The Valerie Zukin Memorial Fellowship Committee is excited to introduce the summer 2023 fellows, Genesis Ethridge and Katherine Tello. Genesis and Katherine were selected from over 100 talented and diverse law students who applied from across the country. They will spend 10 weeks immersed in removal defense at Immigrant Legal Defense (ILD) and the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (CCIJ), respectively, where they will work with Valerie's former colleagues at organizations where she once represented clients with her unique blend of intelligence, passion, creativity, and kindness.
Learn more about Genesis and Katherine below! If you would like to support the Valerie Zukin Memorial Fellowship or to learn more about Valerie, visitbit.ly/ValerieZukinMemorialFellowship.
Genesis Ethridge graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sociology and is currently studying at Wayne State Law School. As a first-generation Mexican-Guatemalan immigrant, she experienced being undocumented/dacamented for 17 years of her life. She arrived in the United States as an unaccompanied minor and she was detained for several weeks during the journey. These experiences shaped her into an empathetic advocate for her undocumented community.
Genesis’ professional legal experience began at CARECEN-LA, a non-profit that provides legal services to low-income immigrants. At CARECEN-LA, she assisted clients with naturalization, DACA, Temporary Protected Status, Adjustment of Status, and VAWA, among other types of immigration relief. This work experience solidified her goal to become an immigration attorney. While in law school, she has been part of the Asylum and Immigration Clinic for two consecutive semesters. She also volunteers as an interpreter for the Immigration Appellate Advocacy Clinic. When Genesis is not studying law, she is helping with landscape designs and planting at Sanctuary Farms, an urban farm in Detroit.
Genesis is honored and grateful to have been selected for the Valerie Zukin Memorial Fellowship and to continue Valerie’s legacy. Genesis will spend her summer fellowship at Immigrant Legal Defense (ILD).
Katherine Tello is a first-generation daughter of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants. She was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. Her parents’ strength, resiliency, and desire to dream led her to a Bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz, a Master’s in international relations, and now she is pursuing a law degree at California Western School of Law in San Diego.
Prior to law school, Katherine interned and worked for organizations like the Dolores Huerta Foundation, United Farm Workers Foundation, and ACLU. She also held a legal fellowship with the Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative (CVIIC), where she served 10 rural communities in Fresno, Kern, and Kings counties with information and application assistance for benefits such as naturalization, DACA, and AB 60 driver licenses. Her work in California’s Central Valley – home to agriculture, oil, and prison industries – also opened her eyes. These industries extract billions of dollars on the backs of immigrant working families, but fail to reinvest in the communities that keep them running. Katherine’s life experience has ignited a desire to help communities facing structural inequalities that reflect her home, family, and community.
Katherine will spend her summer fellowship with the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (CCIJ). She shared, “Ms. Valerie’s legacy, passion and dedication to this work is contagious. I know with all the certainty in the world that I will dedicate my life to helping those most in need. I am honored to work alongside Ms. Valerie’s friends and colleagues as I learn and grow from this experience.”
Valerie lives on in our hearts and thoughts – and in the work of the legal community she fostered. Her legacy will now include Genesis, Katherine, and future Fellows who will carry on her fight for justice for the most marginalized immigrants.
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