Our Board of Directors
Liz is the JPIC Coordinator for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. She holds a B.S. in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago, an MDiv from Catholic Theological Union, and is completing her PhD in Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her areas of concentration are: anti-militarism, gender, racial justice issues and facilitating nonviolence training workshops.
Currently, Chris plys his trade as a Market Research Analyst for dscout. Previously he oversaw Sales and Community Outreach for two social enterprises, Crisp! Mobile Grocery & Top Box Foods, each with the mission to eliminate food deserts in urban/suburban communities. Chris cut his teeth grassroots organizing while at the employ of the 8th Day Center for Justice.
Kierra Jackson is a Yale University master's student in advanced practice nursing. She is pursuing her MSN as a certified nurse-midwife/women's health nurse practitioner. Kierra spends her days as a community health worker in women's health with a focus on pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. Her work is primarily in support of high-risk women and their families. Having spent five years working in development at an anti-hunger nonprofit, Kierra is passionate about development/fundraising for worthy causes. She currently resides in New Haven, CT, after nine years in Washington, DC.
Laura Vilim is a founding partner of Valdez Vilim & Wunrow, LLP. She focuses her practice in the area of immigration and nationality law, including family-based immigration, humanitarian immigration (asylum, VAWA, U Visas, T Visas and SIJS), naturalization, immigration appeals, and removal defense. She represents clients with cases before the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice.
Ms. Vilim also currently works as an adjunct professor at Valparaiso University School of Law, where she teaches and supervises the immigration law clinic. Prior to co-founding Valdez Vilim & Wunrow, LLP, Ms. Vilim practiced immigration law at a private firm in Chicago. She also served a 2-year term as an Attorney Advisor through the U.S. Attorney General Honors Program at the Chicago Immigration Court, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Department of Justice. She has a background in human rights and advocacy work, which she gained by working at Amnesty International before she became an attorney.
Ms. Vilim speaks Spanish. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and sits on the AILA EOIR Liaison Committee and Ethics Committee. Ms. Vilim obtained her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center with a Certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies. She obtained her B.A. magna cum laude in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame. She is admitted to practice law in Illinois.
Charity ryerson|Staff Representative
Charity Ryerson is a human rights advocate with over 10 years’ experience in the field. She has conducted labor rights and human rights monitoring, including anti-union violence investigations, throughout the Americas and Asia. Prior to founding CAL, Charity litigated complex international human rights cases under the Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act, including Does v. Chiquita Brands International, Saldana v. Occidental Petroleum, Balcero v. Drummond, and Arias/Quinteros v. Dyncorp. She received her Political Science B.A. from Loyola Chicago, and her J.D. from Georgetown. Charity is a member of the D.C. bar.*
*Charity Ryerson and Chris Byrnes alternate their seat on the board on an annual basis