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King County Immigrant and Refugee Commission leadership:

Chair:
Jena Yang
irc11@kingcounty.gov

Vice Chair:
Bilan Aden
irc13@kingcounty.gov


COMMISSIONERS

Fo-Ching-Thumb 

King County Council District: 6 

Contact Email: irc1@kingcounty.gov

Fo-Ching Lu is President of SYL Foundation, a nonprofit organization she formed in 2008 that combines compassion and philanthropy with strategic grant-making to advance quality health care and education for all. The Foundation prioritizes funding for immigrant and refugee-serving organizations and operates the Lotus Scholarship program supporting immigrant and refugee students through college. Prior to SYL Foundation, Fo-Ching was Intellectual Property Counsel for the French luxury company, Chanel, first in New York City, and then in Geneva, Switzerland, where she established a new in-house legal department.  Fo-Ching began her career with Greenberg Traurig LLP's Intellectual Property group and worked for nonprofits in New York City.  She has served as Vice President and board member of the Asian Bar Association of Washington (ABAW) and helps to lead a Seattle-area funder collaborative around immigrant and refugee issues.  Fo-Ching immigrated to the U.S. as a child and remains active in the local Buddhist community within which she was raised.


Carlos-Michel

King County Council District: 9

Contact Email: irc2@kingcounty.gov
 

 

 

Carlos is a 17-year-old Mexican American in his senior year of high school. He grew up in the Renton Highlands area and has taken advantage of many leadership opportunities available to him or pursued on his own. Many would describe Carlos as a “go-getter” and an outgoing person. Carlos currently serves on the Hazen High School ASB Executive Board as the ASB Parliamentarian and will be attending SPU for Nursing. Carlos believes that the youth voice is essential and is looking forward to offering his perspective to King County’s Immigrant and Refugee Commission.  


HumaZarif-thumb

 King County Council District: 3

Contact Email: irc3@kingcounty.gov

 

Huma Zarif is a visibly Muslim woman and first-generation refugee with a professional background as both a social worker and attorney. Throughout her career Huma has been an advocate for immigrant and refugee communities including at Harborview and Swedish Medical Centers where she assisted patients to navigate the complex health care system and access needed services and social supports; as a Board member at Chaya (now API-Chaya) to ensure Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian survivors of violence were able to get to safety; while volunteering at HealthRight International conducting mental health assessments for asylum applicants; as a Steering Committee member of the Protecting Immigrant Families – Washington (PIF-WA) coalition dispelling misinformation about consequences of public benefit use on immigration status; and as the policy lead for the Health Equity for Immigrants Campaign seeking health coverage parity for all Washingtonians regardless of immigration status. Huma strives to be an equity and social justice champion and is particularly passionate about health equity as a person’s characteristics and circumstances, i.e., race, ethnicity, immigration status, nationality, religious beliefs, language proficiency, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, income level, etc., should not predict their health outcomes.


JacobTaylorMosquera-thumb
King County Council District: 5

Contact Email: irc4@kingcounty.gov 

Jacob Taylor-Mosquera was born in Colombia and adopted to Washington State. He is an enthusiastic people connector in the Latinx community as well as the extensive international adoptee community. Jacob provides informal cultural and linguistic consulting to other Latin American adoptees across the U.S., Europe and Australia. He completed his undergraduate studies at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma and his master’s degree at the Universiteit Leiden in Leiden, Netherlands. Additionally, Jacob just completed his Graduate Certificate in Public Administration at Seattle University and holds a certificate in the Rights of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons from the Global Human Rights Education and Training Center. After serving in the Peace Corps in Panama, Jacob also volunteered, worked and/or studied in Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, The Netherlands and Germany. Currently, he volunteers with Movimiento AfroLatino Seattle and teaches Spanish and history at local private and public educational institutions. He is very excited to contribute to the King County Immigrant & Refugee Commission to ensure King County is a welcoming place for all.


KwadwoOwareJr-thumb
 

King County Council District: 4

Contact Email: irc5@kingcounty.gov

Kwadwo is a resident of Seattle. He served as the President of the Washington State Coalition of African Community Leaders which is a coalition working together to address common issues/challenges facing African immigrant and refugee communities and organizations in WA State. He is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the coalition. In addition, he as been volunteering with “Soccer Without Borders Seattle” which serves newcomer immigrant, refugee and asylee youth through soccer programs in King County. Kwadwo is an avid volunteer who loves giving back to the community. He speaks many different languages and is passionate about diversity, inclusion and equity as well as the empowerment of the immigrant and refugee communities.


JuanitaSalinasAguila

King County Council District:  5

Contact Email: irc6@kingcounty.gov

  Juanita was born in Seattle to Salvadoran immigrants. Her family’s immigration story and childhood experiences drive her commitment to racial, social, and economic justice for communities of color. Juanita holds a B.A. from Western Washington University in American Cultural Studies, and a master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship and Change from Pepperdine University in California. Juanita Salinas-Aguila works for the Enterprise Seattle and oversees the Early Learning Facilities Fund work through the Home and Hope Initiative.


King County Council District 5

As a recently immigrated senior, Tecle shares the feelings, needs, and challenges immigrants face in attaining access to culturally appropriate information, resources, and services. He has an extensive background in both education and work experiences in engaging with immigrants and refugees, including his most recent position as a Family Support Specialist for Open Doors for Multicultural Families in Kent, WA., where he supports culturally and linguistically diverse immigrant families in navigating resources and services, advocating and providing language support to families in IEP meetings. Tecle prides himself with his growing knowledge regarding the need to increase services and resources for immigrant and refugee populations that are living with disabilities, including navigation, language access and advocacy.

 

NimcoBulale 

King County Council District: 5

Contact Email: irc8@kingcounty.gov

 

Nimco Bulale is an Education Program Manager at OneAmerica. She has extensive experience working with community-based organizations and coalitions that work to strengthen the voices of disenfranchised communities to promote a more just society. Nimco was born in Mogadishu, Somalia and raised in Seattle. Nimco is fluent in Somali and proficient in Spanish. She received her Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit leadership and local government administration from Seattle University. Previously, Nimco attended the University of Washington where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a focus on foreign policy, diplomacy, peace and security. Nimco volunteers with various community-based organizations and coalitions that work to strengthen the voices of disenfranchised communities to promote a more just society. She is a Board Member of the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition and is a Brainerd Fellow with Social Venture Partners. She also serves on the “Our Best” Advisory Council, the City of Seattle’s first ever initiative specifically aimed at expanding opportunity and improving life outcomes for young black men and boys in education, health, employment, safety and positive connections to caring adults.

Nimco is passionate about closing the achievement gap in education, empowering refugee and immigrant communities, and breaking down the systemic barriers to opportunity. Moreover, Nimco is committed to working to address the root causes of injustice, building power, and creating equitable change in her community. During her free time Nimco enjoys traveling, discovering new coffee shops, spending time with her family, as well as enjoying Seattle’s impressive selection of restaurants.



MohamedBakr 

King County Council District: 6

Contact Email: irc9@kingcounty.gov

Mohamed Bakr is an Eastside resident and a first generation immigrant from Sudan. Mohamed is an Advocate for underrepresented and marginalized communities, passionate about community engagement, equity in education, empowering immigrants and social justice. He is a technical professional skilled In digital marketing for non-profit organizations. In addition, he is a trainer in Islamic culture, cultural competency and Islamophobia for law enforcement agencies, school districts and nonprofit organizations.

Mohamed is a member of BDAN
(Bellevue Diversity Advisory Network) in the City of Bellevue. Mohammed is a founder of the MCNA (Muslim Community & Neighborhood Association). MCNA reached more than 6000 Muslims and Non Muslims in community engagement activities in 2 year period. Mohamed is a founder of the Immigrant PTA (The first PTA in the US, to directly offer support and education for Immigrant families and students), and the “Muslim Parent group" in the Eastside school districts. He is also working on establishing a certificate of “Adaptive Leadership for Muslims”.

Mohamed holds a BSC in Computer Engineering and MBA in Marketing. He is certified in CERT/FEMA TOT and CPR/First Aid/EAD trainer. 


Lalita-Uppala-ThumbKing County Council District: 9

Contact Email: irc10@kingcounty.gov

 

Lalita is a resident of Bellevue WA is an immigrant of India. Ms. Uppala serves as Interim President and Director, Community Program for the IAWW, CAPAA Commissioner (Washington State Commission on Asian and Pacific American Affairs) and a trustee for the King County Library System. Ms. Uppala has been a passionate advocate for the community for over fifteen years working on a wide range of issues from youth and women empowerment to addressing isolation among seniors, driving civic engagement and organizing community conversations. She strives each day to find innovative ways to engage and include under-represented communities and has centered her efforts on equity and social justice.

*IACS is formerly known as India Association of Western WA, IAWW.


Minal-Thumb

King County Council District: 2

Contact Email: irc11@kingcounty.gov
 

 

Jena Yang is one and half generation Korean American who achieved her Masters in Social Work with the concentration in community-centered integrative practice and prevention at the University of Washington. She received the Certificate in Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation and continued to facilitate dialogues around social identities, personal understanding of power, privilege and oppression, and alliance building. Her passion led her to work with multi-cultural community organizations where she earned a reputation for building collaboration as a member of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. During her time as E3! Ambassador for White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and a staff at Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution, she worked with federal agencies, South Seattle College and community based organizations to improve the quality of life and opportunity for AAPI community. She previously worked for US Senator Maria Cantwell as the Constituent Service Representative, handling various issues with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State. Currently she is the Casework Director for Congressman Adam Smith, managing constituents services and grant program.  


 

 GulSiddiqi

King County Council District: 4

Contact Email: irc12@kingcounty.gov


Gul originally immigrated from India, and recently relocated from Chandler, Arizona to Seattle, Washington in 2020. Gul’s passion and work with refugees started in 2010, when she served as a Refugee Coordinator with American Muslim Women’s Association. In 2015, Gul was awarded the Refugee Champion Award by the Department of Economic Security of the State of Arizona. Gul currently serves as a Regional Manager for Helping Hand for Relief and Development, and international humanitarian organization. She’s held this title in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, and has become a passionate advocate and a voice for the most vulnerable refugee populations throughout her many years of service. In 2016 and 2018, Gul visited Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and continued upon her return to be the voice for the Syrian & Palestinian refugees suffering through the refugee crisis. In 2018, Gul was the recipient of the Inspiring Woman Award from the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona (ISBA). In 2019, Gul received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Association of Pakistani Physicians National Association (APPNA). Gul is grateful to join the Commission and hopes to continue addressing the challenges facing the diverse immigrant and refugee communities that make up King County.


King County Council District:  8

Contact Email: irc13@kingcounty.gov

The Commission meets monthly beginning in fall of 2018, and will work to achieve fair and equitable access to county services for immigrant and refugee communities, improve opportunities for civic engagement, set annual goals, and participate in important dialogue on County policies and practices that impact the community.

To learn more about the details of Ordinance 18653 for the establishment of a King County immigrant and refugee commission please click here .

 

 

For more information, please contact:

Cheryse Ishii
Office of Equity and Social Justice
King County Executive Office
401 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
cishii@kingcounty.gov
206.477.6608
Senayet Negusse
Office of Equity and Social Justice
King County Executive Office
401 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
snegusse@kingcounty.gov
206.580.8013
Reeni Nair
King County Council
Staff
516 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
reeni.nair@kingcounty.gov
206.477.4978


Current and Former Members Share About the Commission:

Monserrat Padilla  Minal Kode Ghassemieh

Medard Ngueita  Fo-Ching Lu

Lalita Uppala  Muhammad Jan Ofuq