March 2, 2010: TIRRC Welcomes New President, Vice-President, And 3 New Members To Its Board Of Directors
Nashville, TN – The Board of Directors of the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) welcomed a new President, Vice-President and 3 new Board Members this past Saturday, February 27th, at the first TIRRC Board Meeting of 2010. The Board of Directors is chosen by TIRRC members at the TIRRC Convention, held annually at the end of every year.
This December saw the election of Abdishakur Mohamed to the position of Board President after a 1 year term as a Member of the Board. Mr. Mohamed is a trusted face in Nashville’s refugee communities. He himself came to the US as a refugee from his native Somalia and has worked for several years as a caseworker and advocate with Catholic Charities of Middle Tennessee’s refugee resettlement program. His current position is Coordinator of Employment Services and Individual Development Account (IDA). Mr. Mohamed was involved in the campaign to defeat Nashville’s English-only ballot initiative, and he has been instrumental in engaging the leadership of local mosques around issues of immigrant and refugee rights.
Also rising in board position was Alfredo Peña III, the new Vice-President of the TIRRC Board. Mr. Peña is the workers’ rights coordinator at the Memphis Workers Center, a project of Workers Interfaith Network or WIN. He also works with the Building Trades professionals in hand billing prevailing wage job sites to make sure that every workers understand their rights to make a fair pay rate. Mr. Peña served for 2 years as a Member of the TIRRC Board before his election to VP this past December.
In addition, the TIRRC Board welcomed 3 new Board Members, representing the ethnic and regional diversity of Tennessee’s immigrant and refugee community, at this weekend’s first meeting of the year:
Organizations are listed for identification purposes only.
Mauricio Calvo is the Executive Director of Latino Memphis, an organization whose mission is "to advocate for the betterment of the Hispanic Community." Latino Memphis focus is on health, education and justice. He serves in a number of boards, committees and collaboratives, including the Head Start Policy Council, the Mason YMCA, the Shelby County Mayor's Education Task Force and the Bank On Memphis Collaborative, among others. Mr. Calvo is a native of Mexico City. He has lived in Memphis for 16 years, where he graduated from Christian Brothers University. He is married to local artist Yancy Villa-Calvo and they have three kids, Anna, Carolina and Santiago.
Mohammad A. Syed (Mo) is a senior attorney in the Antitrust Section of King & Ballow. Mr. Syed previously practiced Litigation at a law firm in Washington, D.C. He has also worked for the Civil Litigation branch of the District of Columbia Office of Attorney General (formerly D.C. Office of Corporation Counsel), as well as a leading law firm in Karachi, Pakistan. Born and raised in Pakistan through the end of high school, he moved to the US to pursue higher education in 1993. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Rochester, where he graduated cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science. He received his law degree at George Washington University School of Law. He also attended Harvard Law School Program of Instruction for Lawyers (Mediation Workshop), 2007.
Nathaly Perez has been working with Catholic Charities of East Tennessee since 2007. CCETN is a 501 c 3 non-profit social service agency with many diverse programs serving the most vulnerable population of our region. She has been Program Manger of the Office of Immigrant Services, which provides low-cost immigration legal services, since May 2008 and have been a partial BIA Accredited Representative since November of 2008. Ms. Perez graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2005 with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Language and World Business (Spanish major with an International Business minor). She was recently nominated to serve as the South East Region Representative for the Diocesan Advisory Committee for Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. for 2010-2012.
Also participating in Saturday's meeting were two representatives from the newly formed TIRRC Youth Council: Karla Chavez from Nashville and Joshua Alanis from Knoxville.
TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.