Claudia Marchan, MBA
Claudia joined the NIJFON team in 2018 with a background in community organizing, community development and financial management. Claudia’s passion for community organizing developed while volunteering and working for a non for profit in Pilsen where she led various social justice issues around access to education, early childhood initiatives, affordable healthcare, and comprehensive immigration reform amongst others. Claudia also organized and fundraised for Fiesta del Sol, the largest Latino fundraiser festival in the Midwest. Claudia’s local community work also includes Quality-of-Life Planning in Chicago neighborhoods.
Claudia holds a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University in Accounting and Finance and an MBA from National Louis University (NLU) and is currently a part of the Community Psychology doctoral program at NLU where she is focusing her research on issues that she is passionate about: immigration justice and access to education with a focus on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Claudia was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon in Mexico and immigrated to the US at the age of 4. Claudia grew up in Chicago and brings her own experience as a DACAmented immigrant to her work. Claudia and her husband Angel are raising two children and hope to instill in them a love and passion for education and helping others.
Jenny Grobelski, J.D.
The daughter of once-undocumented immigrants from Poland, Jenny has been working to keep immigrants in the United States since 2005. Prior to her current role with Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors, she was the supervisor of the DePaul Asylum and Immigration Clinic’s inaugural U Visa Summer Volunteer Project, a student in DePaul’s Asylum and Immigration Clinic, and a volunteer at the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR). Jenny is also an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Chicago Bar Association, NLG Chicago’s Next Gen Committee, and NLG’s National Immigration Project. She received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 2005 and her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law in 2010.
Hanoch Kanhai Zamora, J.D.
Hanoch first joined NIJFON in the 2013 as a volunteer at the Aurora Clinic and continued volunteering throughout law school until he officially joined NIJFON as staff attorney in 2018. He was born in the U.S. to the son of immigrants from Grenada and Trinidad and migrant workers in the United States. After serving in Rockford, IL as an AmeriCorps VISTA, he went to law school, motivated to serve the legal needs of the immigrant community. In law school, Hanoch organized the National Latina/o Law Student Association’s moot court competition as NLLSA’s Attorney General in Boston, MA. He also received public interest awards from the Illinois State Bar Association, the Diversity Scholarship Foundation and Northern Illinois University College of Law for his pro-bono work.
Hanoch’s experiences gave him insight into human trafficking, social security disability benefits and homelessness, as well as Muslim civil rights under the travel ban. He is also active in a number of bar associations and currently serves as the Vice President of Public Relations for the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago. He received his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in 2010 and his Juris Doctor from NIU College of Law in 2017.
Agueda Garcia, Paralegal
Agueda Garcia was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015 with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. Her interest in religion and different cultures led her to travel to many countries. As a child of immigrants and a first generation American, she has found great satisfaction working for NIJFON as a paralegal working to help immigrants.
Ashley Santos, Legal Administrative Assistant
Ashley became a part of the NIJFON team in 2020 as the organization’s administrative legal assistant. Ashley is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who like many others came to the U.S in search of a better life. Her parent’s story and stories from friends, family and people in her community have inspired her to engage in work relating to immigration. Ashley is passionate about helping others and really enjoys serving her community through NIJFON. Ashley hopes to continue to fight for justice and uplift the voices and narratives of undocumented immigrants as she grows with the organization.
Elianne Bahena, Program Coordinator
After earning her bachelor’s degree in History with a concentration in Latin American Studies, Elianne entered the nonprofit world to explore her passion for advocacy and serving my community. Prior to joining NIJFON, she was the Volunteer Coordinator at NPH USA and the City Director at Mil Mujeres Legal Services Chicago. In addition to her current work, Elianne love to volunteer and support local efforts in the Little Village neighborhood where she grew up. Elianne currently serve as the Chair of the Mujeres’ Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC) and the Vice Chair of the Enlace Chicago Associate Board (ECAB). When she am not working or volunteering, you can find her spending time with my dog Simba at Harrison park or reading a good book. Elianne am currently reading Once I Was You by Maria Hinojosa and she greatly enjoys getting new book recommendations.
Sydney Liss-Abraham, Communications Coordinator
Sydney eagerly joined the NIJFON team as Communications Coordinator. Her responsibilities are to promote NIJFON’s mission on social media and inspire local communities to join our cause. Sydney graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Philosophy and a minor in English. She used her role as the Opinion Editor of her student newspaper to ensure that every sect of the student body was heard fairly and equally. She has experience working in public relations for a number of Chicago-based businesses, including non-profit organizations. She also worked as a legal assistant at a law firm. Sydney was recently admitted to law school and plans to use her education and passion for social justice to continue to advocate for underrepresented communities.