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From five high-need locations across the United States, our staff provide interdisciplinary, trauma-informed services to immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. Located in Greater DC, our executive and national teams support the needs of our local offices and our policy advocacy. Our staff exhibit a high level of cultural competency, speak multiple languages, and, above all, are committed to supporting our clients.

Archi Pyati

Chief Executive Officer

Since May 2021, Archi Pyati has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Tahirih Justice Center, taking on the task of leading Tahirih in its service to more than 30,000 women, girls, and other immigrant survivors seeking safety from gender-based violence.

Archi was the Chief of Policy and Communications at Tahirih before assuming the role of CEO. As the Chief of Policy and Communications, Archi led the policy team in using survivor-centered policy advocacy to assist clients in securing the rights that they are entitled, to rebuild their lives.

Archi is also a spokesperson for Tahirih, connecting with lawmakers, media, funders and on coalitions such as the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

Before joining Tahirih, Archi served as Deputy Director of the Immigration Intervention Project at Sanctuary for Families in New York, where she ran a pro bono asylum program and worked with survivors to end female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) from occurring in the United States. Prior to joining Sanctuary for Families, Archi was a senior associate with the Human Rights Defenders Program of Human Rights First.

She brings nearly twenty years of experience in immigration law, women’s rights, and public policy advocacy to the CEO role. Archi is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Michigan Law School, where she was named Outstanding Woman Law Student of the Year by the Michigan Women Lawyers’ Association.

Christine D’Amato

Director of Finance

Christine D’Amato joined Tahirih in 2017. As Director of Finance, she is responsible for accounting operations, internal controls and financial reporting. Prior to Tahirih, Christine worked as a controller for the Children’s Defense Fund and as a Senior Associate for CohnReznick. She lived in Jesus Maria, Argentina for ten months, living with Argentinian families and learning Spanish.

“We are a resource for the most vulnerable people who don’t have anywhere else to turn. The US justice system can be intimidating, even for people with the means and skills to navigate it. Without the services and support that Tahirih provides, many of these women would continue to suffer through violence and abuse”

Education: University of Delaware, BS
Hometown: Pitman, NJ

Maricarmen Garza

Director of Strategic Partnerships & Community Engagement

Maricarmen Garza joined Tahirih in 2021 as the Chief of Programs. She previously held a 21-year tenure with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA). As a TRLA attorney, Maricarmen focused her legal practice on assisting survivors of gender-based violence with complex family law and victim privacy matters. She initiated and managed one of TRLA’s most successful, and longstanding projects of the organization, the Legal Alliance for Survivors of Abuse (LASA). LASA is a unique collaboration between TRLA and domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in the 68 Texas counties served by TRLA.

Through the LASA Project partnership, Maricarmen ensured that victims received holistic, trauma-informed, and victim centered legal and social services critical to breaking the cycle of violence. In 2010 the LASA project received The Mary Byron Project’s Celebrating Solutions Award for its innovative approach to breaking the generational cycle of intimate partner violence. Maricarmen also managed TRLA’s Victim Rights Group which included the Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault team and the Survivor Centered Economic Advocacy team, providing direction, mentorship and supervision.

Maricarmen currently serves on the ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence (ABA CDSV) and on the boards of the Texas statewide coalitions for domestic violence (TCFV) and for sexual assault (TAASA).  Maricarmen was nominated as a leader of color for her expertise in working at the intersections of domestic violence, child welfare, and race equity to join the National Cohort Women Transforming Families: Rising to End Violence, Oppression, and the Legacy of Trauma, and is a part of the Texas Cohort (TWAIS) as well. She also serves as faculty for the ABA CDSV, trains internationally and nationally on issues impacting victims of gender-based violence, has testified as a domestic violence expert in a civil trial, and was appointed to a state legislative taskforce for her expertise in providing civil legal services to victims (Senate Bill 434 -Texas 82nd Legislature). In 2018, Maricarmen was awarded the Champion for Social Change award by TAASA.

She started her legal career as a staff attorney for Catholic Charities in Houston, representing clients in removal proceedings, VAWA self-petitions, and political asylum cases.

Maricarmen received a Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology from the University of the Incarnate Word in 1992. She received her J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1996.

Paul Glist

General Counsel

Paul Glist serves as General Counsel for Tahirih, supporting the management and legal teams and Tahirih’s strategic initiatives. Paul served as a member of Tahirih’s Board of Directors from 2008-2017, and chaired the Board for most of that decade.

Until his retirement in 2018, Paul was a partner at Davis, Wright Tremaine specializing in cable, Internet, and telecommunications law and policy. He also serves as Chairman of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Alexandria, Virginia; is a former board member of the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington; former co-chair of the Alexandria Interfaith Association; and former Secretary for the City of Alexandria Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Planning Committee.

Paul has lived in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, England.

“I am inspired by Tahirih’s unwavering commitment to fight for equality between women and men and to obtain justice for immigrant survivors of gender-based violence.”


Paul received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and his B.A. from Cornell University.

Awards and Recognition

  • Washington D.C. Super Lawyers in Communications and Information Technology/Outsourcing by Thomson Reuters, 2010, 2013-2018
  • America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in Telecom – Broadcast & Satellite: Regulatory (District of Columbia) by Chambers
  • Vanguard Award from NCTA – the Internet and Television Association (formerly National Cable & Telecommunications Association)
  • Cable Pioneer
  • Selected for Cable Center Oral and Video history collection
  • Phi Beta Kappa

Christine Hakizimana

Director of Organizational Development

Christine joined Tahirih in 2017 as the Director of Organizational Development. As Director, Christine is responsible for human resources functions and executing recruitment and retention programs that make Tahirih the first choice for job seekers committed to justice for women and girls. Prior to joining Tahirih, Christine served as the Director of Human Resources at Kids in Need of Defense in Washington, D.C. and as the Director of Human Resources and Administration at Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region in Philadelphia. Christine is a former member of the Keystone Alliance for Performance Excellence Board of Examiners and holds her PHR and SHRM-CP certifications

“I am inspired by the courageous women and girls that Tahirih supports and enjoy supporting our team in the important work they do.”

Education: University of Delaware, BS in Human Services; Bryn Mawr College, Master in Social Service and Masters in Law and Social Policy (MSS/MLSP)

Hometown: Virginia

Adriana López

Director of Client Advocacy, Social Services
Adriana Lopez

Adriana López joined Tahirih in 2017. Previously the Social Services Program Manager at Tahirih’s Greater DC office, Adriana brings nine years of experience advancing immigrants and gender-justice causes through advocacy, training and capacity-building, program development, and direct service work. As Co-Director of Client Advocacy, Adriana strengthens Tahirih’s interdisciplinary model of service, where legal and social services staff comprise one interdisciplinary team to holistically address clients’ needs and increase their access to safety and justice. Prior to joining Tahirih, Adriana worked at the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), and the Equal Rights Center. She has lived abroad in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe.

“Violence against women and girls is one of the most visible effects of gender inequality, and eradicating it is critical to women’s social, economic and political well-being everywhere. I feel privileged to be a part of an organization that advocates for and provides holistic services to immigrant women and girls, so they can live their lives free from violence.”

Education: University of Michigan, MSW; London School of Economics, MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization; and Saint Mary’s College, BSW

Hometown: Elgin, IL

Languages: Spanish

Vanessa Wilkins

Executive Director

Vanessa joined Tahirih’s Atlanta office in 2021. As Executive Director, Vanessa is responsible for the management, growth and financial sustainability of the Atlanta office. She leads the Atlanta team in delivering client-centered legal and social services to immigrant women and girls fleeing violence; conducting community outreach and partnerships; oversees the local office’s financial and operational integrity; and engaging diverse stakeholders. Vanessa also works collaboratively to develop and execute a regional advocacy strategy for policies supporting the community.

Prior to joining Tahirih, Vanessa worked within the non-profit field for over eighteen years. In 2003, she joined Promise Place to expand domestic violence services in Fayette county to several new counties within the judicial circuit. With the opening of that area’s first state certified domestic violence shelter in 2007, Vanessa took on the position of Shelter Director, assisting in developing the framework for services provided to clients. She then served as Executive Director for the next ten years. As Promise Place Executive Director, Vanessa developed numerous domestic violence initiatives for the community. One of these initiatives was featured in the 11th annual Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review report. In February 2015, Vanessa was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to the Georgia Commission of Family Violence where she served for 3 years. She received a Pinnacle Leadership award in 2017 for outstanding community leadership and was recognized with a Phenomenal Woman award in 2021 for her 17 years of service to the community.

I am inspired by both Tahirih’s mission and inter-disciplinary approach to providing services. Having worked in the domestic violence field for many years, I have seen firsthand the complex barriers immigrant women and girls face in achieving safety – a basic right that we all too often take for granted. Legal services are a critical factor in removing these barriers and I am honored to work alongside a team that focuses on prioritizing client needs while maintaining excellence in our service delivery.

Hometown: Trinidad and Tobago, W.I.

Adilene Nuñez Huang

Director of Client Experience

Adilene Nuñez Huang joined Tahirih in 2018. Adilene most recently served as the Managing Attorney for the Greater DC office. In her current role as the Co-Director of Client Advocacy, Legal Services, Adilene ensures that interdisciplinary client services teams have the infrastructure in place and necessary tools to deliver smooth, efficient, high-quality, client-centered, and trauma-informed services to immigrant survivors of gender-based violence.

Adilene is an active member of the AILA DC chapter, has written on bond issues, cancellation of removal for non-lawful permanent residents, has spoken at the national AILA conference and local chapter conference, and she regularly hosts trainings for the Tahirih Pro Bono network to help pro bono attorneys develop practical, trauma-informed, and client-centered best practices for working with immigrant survivors of violence. Prior to joining Tahirih, Adilene advocated for immigrants at a boutique immigration law firm in Washington, DC.

“I am inspired by Tahirih’s holistic approach to client services. Tahirih not only provides women and girls with immigration and family law assistance and connects clients to social services, but Tahirih also works to advocate for policy changes so that women and girls can live in safety and with dignity. I am thrilled to be part of an organization like Tahirih that works daily to provide lasting change for such a vulnerable population.”

Education: Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, JD; Santa Clara University, BS

Languages: Spanish

Hometown: Fremont, California


Casey Swegman

Director of Public Policy

Casey Swegman joined Tahirih in 2013. As the Forced Marriage Initiative Project Manager, Casey oversees the provision of specialized social services and safety planning to individuals facing or fleeing forced marriage, as well as technical assistance to service providers across the country. Casey also supports the growth of the national coalition working on the issue of forced marriage in the United States and manages the Forced Marriage Initiative website. Prior to joining Tahirih, Casey was a Special Needs Care Coordinator at the International Rescue Committee and a refugee caseworker at the Refugee Support Center in Nairobi, Kenya, where she lived for two years.

“I am inspired by Tahirih’s unconditional dedication to excellence and innovation in serving immigrant women and girls.”

Education: Georgetown University, MA; Drexel University, BS

Hometown: Burtonsville, MD

Morgan Weibel

Director of Client Advocacy, Legal Services

Morgan Weibel joined Tahirih in 2010. As Executive Director of Tahirih’s San Francisco Bay Area Office, she ensures the delivery of high-quality legal and social services case management, engages regional stakeholders, and oversees the local office’s financial and operational integrity. Morgan previously served as Tahirih’s Director of the Baltimore office, and as a Supervising Immigration Attorney. She also worked for three years as a paralegal at the Law Offices of Robert B. Jobe, a San Francisco-based firm focusing on asylum and deportation defense. She interned with the Immigration and Refugee Services Department of the Spanish Red Cross in Granada, Spain, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in Washington, DC, and at a Swiss Refugee Transit Center.

“I am inspired by the strength and courage of the women and girls that I have the privilege of serving at Tahirih. Their unwavering commitment to breaking century-old cycles of violence against women and the courage that it takes to stand up against their families and traditions is remarkable.”


Morgan is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with high honors and the University of California Hastings College of Law, where she served as the Scholarly Publications Editor on the Hastings International and Comparative Law Review and was awarded the Judith Stronach Women’s Rights Fellowship to work with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS). Morgan also served as a Graduate Research Fellow at CGRS where she drafted a protocol for the investigation of femicides and assisted Professor Karen Musalo in updating sections of her course book related to asylum based on membership in a particular social group. During law school, she interned in the Trial Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Her undergraduate honors thesis compared the United States and Canadian applications of gender-based guidelines in asylum law.

Awards and Recognition

Morgan was named Leader of the Year by AILA’s DC Chapter Liaison Division in 2013, and in 2008, she won National Championship and First Place Speaker Awards at the UC Davis Asylum Law Moot Court Competition.

In the Media

Meaghan Whalen

Director of Development

Meaghan Whalen joined Tahirih in 2022. As Director of Development in the national office, Meaghan helps support the organization in achieving its fundraising objectives. She brings over a decade of fundraising experience and is excited to collaborate with the wider team to further strengthen and advance the fundraising program and to cultivate meaningful relationships with Tahirih’s stakeholders. Before Tahirih, she served as a Major Gifts Officer of Food & Friends and as Assistant Director of Development with Jesuit Refugee Service/USA both in Washington, DC.

The vision of a gender-equal society and holistic, client-centered services provided for immigrant women and girls inspires my work at Tahirih.

Education: Rockhurst University, BA

Hometown: Kansas