At The Opportunity Agenda's Communications Institutes, rising leaders working on issues critical to opportunity develop their communication skills, including framing and narrative development, utilizing public opinion and media research, understanding digital communications and social networking, persuasive writing, and on-camera broadcast presentation. Upon completion, they become Communication Fellows, and get to work shaping the public dialogue in their home communities.

    Lawrence Benito

    Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

    Recently, Lawrence Benito transitioned from Deputy Director to Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of ICIRR. In his new role he will be responsible for running all facets of the organization. Lawrence has a proven executive track record and over 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations. As the Deputy Director for ICIRR he was the lead of the senior management team, overseeing the program and political operations. He also served as the agency’s in-house lobbyist. During his tenure at ICIRR he has organized in the north and northwest suburbs of Illinois and directed ICIRR’s state-funded programs. Lastly, he is also the executive director of Illinois Immigrant Action – ICIRR’s 501(c)(4) sister organization, which engages in more targeted issue advocacy work.


    Get to know Lawrence

    Eben Cathey

    Communications Coordinator, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition

    Eben Cathey joined TIRRC as the Communications Coordinator three months ago. He was born in Smyrna, TN and graduated in 2006 from Rhodes College in Memphis.

    Get to know Eben

    Bill Chandler

    Executive Director, Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance

    Bill Chandler began with union organizing and community activism in the 1960s in Los Angeles. He participated in the 1965 grape boycott effort, organizing cross-border actions with Mexican and American workers to support the United Farm Workers in their efforts to improve conditions.

    Get to know Bill

    Scott Douglas

    Executive Director, Greater Birmingham Ministries

    Scott Douglas attended the University of Tennessee, where he co-founded their Black Student Union. Following work as an aircraft assembler, he held positions as Executive Director of the Southern Organizing Committee, Program Officer for the Partnership for Democracy Foundation, and the first Environmental Justice Organizer for the Sierra Club.

    Get to know Scott

    Michelle Fei

    Co-Director, Immigrant Defense Project

    Michelle Fei, Co-Director of the Immigrant Defense Project, focuses her substantive work on community education and policy initiatives, including by designing and implementing educational programs about criminal-immigration issues, providing accessible analyses of legislative proposals, and challenging deportation programs. She successfully co-led the campaign to end “Secure Communities” in New York.

    Get to know Michelle

    Jacinta Gonzalez

    Lead Organizer for the Congress of Day Laborers, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice

    As lead organizer for the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice Congress of Day Laborers, Jacinta Gonzalez helped establish and maintain a base of day laborers dedicated to building worker power, advancing racial justice, and mobilizing workers across race and industry in post-Katrina New Orleans.

    Get to know Jacinta

    Sameera Hafiz

    Policy Director, Rights Working Group

    Sameera Hafiz, the Policy Director at the Rights Working Group (RWG), leads and coordinates coalition advocacy efforts and develops strategies to advance RWG's policy agenda. Prior to joining Rights Working Group, Sameera was a Senior Staff Attorney with Legal Momentum’s Immigrant Women Program, where she engaged in national policy advocacy to promote reforms benefitting immigrant women.

    Get to know Sameera

    Omar Jadwat

    Senior Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union

    Omar Jadwat is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Get to know Omar

    Cristina Jiménez

    Managing Director, United We Dream Network

    Cristina Jiménez is the Managing Director of the United We Dream Network. She is a co-founder of the Network and served as chair of the Board of Directors. Cristina has organized immigrant youth and workers for the passage of the DREAM Act, comprehensive immigration reform, and pro-immigrant legislation at the local and national level since 2004.


    Get to know Jiménez

    Adam Luna

    Political Director, America’s Voice

    As the Political Director at America’s Voice, Adam coordinates their strategy to build a new majority for comprehensive immigration reform.

    Get to know Adam

    Enrique Morones

    Founder, Border Angels

    Native San Diegan Enrique Morones is an internationally acclaimed human rights advocate. He was formerly the highest-ranking Latino in Major League Baseball (1995-2001) as Vice President of Latino & Diversity Marketing for the San Diego Padres.

    Get to know Enrique

    Linda Sarsour

    National Advocacy Director, National Network for Arab American Communities; Executive Director, Arab American Association of New York

    Linda Sarsour is a working woman, community activist, and mother of three. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker.”

    Get to know Linda

    Laura A. Vazquez

    Legislative Analyst, National Council of La Raza

    Laura Vazquez monitors immigration policy and conducts legislative and administrative advocacy in order to advance humane reforms to the current immigration system.

    Get to know Laura

    Gabriela Villareal

    Policy Analyst, California Immigrant Policy Center

    Gabriela Villareal is a Policy Analyst with the California Immigrant Policy Center. She provides policy advocacy towards ending the unjust detention and deportation of immigrants.

    Get to know Gabriela

    Omaid Zabih

    Staff Attorney, Nebraska Appleseed

    Omaid Zabih is a Staff Attorney with the Immigrant Integration and Civic Participation Program at Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest.

    Get to know Omaid