These are the women filling the Brave House with extra brains and heart.
Youth Advisory Board - Brave Sisters.
A team of 5 young immigrant women who are helping shape and build The Brave House. Bios and updates coming soon!
Advisory Board - Brave Builders.
Elisa DiMauro Job. Principal, Democracy Prep Charter High School Home. Brooklyn, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Taking action even when you’re terrified Biography. Elisa is an educator in Harlem, currently serving as Principal at Democracy Prep Charter High School. Before that she was an Assistant Principal, a History teacher, a Special Education teacher and the Varsity volleyball and softball coach. Access to a quality education is a civil right and what drives Elisa's work. She also whole heartedly believes in the power of young people to change our world (and to be honest, working with kids is way more fun than working with adults). Elisa graduated from Hunter College with a Masters in Special Education in 2014 and Fordham University in 2012. Where did your family immigrate from?Italy and Ireland What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Hold On - Wilson Phillips
Shiyulli Suriyakumar Job. Consultant, Taproot Foundation Home. New York, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Speaking up for yourself and others (especially when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular); not letting trauma or obstacles define you; bringing kindness, humility, and tenacity to everything you do. Biography. Shiyulli is a Consultant at Taproot Foundation, a nonprofit that builds the capacity of other social change organizations through connecting them to pro bono services. She works primarily with multinational companies to design and scale high-impact pro bono programs that leverage the unique skills and expertise of their employees. Shiyulli also sits on the Junior Board of Hour Children, a New York-based nonprofit providing wraparound services for women re-entering society and reuniting with their families after incarceration. When she’s not at work, you can find her rock climbing with friends in the Shawgunks, tinkering in her kitchen, or buried in a great book. Where did your family immigrate from?Sri Lanka (shout out to my other first gens!) What song is making you happy/pumped up today?On My Way to Crazy – Anthony David
Cristina Trinidad Job. Paralegal at the Safe Passage Project Home. Brooklyn, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Not being afraid to stand up for what you believe in and having hope, regardless of the circumstances or adversities that we may face in life. Biography. Cristina was born and raised in Mexico and her passion for immigration advocacy was inspired by her own journey of crossing the border at the age of nine. She graduated from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Latin American and Latino/a Studies. She was the co-founder of Mexican-American Youth Advising Students (MAYAS), where her role was to promote higher education through leadership development activities, college-related events, and projects that emphasized civic participation and education. Cristina is currently a hair salon owner and a paralegal at the Safe Passage Project. Where did your family immigrate from? Mexico What song is making you happy/pumped up today? Clandestino by Shakira Maluma
Lenni B. Benson Current job. Professor of Law at New York Law School; Founder at Safe Passage Project Current home. Mount Vernon, NY Biography. Lenni has been working in immigration law in all of its forms since 1984. She was once a partner in a large international law firm representing big business by day and doing pro bono nights and weekends representing refugees. She has been a full time professor of law since 1994. She has co-authored several books and written more than twenty articles. She is very proud to have launched the Safe Passage Project first as a small pro bono project and now a successful nonprofit organization. She is originally from Arizona and grew up on a citrus farm. What does “Brave” mean to you? listening to your inner voice and having the strength to stand up to injustice. Where did your family immigrate from? Grandmother Belarus, Grandfather Austria, Grandmother and Grandfather Russia, then Canada What song is making you happy/pumped up today? The audio book These Truths by Professor Jill Lepore
Beatriz Rosales Igoe Job. Advocate /Actress/ Florist Home. Greenwich, CT What does brave mean to you? It means acting with boldness in adversity. It means tapping into your inner strength and wisdom, and trusting that all you need is already in you. It means standing up for what you believe in, even when it is an unpopular choice. Biography. Beatriz is a former attorney turned florist, actress and volunteer firefighter. She was born and raised in El Salvador where she attended The American School of San Salvador and then went on to Law School at the Dr. Jose Matias Delgado University. She has volunteered with organizations such a Glasswing International in her native El Salvador, Orphanaid Africa in Ghana, Kids in Crisis in Connecticut, New Sanctuary Coalition, and Safe Passage Project in New York City. A self proclaimed skillionaire she splits her time between her creative endeavors, humanitarian work and raising Finn. Where did your family immigrate from?El Salvador What song is making you happy/pumped up today?What a Bam Bam by Amara La Negra
Elizabeth Rivera Job. Paralegal at the Safe Passage Project Home. Queens, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? “Brave” means becoming the impossible change while standing boldly against all odds. Biography. Elizabeth Rivera is a Paralegal at the Safe Passage Project, where she works with attorneys in immigration and family court litigation. Elizabeth works with children in New York and assists in their cases to pursue immigration status in the United States. Elizabeth is the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents and is married to a former DREAMer. She is aware of the injustices that vulnerable and underrepresented communities face in this country due to their immigration status and as a result is a fierce advocate for immigrant rights and social justice. Elizabeth graduated from the City University of New York – John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a major in Law and Society in 2015. Where did your family immigrate from? Guerrero, Mexico What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Taki Taki ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B
Stephanie Ramirez Job. Senior Associate, The Raben Group Current home. Brooklyn, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? “Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. Having courage and showing courage mean we face our fears. We are able to say, ‘I have fallen, but I will get up." Maya Angelou Biography. Stephanie is a Senior Associate for The Raben Group’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practice, bringing years of experience in project management, research, and innovative strategies and a passion for social change. Prior to joining Raben, Stephanie worked at the City of New York’s Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice where her efforts centered around bail reform and reentry initiatives, including a city-wide program aimed at providing an alternative to traditional money bail that decreased pre-trial detention citywide. Earlier in her career, Stephanie worked at a number of nonprofit organizations throughout the New York City area. Stephanie is a first-generation college graduate daughter of immigrants which has shaped her passion for advancing social justice. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys traveling, being outdoors, and spending quality time with her dog. Where did your family immigrate from? Mexico What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Soy Yo, Bomba Estereo
Bezawit Mehiretu Job. Research Finance, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Home: Boston, MA. Biography. Beza works in Research Finance at The Broad in Cambridge, MA where she is responsible for post award fund analysis & monitoring. Beza has worked in non-profit management and grants management for the past 7 years. She first got into community advocacy through her passion for food justice, which led her to a 2 year fellowship working on an urban farm in Washington D.C. Since that experience, she has committed herself to being a lifelong activist, with a particular interest in racial and queer justice. In her free time Beza explores the ways art can serve as a tool to uplift the narratives of marginalized communities through her use of photography. Born in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, Beza immigrated to Alexandria, Virginia with her Mother at the age of 4. What does “Brave” mean to you? Brave means resilience even when there are systems of oppression stacked against you. Where did your family immigrate from? Addis Abeba, Ethiopia What song is making you happy/pumped up today? Dreams and Nightmare by Meek Mill
Lindsey Salas Job. PR Consultant and Co-Founder at MoxxieMade Home. New York, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Brave is looking at the obstacles in front of you, feeling the fear and uncertainty that comes with it, and despite it all moving forward. Biography. Lindsey is a PR consultant and co-founder at MoxxieMade - an NYC event series with the aim to bring together a community of women that support one another and provide accessibility to mentorship. Lindsey is originally from California and graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a B.S. in Communication/Public Relations. She has a passion for traveling (22 countries and counting!) and international communities. In college, she worked with the international department to help international students assimilate to the states, and she currently volunteers regularly at The New Sanctuary Coalition in NYC. Where did your family immigrate from? Mexico City, Mexico What song is making you happy/pumped up today?7 Rings - Remix, Ariana Grande
Hannah Mitchell Job. Clinician, Catholic Guardian Services UAC Program Home. New York, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Staying positive even in difficult times, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and relentlessly advocating for others and standing up for what you believe in. Biography. Hannah is a bilingual licensed social worker working as a clinician with immigrant youth in an Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) funded temporary foster care program in the Bronx. Hannah graduated with her MSW in May 2017 from Columbia University School of Social Work where she concentrated in advanced generalist practice and programming, focusing on international social welfare and providing services to immigrant and refugees. Hannah has previously worked with immigrant youth in immigration proceedings in New York and has worked with children of migrant farm workers in Virginia. After graduating from Columbia, Hannah worked as a therapist for a year in Brooklyn working with immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Prior to moving to New York, Hannah graduated from James Madison University (JMU) in her home state of Virginia with a double major in Social Work and Spanish and a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Where did your family immigrate from? Germany, Scotland What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Best Life feat. Chance The Rapper
Salina Guzman Job. Immigrant Youth Advocate, The Door Home. Queens, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Confronting fear, and sacrificing things for what you believe in. Biography. Salina Guzman was born and raised in Queens, New York. She graduated from Hunter College with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology in 2014. During her undergraduate career, Salina volunteered at Inwood House, a transitional residence for homeless, pregnant teenagers. While providing services to the young girls, Salina immediately returned to Hunter College to pursue a Master's Degree at Silberman School of Social Work. She was introduced to, and found her passion for, the field of immigration during her internship at Safe Passage Project. After graduating in May of 2017, Salina joined The Door’s Legal Services Center as a Case Manager/Immigrant Youth Advocate. Since starting at The Door, Salina has served almost 200 recently arrived immigrant youth in deportation proceedings. She works with this population to meet their social service needs such as enrolling in an education program, health insurance advocacy, connecting them to mental health services, and establishing stable housing. Where did your family immigrate from?Italy, Mexico What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Love Myself, Hailee Steinfeld
Hannah McGowan, Ed.M. Job. Certificate of Advanced Studies Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education & School Counseling Intern, Brookline Public Schools Home. Cambridge, MA What does “Brave” mean to you? Extending grace to ourselves and acting always with love. Bio: Hannah strives to dismantle inequitable systems and foster environments where young people are empowered to reach their fullest potential. She will be a licensed school counselor in May of 2019 after obtaining her Masters of Education and Certificate of Advanced Studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Outside of her counseling work in schools, Hannah partners with community mental health centers and consults with entrepreneurs who are innovating ways to effectively support youth. Her previous career was as a professional trainer and coach at a healthcare and education consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Boston College in 2011 with a focus on International Business and Latinx Studies. Where did your family immigrate from? Poland, Norway, Ireland What song is making you happy/pumped up today?You Gotta Be, Des’ree
Emma Scott Job. Staff Attorney, Labor & Civil Rights Litigation, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation Home. Sacramento, CA What does “Brave” mean to you? Staying true to your principles in spite of overwhelming discomfort; acting with hope in the face of oppression. Biography. Emma is an attorney/fellow at California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, where she litigates on behalf of low-wage workers in immigrant, rural communities. Her work is funded by Justice Catalyst, an organization that seeks to combat systemic injustices through innovative and collaborative legal approaches. Emma attended Harvard Law School, where she served as a clinical student attorney and participated in far too many journals (3) and student orgs (still counting...). Her most formative law school experience involved volunteering with the group No More Deaths in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona to provide humanitarian aid to migrants braving the treacherous terrain and climate. En su tiempo libre, Emma sigue mejorando su español para servir a sus clientes. Where did your family immigrate from?My dad immigrated from England, my mom's side hails from Ireland and Sweden. What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Free, Stereo RV
Megan Eiss-Proctor Job. Founder and Change Agent at Heddy Consulting Home. East Village, NYC What does “Brave” mean to you? Fighting for justice even when it is uncomfortable, speaking up for what is right again and again. Biography. Megan started her professional life as a 5th grade teacher in the South Bronx with Teach for America. When she left the classroom she continued to work in social justice and became a lawyer in 2006. Megan worked in the family and criminal courts of New York City for several years. She opened her own practice, advising small organizations, becoming a co-founder of one, Safe Passage Project and was integral in growing the organization. In 2017 Megan left Safe Passage to build Heddy – a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals be more successful by being more inclusive. When she’s not scheming about how to grow inclusive workplaces, Megan loves to travel, read memoirs and see experimental theater. Where did your family immigrate from? Germany, Scotland What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Armor, Sara Bareilles
Allie Mandeville Job. Law Student/Student Advocate, Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law Home. Brooklyn, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Being yourself, doing the work. Biography. Allie is dedicated to advancing access to justice at the intersection of forced migration, human rights, and gender-based violence. Currently, she serves as a Student Advocate in the Immigrant Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law, representing individuals detained by ICE in deportation proceedings and requests for release from detention. In 2018, she served as an International Law and Human Rights Fellow at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Amman, Jordan. Allie graduated from Yale University in 2015 with a degree in Modern Middle East Studies and completed her spring 2014 semester at Al-Quds University in the West Bank. After college, Allie served as an Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) Community Fellow and Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative, providing pro bono legal representation to clients at the Arab American Association of New York, the IJC Adults with Children Project, and in family detention centers in southern Texas, where she worked specifically to secure the release of women and children asylum seekers detained upon apprehension at the border. Through her work with IJC and the Safe Passage Project, she has also assisted with the representation of asylum seekers and survivors of gender-based violence in removal proceedings in New York City Immigration Court. Where did your family immigrate from? England, France, and others?! What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Who Are You, by DAM and Maisa Daw
Deirdre Foley Job. Civil litigation attorney, Cetrulo LLP Home. Winthrop, MA What does “Brave” mean to you? Living with compassion and grace at times when it’s extra hard to do so. Biography. Deirdre is a civil litigation attorney at Cetrulo, LLP in Boston, Massachusetts, where her practice ranges from transactional drafting and negotiation to the defense of varied corporations facing suit. Prior to her employment at Cetrulo, Deirdre was a prosecuting attorney in Lynn, Massachusetts where she advocated for victims’ rights and focused on children and family crimes. Deirdre is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Lynn Youth Street Outreach and Advocacy (“LYSOA”), a non-profit that provides services to at-risk youth in the greater Lynn area and aims to prevent gang violence. Deirdre graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 2014; she graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2011 with a double major in Philosophy and African-American Studies. Deirdre previously lived in Kingston, Jamaica while working with children’s rights and in Washington, D.C. where she worked for a think tank which advocated for human rights issues in Liberia. She remains a lifelong fan of hip-hop, playing with her puppy Seamus, and eating Santarpio’s pizza. Where did your family immigrate from?Ireland What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Rigamortis, Kendrick Lamar
Adalyn Belle-Wilson Job. Academic Instructor working with previously incarcerated and/or underprivileged young adults. Creating and curating the therapy rooms. Home. Rensselaer, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Forging your hurt and fears into not only joy, but tools to face those who are hurting and lashing out with love and patience. Biography. Adalyn started her journey with a passion for people and making them feel cared for. The first route was through their stomachs, becoming a pastry chef and working along the California Coast. Adalyn then went to school for psychology at San Diego State University becoming a therapist working with autism and mood disorders. Within this behavioral therapy she incorporated art into learning. Cooking and dancing were quickly utilized as fun ways to learn daily skills. She now works in New York with a wide population of students to assist them in earning their GEDs. Adalyn also writes behavior plans for more challenged students and designed and created a therapy room for the students to learn positive coping skills. Adalyn is currently in the Mental Health Counseling Program at SUNY and is getting her license to be a therapist. She is also obtaining a Life Coach Certification in Art Therapy. Where did your family immigrate from? Holland What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Fever Pitch by Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Miriam Troostwijk Job. VP of Strategy & Operations, African Clean Energy Home. New York, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Choosing to do something out of your comfort zone knowing it may hurt, be difficult, or just plain embarrassing but ultimately understanding you’ll be stronger and better for it. Biography. Miriam is VP of Strategy & Operations at African Clean Energy (ACE), a company manufacturing clean energy products, such as solar powered cooking stoves, for communities in the developing world who do not have adequate access to energy. At ACE, Miriam runs the end to end supply chain operations and optimizes processes across Sales, Manufacturing, and Customer Service. Miriam grew up in The Netherlands and has lived in Taiwan, China, and currently, New York. She graduated from Northwestern University and has a background in management consulting and enterprise technology. Where did you and/or your family immigrate from? The Netherlands & Malaysia What song is making you happy/pumped up today?Ruben Young, Rachel Green ft. Hodgy
Jill Hilbrenner Job. Director of Content Strategy, New York Media Home. New York, NY What does “Brave” mean to you? Working through obstacles and being kind to yourself along the way. Biography. Jill is the director of content strategy at New York magazine, where she manages strategic content partnerships with fashion, beauty, and entertainment brands. Prior to joining New York, Jill worked in copy roles at brands like the Guardian and Chanel. On the side, Jill created a women's fundraising group that raised roughly $10,000 in small donations for progressive organizations, including Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC), Color of Change, Run for Something, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Jill is also on PPNYC's Young Visionaries Committee, which develops creative partnerships to help spread access to and awareness for reproductive healthcare. Where did you and/or your family immigrate from? Germany, the Netherlands What song is making you happy/pumped up today?9 to 5, Dolly Parton
Amélie-Sophie Vavrovsky Job. CEO, Formally Home. Providence, RI What does “Brave” mean to you? Persevering through times of chaos and finding joy, kindness, and hope in each other. Biography. Amélie is an entrepreneuse working on a startup called Formally that simplifies immigration applications and aims to break down bureaucratic barriers to make our world more accessible. Passionate about cross-cultural communication, she speaks eight languages and has lived and worked in over 10 different countries. Amélie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University with a degree in International Relations and has gathered over 6 years of experience working and volunteering with refugees and asylum seekers all over the world. Amélie has worked in research and policy-making in both the public and private sector and is excited to use law, policy, and technology to improve the quality of life of both displaced people and those working to welcome them. Where did your family immigrate from?Vienna, Austria What song is making you happy/pumped up today?“Me Voy”, Ibeyi or “Lieblingsmensch”, Namika