Rebecca immigrated from China when she was ten years old; graduated from the University of Chicago with high honors and selected graduation speaker; and is tri-lingual in English, Mandarin, and Spanish. She has worked as a leader and organizer in the immigrant rights movement for 12 years, in part because her mother had a final deportation order for 19 years.
Rebecca was honored as “20 in their 20s” by Crains’ Business Chicago; is an Asian American Community Leadership honoree; and an Illinois Governor Jim Edgar Fellow. Rebecca’s work has been featured in the WSJ, Washington Post, New York Times, Texas Tribune, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Politico, and Axios, among others. She has testified before Congress multiple times.
Most recently she was the Interim Co-Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC). Before being appointed to this position, Rovika served as the Vice President of Development and Communications, leveraging a statewide rapid-response fundraising campaign in the wake of the 2016 presidential election to more than triple the organization’s budget in just four years and win key legislative victories including restoring driver’s licenses access to every New Yorkers regardless of immigration status. She also served as Interim Co-Executive Director of NYIC Action, the NYIC’s sister 501(c)4.
During her tenure as Co-Executive Director, the NYIC worked on many successful advocacy campaigns including the inclusion of mixed status families in stimulus payments, a Federal Small Business Administration program for $100 million for nonprofits working with small businesses, fixes to the PPP Program to be more inclusive of small businesses, and a New York State excluded worker’s fund of $2.1 billion, a first-of-its-kind in the country.
Rovika serves on the Board of Directors of Girls for Gender Equity and Neo Philanthropy Action Fund, and was the Chair of the Brooklyn Community Board 7 Committee on Census 2020. Rovika was named as a City and State’s 2021 Power 100 and 2021 Nonprofit Power 100.
Born and raised in Guyana, Rovika immigrated to Brooklyn, NY at age ten and was undocumented for a decade. As a member of an extended mixed status family, she brings lived experience and the hopes and aspirations of her family to her work. Rovika has lived with her husband in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for 20 years where they are now raising three children. Rovika is a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University.
He is a father of a 9-year-old little boy. After high school and during college, he started a few businesses to self-fund his education while attending Guilford College. While at Guilford, he was active with Soy Un Lider conference to help high school seniors navigate the college application process. He was also a part of Hispanos Unidos De Guilford. Yahel and his family are personally affected by immigration policies and reform, which is why he looks forward to working to improve the lives of immigrants in the Carolinas.
During college he was a summer intern for IBIC, and after graduating, he worked briefly as a constituent services caseworker for then-Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) before coming on as the Director of Suburban Outreach for IBIC.
He is now the Director of Outreach for ABIC specializing in building out chapter potential in the Midwest Region and relationship building in the Agriculture sector.
Irakere earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his J.D. from the NIU College of Law. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois.
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