Meet the Members

A multicultural group of people in front of a colorful mural of fish.

The New Portlanders Policy Commission consists of up to 25 individuals from Portland's newcomer and ethnic minority communities; the members are of all races, ethnicities, faiths, generations, genders, gender identities, sexual orientation, abilities and disabilities, and economic statuses. Each member provides knowledge in resettlement and integration, community organizing and advocacy, civic engagement, education, public safety, and health. Below is a list of all current members.

Portrait of NPPC member Ahmed Al-Zubidi

Ahmed Al zubidi is a School District Community Liaison for the Arabic community. As a refugee, he has utilized his skills in case management, interpretation, and coaching within refugee resettlement programs such as IRCO and Catholic Charities. He is a community leader in the Arabic community, founder of the Arabic House and a member of the parent advisory committee in his children's school. He is a graduate of the PILOT and BOLD leadership programs and is well known as bridge builder and community collaborator. For 8 years, he served as a senior correspondent with the US Army in Bagdad.

A teenage boy wearing a collared shirt.

Jorge Sanchez Bautista is a community organizer and a high school student at McDaniel (formerly known as James Madison). His family is Mayan and comes from the Mexican states of Jalisco and Yucatan. He currently works for Portland Parks and Recreation, working with youths ages 3-15, and at Portland State University under the Department of Community and Civic Impact. For the past two years, Jorge has been doing work related to youth involvement, equity, and social justice issues. He currently sits on the OPAL Environmental Justice Board of Directors, hoping to make transportation more equitable for its users. Jorge’s interests include volunteering, exploring, and thrifting. He brings to the commission the youth voice, expertise as a BIPOC community organizer, and advocate.

Portrait of NPPC member Baher Butti

Dr. Baher Butti is a mental health, social services, and wellness expert. He is also a speaker and writer on the psychological traumas of refugees and multicultural issues. Since his arrival to Portland in 2007, Dr. Butti founded the Iraqi Society of Oregon and of the Center for lntercultural Wellness. He brings to the commission expertise as an intercultural community organizer and advocate, with ties to groups including: Colored Pencils Art and Culture and Center for Immigrant Organizing.

Portrait of NPPC member Nabin Dhimal

Nabin Dhimal is a Bhutanese Nepali refugee born and raised in a refugee camp. Nabin’s family and hundreds of thousands of Bhutanese Nepali were expelled as a part of Bhutan’s ethnic cleansing policy. With his lived experiences as a refugee and person of color, he is passionate about elevating and empowering the voices of marginalized communities. Currently, he is IRCO’s Youth Academic Program coordinator. With a broader community, he is a board director for Nesika Wilamut, Outgrowing Hunger, and Metro’s Committee on Racial Equity. Nabin brings a strong Racial Equity framework, educational leadership and policy, and a commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable society.

Portrait of NPPC member Djimet Dogo

Djimet Dogo is the Director of IRCO/Africa House and the Manager of IRCO's Comprehensive Refugee Employment Services. He has over 17 years of experience working on issues related to equity, social justice, and the protection of newly resettled refugees. His expertise is in bringing people together to create and implement community-based solutions. 

Portrait of NPPC member Massarra Eiwaz-Ransom

Massarra Eiwaz-Ransom is an experienced public health professional with a history of working in the nonprofit, academia, coordinated care organization, and social services fields. She has extensive experience in community outreach, education and research, providing culturally specific services, working with racially diverse and ethnic communities, and developing program curriculum. She has been involved in efforts to promote Traditional Health Workers, refugee health, and social justice. Massarra Came to the United States as a refugee from Iraq, she was able to build her professional and personal experience by working with her own community and other refugee communities. As a student and then a professional, Massarra has faced the struggle of language barriers, cultural differences, not being heard, being the only minority in the room, and fear when expecting racism and discrimination. Massarra is eager to always jump in and support when it comes to providing just and equitable services to the refugee and immigrant communities. Currently, Massarra is a Policy Analyst II - Developmental Disability/Mental Health and Traditional Health work programs coordinator at the Oregon Home Care Commission.

Portrait of NPPC member Kolini Fusitu'a

Kolini Fusitu'a has been a member the Tongan ­American Resource Committee for over 18 years. In this role, he has linked members to resources and has coached community members to participate in local public budget hearings. He also currently works for IRCO as a Program Coordinator. Kolini brings to the commission a strong network of community partners, experience navigating community policing,  civic engagement, and community integration efforts.

A young Black man in glasses and a gray hoodie.

Mahad Mohammed Hassan was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and spent his early years in Northern Kenya before calling Portland home for the past 23 years. With a decade of experience in community behavioral health, Mahad focuses on behavioral health equity and community-led solutions, particularly with Refugees, Immigrants, and BIPOC populations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon and is currently pursuing a master’s in social work at Portland State University. In his free time, Mahad enjoys spending time with family and friends, along with the occasional travel. 

Portrait of NPPC member Hussein Idow

Hussein Idow is a young African refugee who understands the struggles and challenges of African refugees and immigrants. He has experience working on Community Advocacy, Civic Engagement, Resettlement, and community integration. Hussein has worked as youth and family advocate with IRCO, and now he is the Executive Director of African Refugee Immigrant Organization (ARIO) in Portland. He also has experience working as community health worker, substance abuse counselor, family navigator, online family tracing officer, and as a youth empowerment and rehabilitation officer.

Portrait of NPPC member Yonas Kassie

Yonas Kassie has worked for many years to facilitate positive integration of Eritrean and Ethiopian communities into the greater Portland community. He is a community partner with IRCO on matters related to Oregon Health Insurance. Yonas speaks Amharic, English, and Tigrinya and is a certified interpreter in the fields of health, employment, legal, and education.

Portrait of NPPC member Bernal Cruz Munoz

Bernal Cruz Muñoz moved to the US in 1990 during a civil war and political unrest in this native country of Guatemala. Bernal brings over 20 years of experience providing complex mental health services to children, families, and communities in various settings like schools, hospitals, foster care, refugee, and residential facilities for diverse populations. He is a community-based social worker, currently working with unaccompanied migrant children who have traveled to the US and their families to promote reunification. Bernal is a public speaker, a guest lecturer, and a storyteller whose focus is largely to humanize the migrant experience, to advance social justice, inclusion, and to ensure that newcomers can thrive in their new environments.  

An older Indian man with short, white hair and wearing rimless glasses.

Sankar Raman was born in India and immigrated to the U.S. to attend graduate school, earning a Masters in Physics and a PhD in Engineering from Purdue University. After a successful career in high tech, he now applies his technical knowledge, managerial skills, and pragmatic mind to nonprofit leadership. Sankar is an award-winning digital art photographer, author, storyteller, community leader and a motivational speaker. He lives in Portland with his wife, where they enjoy taking photographs of the beautiful Northwest. Sankar founded The Immigrant Story and currently serves as its board President.  Over the past six years, Sankar has been instrumental in developing The Immigrant Story into a collaborative community-oriented multimedia arts programming organization and premier storytelling organization in the Pacific Northwest.

Portrait of NPPC member Mia Sabanovic

Mia Sabanovic is a refugee from Bosnia.  In 1995 she escaped with her family the genocide in Bosnia and immigrated to Portland. Mia has worked on Resettlement and integration, Civic Engagement, and Community Advocacy. Mia is a Civil Engineer graduate at Portland State University and for the past 15 years has been working for the City of Portland. Mia served on the Islamic Bosnians Educational & Cultural Organization - IBECO leadership board and has also volunteered with the Muslim Educational Trust (MET), and participated with the Woman in Leadership conferences to commemorate March 8th (International Women's Day) encouraging Muslim women to step into leadership roles. For the past 18 months Mia has been volunteering on the Portland Utility Board which provides advise to the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental services on issues that impact our communities.

A young white woman with long red-blonde hair.

Rachel Swisher works in administrative healthcare in the Portland area, dedicating time to her workplace's diversity, equity, and inclusion committee. Rachel is studying Social Work at Portland State University with plans to go into clinical social work. Rachel's passions include volunteering, and she has worked with Meals on Wheels, Crisis Text Line as a crisis counselor, and SOLVE.

A young adult with long, curly, brown hair wearing a jacket and collared shirt.

Agha Zain has extensive experience volunteering for and analyzing both short- and long-term issues in local communities and businesses. A staunch advocate of women's, youth, and LGBTQ+ rights, Agha has ample professional and volunteer experience working to increase equity and equitable access for underserved groups. Throughout their career, Agha has worked with and managed different teams of both small and large sizes, creating new and unique happy experiences for everyone involved. As a young kid, Agha went to a special international Montessori school overseas for early childhood and elementary education. In addition to that direct personal experience, Agha has a solid educational and research foundation, including mentoring and tutoring both elementary kids and adults. Agha created the entire syllabus and program, and also taught, the first ever Product Management course for adults in Canada via General Assembly (Toronto).

Members pending bio and pic:

Anna Solano

Marry Karam

Nivedita Giani

Portrait of NPPC member Evelyn Lu

Advisor: Evelyn Liu approaches the New Portlanders Policy Commission with the belief that integration and equity is about all of us. Her experience with Colored Pencils Art & Culture has allowed her to work across many cultural groups as a photographer. As a daughter of parents who immigrated from China, Evelyn has had a foot in both doors and believes that our true strength comes from challenging "scarcity" narratives and working together for all.