Our Initiatives

Our Mission

The Hudson Valley Community Coalition works to build communities that foster social justice and cultural
awareness. Working with immigrants in the Hudson Valley, we emphasize advocacy, leadership
development and community organizing.


Our Initiatives

Mobile Immigration Clinic. Our Mobile Immigration Clinic travels to areas throughout the Hudson Valley, providing skilled immigration legal consultations for DACA (Deferred Action) and all forms of immigration relief. We partner with community organizations in convenient locations to provide low cost, expert help. Se habla español.

Immigrant Leadership Development, Advocacy and Organizing. Through participation in leadership summits, rallies, lobby visits and other events, members have an active voice in
the creation of more just laws and policies.  

Cross Cultural Arts Collaboration. 
Working with filmmakers, writers and artists in the U.S. and around the world, we collaborate on projects that highlight our common struggles and help us create positive social change in our communities.

Civic Engagement. 
Through education, Know Your Rights workshops and Get Out the Vote campaigns, we work to empower ourselves to build a more inclusive, just and democratic society.

To learn more about any of these initiatives, or how you can get involved, email us at info@hvccoalition.org

HVCC Board 2017

Maria Jaime, President

Born in Mexicali, Mexico, Maria moved to the U.S. when she was two years old. A few months later, her life as an undocumented immigrant began.She excelled through the NY public school system and was able to fund her college education with several part-time jobs and private scholarships. It was in college where she began to own her immigration status and become more involved in activism. In 2010, she co-founded the Westchester Dream Team, a chapter of the New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC), with Marlen Fernandez. In May 2013, she graduated from Manhattanville College with a Bachelors in Mathematics & International Management.  After DACA was enacted, she was able to find a job in her field as a Marketing Analyst. Throughout college she was involved with the Hudson Valley Community Coalition, became a member of the Board in 2015 and now serves as the Board President.

Carolyn Martínez-Class, Vice-President

Carolyn Martinez-Class is a student, organizer, and older sister. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida as part of a mixed-status family. At age eleven, her father was detained and deported. This experience has colored much of her work in adulthood. Carolyn is currently a senior at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY where she studies public policy, with a focus on migration. Her work explores questions of citizenship, inclusion and marginality. Carolyn has also served multiple organizations including Sarah Lawrence for Immigration Advocacy, the Women’s Freedom Conference and most recently the Hudson Valley Community Coalition. She has worked in development, communications and community organizing around the country. Carolyn approaches advocacy and organizing with an intersectional lens. She places high value on the lived experiences of directly impacted folks. Her efforts in academia and activism are informed by her desire to protect her communities.

Pouyan Darian, Secretary

Pouyan Darian studied Philosophy, Politics, and Law at Binghamton University and soon thereafter graduated from Pace University School of Law with honors. During his final year of law school, Mr. Darian was immersed in Pace's Immigration Justice Clinic, which allowed him to explore the immigration process which his parents navigated little more than a decade prior. Upon graduation, Mr. Darian was awarded a post-graduate fellowship with the Pace Community Law Practice, a community based non-profit legal service provider, where he gained substantial experience handling family-based immigration petitions and litigating removal defense cases. He founded a private immigration law firm in 2014. Mr. Darian focuses his practice within the field of immigration law and represents a diverse range of clients. He regularly appears in Immigration Court on behalf of his clients to prevent their deportation from the United States, even when the removal proceeding was triggered by a criminal conviction. He has obtained visas, employment authorization (work permits), "green cards" (Permanent Resident Cards), and citizenship for his clients. He has helped families navigate consular offices abroad and the adjustment of status process in the United States. In addition to his experience litigating removal defense cases in various Immigration Courts, Mr. Darian also works with children and crime victims to ensure that they receive the immigration benefits that they deserve.

Allison Walsh

The granddaughter of immigrants who were lucky to emigrate to the United States at a time when immigration was open, Allison Walsh has long supported immigrant rights organizations on a pro bono basis.  Allison is a corporate lawyer with expertise in government and not for profit law, finance, in particular sustainable and impact investing, and employment laws, including immigration issues. She is committed to social justice and environmental protection, and she is proud to support HVCC and the immigrant community in the Hudson Valley region.

William Kaung

William Kaung is a lifetime member of the Westchester & Hudson Valley Chapter of The Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA). He is currently the Vice President – Advocacy and a member of the chapter’s board. He also served as the Vice President of Finance and member of the Executive Council of the OCA National (2015 – 2016). OCA is a national organization advocating for the rights of Asian Pacific Islander (APIA) rights in USA. Bill is a founding member and has served on the Executive Committee of HVCC, and also the NYS Intergeneration Networking Group (NYSIgN) and We Are Westchester, a coalition of the Not-for-Profit Advocacy groups in Westchester County. He is a member of the Pace University, Lubin School Alumni Board’s Student Relations Committee. Bill is also a member of the Old Guard of White Plains, a senior retired professional men's group. He studied accounting at Pace University, New York City, AAS, and continued his studies at Syracuse University, B.S. in Finance, and graduate studies at Iona College, MBA. He worked over 35 years in the Life Insurance Industry. He had extensive experience in Accounting, Finance, Controllership, Administration and Operation of the Life Insurance Companies. He served in the U. S. Army from 1966 to 1968.

Sandra Moncada

Sandra was born in Lima, Peru and arrived in the United States in 1987, a month short of her 10th birthday. Sandra is first generation college graduate. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Hunter College in 2000. She worked as a mental health case manager for a non-profit organization and it was there where she began to see the daily impact certain broken systems had on impoverished communities, in particular communities that were predominately of Latino descent and African American. In 2008, she received her Masters Degree in Social Work from Yeshiva University Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Sandra has worked as an advocate, mental health clinician, and school social worker within communities throughout NYC and Westchester County for over 10 years. Her ability to engage and empower Latino families is related to her own experiences as an undocumented immigrant, something that she has never forgotten. Currently she is a dedicated mother of three children and continues her civic duties as a parent advocate in her children's school district.

Miriam Lacroix

Miriam Lacroix’s passion for public interest and human rights work began at a young age and continued through college and law school. In college, Miriam was an intern in the office of a U.S. Senator and eventually went on to work for New York State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins as a Constituent Services Liaison, where she assisted residents of Westchester County with various issues pertaining to the Department of Social Services, Medicare, Medicaid, and housing. It was very common for her to receive calls from constituents who really needed immigration-related help, but having no one to send them to.

Miriam graduated with high honors from Pace University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, focusing on civil rights and international human rights issues. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree Miriam obtained her Juris Doctor from Pace University School of Law, where she gained invaluable experience exploring the immigration process. During her final year in law school, she was a student attorney in the Immigrant Justice Clinic, where she represented a broad range of clients including two young girls from Senegal seeking to avoid genital mutilation and forced marriage.

After graduation, Miriam was chosen to serve as a Justice Fellow in the Immigrant Justice Corps, a program initiated by Chief Judge Robert Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals as a response to crisis in legal representation for immigrants. She was placed at the City Bar Justice Center in New York, NY where she, for a period of two years, provided high-quality, pro bono legal assistance including: naturalization, deportation defense, and affirmative applications for juveniles and victims of crime, domestic violence, and human trafficking.

As the daughter of a Haitian immigrant, Miriam’s commitment to the immigrant community stems from her father’s experience with the U.S. immigration system. She understands the harsh realities that the complex immigration laws present for individuals and families, often leaving them without options and forcing families to be apart. It is because of this that she has dedicated herself and continues to dedicate herself to providing compassionate, high-quality legal services to immigrants.

Guisela Marroquín
Guisela Marroquín is an immigrant from Guatemala. From a young age, she became a natural advocate as a result of the adversities she and her family encountered. Guisela’s Latina identity instilled in her a strong sense of community and taught her about the resilient spirit of people often living at the margins of society. Guisela pursued social justice through education—leading her to Community Organizing as a means of empowerment and transformative change. With a deeper understanding of systems and policy, Guisela made the connection between obstacles she has faced and the issues that affect other marginalized groups. Guisela operates at the intersection of different social groups – from farmworkers to those who have faced police violence – employing empathy as a strategy for empowerment and change.

Guisela joined the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) in 2013 and currently serves as the Regional Organizer for the Lower Hudson Valley and Long Island chapter offices. In this role, she works to dismantle systems of oppression that plague communities by connecting public policy with grassroots advocacy. Through this community collaboration, she has worked with Hudson Valley Community Coalition and their partners in projects dealing with detention practices of local police departments and local jails, as well as advocating for statewide reforms protecting worker’s rights and immigrant communities.

HVCC Staff

Luís Yumbla, Executive Director

Luís was born in a small town near the city of Cuenca, Ecuador. A journalist there, he graduated from State University of Cuenca in Communications Science. He migrated to the U.S. in 1994. From a young age he has been involved in social justice movements. In the U.S., he earned a degree in Computer Science at New York University, class of 2004, and then opened a business named COPROSUR, offering computer support and Information technologies consulting. Luís is involved in several organizations that fight for justice, peace and dignity for all. 

Our History 
HVCC was founded in 2008 by a group of concerned residents of the lower Hudson Valley to push back on anti-immigrant initiatives and demagoguery. Founding members included Frank Baraff, Mariana Boneo, Carola Bracco, Seth Freach, Gail Golden, Graciela Heymann, Bill Kaung, Nada Khader, Walfre Martinez, Williams Melendez, Vanessa Merton, John McBride, Irwin Nesoff, Marisa O'Leary, Norma Pereira, Laura Porter, Luis Quiros, Juan Pablo Ramirez, John Riley, Lisa Velazquez, Vilma Velez, Margaret Yonco-Haines, and Patrick Young. 

With foundational support from The Elias Foundation and fiscal sponsorship of the Westchester Hispanic Coalition, HVCC established a board of advisors and staff positions and joined the New York Immigration Coalition, the statewide advocacy organization. HVCC began to engage the support and cooperation of other groups - service providers, educational institutions, religious organizations, and individuals in the Hudson Valley to advance our vision of creating more just communities. 

A primary focus of HVCC has always been advocacy: to facilitate the means by which immigrants and cultural minorities 
may have an active voice in the creation of more just laws for all. 

Betsy Palmieri became the first Executive Director, serving from 2008 through June 2016. After serving the community in many capacities, Norma Pereira became HVCC’s first Director of Community Outreach in 2009, serving through 2013.

Throughout the years our coalition has benefited from the creativity and efforts of several interns, executive assistants and project coordinators such as Kerry Coughlin, Kevin Tejada, Paul Yumbla, Sarah Burpee, Laura Garcia, Jonathan Stribling-Uss, and Julia Ramirez. Luís Yumbla became HVCC’s Director of Community Outreach in 2015 and has expanded upon Norma’s work in the lower Hudson Valley. In July 2016, Mayra Hidalgo Salazar became Executive Director of HVCC.  

With the support, guidance and hard work of dedicated activists, organizations and community members, HVCC’s focus has grown to include a wide range of advocacy-centered initiatives and activities in service to and in collaboration with immigrants in the Hudson Valley.  Along with our many wonderful partners, we continue to pursue our mission of building communities that foster social justice and cultural awareness, by working with immigrants and emphasizing community organizing, advocacy and leadership development.