Omar Riojas, President
Omar Riojas is a partner at Kelley, Goldfarb, Huck, Roth & Riojas, PLLC. He concentrates in complex and high-stakes commercial litigation. Omar has been recognized by Washington Super Lawyers magazine as among “The Top 100” attorneys in Washington. He has also been repeatedly named been named a “Super Lawyer” and “Rising Star” by Washington Super Lawyers magazine. Omar has been at the forefront of the nationwide issue of a state’s authority to bring parental termination actions against parents detained due to immigration status. His pro bono cases involving undocumented immigrants who lost their parental rights as a result of their detention have garnered international media coverage in such outlets as The New York Times, ABC World News, Nightline, AP, Univision, and CNN, as well as attention from foreign government officials and several advocacy organizations. Due to his cutting-edge work, Omar was invited to participate in a United States Congressional briefing on legislation to protect children and families impacted by immigration enforcement. Omar was also invited to address Mexico's National Human Rights Commission on the protection of indigenous parents' rights in the United States. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project honored Omar with its Amicus Award, in recognition of his national work on the protection of immigrants' civil rights. Omar is a graduate of the University of Washington and Stanford Law School.
Luanda Arai, Secretary
Luanda manages the Washington Youth & Families Fund at Building Changes. Through grantmaking and knowledge sharing, she helps build the capacity of service providers to make homelessness rare, brief and one time across Washington State. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Luanda has lived in the Seattle area for 19 years. She followed a path familiar to countless immigrants, working in the family restaurant for many years and being the first in her family to complete a post-secondary degree.
Julie Frye, Treasurer
As Senior Portfolio Manager at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Julie brings financing solutions to challenges within the global health and U.S. education sectors. Prior to joining the foundation, she lived in Latin America partnering with a community-based microfinance program where she worked with many families split apart out of economic necessity. Julie earned two degrees in Business Administration, one in Accounting and the other in Finance from Gonzaga University.
Richa Arora, Board Member
Richa Arora is a software engineer at Moz, a Seattle startup that specializes in SEO. Richa moved to Seattle in 2010, and became a client of NWIRP in 2011. She retrained to be a software engineer through the Ada Developers Academy, an intensive software development training program for women in Seattle. While at Ada, she created a custom case database program for NWIRP. Richa previously volunteered as a tax preparer and tax preparation instructor for United Way of King County. Richa has a degree in Physics from the University of Delhi.
Susi Collins, Board Member
Susi Collins is a Project Coordinator for the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to this role, she worked for the Nutrition and Agriculture Advocacy & Communications team as a Project Manager and with the Development Policy and Finance team as a Program Assistant. For the past two years, Susi has co-led Latinos in Philanthropy, one out of five employee resource groups at the foundation.
Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, she worked as an Outreach Manager at the Cultures of Resistance Network, a family foundation supporting grassroots social justice groups in the developing world. Before then, she was an event planner at Starwood Hotels & Resorts in San Francisco.
She received a Master of Nonprofit Administration from University of San Francisco and serves on the board of directors for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Originally from Lima, Peru, she lives in Seattle with her husband Shane, their son, and her mother Pilar. She cherishes living in a multigenerational, multicultural home and enjoys hiking.
Renata Garcia, Board Member
Renata is the Innovative Licensing Programs Manager at the Washington State Bar Association. She previously worked at Sea Mar Community Health Centers, overseeing the delivery of health and social services to under-served patients, and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, representing survivors of domestic violence. Renata received her J.D. and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington. Renata emigrated from Brazil and is the first in her family to live abroad.
Monika Batra Kashyap, Board Member
Monika Batra Kashyap is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Seattle University School of Law and the former Associate Director of its Access to Justice Institute where she developed social justice programming for law students. Monika has also worked as an immigration attorney at the law firm of Gibbs, Houston & Pauw in Seattle, where she represented detained and non-detained individuals in removal proceedings, and as an adjunct professor of the Immigration Clinic at Seattle University School of Law. Monika was also an immigration attorney/Equal Justice Works Fellow in New York City, where she represented immigrant youth in foster care. Before law school, she did extensive community organizing and anti-trafficking work within the South Asian immigrant domestic worker community in New York City. Monika received her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law and her B.A. in Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University.
Wamaitha Kiarie Board Member
Wamaitha is currently a graduate student at the Evans School of Public Policy focusing on Public Policy Analysis & Evaluation and International Development. Prior to that, she worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helping advance Vaccine Delivery and College Ready strategies. She relocated to the US 9 years ago from Kenya and was a client of NWIRP in 2011. She has previously volunteered as a tax preparer for the United Way of King County. Wamaitha has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Nairobi.
Kristen Kussmann, Board Member
Kristen Kussmann is Of Counsel at Douglas Drachler McKee & Gilbrough. Prior to that, she worked at a labor union. She also served as a Staff Attorney at the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. Kristen received her JD from the University of Washington and her BA Magna Cum Laude with High Honors from Mount Holyoke College.
Sara Litt, Board Member
Sara is a corporate lawyer formerly with Simpson Thacher and Bartlett and the Courtroom Television Network. She has also been a consultant to a variety of non profits. She has served on a number of boards, including American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an organization that supports grassroots groups in the developing world. Originally from Manhattan, Sara moved to Seattle two years ago. In Seattle she serves on the campaign committee of Landesa and on the board of Jewish Family Services. Sara is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia Law School and received her LL.M. in International Law, with an emphasis on human rights, from New York University Law School.
Teresa Mosqueda, Board Member
Teresa Mosqueda grew up in Olympia, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, and a Master of Public Administration degree with a focus in health policy from The Evergreen State College. Mosqueda works at the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO as the Political and Strategic Campaign Director. She leads the labor council’s work on raising wages, providing sick leave, working with community on naturalization and citizenship issues, and on pushing for progressive revenue reform. Mosqueda encourages union members, women and people of color to run for office and become political champions for working people. Mosqueda helped craft and lead the statewide initiative to provide sick leave for all Washington workers, and raise the state’s minimum wage.
Steve Severin, Board Member
Steve is a retired tax partner from Deloitte LLP where he practiced for over 36 years. He primary focus was serving large multinational corporations. In addition, in the last six years before retiring he had a leadership role in Deloitte’s national office. He is both a CPA (WA) and attorney (NY-retired) with Bachelors and Masters from Lehigh University. He has a law degree from Fordham University and a Masters of Law in Taxation from New York University. He has been involved with many charitable organizations including Northwest Defenders, City Club and Seattle Rotary. He was also on the adjunct faculty at University of Washington Law School.