We are so excited to spotlight Emeizmi Mandagi! Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Emeizmi immigrated to the United States with her asylum-seeking family when she was two years old. As ASAP’s Operations and Membership Engagement Associate, you might find Emeizmi welcoming new members, working on resources about the asylum process, answering members’ questions, and helping ASAP’s operations run smoothly behind the scenes.
“When I was a child, my family and I left Indonesia, a country we called home, to start anew in the hopes of building a better life,” says Emeizmi. “I grew up navigating a complex and inhumane immigration system alongside my family – a system that can prompt feelings of fear, isolation, and confusion. Ultimately, my family and I did not win our asylum case but instead we were granted withholding of removal. My personal experiences as an immigrant fuel my desire to do work that centers the stories of asylum seekers, and to make space for asylum seekers to advocate for the changes they want to see in our asylum system.”
During her first year in college at the University of California, Irvine, Emeizmi interviewed two friends, both of them Iraqi refugees, for a journalism paper. Moved by their stories of leaving Iraq to seek safety in the United States following the U.S. invasion in 2003, Emeizmi decided to major in International Studies, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Through her studies, she hoped to engage in research that would better inform U.S. Middle East policy in a way that centers the needs and desires of the communities being affected by these policies. After college, she began working in the national security and counterterrorism fields, but she quickly felt that her work wasn’t aligning with her values — she wanted to see communities be involved in the work that serves them. In May 2021, she joined ASAP.
“It has been an immense privilege to be able to work alongside such a resilient and courageous community of asylum seekers – a community I am a part of. I am endlessly inspired by their perseverance to build a more just and humane asylum system, one that is built by the asylum seekers impacted by this very system.”
When Emeizmi’s not working on ASAP’s operations or building member power, she might be taking aerial classes, listening to podcasts, or reading in her Brooklyn apartment. We feel so lucky to get to work with Emeizmi! To learn more about her and the other staff members at ASAP, please visit our staff page.