Panelists and Workshop Facilitators

Spring Lobby Weekend 2018


Learn more about our panelists and workshop facilitators at Spring Lobby Weekend 2018.

Sunday, 1:30pm

Panel: Voices from the Border (Ballroom)

Jessica Cobian

  • Immigration Campaign Coordinator, Sojornours

Jessica Cobian was raised in the border town of Tijuana, Mexico, until the age of 12. Her exposure to immigrant issues and economic inequality inspired her to advocate for underserved communities. In her role at Sojourners, Jessica is advocating for the reunification of families and a more comprehensive immigration reform by lifting the stories of immigrants and refugees through legislative meetings and community actions.

Alaide Vilchis Ibarra

  • Program Director for Migration Policy, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Alaide Vilchis Ibarra is the Program Director for Migration Policy at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), where she coordinates with international and national experts in affected communities to advocate for fair and compassionate policies. Alaide is a DREAMer who became a United States citizen in 2014. She found her voice as an immigration advocate testifying in the Kansas legislature to protect access to education for immigrants and continued to work as a state-level advocate before moving to advocacy at the federal level.

Rebecca Eastwood

  • Advocacy Coordinator, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

Rebecca Eastwood comes to the Columbans from a background in political science and immigration and refugee policy. As a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, she previously worked for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services’ Advocacy Office.

Panel: United We Dream (Holeman Lounge)

Ambar Pinto

  • Deportation Defense Manager, United We Dream

Ambar Pinto, 23, undocumented with DACA. Migrated from Bolivia and currently a resident of Virginia. Changes in property laws in Bolivia put her family into deep economic distress. As a result, Ambar and her family moved to her mother’s country, Mexico. Unfortunately, the economic prospects in that country were not positive either. Her dad had to leave for the United States and after nearly two years of being apart, the family reunited in the state of Virginia. Ambar remembers how hard it was in the beginning; her family had to share a room since they could not afford a place for themselves. She also recounts how she could barely see her dad since he had to leave for work early in the morning and arrive late at night.

Juan Manuel Guzman

  • Community and Government Affairs Manager, United We Dream

Born and raised in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Juan Manuel Guzman crossed the borders of Guatemala, Mexico and the United States with his five-year-old nephew in 2005.

Interactive Workshop: Working with the media (White)

Maiya Zwerling

  • National Organizing Manager

As the National Organizing Manager, Maiya Zwerling works to strengthen and deepen FCNL's grassroots. She founded and coordinates the FCNL Advocacy Teams, a network of hundreds of Quakers and friends lobbying to build congressional champions for peace and justice. Maiya oversees the 2018 grassroots campaign to prevent a war with North Korea.

Connor Wall

  • Covington, Kentucky Advocacy Corps Organizer

Connor Wall is a recent graduate from Northern Kentucky University. After obtaining his degree in Public Relations, he took a job at a PR firm in Northern Kentucky.

Interactive Workshop: Artivism (First Amendment Lounge)

Joey Hartmann-Dow

  • Friend in Washington

Joey Hartmann-Dow is an artist and activist currently serving as FCNL’s Friend in Washington for Spring 2018. Her project during her residency is creating a series of comic books about citizen lobbying, aiming to empower anyone, no matter what your background, to engage with your representatives to affect change through policy.

Sunday, 3pm

Panel: Other Ways to Advocate (Ballroom)

Paola Flores-Marquez

  • Communications Outreach Manager, CLINIC

As Communications Outreach Manager for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Flores-Marquez focuses on creating informational resources for immigrants and their allies. Much of her work centers around fostering relationships between faith communities and qualified legal service providers in order to expand the reach of services for migrant communities. She also functions as a liaison between CLINIC and other Catholic organizations, seeking new ways to support one another’s efforts.

Danny Cendejas

  • Organizing Director, Detention Watch Network

Danny works with Detention Watch Network members and staff to develop strategies and campaigns to end immigration detention. Danny appreciates DWN’s dedication to being member-led, commitment to amplifying the voices of those directly impacted, and approach in addressing the root causes of detention. Outside of work, Danny enjoys spending time with his wife and two dogs and having deep political conversations with friends. Oh, and he plays a little FIFA when time permits, too.

Peniel Ibe

  • Policy Fellow, American Friends Service Committee

Peniel is the policy fellow at the American Friends Service Committee. She is interested in international development, humanitarian crisis management, and public policy. She is an immigrant from Nigeria who recently relocated to the United States and is advocating for the rights of others like her.

Advocacy Corps Information Session: Challenging the Militarization of Police (Holeman)

Katie Breslin

  • Young Adult Program Manager

As FCNL’s Young Adult Program Manager, Katie organizes, trains, and supports the efforts of young activists and leaders to affect big, long-term change within Congress. She offers hands-on leadership experience for young people across the country who work on their college campus or in their home community to mobilize people to engage with Congress.

Katie will be joined by members of the 2017-2018 Advocacy Corps.

Work with FCNL Advocacy Corps 

Apply by April 19, 2019

As an Advocacy Corps organizer, you'll connect local activists and leaders with your members of Congress to affect big, long-term change. You'll also learn critical organizing skills and put them into practice with hands-on leadership experience.

Interactive Workshop: Artivism (First Amendment Lounge)

Joey Hartmann-Dow

  • Friend in Washington

Joey Hartmann-Dow is an artist and activist currently serving as FCNL’s Friend in Washington for Spring 2018. Her project during her residency is creating a series of comic books about citizen lobbying, aiming to empower anyone, no matter what your background, to engage with your representatives to affect change through policy.

Monday, 3pm

Panel: Crimmigration: Criminalization of communities of color (Monday, 3pm - Ballroom)

Julie Mao

  • Staff Attorney, National Immigration Project

"Julie" Yihong Mao is a staff attorney at the National Immigration Project. Previously, she was a staff attorney at the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, where she provided legal and strategic support to its membership of immigrant workers in the Deep South and guestworkers across the country.

Heidi Altman

  • Director of Policy, National Immigrant Justice Center

Heidi Altman is the Director of Policy and the National Immigrant Justice Center. Previously, she served as the legal director for the Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition, where she oversaw the provision of legal services to men, women, and children in immigration custody as well as the provision of training and resources to pro bono attorneys and criminal defense attorneys.

Patrice Lawrence

  • Undocublack Network

Pat is Jamaican, UndocuBlack, and committed to social/racial/immigration justice for black unicorns like her living in the U.S. She is active in The UndocuBlack Network, working on Membership Engagement, Policy and Fundraising. Sista Pat believes that the sum of one's experiences makes them whole regardless of status and she enjoys vibing with folk who feel the same.

Interactive workshop: Centering the immigration ask within a faith context (Holeman Lounge)

Diana Pliego

  • Policy Association, National Immigration Law Center

Diana Pliego works on a range of issues, including protection for DACA recipients and fighting immigration enforcement. She conducts policy research, analyzes and tracks legislation, and develops materials for movement and field partners as well as for congressional advocacy.

Sana Rizvi

  • Government Relations Associate, NETWORK

Sana is a Government Relations Associates at NETWORK. Her work revolves around building coalitions with interfaith organizers and lobbying for federal policies which advance social justice. Sana graduated in 2017 from Loyola University Chicago with honors in Political Science and a minor in Peace studies. She also worked as a research fellow for Sheriff Tom Dart in Cook County for a year.

Elizabeth Leff

  • Legislative Assistant, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Elizabeth Leff is a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington DC. She graduated from New York University in May of 2017 where she studied Global Public Health/Media, Culture & Communication. Her issue portfolio includes immigration, refugees, international religious freedom, Israel, global poverty and health, and all remaining foreign policy that the RAC works on.

Marquez Bell

  • Pastor, Uplift Church

Pastor Ball is the pastor of Uplift Church and a Native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He received his license to preach in May of 2000 at Greater Zionfield Baptist Church in New Orleans. At that time, he was the youngest licensed minister on staff at Zionfield but that did not stop him from spreading the Word. He started attracting hundreds of his classmates from high school to his church.

Interactive Workshop: Working with the media (White)

Maiya Zwerling

  • National Organizing Manager

As the National Organizing Manager, Maiya Zwerling works to strengthen and deepen FCNL's grassroots. She founded and coordinates the FCNL Advocacy Teams, a network of hundreds of Quakers and friends lobbying to build congressional champions for peace and justice. Maiya oversees the 2018 grassroots campaign to prevent a war with North Korea.

Connor Wall

  • Covington, Kentucky Advocacy Corps Organizer

Connor Wall is a recent graduate from Northern Kentucky University. After obtaining his degree in Public Relations, he took a job at a PR firm in Northern Kentucky.

See the schedule and more speakers

Update Save the Date: Spring Lobby Weekend 2019! 

Saturday, March 23 - Tuesday, March 26 in Washington, DC

March may seem far away, but here at the FCNL office, we are already counting down the days to Spring Lobby Weekend! At Spring Lobby Weekend 2019, hundreds of students, recent grads, Quakers, and young adults will come to Washington, DC to lobby their representatives.