(617) 350-5480 ext. 211
Eva A. Millona is Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the state’s largest organization representing the foreign born, and co-chair of the National Partnership for New Americans, the lead national organization focusing on immigrant integration. She joined MIRA in 1999 and served as Director of Policy and Advocacy and as Deputy Director before becoming Executive Director in 2008, and she is now one of New England’s most highly quoted immigration experts. Prior to MIRA, Ms. Millona directed the refugee resettlement program in Central Massachusetts. In her native Albania, she practiced civil and criminal law, serving on Tirana’s District Court from 1989 – 1992, when she was the nation’s youngest district judge ever appointed.
Ms. Millona is also the co-chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Refugees and Immigrants and serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 2010, she co-chaired the nation’s largest immigrant integration conference, which MIRA hosted in Boston. She is the recipient of over a dozen major awards, including the prestigious 2009 USCIS Outstanding American by Choice Award, the 2010 Wainwright Bank Social Justice Award, and the 2011 and 2012 Powermeter Award, presented to the most influential people for Latinos in Massachusetts.
, New Americans Integration Institute
(617) 350-5480 ext. 228
Leah comes to MIRA with years of academic research and coalition-building around integration opportunities for new Americans. Recent projects include exploring how first-generation immigrant entrepreneurs start and run their businesses; analyses of how border enforcement policies affect immigration and integration outcomes, and best practices in providing citizenship application services to eligible green card holders. Born and raised outside of Boston, Leah has also lived and worked in Washington, D.C., Spain, Russia, Mexico and California. She has a B.A. in International Service from American University in Washington, D.C., and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California – San Diego. Her daughter is one of the nearly 25% of Massachusetts children with at least one foreign-born parent.
Director, New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees
A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Eva Castillo has a long history of working with and advocating for immigrants. She came to the States in 1975 to study at Western Michigan University, and she began her career at the nearby Hispanic American Council. In 1984, Eva moved to New Hampshire, where she worked first at the NE Farm Workers Council, and later at the Latin American Center in Manchester. She joined MIRA in 2007 as the organizer for our project "NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees," of which she is now Director. Eva also directs the Welcoming New Hampshire initiative. Eva was honored with the 2017 Martin Luther King Award from the Martin Luther King Coalition and in 2016 received an Americanism Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, given to naturalized Americans who have shown outstanding civic engagement.
Director of Communications
(617) 350-5480, ext. 204
Habla español, parle français
Marion joined MIRA in March 2017 after a career in journalism and science and policy communications. Born and raised in Costa Rica, with an American father and a Costa Rican mother, she came to the U.S. for college in 1990 and chose to make her life here. She worked as a journalist for 15+ years in New York, Providence, R.I., and Boston before joining the Stockholm Environment Institute in 2010, where she worked on global climate and sustainable development issues for 7 years. She has a B.A. from Georgetown University and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Director of Legislative Affairs
(617) 350-5480 ext. 222
Habla español, parle français
Amy brings broad experience in law, human rights advocacy, and communications to her role as Director of Legislative Affairs. She did communications and program work at two Boston-based human rights organizations, Cultural Survival and Physicians for Human Rights, before earning a JD and Masters in International Affairs from American University. Amy then joined the Boston law firm of Palmer & Dodge LLP as a public finance attorney. She subsequently began an appellate immigration asylum practice, and was appointed to the governing council of the Massachusetts Bar Association Immigration Law Section in 2010. More recently, Amy taught in the legal studies department of Bunker Hill Community College, one of the most diverse colleges in Massachusetts.
(617) 350-5480 ext. 201
Jenna is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Massachusetts who began her career working with a variety of nonprofits at a public accounting firm. Inspired by her clients' work, she decided to leave public accounting and worked at a variety of Boston-area nonprofits, including Maimonides School and Clinton Health Access Initiative. Her most recent position prior to joining MIRA was Controller of Excel Academy Charter Schools, which serves a diverse, low-income population in East Boston and Chelsea, and is also one of the highest performing public schools in the state. A Boston native, Jenna holds a Bachelor's of Science of Business Administration in accounting from The Ohio State University.
justice AmeriCorps Massachusetts Program Director
(617) 350-5480 ext. 217
Toni joined MIRA as Program Director for justice AmeriCorps Massachusetts in July 2015. Prior to joining MIRA, Toni provided pro bono legal services for immigrant families in Maryland with the Law Office of Michelle J. Moodispaw, LLC. Toni also volunteered as a pro bono attorney with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) in Washington, DC where she represented unaccompanied immigrant children in removal proceedings. Prior to law school, Toni served in AmeriCorps*VISTA in San Diego, California. There, she worked with low-income communities to help develop literacy programs. Toni attended New England School of Law where she graduated cum laude and served as the Symposium Editor of the New England Law Review. Toni holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in both International Relations and Spanish from Colgate University.
Program Coordinator, New American Integration Program
(617) 350-5480, ext. 216
Suzanne first joined MIRA in 2014 as a member of the New American Integration Program (NAIP), an AmeriCorps program for which she is now Program Manager. Upon completion of her first year of service providing citizenship services with MIRA's citizenship program, she served an additional year in AmeriCorps as a Massachusetts Promise Fellow at Asian Community Development Corporation to develop "See-Town Walking Tours," a youth-run walking tour business in Chinatown. Suzanne also worked as interim coordinator of MIRA's citizenship program before transitioning to her current role in NAIP. A Massachusetts native, Suzanne holds a B.S. in Public Health from UMass Amherst.
Program Director, New American Integration Program
(617) 350-5480, ext. 227
Speaks Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, and Swahili
As someone displaced by the 1994 genocide in her native Rwanda, Christine has a passion for helping immigrants and refugees settle in the U.S. After graduating from Divinity School in Kenya in 1999, she came to the U.S. in 2000, earned a Master's of Social Work from Boston University in 2012, and joined MIRA in July 2014 with over ten years experience working in refugee and immigrant resettlement. Christine is a board member of the Chelsea Collaborative and Umunara, Inc., and received the 2008 “Unsung Heroine Award,” from the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants in recognition of her work helping “uprooted people.”
(617) 350-5480 ext. 218
Sue Parsons joined MIRA in 2015 after an extensive career in the areas of workforce policy, labor and community organizing, and development. She was a Workforce Policy Specialist at the MA AFL-CIO and from 2009-2012 served as Director of the Workforce Solutions Group, which helped pass key legislation and new appropriations in support of career pathway programs for less skilled workers. She has also been Director of Development at City Life/Vida Urbana, and worked as a union organizer for over 20 years. Sue holds a BA in English from Mount Holyoke College.
(617) 350-5480 ext. 205
A native of Texas, Joel joined MIRA in 2016, bringing strong experience in campaign organizing, Get Out the Vote efforts, and constituency services for immigrant and Latino communities. He has been a volunteer coordinator and canvassing manager for mayoral and gubernatorial campaigns in Texas, and served as an immigrant intern in the Office of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, working with constituents on visa and legal status issues. Joel holds a BA in Political Science from Boston College.
(617) 350-5480 ext. 206
Liza joined MIRA with more than 10 years' experience working with refugees, immigrants, and foreign/public policy from sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East and Europe. Before moving to Boston in 2015, she worked with the East-West Center, a diplomatic think tank in Honolulu, Hawai’i, where she organized and coordinated fellowships for high-level media, political leaders, and educators on global affairs and media development, including U.S. relations with the Muslim-majority world. Liza holds a master’s degree in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies from Hawaiʻi Pacific University and an undergraduate degree in intercultural studies and language from the University of the Nations, Amsterdam. A native of Vancouver, Canada, she has lived in more than 15 countries.
Federal Policy Director
(617) 350-5480 ext. 212
Prior to joining MIRA in April 2008, Sarang was an immigrant rights advocate in New York City. There he designed a legal training program for the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans, and he served as the Interim-Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's New York Office. Sarang received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2005, his master's in International Relations from Boston University in 2004, and his bachelor's from Tufts in 1998.
AmeriCorps Member, New American Integration Program
(617) 350-5480 ext. 210
Kim joins MIRA's Citizenship team as an Americorps Member for the 2016-2017 program year. Kim recently finished a service year as a policy research assistant with the Chicago Jobs Council, working on workforce development and transit issues affecting Chicagoland residents. Prior to that in 2015, Kim earned a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell College. Especially back home in immigrant communities near Los Angeles where many individuals might not fully know their rights, Kim has always seen immigration as an important, albeit sometimes frightening topic. Kim hopes to become a lawyer for social change, making herself at home in the space where uncertainty and fear are strongest in her communities. Through national service and in her future endeavours, Kim draws inspiration from taking steps to reconcile the gap between "justice" and our justice/legal/immigration systems.
AmeriCorps Member, New American Integration Program
(617) 350-5480, ext. 220
Emily is an AmeriCorps half-year member for the 2016–2017 service year. She is a native of Massachusetts' North Shore and has a B.A. in Anthropology/African Studies and Global Studies (cum laude) from Saint Lawrence University, in Canton, N.Y. Her thesis focused on how global politics, economy and culture intersect to create conditions that produce forced migration. Also at Saint Lawrence, she was a Community Assistant, Orientation Leader, Admissions Ambassador, and active member of the ADVOCATES, a campus-wide program to address sexual violence. As a student on the Kenya Semester Program, she interned at FIDA Kenya, a nonprofit working to improve the legal standing of women, and developed a passion for the interactions between global and local governance. She plans to attend law school, but first wants to live abroad, study French and dedicate herself to challenging her culturally constructed way of seeing the world. She is inspired every day by the hard work and passion of the MIRA staff and is excited to be able to apply theoretical research to something tangible.
AmeriCorps Member, New American Integration Program
(617) 350-5480 ext. 226
Giselle was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Giselle graduated magna cum laude from Regis College, where she completed a double major in Political Science and Criminal Justice. At Regis, Giselle was President of the Politics and Global Events club, a member of the Honors Program, and was also a Campus Ambassador. Immigration has always been near and dear to Giselle’s heart – her father came to the United States from Cuba. Her parents are her inspiration; both have tremendously served the immigrant communities of the city of Boston. Giselle is both an AmeriCorps member at MIRA and a law student at Suffolk University Law School. She began at Suffolk in September of 2016, and was recently initiated in the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and is also a liaison in the Women’s Law Association. Giselle will graduate law school in 2019, and hopes to continue to serve the immigrants communities of Massachusetts as an immigration lawyer.