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 (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.
VIOLETA MUNERA (Deputy Director) has been with Families for Freedom since 2017. While at FFF, her work has mostly focused on the leadership development of directly impacted peoples through programs like the Speakers’ Bureau. She also represents FFF in the advisory council for the New York Immigration Freedom Fund (NYIFF). Prior to the organization, Violeta worked with migrant communities in Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and New York. As an activist, she was part of the IV international course for political educators at the Florestan Fernandes National School in Guararema, Brazil; and participated in the 2016 World Social Forum on Migrations in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Coming from an immigrant family, 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.
JESSY MARTINEZ (Organizer) comes from a family of immigrants, she is first generation, a single mom who is eager to learn and to work at Families for Freedom. She is tired of having to see some of her family, friends and loved ones be targeted, exploited, exposed, and living in fear for lack of legal status. To her: “immigrants come to the US in search of a better life and better opportunities. Equality should be extended to every person living in the US and there should not be a limit as to who deserves it.” By working at Families For Freedom, she aims to provide support and advocacy to directly impacted families, fight against the deportation of non-citizens and the separation of families.
FANTA FOFANA (Organizer) is a long time member of Families for Freedom since 2007 after her father was deported to Senegal. She and her family were very active in FFF through the years, participating in protests, vigils, speak-outs, and campaigns. Fanta was also a Youth Leader for several years in FFF’s Youth Leadership program and worked as an intern with us when she was in high school until she left for college. She is now back working as an organizer as well as a participant in the Members’ Leadership Program.
BREANNA STEGGELL (Organizer) comes to Families for Freedom with experience organizing for migrant and stateless communities in Salt Lake City, Yonkers, New York City, Malaysia, and the Dominican Republic. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2020 with a BA in Public Policy and Migration. In 2018, she was awarded the Davis Projects for Peace Fellowship and traveled to 15 bateyes in the Dominican Republic to collect oral histories of Dominicans of Haitian descent affected by Judgement 168-13. Breanna is passionate about organizing for migrants’ rights. She hopes to empower those most affected to develop a political and historical analysis of the crimmigration system and lead the movement fighting against the detention and deportation of our community members.
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.
JANI CAUTHEN: I have been a member of FFF since 2005. I found this organization to be very helpful and unique when my husband at the time was facing deportation. They assisted with advocacy and probono legal assistance for my family and many others facing deportation. FFF is an organization that supports equality for all regardless of immigration status which is very important to me. I'm against injustices against people based on their immigration status.
CINDY MARTINEZ: I came to Families for Freedom in 2012 as an intern from Hunter CUNY. In 2013 my brother in law was arrested and placed a immigration detainer hold, FFF was able to help my family understand the criminal system and the immigration system in order to take the necessary next steps to best help him in this situation. Due to their support, knowledge and understanding my family was able to remain united. I joined the board in September of 2018 because over the years FFF has become an important part of who I am and who our families need.
WENDY RODRIGUEZ: has been involved with Families for Freedom since 2018, first as a volunteer and now as a board member. Being a migrant herself, and having been exposed first hand to the crimigration system when her brother was detained for deportation, she feels passionately about supporting those that are facing similar hardships. By continuing to be involved with “Families” she hopes to support those in the front lines of this movement in their efforts to bend the arc of the immigration system towards true justice.