Sur Legal Collaborative, Shelly is leading efforts to end the labor abuse-to-deportation pipeline for immigrant workers in America’s Deep South by democratizing legal knowledge so that impacted communities can fight for their labor rights and advance mass decarceration. A daughter of Indian immigrants and the granddaughter of refugees from the Partition of India and Pakistan, Shelly has been fighting for immigrants and workers in the Deep South for over a decade as a legal aid attorney, a litigator with the U.S. Department of Labor, and an immigrant rights attorney.
- Aideé Granados: Aideé is founder and CEO of Rosa Es Rojo Inc., working to dismantle income, language, and education barriers to health and well-being affecting Hispanic women and their families in the U.S. by delivering culturally tailored and accessible chronic disease and cancer prevention programs. Having lost her grandmother, mother, father, and stepmother to cancer, and as an immigrant in the U.S. and a cancer survivor herself, Aideé decided to share her wealth of knowledge and experience professionally. She is a certified health coach and wellness advocate for the Hispanic community.
- Sheila Maddali: As co-founder and executive director of National Legal Advocacy Network, Sheila is helping to grow the low-wage worker movement by identifying and implementing legal strategies that build worker power, educate on workers’ rights, and mobilize lawyers in support of working-class people of color and their organizations. An organizer and attorney, Sheila began organizing around immigrant justice and racial profiling as a teenager, when her community was affected by post-9/11 state violence, and she has continued to work at the intersection of racial and economic justice for the past 20 years.
- Summia Tora: Summia grew up as an Afghan refugee in Pakistan and founded the Dosti Network following her own efforts to evacuate her family from Afghanistan in August 2021. Summia is working to increase Afghans’ equitable access to humanitarian assistance, financial aid, and immigration support by leveraging a network of local and international partners to provide the needed resources. She has supported more ethical refugee resettlement processes in the U.S., Pakistan, and Greece.
The Fund is also supporting the following three Echoing Green alumni fellows to continue building on their critical work. These Fellows will each receive $25,000.
- Alana Greer and Purvi Shah: Alana and Purvi are receiving follow-on funding for a collaboration together, launching a multi-city internship program to build pathways for BIPOC lawyers to utilize movement lawyering to transform the status quo. As co-founder of the Community Justice Project, Alana is a movement lawyer deeply committed to supporting grassroots organizing in Black and Brown communities. Purvi, an experienced racial justice lawyer, founded Movement Law Lab to seed a new generation of legal problem-solvers to tackle America’s toughest racial justice challenges. She is leading efforts to build power in Black and Brown communities by incubating legal projects that combine law and community organizing to protect, defend, and embolden racial justice movements.
- Lori Robinson: Lori is co-founder of VidaAfrolatina, which seeks to reduce sexual violence and foster survivors’ healing among Afro-Latin Americans by providing women with resources to create pathways to wellness and safety, including culturally specific programs and practices. A rape survivor, Lori worked for many years as a journalist winning awards for her coverage of sexual assault and reporting extensively about Afro-Latin Americans.
In early December, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, along with the Echoing Green team, hosted a virtual cohort kickoff for these initial Fellows alongside alumni fellows, providing an opportunity to connect, share about each Fellow’s ongoing work, and identify ways to collaborate and support each other. In 2023, we will have two additional sessions which will include our next cohort of new Fellows.
“The Fund is proud to support these leaders as they address barriers experienced by immigrant, refugee, and BIPOC communities. We are inspired by their passion to drive new solutions toward systemic change on deep-rooted issues such as racial injustice, health care access, and the legal system,” said Nomzana Augustin, senior manager of partnerships and strategic initiatives at the WES Mariam Assefa Fund. “We’re also grateful to partner with Echoing Green to build this network and back social innovators who have direct knowledge and firsthand experience of their communities’ needs.”
We look forward to announcing the next cohort of Fellows that the Racial Equity and Immigrant Justice initiative will support in 2023, and to sharing updates on the efforts of the current Fellows.