SAHRA ABDI

BIO

As a Somali woman and former refugee, Sahra been passionately engaged in addressing the physical and mental health and social well-being of East African women and their families for over 14 years, through education, advocacy and services. Sahra co-founded United Women of East Africa Support Team (UWEAST), a nonprofit dedicated to improving San Diego’s East African women and families’ well-being.

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Sahra has worked in many different capacities, always with the same intent, to help improve the quality of life for East African Refugee. In addition, she has been instrumental in the development of the Hooyo Health Program (Hooyo means Mother in Somali), a program designed for Somali and East African mothers and their families, as well as the Girl Scouts San Diego. Girl Scouts has helped to equip the young girls to enjoy good success as youth, which will transfer into their adulthood. The California Wellness Foundation, recognized Sahra as the 2006 California Peace Prize Honoree. Sahra was also recognized as a 2012 Cool Woman.

LORI SHELLENBERGER

BIO

Lori Shellenberger is an election reform and voting rights strategist who consults on state and national campaigns to build a more inclusive and representative democracy.

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Shellenberger was director of the ACLU of California's Voting Rights Project from 2011 to 2017, where she spearheaded integrated legal, policy, and organizing strategies to re-enfranchise people stripped of their voting rights because of a criminal conviction; advocate for compliance with state and federal voting rights laws; and advance legislation and implementation to build an infrastructure for voter registration at public assistance agencies, offices serving people with disabilities, Covered California, and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

CORY BRIGGS

BIO

Cory began practicing law in 1995 with Mundell, Odlum & Haws in San Bernardino, California, where he primarily litigated commercial and employment-related disputes. In 1998, he moved to Washington, D.C., and added environmental law and regulatory compliance to his practice while pursuing graduate degrees and teaching at The George Washington University Law School and the University of Maryland. Cory returned to southern California in June 2002, and his practice now balances small/family-owned business law with public-interest and government-accountability litigation.

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Cory’s two favorite pastimes are scuba diving and traveling to remote places around the world (hopefully to scuba dive).

RAMLA SAHID

BIO

Ramla Sahid is the founder and executive director of the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans — PANA. She is responsible for overseeing the organization’s growth and prominence as a multiracial refugee and Muslim organizing and civic engagement hub.

Ramla brings more than a decade of experience organizing in refugee, Muslim, and immigrant communities to successfully advance state policy and local campaign initiatives that advance health and racial equity. She believes in the power of people, is committed to building communities where newcomer families have voice, visibility, and feel a sense of belonging.

Ramla has received numerous awards for her work including the 2017 Global Citizen Award from the United Nations Association of USA, the Muslim Community Champion Award by the Islamic Center of San Diego, recently named the 2017 Voice of the Year by the Voice of San Diego- a prominent online political news group, and is being recognized in this year’s Roosevelt Dinner as the recipient of the Making a Difference Award.

ISMAHAN ABDULLAHI

BIO

In 1992, Ismahan Abdullahi and her family escaped war-torn Somalia to have a life of hope and opportunity in America. This experience has shaped her to advocate for and work on building and strengthening AMEMSA and refugee communities in San Diego. In her work with the Muslim Student Association and the Muslim American Society, Ismahan has worked to train and develop youth and community leaders, foster a strong sense of Muslim identity and build a vibrant and active community. She has developed and implemented programs that serve to empower Muslim youth.

In her current role as the Director of Movement and Campaign Strategies at the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, she focuses on building grassroots community power through organizing, advocacy and coalition work,  designing and implementing a civic engagement infrastructure in Muslim and refugee communities, addressing hate crimes and bigotry and using an integrated voter engagement strategy to build a visible refugee electorate. Ismahan champions the civic, social, and economic inclusion of refugees in San Diego. She continues to be engaged in and work on issues that address racial disparities, social injustices, equity and inclusion for marginalized communities. She is a co-host on Flip the Script: The Future is Female podcast which lifts up women game changers and leaders in San Diego county.

She also currently serves as a Board Member for the Muslim American Society-San Diego chapter and a Board Member for Huda Community Center.  Ismahan received her Bachelor’s in Human Biology from UCSD and a MA in Education with concentration in Counseling from SDSU.  As a motivational speaker and community organizer, Ismahan is passionate about working for justice and building an inclusive society.

REBECCA MIRANDA

Bio

Rebecca Miranda is the Assistant to the Executive Director and also serves as Special Projects Coordinator at Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans. Originally from California’s Central Valley, she is committed to fostering refugee capacity building through policy development at the local and global level, and facilitating the advancement, social capital and inclusion of refugees in the San Diego community.

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Prior to working at PANA, Rebecca was a volunteer with Alliance for African Assistance and the San Diego Refugee Forum. She holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Institut Barcelona D’Estudis Internacionals where she focused her thesis research on social movement theory, and transnational advocacy networks targeting the issue of global immigrant detention. Rebecca earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University Fresno.

 

MUSTAFA DIB

BIO

Mustafa Dib is a community organizer with the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans - PANA. Mustafa is comitted to building a stronger and better connected Syrian Community in San Diego. He organizes community convenings to educate members on their rights, conducts a community intake process to connect families denied services to pro-bono lawyers and helps them prepare for their appeal. Previously, Mustafa was the head mechanic for paper companies in Damascus, Syria.    

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In May 2015, Mustafa and his family resettled in San Diego from Syria.

QUREESH HUSSEIN

BIO

Qureesh Hussein is self-employed and a community leader dedicated to advancing a more equitable world and just world. He is committed to a world where refugee families have safety, security, and can lead dignified lives as full participants in their new home. 

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Hussein arrived in the U.S. in 2010 as an asylum seeker through the San Ysidro Port Of Entry. Since arrival he has dedicated his life to his community in support of community members, youth, and families. 

Hussein is originally from Ethiopia and enjoys playing soccer and politics. 

NATHAN FLETCHER

BIO

Nathan Fletcher is a Marine Corps combat veteran, former California State Assemblyman and Professor of Practice in Political Science at the University of California.  

As an elected member of the California State Assembly Fletcher served as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs in the New Economy and is the author of the landmark public safety legislation “Chelsea’s Law”.  In his time in office, he passed and had signed into law more than 30 bills, addressing issues including tax reform, healthcare, homelessness, veterans, job creation, public safety and more. He was also a leading advocate of the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’

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Fletcher is an Ironman Triathlete and avid outdoorsman who enjoys surfing and alpine mountaineering/glacier climbing.  He lives with his wife, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and their four children in San Diego, California.

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ABDI ALI

BIO

Abdi Ali is self-employed and a community organizer working with elders and community leaders to help build a unified voice in the Somali community.

Abdi arrived in the U.S. in 2010 as an asylum seeker and has volunteered and supported PANA since inception. He has also organized asylum seekers to connect them to community services and self-help networks providing housing, food, and transpiration support. 

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Abdi is ardent supporter of Manchester United and loves talking history and politics.

AHMAD BAILONY

BIO

Dr. Ahmad Bailony is a pediatrician in National City, California and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Paradise Valley Hospital and Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. He received his medical degree from University of Toledo College of Medicine.

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Ahmad was born and raised in San Diego by his Syrian parents. As well as being a pediatrician, he’s a blogger and punk rock enthusiast.

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JOHN LOUGHLIN

BIO

John is a physics graduate from Imperial College, London and has over 30 years of experience managing product development groups in the U.S., UK, Norway, India & South Korea. He’s been a CTO, VP Engineering and Program Manager with telecommunications, consumer electronics and medical devices companies.

He immigrated to San Diego, California in 1993 and founded Ruby White Enterprises in 1996, providing communication & technology services to businesses, non-profits and progressive groups.

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John looks to help build greater union between immigrant tech workers and refugees.

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