An Immigrant's Journey Comes Full-Circle

How does a young woman from Moldova become a fierce advocate on behalf of Hispanic immigrants? The Jewish community, of course.

Lana and her family escaped the crumbling Soviet Union in 1990 with the help of Federation beneficiary HIAS. Though they arrived with only $600 to their name, the family soon adapted and found success in their new home. But Lana never forgot what it was like to be a stranger in a strange land, struggling with a new language, a new culture and, sometimes, an unwelcoming school environment.

Her experiences drove her to become a leading advocate for Spanish-speaking immigrants. In the course of her work, she found important allies in standing up for the rights of migrants: “My personal immigration experience defines who I am, including my true passion: to accompany other immigrants on their journey no matter where they might be from,” she says. “I am eternally grateful for all of the opportunities that we were granted in the U.S. thanks to agencies like JDC and HIAS.”