NLG-SFBA | VOTING

Board Voting

Learn about the Nominees

PLEASE VOTE FOR ANY OR ALL OF THE CANDIDATES OF YOUR CHOICE
 
The deadline for online voting is January 16, and and in person voting will be possible at our office from 9:30 to 12 and from 1 to 5:30 on January 16.
 

We’re happy to announce that there is room for all of the nominees listed below, with all of their powerful strengths and diversities, on our board.

Given the small number of members on the board, current members have been serving and will continue to serve as an Executive Committee to provide leadership during this transitional period.

*Nominees in Alphabetical order

In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
I was the Executive Director from 2004 to 2016.
 
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
Although I maintain a connection and mailbox in the Bay Area, I am currently living in Mexico. I am only involved in political activism online, but am also learning about the political movements in my new home.
 
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
I am most interested in the legal observer program, police accountability work, and international solidarity.
 
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
As I said, I was the Executive Director for 12 years. I have also spent time as a board member of the Bay Area Community Law Foundation.
 
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
I have a lot of institutional memory and a lot of experience with the nuts and bolts of running the NLGSF. I also can do quite a bit remotely, from making phone calls to writing articles for the newsletter.
 
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
I currently do the occasional project, but otherwise have a very flexible schedule.

 

My name is Deanna Mouton, and I am interested in nominating myself for a position on the NLGSF chapter board. I am a recent law graduate from San Francisco Law School where I was recipient of the Blum Academic Scholarship, a scholarship granted to the top three students of the entire law class. Currently I am a member of the Santa Rita Jail Hotline program, and I recently concluded a legal externship with fellow NLG member Brian McComas. Currently I am studying for the bar and quite excited to start my career as a public interest attorney.

I am San Francisco native that was raised in the Mission, my father is Black and Native American, and my mother is a first-generation Peruvian immigrant. I am the first member of my family to graduate high school and obtain both college and doctorate degrees. Coming from a working-class background and having had to work throughout college and law school, I understand the socioeconomic barriers that exist in the legal profession for young attorneys of color like myself. I would like to channel my lived experiences in a way that helps in the empowerment of other law students and young attorneys of color.

I believe the NLG plays a vital role in helping empower law students and young attorneys with both the legal skills and political analysis to be able to best defend our communities. I have been mentored by NLG attorneys and legal workers and understand the vital role mentorship plays in helping empower young attorneys who are passionate about public interest law issues related to housing, immigration, abolition, and criminal defense. Often as law graduates of color, especially those from working class backgrounds, are forced to balance our socioeconomic needs at the expense of our dedication to defending our communities and movements. I want to commit to breaking this barrier and help empower individuals like myself. Individuals who come from communities directly impacted by the issues our movements fight for. Such individuals should also be equipped with the skills and professional knowledge to better defend and serve their communities.

Thank you for taking time to read this statement I look forward to furthering the work of this chapter.

Resume

Jennifer has vast knowledge and experience in office administration, human resources and general office systems for small and large law firms. Having worked for many years in the administration department of law firms from data entry to tech support (E.g. early release of Palm Pilots and Blackberry phones to lawyers; set up of courtroom technology for trial) to supervision of legal admin staff, she would be a great asset to the personnel committee and to the logistics of purchasing, setting up and/or organizing office systems. A tri-athlete, Jennifer was born a leader and takes on leadership positions in all aspects of her personal and work life. In addition, she can and has organized fundraising events for multiple organizations.

Her volunteer experience is with the following organizations:

  • Association of Legal Administrators - Golden Gate Chapter 10 year member 
    • Section leader for Human Resources (Vice President, President, and Immediate Past President)
  • 5-year member of the National and local chapters of SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management)


In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
I am a member of the SF NLG Chapter and have interacted with the SF NLG's immigration subcommittee. I am an attorney at Van Der Hout LLP who attends the larger member gatherings and supports the work of the board.
 
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
Advocating for the rights of noncitizens in immigration custody and the rights of asylum seekers before USCIS and the immigration courts. To the extent that it is political, I serve as one the NorCal American Immigration Lawyers Association's co-liaisons before the ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor. In that role, I advocate and liaise on behalf of of the private immigration bar.
 
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
Immigrants' rights and restarting the ICOP.
 
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
When I began practicing in Arizona, I led a group of attorneys in advocating and litigating against (in criminal and immigration court) the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's use of worksite enforcement raids to arrest undocumented workers. I also served as an attorney advisor for No Dream Deferred, an organization that began after the announcement of DACA in June 2012 and which focused on submitting DACA applications for all individuals eligible for DACA in Arizona. At my prior firm in Arizona and now at Van Der Hout, I provide leadership and mentorship to my colleagues, which includes other attorneys, paralegals, and administrative staff. I have also presented at Continuing Legal Education seminars on a variety of topics related to immigration and the crossover of criminal and immigration laws.
 
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
I have had the opportunity to work on cases that involve impact litigation, as well as high profile individuals, through which I have met other progressive attorneys, activists, and community members. I am also comfortable speaking publicly and producing written work for dissemination. My knowledge of immigration law, criminal law, and litigation, as well as relationships with others in the progressive left community, would be an asset for the board.
 
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
I want to strengthen my ties to the San Francisco community while also utilizing my experience to advance the rights of noncitizens and other historically disenfranchised groups. I believe strongly in connecting with those who are marginalized, and serving as a board member will provide that opportunity. I also generally seek to advance the objective of the progressive left.

 

In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
I have been a sustainer for many years. I have been a member of the Labor Comm for many years, which I chaired at one time. I attend events and support the chapter. I have advised NLG (including NLG-SFBA) leaders and staff regarding the history and interpretation of the UAW staff agreement up to the present.
 
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
My work centers around labor issues. In addition to the labor committee, I am a member of the AFL-CIO lawyers comm. I am the general counseI of the National Union of Healthcare Workers which I helped to found. This progressive union is dedicated to worker led unionism and broad organizing. have also been active in issues related to equity and inclusion, serving as a board member on different community organizations dedicated to them.
 
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
In addition to labor work, I am interested in anti-fascist work. I would also like to help the chapter in its organizational issues.
 
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
As I mentioned, years ago I chaired the national labor committee. I have served as the chair of the Board of Saint Paul's Episcopal School, a school in Oakland nationally recognized for its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
 
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
I have legal skills, experience in fighting for workers rights and the experience of keeping a small practice afloat for many years. I have longstanding ties and connections to the East Bay community.
 
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
I wouldn't put myself forward if I weren't prepared to commit the time to take the position seriously.

 

My name is Leila Sayed-Taha and I am writing this statement to express my interest in joining the board of the NLGSF chapter. I have been involved in immigration and refugee law advocacy for over fifteen years, in the Middle East, the United Kingdom and more recently the Bay Area. I was a board member of the Chicago NLG chapter as well as a national co-chair of TUPOCC. In terms of my day to day work I previously was staff attorney at the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) for over five years. At AROC I worked on removal and detention, travel ban issues, asylum, and Afghan humanitarian parole. During my role as staff attorney I was a board member of the NLGSF chapter from 2018, but was forced to step down due to workload in August of 2021.

I recently transitioned out of my full-time staff attorney job to open my own solo immigration practice. I provide low bono and sliding scale legal services predominantly for Arabic, Dari and Farsi speakers, while also serving as a pro bono volunteer attorney at (AROC). I believe due to my work transitions I will be able to commit to the chapter work I am very passionate about. Currently I am on the immigration committee of our chapter as well as on the executive committee of the Alameda County Bar immigration section. I cherish the NLGSF chapter and our programmatic areas of work because I believe it highlights the grassroots and inter-sectional approach we have in defending the various sectors of our communities and movements. I am particularly interested in helping lead efforts to re-launch the Immigration Court Observation Program (ICOP).

Resume

In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
I have been active in the Guild since I first officially joined the Guild in law school in 1974. I had first come to know about and work with the Guild in 1969 when in college at University of Michigan and Guild lawyers taught me how to represent myself in a trial after a demonstration arrest. I said then that if I ever decided to go to law school I would join the Guild and I did. In 1979 I helped start the first Bay Area NLG immigration committee along with several other young immigration lawyers in the Guild. In the early and mid 1980's I co-counselled several law suits challenging U.S. intervention in Central America along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and did so on behalf of the Guild. I was national Guild president in 1985-86 and have continued to be an active member of the Guild ever since. I promote the Guild in my law office where our immigration firm pays for all our attorneys to be members of the Guild and all paralegals and admin staff who wish to be. Through me, my firm has been a sustainer of the Guild ever since the Bay Area chapter began its sustainer program.
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
I have been active in the National Immigration Project of the Guild since almost its inception and was on the Board of the NIP for 40 years before I (finally 🙂 ) left the Board two years ago. I continue to be involved politically in immigration and related issues and have done several cases involving national security issues over the years and continue to give advice on those and other related subjects. I have also been involved in Palestinian issues over the years and continue to be.
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
I am most interested in the legal observer program, police accountability work, and international solidarity.
 
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
see above
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
I have been active in the Guild for almost 50 years now, know the strengths of weaknesses of both the national and local organizations and have extensive Guild networks throughout the country I can rely on for assistance when necessary to help develop our SFBA work.
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
I have cut down my role in my office and working only 50% time now and will be cutting back even further in the course of the next year. That will allow me to devote time to the organizational work of the Guild. I have extensive contacts with political and non-profit legal organizations throughout the country and the SFBA and those contacts will allow me to help the Guild itself continue to build those ties.
In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
I have been a member of the NLG since 1973. I was involved in the formation of the TexOma Region in mid-70s and have been an active member of the SF Bay Area Chapter of the NLG since 1982. I'm currently interim co-chair of ICOP and a member of the Finance Committee since Jan. 2022.
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
I'm helping to kickstart ICOP, a project designed to help safeguard the due process rights of immigrants before the EOIR. I'm also involving in recruiting and organizing law students from the Bay Area law schools through ICOP.
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
Immigration, Refugee law and chapter governance.
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
I was the last VP of the San Francisco ADC Chapter and a founder of the Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC). AROC remains the primary advocate for Arabs in the Bay Area and provides pro bono immigration legal services to the Arab-speaking community & others. I was also a founder of Omid Advocates a grassroots organization established in 2010 to provide refugee legal assistance to Iranians fleeing Iran from 2009 to 2012. I have served previously on the board of the SF NLG chapter and held other leadership positions in the national organization. I have been a member of the Iran subcommittee of the International Committee for more than 10 years.
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
I have more than 40 years of experience practicing immigration & refugee law. I have connections to several nonprofits providing pro bono immigration services. I have mentored countless young people who have established nonprofits providing immigration services, work in nonprofits providing immigration services or represent immigrants charged with crimes in public defender programs. I have received numerous awards both in the NLG and other organizations for my contributions on behalf of immigrants.
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
I am partially retired and have adequate time to participate in the governance of the chapter.

 

In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
I joined in 1975 as a GGU student. Was part of the original demonstrations committee in 1984. Have served on the Board previously. Currently I am on the Finance Committee and chair the Doris Brin Walker legislative committee. Also serve as Treasurer of the bay Area Community Law Foundation. Looking forward to bringing historic memory and financial tools to the Board.
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
Active in the Veritas Tenants Association in SF. On the board at Left Bank Books Foundation in St. Louis, MO.
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
Concrete activities affecting our friends and allies. For instance immigration work (ICOP, asylum applications); demonstrations support; MCLE programs; legislative advocacy (and opposition).
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
Previously on NLG chapter Board most of past 40+ years. Also, familiar with non-profits and tax law.
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
See above.
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
I have time; I am semi-retired.
 
In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
mainly being a greenhat legal observer with the demonstrations committee.
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
have been volunteer with berkeley copwatch since 1997 doing copwatching,speaking at city council meetings,police review commission(now police review board) and other committee meetings when appropriate.began political involvement in 1971 by joining vietnam veterans against the war in chicago.
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
greenhat legal observing has been my forte thus far and the demonstrations committee presents the in-person responsibility for prevention and/or documentation of police abuse.
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
"leaders" in the traditional sense of top down authoritarian rule seems not the way to go."leaders)"rather than telling the people what to do must listen to what the people need and want and carry out the will of the people.
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
having lived in bay area for 49 years mostly living,playing,and working in berkeley i feel the bay area and usually feel as long as i keep open to changing and believing an old dog CAN learn new tricks i will keep on growing with others of like minds or similiar minds.
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
being retired i can often maintain a flexible schedule.

 

In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
I’ve been an activist for my adult life. I have been an anti-imperialist since I was 20 and am still working on white and male supremacy. Because I have had comrades on trial and in prison, during Oakland Occupy I worked with the Anti-Repression Committee and found it interesting and useful, so after Occupy, I joined the Demonstrations Committee and signed up to do the NLG Hotline for several years. I think this work is crucial, and I am always amazed when someone I just met says something like: “Oh! I love the NLG!” and then tells me how much safer they feel at demonstrations because we are backing them up. Several months ago, after we began doing eviction defense, I realized we had pretty good Hotline support, but often had trouble finding Legal Observers. I think this is because it is unfamiliar to most of us and is much less controlled than our usual demonstration. I know, odd to think of political demonstrations as “controlled”, but they are, relatively. For the last several months I have been spending much more time as an LO at encampment evictions and learning a lot. I’ve been substantially involved in the resistance of the huge Wood Street encampment and witnessed numerous evictions that should be the basis for a suit by us against the City of Oakland. If I’m elected to the NLGSF Board, I’ll work to integrate evictions more fully into the rest of our work and take the opportunity to learn about and get involved with the work coming from other committees.
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
I am on the Demonstrations Hotline, and Legal Observe for the NLG. Also do support work for Native Californians, particularly Sogorea te, an urban indigenous land trust based in historic Ohlone territory (western Alameda county), and do photography for many social justice organizations in the SF Bay Area.
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
My understanding of the criminalization of homeless/poor people has transformed by being involved at Wood Street, and I deeply hope that the Guild will strengthen that work. Immigration and prison issues are critical for us to continue. I also feel that deepening discussion about male and white supremacy in the world and in the NLG will help us all.
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
I'm a little nervous about claiming leadership in this era. As a classic old, white, cis-gender male, I should be listening more and pushing less. That said, I've been a member of the Demonstrations committee for several years. Before that, the Anti-Repression Committee of Occupy, and the Committee to Free the SF8. Also Fireworks Graphics Collective, who designed over 100 posters for the left in the 80's and 90's. In all of those, I was a political contributor to the collective process.
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
Plain old skills; I'm a good photographer and I usually get along with most people, even with political contradictions. I try to understand my role as cooperative and building together, not as a leader. I've worked with many community-based and anti-imperialist organizations through the NLG and as a graphic worker I'm not a lawyer, which you can consider as a plus or a minus.
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
I'm healthy and ready to work. I will continue to LO and be on the Hotline. I'm not employed, and have only a few other political commitments.

 

In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
NLG has been my village my whole life. My mother has been a member and served in various local and national roles over many years. Through meetings, events and demonstrations NLG became a part my DNA. Now it is my turn to continue her legacy and serve.
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
Through my employment and consulting work I support organizations who are on the front line.
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
I am passionate about supporting NLG in developing the next general of freedom fighters. I also have interest in the area of labor and employment.
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
I have been a people and workplace culture leader for 25 years. I have lead programs and organizations in the legal aid, education, supportive housing, and mental health industries. I have also served as a board chair for a public charter school in Oakland.
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
I am an experienced Bay Area native with a network that provides a well rounded access to different industries. My expertise include change management, workplace culture, people operations, and cultural communication.
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
I have created capacity to meaningfully commit, engage and participate.
In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
I am a legal observer and legal observer coordinator, sit on the demonstrations committee and am co-chair of the right to shelter committee.
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
Most of my political work involved homeless advocacy and eviction defense. Through the Right to Shelter committee I work as a legal observer, collecting data about state theft of people's personal items and destruction of their shelter, and other state abuses against the homeless. I work with Love & Justice in the Streets and attend HAWG (Homeless Advocacy Working Group) meetings. I do outreach and homeless advocacy along with various autonomous affinity groups, and my wife and I do outreach and distribute food to a few local encampments.
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
Mass defense and work revolving around the right to shelter.
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
I am a legal observer coordinator, and I frequently work together with comrades to plan and execute eviction defense of homeless encampments.
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
Being on the ground as Oakland ramped up its encampment evictions throughout 20221 and 2022, I have learned some of the names and faces of the city's homeless eviction apparatus. I have also made connections with people in various advocacy groups and with autonomous groups of advocates. I know and have gained at least some trust from residents of various of the Oakland encampments.


Regarding mass defense, I have advanced legal observer (ie, observing when fash are present) training and experience. I have a general understanding of how various Bay Area LE agencies will respond to protests.
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?
I feel it will be a natural expansion of what I'm currently working on, and could possibly make some elements of my work easier.
In what ways have you/nominee previously been involved with, or active in NLG-SFBA?
Valeria is currently a 1L representative at UC Hastings. Prior to that, she became an NLG member in the Bay Area during the racial uprisings in May-July 2020. She attended protests and was a legal observer.
What political work are you/nominee currently involved with?
None besides the previously mentioned NLG Hastings and NLG-Bay Area involvement.
What are the areas of NLG-SFBA’s work that interests you/nominee the most?
I am interested in the NLG's immigration, reproductive rights efforts, and sex work projects, including know your rights training and supporting activists in the front lines.
What prior experiences serving in leadership do you/nominee bring to the board?
Valeria is bilingual (Spanish/English), has lived in Mexico, France, and the United States, which has given her a multi-cultural perspective and ability to work with diverse individuals. She enjoys meeting people, sharing space in dialogue, and collaborating to develop creative solutions to human rights. Valeria has demonstrated experience in student leadership and as a youth leader. When she was in high school, she was appointed to the Chula Vista Youth Action Counsel, where she represented local youth for two years on a committee that worked under then-mayor Cheryl Cox. She has also held other leadership positions, both as president, co-founder, and sales manager for high school and undergraduate organization. In her work at immigration firms, she held the positions of both senior and supervising paralegal, overseeing and mentoring fellow paralegals and junior attorneys. As an activist in the community, she has volunteered with numerous organizations, including Faith in Action Bay Area, where she canvassed during San Francisco Board of Supervisor elections and other immigrant's rights groups. Valeria also has volunteered as a legal observer with Al Otro Lado in the U.S.-Mexico border, where she led groups of volunteers and Know-Your-Rights presentations.
What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you/nominee have to offer and are willing to use on behalf of NLG-SFBA?
Connections with local transgender organizations and trans leaders/activists; connections with the students at UC Hastings; and connections with immigration law leaders.
How will joining the board fit in with your/nominees’ other personal, work, and organizing commitments?

Valeria is currently in law school hoping to represent immigrants with criminal histories, and hopes to join the board to help develop and advance the NLG's abolitionist, human rights, and pro-immigration efforts locally. She also wants to help expand membership recruitment efforts and support with on-going KYR trainings.

Valeria is committed to the pursuit of social justice and human rights for forced migrants worldwide by working with immigrants with various backgrounds, but especially those with criminal histories. She embraces and appreciates diversity and inclusion, and enjoys working alongside people who come from very different backgrounds, cultures, and language abilities. Valeria has over ten years of experience as a researcher and writer, and has published pieces on human rights and violations perpetrated by the United States against immigrants and the transgender Latinx community. She has also participated in global immersions to various countries, including Peru, Thailand, Cambodia, and Italy, which exposed her to government responses to injustices and NGO coordinated responses to crises through humanitarian aid. She approaches her work, organizing, and personal life with feminist and human rights lenses. Joining the board is in line with her interests and her goals of becoming a holistic and rebellious crimmigration attorney.