Body Politics: From Rights to Resistance featured information sessions with lawyers, activists, and grassroots organizers on issues of bodies under duress: civil disobedience, protest, healthcare, policing, prisons, immigration, environmental contamination, and indigenous rights. Each session focused on resource sharing and modes of resistance, and included presentations followed by discussion with the audience. This session featured Nermeen Arastu and Raluca Oncioiu.
At the time of this program, Nermeen Arastu was a Clinical Law Professor and Supervising Attorney in the Immigrant & Non-Citizen Rights Clinic at the CUNY School of Law. Prior to joining CUNY’s faculty, Arastu was a litigation associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and a staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). At AALDEF, she led the Immigrant Rights Program and Post-9/11 Civil Liberties Project. Through the course of her pro bono work at Simpson Thacher and her tenure at AALDEF, Arastu managed an immigration docket which included deportation defense, suppression, asylum, citizenship and green card interviews, and various other immigration processes. Additionally, while at AALDEF, she oversaw monthly immigration clinics in conjunction with various community-based organizations, litigated matters relating to zoning and houses of worship, addressed anti-Muslim bias in the immigration system, and advocated against racial and religious profiling and law enforcement surveillance. Arastu has also worked at the Legal Assistance Centre of Namibia and in the Immigrant Women Program at Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense), where she focused on policy relating to gender-based violence.
Raluca Oncioiu was the director of the New Americans Hotline and the department of the Immigration legal Services Department of Catholic Charities Community Services, archdiocese of NY, where she first served as staff attorney. Prior to joining Catholic Charities, she was a National Association for Public Interest Law (NAPIL) Fellow with the Refugee Assistance Project of the New York City Bar Association. She is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was the recipient of a Root-Tilden-Snow Fellowship; the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; and Tufts University. From 1999 to 2002, she was a member of the NYC Bar Association’s Immigration & Nationality Law Committee, serving as secretary of that committee from September 2000 to June 2002. From 2011 to 2012, she served on the New York State Bar Association’s Special Committee on Immigration Representation and on the New York Immigrant Representation Study Group. She is a current member of the Protecting Immigrant New Yorkers Task Force.