We have over 35 years of combined professional experience in immigration legal services for the LGBTQIA+ community, and we've helped over 700 LGBTQIA+ immigrants obtain asylum in the United States with a 99% success rate.
We are an independent non-profit 501(c)3 organization and are not affiliated with or funded by the US government.
Angelita graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Political Science. Prior to joining the Oasis team, she worked in workforce and youth development at nonprofits in San Francisco. The daughter of Central American immigrants, Angelita is passionate about immigrant rights and has volunteered for the San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative and the East Bay Naturalization Collaborative. In her free time, Angelita enjoys playing music, walking her friend’s dog June, and looking at memes on the bird app.
Melissa is a graduate of Boston College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English. Prior to working at Oasis, she served as a mentor to young adults with Autism, worked as the Outreach Coordinator for Education and Community Engagement at a local non-profit arts organization, and volunteered at a studio where she supported artists with a wide range of disabilities. Melissa is now engaged in promotion and fundraising to support the incredible work of the Oasis staff, increasing the visibility and capacity of the organization amongst community members and donors alike.
Ari graduated from UC Berkeley Law School in May 2018 and will start a one-year Tom Steel Fellowship from the Pride Law Fund in September 2018. Ari has interned with Catholic Charities of the East Bay, California Rural Legal Assistance, and the USCIS Ombudsman’s Office. At Oasis, Ari will represent clients directly, provide replicable trainings for queer immigrants regarding workplace, housing, and public benefits rights, advocate for increased provision of public benefits and services for queer asylees, and develop a coalition of LGBTQIA+ sensitive service providers to facilitate issue-specific referrals and advocate for system-wide improvements.
Rachel is a graduate of New York University School of Law. Prior to Oasis, she practiced immigration law at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant where she helped run the LGBTQ/HIV Asylum Program and supervised pro bono attorneys and law students. Rachel also worked as an Assistant Public Defender for three years in Miami-Dade. During law school she interned for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and Make the Road New York, an immigrant rights advocacy organization.
Anna worked as a software engineer before dedicating herself to non-profit legal immigration services. During her ten years as a full-time volunteer at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC), she became a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative specializing in U Visa and affirmative asylum cases. At EBSC, Anna established EBSC’s U Visa Program for immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. At Oasis, Anna is now a Department of Justice Accredited Representative with full accreditation.
Connor graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2017 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Spanish. He loves learning other languages and has taken Arabic and German classes and spent time working on an economics research project in Germany. While studying at UC Berkeley, he worked as a volunteer and as a part-time employee in the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant’s LGBTQ/HIV Asylum Program, TPS program, and Residency Program. At Oasis, Connor is a Department of Justice Accredited Representative.
Nicholas graduated from Stanford University in June 2017 with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. Nicholas was editor of the National Section of the Stanford Political Journal and previously interned in Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. Nicholas is a triple citizen (US, Brazil, Ireland) and speaks Portuguese and Spanish. At Oasis, he works primarily with clients to prepare their asylum cases. Nicholas is a Department of Justice Accredited Representative.
Maria Elena graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in psychology and worked in legal immigration services at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) for fourteen years. She served as Coordinator of EBSC’s Asylum Program and was also a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative. At EBSC, Maria Elena discovered her passion for serving the LGBTQIA+ community, and started EBSC’s LGBTQ/HIV Asylum Program in 2012, filing over 200 cases per year. At Oasis, Maria Elena is also a Department of Justice Accredited Representative.
Caroline is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar in June of 2013. Prior to Oasis, she was an Emerson Legal Fellow at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) for four years. At EBSC, she oversaw the Program for Unaccompanied Minors. Caroline has dedicated her career to social justice issues, working with organizations such as the East Bay Community Law Center, the War Crimes Studies Center in Cambodia, and the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy in India.
Board of Directors
Isaak is an educator and somatic practitioner, teaching transformative practices to individuals and groups. He has been working with Bay Area nonprofits for the past ten years in development, program directing, and organizing. His leadership experience includes consulting with San Francisco Women Against Rape, Education Director with Bay Area Midrasha and board participation with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
China is Director of Operations and Finance at SumOfUs, a global digital campaign organization working to curb the growing power of corporations. China spent over 20 years at Tides as CFO, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director. She also serves on the boards of 350.org and the ACLU of Northern California.
Jessy is Program Director at El/La Para Translatinas, an organization that works to build collective vision and action to promote survival and improve the quality of life for trans Latinas in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jessy’s volunteering and activism for the LGBTQIA+ Latinx community started at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and she later began participating in fundraisers and HIV/PrEP education.
Arata brings several years of experience supporting Bay Area non-profit and public agencies with strategic planning, policy analysis and financial management. As a native of Japan, he is passionate about working to promote immigrant/refugee rights and has worked on a number of LGBT asylum cases with founding members of Oasis.
Jack trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, India and Burma and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. He is a founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology, is a father, husband and activist, and author of 15 books.
Daniel is a social worker in private practice. Previously, he was a Senior Director at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Dignity Health in San Francisco, where he developed their community services including their HIV services and the Glide medical clinic. He was one of the early innovators in social workers’ response to AIDS. Daniel served for many years on the Board of Dolores Street Community Services in San Francisco and served as Board Chair.
Rev. Rhina Ramos is an ordained United Church of Christ minister leading an open and affirming Spanish speaking congregation in Oakland. Her church, Ministerio Latino, was started in 2011 to welcome Latinx immigrants and also members of the LGBTQ community. Rhina was born in El Salvador and grew up during the civil war. Her understanding of the fight for justice was influenced by watching people rise up to fight for their human rights. In addition, as a lesbian woman, Rhina understands the experience and challenges Oasis clients face. She graduated from Hofstra University Law School in 1995, and practiced labor law for 5 years recuperating thousands of dollars in back pay for immigrant workers.
Dustin is a certified specialist by the State Bar of California in Immigration and Nationality Law and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He currently owns a private practice, Bankston Immigration Law Office. Dustin graduated from University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento with distinction. While in law school, Dustin began training in immigration law, working in the immigration clinic helping low-income individuals with their cases. After graduation , he volunteered at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant attending asylum interviews with indigenous Guatemalans and LGBT asylum seekers.
Mike received his BS in EECS at UC Berkeley and his MBA from UCLA. During his career he has worked for iconic tech companies including Apple and Yahoo! as well as several Silicon Valley startups. He has supported many progressive causes and is excited to be assisting the Oasis team in their mission.