Board of Advisors


Raymond Partolan

Board Treasurer

Mr. Raymond Partolan is an Immigration Paralegal at Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC, where he works on family-based immigration cases. Raymond spent several years as the Program Associate at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, a nonprofit law and advocacy center for Asian Americans across the Southeast. There, he developed an expertise in voter engagement tactics, effective targeting and messaging strategy, and nonpartisan campaign execution. In 2016, he led his team at Advancing Justice to develop an engagement strategy that would later lead to helping triple Asian American voter turnout in the State of Georgia. While working in voter engagement, he spent as much time in the field with his canvassers as he did studying turf maps, making field math computations, and course-correcting the overall strategy. For over seven years, Raymond has been a fearless advocate for immigrant and refugee communities. As a DACA recipient himself, he was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the University System of Georgia challenging its decision to bar DACA recipients from receiving in-state tuition at Georgia schools. He has lobbied for immigration reform at the local, state, and federal levels of government, traveling the country to share his immigrant story. Raymond received a certificate from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. for his coursework in a “Comprehensive Overview of Immigration Law,” and graduated summa cum laude from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Mr. Partolan is originally from the Philippines and is trilingual in English, Spanish, and Tagalog.


Laura Rivera

Board Secretary

Ms. Laura Rivera works as a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project. Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, her work has focused on SPLC’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, a project that aims to challenge the deportation machine in the Deep South by providing direct services to detained immigrants and engaging in system-wide advocacy.  She has also worked with the Farmworker Rights Division of Georgia Legal Services Program, providing free legal services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers.  Laura was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She graduated from Emory University, New York University, and Emory Law School. Before practicing law, she worked as a reporter in Puerto Rico and New York. She and her wife live in Decatur, Georgia with their two amazing dogs, Lingo and Reina.




Professor Tanya Washington is a professor of law at Georgia State University College of Law. After earning her J.D. from The University of Maryland School of Law, Tanya clerked for then Associate Judge Robert M. Bell on the Maryland Court of Appeals. She has been teaching Civil Procedure I and II, Family Law, Education Law and Race and Law at Georgia State for the past twelve years. Her research and scholarship focuses on issues related to educational equity, domestic relations, race and children’s constitutional rights. Tanya has taught comparative law classes for study abroad programs in Brazil, Europe and China. Washington has also led pipeline programs designed to increase enrollment of students of color in U.S. law schools. Her efforts to expand and deepen the pipeline of students entering law school earned her recognition in 2013 as one of 50 minority law professors under 50 making an impact in legal education. Tanya served as a faculty member at Freedom University during the Spring 2018 semester, and is honored to transition to her role as a board member of Freedom University. 


Rev. Tom Hagood

A Southerner by birth, Reverend Tom Hagood has spent his entire life in the Southeast: from his birth in Charlotte, to growing up in Florida, and finally to answering his call to ministry in Decatur, GA. A graduate of Davidson College and Columbia Theological Seminary, Tom has served as the pastor of Columbia Presbyterian Church for the past 18 years. Tom enjoys all the joy of learning and growing with his congregation and looks forward to where is leading them. His passions include working for commonsense gun control, working with the homeless, and welcoming his immigrant neighbors who have blessed my life as an American. Tom is a co-founder of the New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta, a collaboration of faith-based congregations that seeks to support the immigrant community in Atlanta. He is honored to serve on the board of Freedom University and stand beside the incredible undocumented youth who have so much to offer this country.


Charles A. Black

Board Chair

A native of Miami, Florida, Mr. Charles A. Black is an alumnus of Morehouse College, where he was Editor of the student newspaper, a varsity debater, President of the senior class, one of only eight students taught by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Charles also served as the second Chairman of the Atlanta Student Movement, which helped desegregate Atlanta public facilities and advance the goals of the Civil Rights Movement. Charles is a a veteran actor and voice talent on TV, in feature films, commercials, and industrials, and has starred in a number of serialized faith-based films shown in more than 1,000 churches nationwide. Charles served as a Freedom University board member from 2014-2018, during which time he assisted in securing safe locations for Freedom University classes and participated in acts of civil disobedience alongside undocumented students as a respected veteran of the Civil Rights Movement. Charles continues to offer his guidance to the current board of advisors as an ex-officio member. Charles also currently serves on the board of the Hammonds House Museum, and is Chairman of the Board of Illien Adoptions International, Inc.


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Karla Umana

Originally from El Salvador, Ms. Umana aims to use her international background to bring concerns of marginalized communities to the forefront. As a DACA recipient, her passions lie at the intersection of social justice and public health. She began to advocate against anti-immigrant policies in 2012, conducting research on institutional scholarships  and publishing "The Ultimate Guide for College Bound Undocumented Students". In 2012, she also received a full-ride scholarship from the Goizueta Foundation to attend Agnes Scott College. Through a series of internships, academic projects, and professional employment, including field research in Antigua, Guatemala on unaccompanied child migration from Central America to the U.S., she discovered her love for the multidisciplinary field of public health. She then went on to pursue her Master's in Public Health at Emory University. There, she received the Kathleen Miner award for Public Health Excellence, largely for her work in health promotion with the immigrant community in Atlanta. She currently works as a Health Care analyst for the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in Washington, D.C. and remains an outspoken advocate for immigration reform and education equity.