Led by the communities it serves, PANA raises refugee voices to increase their visibility and impact in the region. PANA does this by bringing hundreds of impacted residents to meetings with their political representatives to voice their experiences and change policies that affect them and their economic, educational, health, and housing needs. PANA also engages youth leaders from diverse backgrounds in work on issues they identify as critical and trains them to contact and turn out thousands of new and inconsistent voters each election cycle. And, because the communities PANA serves are so deeply impacted by 45’s detrimental policies, it works with national partners to push back on these policies and provide support to communities directly affected by his Muslim Ban, including nationals from Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
As Executive Director of PANA, Ramla Sahid has overseen the organization’s growth and prominence as it has skyrocketed in a few short years to become one of San Diego’s most important civic engagement and advocacy organizations. Ramla has received numerous awards for her work with PANA including the “2017 Women of the Year Award” by Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, “2017 Global Citizen Award” from the United Nations Association of USA, the “Muslim Community Champion Award” by the Islamic Center of San Diego, and was named the “2017 Voice of the Year “by the Voice of San Diego. She regularly speaks at conferences on the power of building and leveraging community voices to achieve equitable outcomes for families.
Geneviéve L. Jones-Wright was raised by her single mother in a low-income home in San Diego, California where devotion to family and self-respect was cultivated. In the fourth grade Geneviéve decided to follow in the steps of Justice Thurgood Marshall and become a “social engineer.” Since that day, she has been determined to “carry the bags” of Justice Marshall as he had done for Mr. Charles Hamilton Houston.
In keeping with the vision, Geneviéve obtained a J.D. from Howard Law after graduating from the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in mass media communications. She obtained an LL.M. in Trial Advocacy in a one-of-a-kind program specializing in federal criminal defense from California Western School of Law. She has practiced in federal court in both the Southern and Central Districts of California, and proudly served San Diego County as a public defender for 13 years where she represented poor people charged with serious crimes.
Geneviéve is the inaugural Legal Director for The Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) where she develops cutting-edge human rights and national security policy for immigrant and refugee communities in San Diego County. She is a member of the organization’s “Rapid Response” team, providing a legal infrastructure to respond to the growing, urgent threats to Muslim, asylee, and refugee community members. Geneviéve uses her expertise, leadership, fierce drive, and litigation skills to secure human rights, justice, and freedom for our immigrant and refugee communities to ensure everyone has equal protection and justice under the law.
Beyond the courtroom and policymaking, Geneviéve serves on the City of San Diego’s Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention where she chairs the Gang Documentation committee. She is a volunteer attorney for the California Innocence Project and a member of the State Bar of California’s Council on Access and Fairness. In addition to being a proud member of Lawyers Club, Geneviéve is President of the Howard University Alumni Club of San Diego, Vice President of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, 2nd Vice President of the San Diego branch of the NAACP, and a board member for Historically Black Colleges and Universities Alumni Club San Diego.
In 2003, Geneviéve co-founded and served on the Board of Directors of ELITE (Educated Ladies Investing in Tomorrow’s Exemplars), a local program that prepared young girls for college. Currently, Geneviéve serves on the Board of Directors for the David’s Harp Foundation, a local nonprofit that transforms the lives of “at-risk” and homeless youth through the power of music. Recently, Geneviéve re-launched her professional motivational speaking firm, Motivation.In.Action (MIA). Through MIA, Geneviéve empowers individuals—especially women and youth—to “write their own stories” and to live on purpose.
Her life goal is to use the law as a tool for our most vulnerable groups. Geneviéve has an abiding love for God and sincerely desires to manifest Divine Love through service by way of her life.
As Deputy Director of PANA, Homayra Yusufi works closely with the Executive Director to advance the mission and goals of the organization. She leads the team of organizers and advocates with a community-driven approach to advance policies that directly impact refugee communities. Ms. Yusufi joins PANA with over a decade of experience protecting the civil rights of immigrants, refugee and Muslim communities.
Prior to joining PANA, Ms. Yusufi worked as a Senior Policy Strategy Consultant working on a range of policy campaigns. She also served as the Senior Policy Advocate with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), where she developed the organization’s immigration policy platform and led the immigrant rights integrated advocacy team. During her tenure at ACLU, Ms. Yusufi worked collaboratively to pass multiple pieces of state legislation that provided protections for immigrant communities. She also worked on advancing the civil rights of the Muslim community through her work at the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Diego).
Ms. Yusufi graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors in Political Science and received her Masters in Public Policy from UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy. During her time at UC Berkeley, Yusufi was a consultant with the Emery Unified School District working on the intersection of housing policies and student academic outcomes.
Ms. Yusufi was born in Afghanistan and became a refugee at the age of two. Her family immigrated to the United States where they established new lives in San Diego. As a proud mother of two daughters, Ms. Yusufi works tirelessly to build a better world for their future.
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.
A Bit More
In May 2015, Mustafa and his family resettled in San Diego from Syria.
Dhaha Nur is the System Analyst of the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans - PANA. He oversees efforts in developing systems designed to support and advance PANA’s campaigns and organizational priorities. He is responsible for the design, implementation, and maintenance of software and hardware systems used in non-partisan voter engagement and census efforts. As well as the analysis of data, and deployment of tools that improve organizational processes and operations.
Dhaha holds firm to the idea that it his unequivocal duty to stand for the rights of those around him. He is a refugee that believes the catalyst for change starts from within communities, and aspires to be an agent of change. He believes that change will only come when change happens within. His experience with IT operations is diverse and broad. It includes providing technical trainings, developing web applications, implementing information assurance, and providing reliable and robust solutions meant to improve organizational efficiency.
Dhaha is a Data Analytics graduate student at San Diego State University.