Linda Chavez is a senior fellow at the National Immigration Forum. Chavez authored Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation (Basic Books 1991), which the Denver Post described as a book that “should explode the stereotypes about Hispanics that have clouded the minds of patronizing liberals and xenophobic conservatives alike.” National Review described Chavez’s memoir, An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal (Basic Books 2002), as a “brilliant, provocative, and moving book.” In 2000, Chavez was honored by the Library of Congress as a “Living Legend” for her contributions to America’s cultural and historical legacy. In January 2001, Chavez was President George W. Bush’s nominee for Secretary of Labor until she withdrew her name from consideration.
Chavez has held a number of appointed positions, among them Chairman, National Commission on Migrant Education (1988-1992); White House Director of Public Liaison (1985); Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1983-1985); and she was a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States (1984-1986). Chavez was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Maryland in 1986. In 1992, she was elected by the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission to serve a four-year term as U.S. Expert to the U.N. Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.
Chavez was also editor of the prize-winning quarterly journal American Educator (1977-1983), published by the American Federation of Teachers, where she also served as assistant to AFT president Al Shanker (1982-1983) and assistant director of legislation (1975-1977).
Chavez serves on the Board of Directors of ABM Industries, Inc. a Fortune 500 company, as well as on boards of several non-profit organizations.
Chavez was born in Albuquerque, NM, on June 17, 1947, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado in 1970 and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from George Mason University in 2012. She currently resides in Silver Spring, MD.
Jonah Pfluger, Audio
Jonah Pfluger is a graduate student studying audio technology, computer music, and ethics in arts technology. Jonah is especially interested in the ethics of AI in the arts, as well as in the role that arts technologists have to play in expanding media and civic literacy via positive, productive, and open-minded use of communication technology. Jonah is an active composer of music and sound art.
Divya Mehrish, Writing and Research
Divya is a rising freshman at Stanford and a published writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction pieces. At RDI, Divya works as a Writing & Research Intern. She is also currently conducting research and working on data science analysis for a tech-focused health startup. Divya loves learning languages and hopes to pursue Russian and Arabic in college.
Trevor Woitsky, Development
Trevor Woitsky is a student at Fordham University, majoring in Political Science with a focus in International Relations. His main interests lie with East Asian and European foreign policy and international development. He has been an active participant in Model U.N. for four years and interned for the Gov. Cuomo campaign last summer. He hopes to pursue a career in non-profit work or international law and can be found reading historical biographies or training for powerlifting in his free time.
Sophie Huttner, Writing and Research
Sophie is a rising junior at Yale studying Global Affairs, with a focus on Latin America. Outside of class, she volunteers for legal aid groups and teaches English to new immigrants. She is also a leader of the Yale Interpretation Network, an organization providing free interpretation services to non-profits. At RDI, Sophie helps write newsletters and posts for the RDI publication, Democracy Examined. In her free time, she enjoys eating good food and learning new languages.
Emerson Monks, Development
Emerson Monks is a sophomore at Harvard University pursuing a primary concentration in History and Literature with a secondary focus in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. In college, Emerson works with several public service organizations including the Small Claims Advisory Service, Strong Women Strong Girls, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, and a Radcliffe task force on penal justice. She is also a staff writer for the Harvard Crimson and Harvard Undergraduate Law Review. She joined RDI due to a passion for nonprofit work and her dedication to participative government. In her free time, you can find her walking her puppy, Fitz.
Samaquias Lorta, Audio
Samaquia Lorta is an interdisciplinary artist from a Mexican migrant community in USA currently based in Berlin, Germany. With over 10 years of professional experience as a cellist and composer, Lorta has slowly moved towards new media formats such as audio-visual productions, 360 binaural video, motion-based installations, and VR interactive films that enhance his conceptual artistic ethos. Samaquias became an orphan at a young age and has grown into a nomadic lifestyle where his diverse skillset has enabled him to discuss topics such as mental health and ecological thought. Lorta has toured through 48 states in the USA as a dancer while his musical career has brought him to Germany, Austria, Colombia, and Nicaragua. Within Berlin, Samaquias has performed in venues such as ACUD MACHT NEU, Dock 11, Suicide Circus, Sari Sari, and Funkhaus.