Founded in September 2002, Families for Freedom is a New York-based multi-ethnic human rights organization by and for families facing and fighting deportation. We are immigrant prisoners (detainees), former immigrant prisoners, their loved ones, or individuals at risk of deportation. We come from dozens of countries, across continents. FFF seeks to repeal the laws that are tearing apart our homes and neighborhoods; and to build the power of immigrant communities as communities of color, to provide a guiding voice in the growing movement for immigrant rights as human rights.
FFF has evolved into an organizing center against deportation. We are source of support, education, and campaigns for directly affected families and communities -- locally and nationally.
DONALD ANTHONYSON (Interim Executive Director) has been a member of Families for Freedom since 2004. At FFF, Donald was previously a lead organizer, former Board member and has led the efforts of the International Deportee Justice Campaign. He also produced for our monthly radio show, the War On Immigrants Report that aired on on 99.5 FM WBAI. Donald migrated to the US in 1979 from Antigua and have been involved in various social issues ranging from police brutality (Elenanor Bumphus Justice Committee) and anti-racial responses (NYASA) to immigration.
KARLA MEJIA is the Organizer for Families for Freedom, and a longtime activist. She has organized around several issues extending from immigrant rights, police brutality to womxn’s rights – volunteering with survivors of sexual violence, and incarcerated people. Karla has also worked in after-schools in East Harlem with parents and children to build a supportive space in the community. Born in Mexico, Karla moved to the United States at a very young age. Experiencing firsthand how unjust and inhumane the immigration, and prison complex system is along with her family and community members. All of which has motivated her to be an agent of change and justice for marginalized people across the world. She describes organizations like Families for Freedom as, “having a very important role for creating change, and bringing justice. It makes me happy to be part of a devoted organization with members which themselves have been impacted by the anti-immigrant political landscape, and are committed to bringing an end to injustice for all immigrants.”
VIOLETA MUNERA (Operations Director) is a recent graduate from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College where she obtained a master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community Organizing, Planning, and Development. She is a member of COMUNA Caribe, a Puerto Rican collective which participates in the World Social Forum on Migrations, the Assembly of the People’s of the Caribbean, Grito de lxs Excluidxs and ALBA Movements. Having worked with migrant communities in Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and New York, she is passionate about organizing around immigration and human rights. Some of her interests include, discussions on coloniality, the cultural imaginary of the Caribbean and using art as a tool for engaging with communities.
KATHLEEN MCARDLE: is a longtime activist involved in issues spanning from environmental justice to immigrant rights. She joined FFF in 2004, after her partner was deported to Jamaica. She was a graduate of the first FFF Organizing Fellows Class. Kathy has worked tirelessly to develop FFF’s campaigns and community outreach. Born and raised in Brooklyn, and with a background in art and design, Kathy now lives in Brooklyn with her son Joshua, one of FFF’s youth members.
IRIS HADDAD : When my fiancé was detained for 5 months and then deported for 5 years, it was an emotional, physical and financial ordeal. I knew that when our case was resolved and my (now) husband would come back to the U.S. that there was still unfinished business re the immigration process. I knew I had to do whatever I could to ensure others didn't go through what we did. In the past I belonged to a local Amnesty International group and did a lot of outreach work through them. I served on the board of my condo association for three years and during that time oversaw a lot of projects and worked on keeping our finances up to speed. I also took a leadership training course through the American Friends Service Committee several years ago.
ALINA DAS I am the supervising attorney at the NYU Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic. I first became involved with FFF when I worked with a FFF member and his family in their fight against deportation in 2002. Since then, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with FFF on its campaigns when I was an attorney at the Immigrant Defense Project and now as a supervising attorney at NYU. The clinic has worked with the Child Citizen Protection Act organizing committee, the Speakers’ Bureau, and on the Pardon Panel Policy Paper. Through these efforts, I have come to know many of the members of FFF and am proud to count myself among FFF's allies. I have worked with other organizations to host fundraising opportunities and also understand the special challenges associated with fundraising for nonprofit organizations working for immigrant rights.
MARLON PETERSON: I was introduced to FFF in 2006 while serving as secretary to a prison organization called Caribbean African Unity (CAU). The organization's mission was to support, educate, and empower incarcerated persons of Caribbean and African descent. At the time we invited FFF in to speak with our constituency and since then I have been affiliated with FFF. Upon my release from incarceration in December 2009, I volunteered with FFF doing outreach to governmental agencies, planning events, attending and speaking a rallies, and serving as youth coordinator. Currently, I am an employee of the Center for Court Innovation (http://www.courtinnovation.org/staff) as the program coordinator of YO S.O.S. I am also the co-founder of How Our Lives Link Altogether (H.O.L.L.A.!.)
ANTHONINE PIERRE I was drawn to FFF because I have seen on too many occasions how dangerous it can be to live at the intersection of immigration and criminal justice issues. Growing up in a Haitian immigrant household in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, I know that the criminalization of our families, friends, and neighbors often means that we can't move, breathe, learn and love in peace. I believe through supporting organizations like FFF, we can create a more politically just world for people of color, women, the working class, immigrants, queer people and everyone in between. My day job is being the Lead Community Organizer at the Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC), a direct-action community organizing group based in Central Brooklyn.
CARLA RICE-MATA became a member of Families for Freedom after her husband was deported to the Dominican Republic. She is a School Social Worker at a High School in the Bronx and has served as a Field Instructor for Social Work Interns for the past decade. In joining the Board, she hopes to return the support that the people, families and organization of Families for Freedom gave to her and to help FFF build bridges to the larger community.