Lauren is a writer and organizer based in Queens, NY. While completing her degree in Creative Writing and Community Planning at the University of New Mexico, she co-founded the Albuquerque Aerialist Collective -- a group of performers, educators, athletes, and adventurers bringing aerial arts to the forefront of ABQ’s creative community. In NYC, she served on the Steering Committee of People’s Collective Arts // Colectivo de Arte Popular for four years and co-founded the local chapter of the White Noise Collective. She has worked in nonprofit development for over half a decade at organizations including the Arab American Family Support Center, The Muse Brooklyn, and Transportation Alternatives.
Enas is originally from Yemen. She first joined AAANY as an office administrative volunteer and went on to be a caseworker, and an intermediate ESOL instructor. In 2014, she became the Office Manager, managing the reception and client appointments. She studied English at the Yemen American Language Institute (YALI) and obtained a BA in English Literature at Sanaa University. Currently, Enas holds an Administrative Assistant Certificate and Accounting Program Certificate from Kingsborough Community College. She also has a Teacher Assistant Certification from New York State and is trained as a Mandated Reporter and in Mental Health First Aid. Alongside being the Human Resources Manager, Enas works with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs as an immigration outreach organizer. She conducts Know Your Rights workshops for community members about new laws and executive orders as well as spreads awareness about Action NYC programs, services, government programs, and benefits.
Hamza moved to New York from Cairo in January 2018 and joined the Arab American Association of New York in May 2018 as the Operations and Finance Manager. Hamza gained broad experience in human resources and project coordination working as a Human Resources & Project Coordinator for four years with the international company Dredging, Environmental and Marine Engineering NV (DEME NV). He holds a Bachelor in Spanish Literature and Translation in Cairo and recently obtained a certification in Human Resources Management Profession at Pace University in New York.
Nina Kanj is originally from Syria. She received her bachelor’s degree at Aleppo University and lived in Turkey for four years before coming to the United States in 2017. Nina started off as a front desk and joined the staff in March as an administrative assistant.
Ashley Gibson will be working with the Arab American Association of New York, supporting development and communications capacity as the New York Immigration Coalition VISTA. In her role, she will help secure the funding necessary to continue the amazing work being done at AAANY, help improve and sustain outward facing communications and engagement, and support the next stage of data management and organizational systems. She joins AAANY after two previous terms as an AmeriCorps VISTA and almost three years of fundraising experience. Ashley's conviction to support initiatives like AAANY is driven by her political science education and awareness of the systems that continue to underserve and punish those most in need. She is also active in leftist political organizing and feels most grounded when she can support a variety of efforts in the community. During her time as a VISTA in Baltimore, she helped run a small farmer’s market, organized political events, and supported a community land trust initiative. Since moving back to New York in 2017, she has focused on political education events, like the “night school” series she organized with a small team in North Brooklyn. She also enjoys nerding out in philosophy meetup groups, cooking while podcasting, and Game of Thrones. She hopes to finally learn Spanish the right way this year, step out of her comfort zone more often, and to build community for a long road ahead in New York City.