1. Background

New Organizers Push for Immigration Reform

By Larissa Gil Sanhueza, July 29, 2020


FCNL is proud to introduce the 2020-2021 Advocacy Corps. These 20 young people will advocate for immigration reform from August 2020 to May 2021. The organizers will engage their local communities, build relationships with members of Congress, and advance FCNL’s work towards peace and justice.

2020-21 Advocacy Corps

Their advocacy is needed as thousands of people across the country struggle to gain asylum and citizenship. With the November elections, this is a critical year to push for compassionate immigration reform. By organizing in 18 different states across the country, the new Advocacy Corps are primed to make a difference.

The new organizers come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Oscar Hernandez Ortiz, for instance, is joining the FCNL community after two years of teaching fifth grade in Arizona. Tanmai Vemulapalli of Apex, NC, is returning from a year in Myanmar. Karen Gamez, in addition to working for an educational advocacy nonprofit, serves on the Seattle Immigrant and Refugee Commission.

Their advocacy is needed as thousands of people across the country struggle to gain asylum and citizenship.

The other new organizers include Ariana Riccardi of Wilmington, OH; Chloe Brown of Richmond, VA; Dayana Maldonado of Española, NM; Elliotte Enochs of Edgewater, CO; Evan Saito of Richmond, IN; Faith Williams of Provo, UT; Fatema Jaffer of Longwood, FL; Gloria Rodriguez of Orange, NJ; Grey Robinson of Birmingham, AL, Haydyn Foulke of Greensboro, NC; Istra Fuhrmann of San Antonio, TX; James Rider of Worcester, MA; Jamie Kelley of West Haven, CT; Judith Marklin of Sewanee, TN; Nedy Velazquez of Escondidio, CA; Patrick Kelly of Notre Dame, IN; and Tanzania Thomas of Brooklyn, NY.

These young advocates will kick off their work virtually in August, when they will spend a week learning the ins and outs of FCNL’s approach to advocacy. Then they will begin working in their own communities. While the pandemic has made travel to Washington, D.C., difficult, the Advocacy Corps will attend parts of the 2020 Annual Meeting virtually. They will also play a crucial role organizing the 2021 Spring Lobby Weekend—an event that brings 500 young adults together annually to lobby Congress on one key issue.

The new Advocacy Corps follows in the footsteps of the 2019-2020 class, whose members spent ten months organizing around the issue of gun violence reform. Last year’s organizers went on 143 lobby visits, brought 245 new advocates to congressional offices, and were published 36 times in the media. They also were instrumental in helping FCNL pull off its first virtual Spring Lobby Weekend, which focused on the critical issue of climate change.

Read new organizers’ bios at fcnl.org/advocacycorps.

Washington Newsletter Washington Newsletter: Changing a Racist System Requires Persistence 

The world changed following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black women and men. Millions of people were motivated to publicly protest these brutal murders and to proclaim that Black lives matter. Their deaths were the tipping point that roused the public’s conscience to confront racism publicly.

Larissa Gil Sanhueza

  • Young Adult Advocacy Coordinator

As the Young Adult Advocacy Coordinator, Larissa Gil Sanhueza focuses on developing and training young adult advocates around the country. Specifically, she manages the Advocacy Corps program, a group of 20 young adult organizers who mobilize their communities around one legislative issue every year. Larissa also oversees recruitment for Spring Lobby Weekend, a four day lobbying and educational event that brings together 500 young people from around the country.