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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SHANADO PHILLIPS: My journey with Families for Freedom began in 2016 after facing deportation due to re-entry. This came as a major devastation to my three children and wife who stuck by my side along with Families for Freedom in entirety. As a result of the hard work, effort, and determination, put into my immigration case from not only my family and legal team, but Families for Freedom as well, I can proudly say that I am home in the U.S where I belong. I have a successful thriving home renovation business that allows me to help put a smile on peoples face the way Families for Freedom has done for me throughout my journey and I couldn’t be more grateful. My eldest daughter is currently in college and my two younger children are able to participate in extracurricular activities outside of school, joyful at the fact that they can all come home to not only their mother, but myself as well. Families for Freedom is not only a movement, but a legitimate family that provides the support and love I was able to benefit from during my encounter with immigration and I know they will continue to do the same for others the way they have for my family and I.