IMMIGRATION STORIES

October-November 2018

Diya Abdo is Associate Professor of English at Guilford College in Greensboro,
North Carolina. A first-generation Palestinian, born and raised in Jordan, she is the founder and
director of Every Campus a Refuge advocating for housing refugees on campus grounds and
assisting them in resettlement. Thus far, Guilford College has hosted 32 refugees (18 of them
children) from the Middle East and Africa in campus houses and assisted them in resettlement
in Greensboro.

May-lee Chai is the author of eight books, including the short story collection, Useful Phrases
for Immigrants, forthcoming from Blair. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the
Arts fellowship and the 2014 APALA (Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association) Literature
Award.

Maria G. Cortez-Perez is a Junior at Wake Forest University majoring in sociology. Maria has been involved with immigrant rights advocacy and activism since she graduated high school back in 2014. She shared her story with many in the community Greensboro, High Point and now in Winston-Salem. Maria also coordinated the NC In-state Tuition Equity Campaign with Let’s Learn Triad from it’s inception under American Friends Service Committee. She also created a youth program with the Latino Family Center of High Point at the YWCA – Hispanic Students Avance – where the program is still flourishing and helping many students of the greater High Point area. Now that Maria is at Wake Forest University as a DACA-mented/undocumented individual she wants to pursue law school and serve her community one day as a lawyer.

Sharon E. Dunmore serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Associate Trial Attorney and Advocate for Gate City Legal Services, in the areas of Criminal Defense, Immigration, and Family Law. Attorney Dunmore practices law in the North Carolina state court, as well as the Executive Office of Immigration Review Charlotte Immigration Court.

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Attorney Dunmore arrived in North Carolina in 2010. She is a 2013 graduate of Guilford College, with Bachelors Degrees in Criminal Justice and Anthropology. Attorney Dunmore subsequently attended Elon University School of Law, and graduated in 2016.  Attorney Dunmore also served on the Trial Advocacy Board for Elon Law’s Mock Trial competition team. During law school, she maintained internships at immigration firms, as well as the Office of the Guilford County Public Defender.

Patrice Gopo writes essays about race, immigration, and belonging. She is the child of Jamaican immigrants and was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Her new book is titled, All the Colors
We Will See.

Stephanie Elizondo Griest is the award-winning author of three travel memoirs: Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana; Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines; and All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands,as well as the best-selling guidebook 100 Places Every Woman Should Go.

Erendira (Endy) Mendez Ramírez is a Mexicana mother of two, an Immigration paralegal, a small business owner, and DACAmented. She is Immigration Paralegal for Yañez Immigration and Owner/Director of operations of C.A.S.A. And Pumas NC FV (First official franchise of Pumas Soccer Club in NC), as well as a Board member of Faith Action International House.

Previously, Endy was the Latino Outreach and Administrative Assistant at Faith Action International House, founder of Grupo los Viejitos, a dance team which participated in events in the Latino Community and provided outreach for Ballet Folklorico Mexican Tradition and “Los Artistas” by CVA.

 

 

Ali Noorani is the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, an
advocacy organization promoting the value of immigrants and immigration, and the author of
There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge
of American Immigration. Growing up in California as the son of Pakistani immigrants, Ali
quickly learned how to forge alliances among people of wide-ranging backgrounds, a skill that
has served him extraordinarily well as one of the nation’s most innovative coalition builders. Ali
lives in Washington,D.C. and is the host of the Only in America podcast.

Baptiste Paul is a Caribbean author of two books for children (Adventures to School and The Field). Born and raised on the island of Saint Lucia, he is a native Creole/Patois speaker who enjoys readings his books and sharing about his experiences with anyone who will listen.

Miranda Paul is the award-winning author of One Plastic Bag and Water is Water. She serves as Mentorship chair for We Need Diverse Books and volunteers for Books for Africa.

Rev. Julie Peeples came to Congregational in late September of 1991, having served with
her husband, the Rev. Paul Davis, as chaplains for Habitat for Humanity International at
Habitat headquarters in Americus, Georgia. Her ministerial experience includes working with
homeless women in Boston, campus ministry at St. Vincent College near Pittsburgh, serving as a
Minister of Christian Education and Family Life in a large UCC church near Boston. She is a
driving force in immigration and social justice issues in Guilford County.

Moises Serrano is an openly undocumented and queer activist and storyteller. Since coming out as undocumented in 2010 he has relentlessly pursued equality for his community through the sharing of his narrative. His mission is to de-criminalize and humanize the issue of migration while advocating for immediate relief to migrant communities. Moises quickly became one of the most requested speakers in the state of North Carolina. Described as a “consummate orator,” his advocacy has led him to lead a Tedx talk in Greensboro and to be named a notable Latino of the triad. Moises’ advocacy has been filmed in the feature length documentary, Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America. The five-time award winning film was recently honored by the Television Academy. Forbidden was one of seven programs honored for creating awareness, enlightening, educating and/or positively motivating audiences. Moises officially became a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in May of 2018.

Giovanna K. Hurtado Vargas is a North Carolina Certified Paralegal who works with The Deuterman Law Group as a workers’ compensation paralegal, helping injured workers’ receive the benefits they deserve.

Giovanna is an unDACAmented graduate of GTCC who graduated with honors as a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Giovanna believes that by working to educate all different segments of our communities we can come together to lift those of our communities who are disenfranchised. Giovanna has been a community organizer since 2010 and continues to work with immigrant communities to provide resources, education, and aid. She continues to fundraise and lobby to advance the well being of immigrant communities.

Giovanna has jointly received the ECHO award from organizing efforts in rural communities.

Irving Zavaleta-Jimenez was born in Veracruz, Mexico. He and his family immigrated in 2000. He earned his Bachelor’s degree at Guilford College and his MBA at High Point University with a concentration in leadership and organization development. He is currently a member of the LGBTQIA Task Force of Guilford County Schools and a board member of the student Action with Farmworkers where he is currently Chair of the Executive Committee.

Irving founded the Soy un Lider (I Am A Leader)  Conference, a college prep and empowerment conference for students who identify as Latinx, immigrant or refugee. He was a recipient of the 2017 Community Involvement Diamante Award and named a 2018 Community Game Changer by the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.

Irving currently directs the social justice initiatives at the Pro Humanitate Institute at Wake Forest University.