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Expanding Our Roots: Julie Yael Ward and Lilian Alvarez

"Expanding Our Roots: Global Conversations With 821" is an online interview series hosted by The 821 Project. The purpose of the series is to showcase the cultural diversity, global connections, and social consciousness of the people of southeast Louisiana as well as those who work to expand southeast Louisiana's roots to the world through works that promote social justice and global citizenship.

The series presents community organizers, community leaders, and residents living in southeast Louisiana who come from different parts of the world or who work to promote global citizenship, multiculturalism, and social justice in our regional community.

This interview is with Julie Yael Ward and Lilian Alvarez. Julie Yael and Lilian are both co-directors for Home is Here NOLA. Julie is an immigration attorney and has been an advocate for immigrants and refugees for almost 20 years. She spent much of her early career working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees domestically and abroad and has served as the Louisiana State Refugee Coordinator, as well as a Pro Bono Coordinator for attorneys representing unaccompanied immigrant children.

Originally from Guatemala, Lilian has lived experience being a newly arrived immigrant and understands the complexity of learning to navigate systems and cultural nuances. With over a decade of experience working in the non-profit sector, Lilian has dedicated her career to connecting and empowering others, challenging equity practices, and providing a space for understanding and solidarity – all while safely and intentionally increasing the visibility of seemingly invisible communities. Lilian managed traditional refugee resettlement programming for seven years. Prior to that, she was the Director of a small Kinship Care program and worked with at-risk youth in a counseling and group empowerment setting as well as through a national mentoring program.


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