BOARD OF DIRECTORS
KATHLEEN O'MALLEY Board Chair and Immersion Program Coordinator
A psychotherapist practicing in Albuquerque, Kathleen is dedicated to international peace work. One of several examples: Kathleen traveled with Christian Peacemaker Teams to Iraq and Palestine; and in 2007 she traveled to Iran as part of the Fellowship of Reconciliation. She leads nonviolence trainings. One of her areas of expertise is working with people who have suffered trauma. For NMFCIJ, she has led several informative immersion trips to the El Paso/Juarez border and in the Albuquerque area and has performed pro bono evaluations in detention centers holding immigrant women and children seeking asylum in the US. Kathleen is a member of the Albuquerque Vipassana Sangha.
YUN LI Board Vice-Chair
Yun grew up in China and came to the U.S. in 1989 to advance her education in Physics. She worked in high tech companies for 12 years, managing R&D projects and global programs. After leaving the corporate world in 2006, Yun started a coaching career as well as her own business in consulting and start-ups. She has designed and delivered numerous leadership and personal development programs, organized and facilitated retreats and seminars, and conducted mediation sessions. Her audiences have ranged from corporate executives to unemployed poor and homeless persons. She worked with NMSU for three years helping extremely low-income parents to gain the confidence and motivation to stand on their own and to obtain their GED's. Yun has been taking steps to further the Board’s leadership skills.
ABBAS AKHIL Board Director, Treasurer
Abbas is a New Mexico State Representative for District 20 and is the first to hold this office being a member of the Muslim Faith. Much of his work has centered around electrical engineering, across the United States and overseas. He is currently serving as a principal member of Renewable Energy Ventures. Abbas has published and contributed to numerous publications about electricity storage. He is a long-time resident of Albuquerque, is married with children and drives a Prius.
MONICA NEWCOMER-MILLER Board Director, Secretary
Monica is an immigration attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her practice includes representation of individuals in removal proceedings, those applying for citizenship, permanent residency and work permits. She also assists immigrant victims of crime and domestic violence in the immigration process through VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) and U Visa relief. Monica received her J.D. from the University of New Mexico in 2015. Monica began her work with immigrants as a paralegal in 2002 working with detained immigrants (adults and children) on the U.S./Mexico Border in South Texas. She went on to work as a social worker, assisting families through the immigration process in the Midwest before moving to New Mexico in 2012. She now resides in Albuquerque with her husband and three boys, where they enjoy exploring the outdoors and spending time together. They attend Albuquerque Mennonite.
KARLA ARTIÑO Board Director
Karla has a strong history of working with impacted families in Arizona. From 2009 to 2012 she was a volunteer community organizer with two collaborating organizations in Tucson—organizing neighbors to support one another in the event of detention or deportation. She has developed a similar program called the Cafecitos here and has brought these skills and experience to the Direct Service working group, training volunteers to support the neighborhood groups in a variety of ways. She also participates in networking with others in southwestern cities to share information and resources to support immigrant families.
MARGARITA MAESTAS Board Director
While a Business Systems/Accounting Instructor at Evergreen Community College (CA), Margie developed and administered a nationally recognized Hispanic community mentor program, Enlace, which matched students with mentors, developed program materials used statewide and nationally, and coordinated a scholarship program. Among the many honors bestowed on Enlace was the Noel/Levitz National Retention Excellence Award in Higher Education. Margie is a longtime volunteer and leader with many social service organizations. In addition to her current work with NMFCIJ, she is also a board member with the New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers.
LAURA OLIVAS Board Director
Laura is an English major studying part-time at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) in Albuquerque. Since January 2011, she has held positions at the Rebecca Kitson Law Firm beginning as a Legal Assistant. She is now a Senior/Managing Paralegal leading a team of paralegals, providing support for complex cases, and managing a caseload that varies between 50 and 100 cases. Laura is also highly involved with her local church, Casa del Rey. She is part of the church's prayer group and assists occasionally with teaching Sunday classes to children.
JUSTIN REMER-THAMERT Executive Director
Liaison to faith communities and allied organizations, Justin helps develop leadership within the organization, supports the leaders in carrying out their projects, gives sermons and presentations regularly, and does intakes for direct service families and individuals. He has worked with social justice organizations across the country and in Mexico, most often with a focus on immigrants affected by US domestic and foreign policy. He has a passion for the intersection of justice and the arts.
DANIEL VEGA Community Organizer
Daniel has expertise in computers and technology, which he used to develop a website for Presbyterian/ Lutheran Church Camino de Vida. Since being with NMFCIJ, he instituted a rapid response program – a much-needed response to increased ICE activity in Albuquerque. He is currently working to expand the Rapid Response Network and training volunteers to show up when ICE activity is reported in our community. Daniel also coordinates sanctuary efforts, with two active cases in Albuquerque. He is expecting his B.S. in Computer Science by 2020.
D'JIBRIL TAJADILLO Direct Service Coordinator
Cinderella is the newest addition to our team and will be handling the direct service aspect of the agency. Her background is in mental health and restorative and social justice and she is thrilled to bring her expertise to work with the Coalition. Cinderella is a certified peer support specialist and has worked with the disabled population, as well as immigrants and refugees. Cinderella is of Afro-Peruvian descent and has lived in Albuquerque for 3 years.
CHERI PLAVNICK Intern Program Supervisor
Cheri Plavnick, M.S.W., is the field instructor for the Coalition’s social work interns. Cheri loved her 35-year career as a healthcare social work clinician and administrator. She has volunteered with the Coalition for several years and continues to do volunteer work with the First Unitarian Immigration Task Force.
ANDRES DIAZ Intern
Andres is a Social Work graduate student at NM Highlands University and has started working with the Coalition as an intern. He holds a double Bachelor's degree in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of New Mexico and currently works full-time for a local non-profit organization that supports individuals with developmental disabilities. Andres is an immigrant from Peru and has been in the US since 2001; he enjoys Flamenco, theater and live concerts.
STEPHANIE JUDDO Intern
Stephanie Juddo is currently an intern with the New Mexico Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice. She is in the second year of her master’s program in Social Work and will graduate with her degree in May 2019. Stephanie was a geologist for 22 years; she worked as an environmental manager and considered it a moral imperative to advocate for communities directly impacted by the presence of hazardous wastes in the soils, surface waters, and groundwater near where they lived. Stephanie has served as the vice-president for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and is a local business owner.
FEDENCIA SILVA Intern
Fedencia is a Social Work graduate student at Western New Mexico University and is participating as an intern for the current spring semester, and expects to graduate in December 2019. She holds an Associate’s degree from Clovis Community College in Psychology and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from The University of Phoenix. Fedencia current works as a caregiver for a local agency that supports individuals with developmental disabilities and has had experience in the mental health field, as well as various social service programs. She believes in the importance of being an advocate and in helping others learn to advocate for themselves. Fedencia enjoys family time and travel, when possible, and various forms of dance.
NMFCIJ governing documents, conflict of interest policy and financial statements available within a week upon written request.