Friends General Conference

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Love Thy Neighbor (No exceptions): Advocating for Welcome, Not Walls

photos courtesy FCNL
Evening Programs
Date and Time: 
Friday, July 5, 2019 - 7:00pm

Friends Committee on National Legislation Executive Secretary Diane Randall, Immigration and Refugee Policy Legislative Representative Hannah Graf Evans and AFSC Immigrant Rights Organizer Itzel Hernandez will speak on "Love Thy Neighbor (No exceptions): Advocating for Welcome, Not Walls".

The migration of millions of people across the globe who seek retreat from violent conflict, climate change and economic hardship is the reality of our world.  The United States has demonstrated the inability to compassionately or effectively address the plight of refugees and migrants, resulting in militarized and inhumane approaches to humanitarian crises and millions of individuals caught in legal limbo.  The Friends Committee on National Legislation has a long history of federal advocacy on immigration policies and F/friends across the country are lobbying legislators, protesting unjust policies and practices, and building community with our neighbors of all backgrounds.  Join this conversation on how advocates can faithfully love our neighbors (no exceptions) in our nation’s capital and in our local communities to bring about immediate and systemic changes for justice.

Hannah Graf Evans lobbies for compassionate immigration policies as the Legislative Representative, Immigration and Refugee Policy, for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Our immigration system should empower immigrants and the American communities to which they belong, lift up the voices of border communities, and ensure adequate protections for refugees, asylum-seekers and victims of trafficking. Hannah co-chairs the steering committee of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, made up of over 45 faith-based organizations.

Hannah graduated cum laude from Macalester College with a BA in Religious Studies, International Studies, and Arabic, concentrating on Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization. She is passionate about interfaith and transnational dialogue work including prior involvement with two State Department programs, the Study the United States Institute for Religious Pluralism and Democracy and the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative. She has worked at FCNL since 2014, with previous work with FCNL's Native American and campaign finance reform programs.

Hannah grew up in Jerusalem, Baltimore, Jakarta, and outside of Philadelphia.

Itzel Hernandez is an immigrant rights organizer with the American Friends Service Committee.  Born in Mexico, she immigrated to the U.S at the age of ten with her family. A Deferred Action For Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipient, she has seen firsthand the real life consequences of inhumane immigration policies. Itzel is passionate about engaging immigrant youth in political activism in a range of social issues and focuses her work on state initiatives to make New Jersey a welcoming state. An enthusiastic community volunteer she works with a number of local initiatives to improve services for mixed status and undocumented families.

Prior to working with AFSC, Itzel was part of the Friends Committee on National Legislation Advocacy Corps, where she lobbied for bipartisan federal legislation on climate change at her home district.

A graduate of New Jersey City University with dual degrees in National Security Studies and Political Science in her spare time she likes to read, travel, watch documentaries and spend time with friends.

Diane Randall is the Executive Secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Diane leads FCNL’s staff to effectively educate and lobby for the policies and legislative priorities established by FCNL’s General Committee. A lifelong advocate for peace and social justice, Diane is a fierce proponent for citizen engagement that advances policies and practices to create a better society for all.

Diane believes that Friends prophetic witness to work for a world that practices peace, equality, community, integrity and simplicity is often at odds with political life. This effort to pursue truth and to see ‘that of God in every person we meet’ are disciplines that shape FCNL’s patient and persistent approach to lobbying for legislation that can help create a more peaceful and just world. Diane came to FCNL in March, 2011 as the fourth Executive Secretary. Diane has led FCNL’s program expansion, including adding lobbyists and new programs to engage grassroots citizens, young adults and more Quakers to lobby for peace, justice and a sustainable planet. Diane travels widely on behalf of FCNL and represents a voice for Quaker advocacy in Washington on the Hill, within the faith community, in media, and throughout the United States.

Before coming to FCNL, Diane was Executive Director of Partnership for Strong Communities, a Connecticut-based non-profit organization providing leadership, advocacy, and policy development on solutions to homelessness, affordable housing and community development. Diane began her career as a high school English teacher and started working for peace in 1983 as the executive director of the Omaha Nuclear Freeze Campaign. Diane relocated to Connecticut in 1986 where she directed the state Network to Abolish the Death Penalty and worked for the Office of Urban Affairs of the Archdiocese of Hartford, launching a twenty-year career lobbying the state legislature. During that time, Diane became the first Executive Director of the Connecticut AIDS Residence Coalition.

Diane is a convinced Friend, and a member of Hartford Monthly Meeting, New England Yearly Meeting. Diane currently worships with Langley Hill Friends in Baltimore Yearly Meeting, and she relishes worshiping with Friends across the country while traveling for FCNL. She serves on the Corporation of Haverford College. She previously served on the Sidwell Friends School Board of Trustees, the Board of Advisors of the Earlham School of Religion, the CT Housing Finance Authority Board, the CT Public Defender Services Commission and the West Hartford Board of Education. Diane graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.S in Education. She is married to Roger Catlin and is the mother of Alex, Lillie and Nora; she always appreciates spending time with her family.

Diane enjoys walking in Washington, DC and in the natural world, reading literature and non-fiction, and cooking from the local farmer’s market.

Learn more about the Friends Committee on National Legislation

Learn more about American Friends Service Committee

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