Barfonce BaldwinExecutive Director, GDC-Baltimore Region
As Executive Director of the GDC-Baltimore Region, Barfonce brings to bear fifteen years of executive level experience in the non-profit sector. At Tahirih, she leads the development and execution of strategy and implementation of Tahirih’s immigration, family law, and social services in the Greater DC-Baltimore Region. Barfonce ensures the delivery of high-quality legal and social services case management by engaging regional stakeholders, and overseeing the local office’s financial and operational integrity by nurturing and leading exceptional teams. From her previous roles in leading Tahirih’s development and fundraising across the region, she has built collaborative relationships with donors and funders to accomplish the critical work locally.
Prior to joining Tahirih, Barfonce served as Executive Director of the Capitol Hill Group Ministry (CHGM), a nonprofit that provides holistic support to individuals and families facing homelessness in Washington, DC. Prior to CHGM, she served as Senior Director and Chief Administration Officer of Central Union Mission, the oldest non-profit organization in Washington that provides safe shelter and transformative, compassionate care to individuals and families who live on the margin. Barfonce has a demonstrated passion and commitment for the work of Tahirih, having been one of Tahirih’s first supporters from its inception. Her strategic vision, strong leadership and exceptional management, and commitment to Tahirih’s work will allow the Greater DC office to improve efficiencies and increase its response to the urgent needs of immigrant women and girls in the region.
“I am inspired by Tahirih’s unique and unmatched ability to elevate, enable and empower immigrant women and girls press toward transformation and a higher quality of life with dignity and in safety.”
Education: Central Michigan University, MSA
Hometown: Alexandria, VA
Alexandra “Sasha” BershadImmigration and Family Law Attorney
Sasha initially joined Tahirih in Spring 2014 as a legal intern and then in Fall 2014 as a Volunteer Attorney, rejoining Tahirih in 2017. As Immigration and Family Law Attorney in the Greater DC office, she represents and advocates for immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence in immigration and domestic relations matters. She provides advice, counseling, and direct legal representation to clients in asylum, VAWA, T visa and U visa cases, and in family law matters such as divorce, custody, support, protective orders, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Prior to Tahirih, Sasha worked as Senior Direct Representation Attorney for Kids In Need of Defense (KIND). Sasha was the recipient of the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference (YLC) Significant Service Award for bar years 2015-16 and 2016-17 for her contributions as a Program Chair for the Immigrant Outreach Committee of the YLC. Sasha was born in Moldova and has spent time abroad in London, UK and Antigua, Guatemala.
“Every day, I am inspired by the courage and strength of the women and girls that Tahirih serves, and the opportunity to empower them to live with dignity, in a world free from violence. Alongside my passionate and dedicated colleagues, I am honored to help elevate the status of women worldwide, by transforming the life of one survivor at time.”
Education: University of California, Hastings College of the Law, JD; University of Maryland, College Park, BA
Languages: Spanish, Russian
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Isabel Alejandra GomezImmigration Attorney
Isabel joined Tahirih in 2019. As an Immigration Attorney with our Greater DC office, Isabel represents women and girls fleeing gender-based violence before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration Courts, U.S. Department of State, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. She provides advice, counseling, and direct legal representation to clients with asylum, VAWA, T visa and U visa cases. Isabel also assists in trainings and presentations for professionals and the general community. Prior to joining Tahirih, Isabel served as the judicial clerk for the Honorable Julie Breslow and the Honorable Sean Staples of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Before and during law school, Isabel served the Latino immigrant community by working with Ayuda, CASA de Maryland, Northern Virginia Family Services, and the U.S. Committee for Refugee and Immigrants
“I am inspired by the strength and bravery of the women and girls Tahirih serves. I am honored to be working alongside such a dedicated staff to protecting and uplifting women and girls from around the world.”
Education: American University, JD; Virginia Tech, BS
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia
Adilene Nunez HuangManaging Attorney
Adilene joined Tahirih in 2018. As an immigration attorney, Adilene provides Tahirih clients with an analysis of their immigration benefits options and represents clients before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration Courts, U.S. Department of State, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Adilene also serves as co-counsel to our pro-bono attorneys representing Tahirih clients.
Prior to joining Tahirih, Adilene served as associate attorney for Benach Collopy LLP, a boutique immigration law firm, for nearly four years. In 2017, Adilene authored A Practitioner’s Guide to Bond Issues (17-02 Immigration Briefings 1), which provides a detailed step-by-step guidance to practitioners on the ins and outs of seeking a client’s release from immigration custody. Adilene also served as editor of the Cancellation of Removal for Nonlawful Permanent Residents chapter in AILA’s The Waiver’s Book, 2nd Ed. Adilene is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and has served as a panelist on the state of prosecutorial discretion at AILA’s 2017 national conference.
“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
Hometown: Fremont, California
Adriana LópezSocial Services Program Manager
Adriana joined Tahirih in 2017 as a Social Services Program Manager in the Greater D.C. region. As a Program Manager, Adriana oversees the delivery of culturally sensitive and trauma- informed services and awareness for gender based violence. Prior to joining Tahirih, Adriana served as a Co-leader of the Regional Center of Sexual Violence Prevention at the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. 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
Brenda MelgarImmigration and Family Law Paralegal
Brenda Melgar joined Tahirih in 2019. As the Immigration and Family Law Paralegal in the Greater DC office, Brenda supports our attorneys with important legal tasks like preparing immigration forms and filings; client related work like scheduling and meeting with clients. Brenda comes to Tahirih with fifteen years of paralegal experience. Prior to Tahirih, Brenda was a Senior Paralegal at a private practice, immigration firm, where she gained her passion for helping her immigrant community.
“I am inspired by Tahirih’s commitment to serving courageous immigrant women and girls.”
Education: George Mason University, Paralegal Certificate
Hometown: Woodbridge, Virginia
Chelsea NaylorDOJ Accredited Representative and Immigration Law Paralegal
Chelsea Naylor works with clients in the Greater DC Office as a DOJ Accredited Representative. Prior to Tahirih, Chelsea was the Community Outreach Director with Habitat for Humanity of Trenton in New Jersey and FUTURO Program Manager with the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF). In 2016, she obtained her M.A. in International Law and Human Rights at the United Nations University in Costa Rica. While at the University, she also worked with migrants in the coffee plantations and contributed to upgrading the university’s sexual harassment policy. She now focuses on U Visas, T Visas, VAWA, and Adjustment of Status.
“Tahirih is one of the most truly client-centered organizations I have encountered. This focus on the women and girls we serve, rather than on our own ideas, egos, or plans, is what distinguishes a strong, effective organization from the rest.”
Education: United Nations University for Peace, M.A.; The College of New Jersey, B.A.
Hometown: Northfield, NJ
Anusce SanaiSupervising Attorney
Anusce Sanai joined Tahirih in 2012. As the immigration and family law supervising attorney, she represents clients in matters related to immigration remedies based on gender based violence as well as cases involving domestic relations issues. She has experience with petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), U-Visa and Asylum. In addition, her family law portfolio includes divorce and custody proceedings as well as spousal and child support petitions. Prior to joining Tahirih, she was an associate at Redmon, Peyton & Braswell, LLP and was handling high value real estate settlements while also maintaining her own sole practice as the Owner and Principal of the law office of Anusce Sanai, Attorney at law, PLLC. Before coming to the United States from Italy, Anusce lived in Israel for one year while volunteering at the Bahá’í World Center. She lives in Alexandria with her husband and two daughters.
“The women we serve inspire me because they embody resilience, strength, and courage.”
Education: New England School of Law, JD; University of Colorado at Boulder, BA
Languages: Italian and Farsi
Hometown: Lucca, Italy
Christine SpencerCommunity Engagement & Strategic Partnerships Manager
Christine joined Tahirih in 2012 and currently serves as Greater DC’s Community Engagement & Strategic Partnerships Manager. In this role, Christine works with local partners, the business community, and philanthropists to align their resources in support of Tahirih’s work and help achieve transformational change in the Greater DC area.
Prior to joining Tahirih Greater DC, Christine worked in a variety of roles in the nonprofit and government sectors in Texas and Washington, DC. Her most recent role was as Tahirih Houston’s Development Manager where she led the implementation of an annual fundraising strategy to support office growth and impact. Christine is also committed to volunteering with organizations, including the Buried Alive Project, Relation-Shift, and Baha’i Children’s classes.
“I feel incredibly humbled to work alongside resilient survivors and in our immigrant community fighting for a better society. Their vision brings us all closer to a world of justice and equality.”
Education: Texas Women’s University, MS; Texas A&M University, BS
Hometown: Portland, Texas
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