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Lilian Sanchez

2020-2021 CHCI-Facebook Public Policy Fellow

Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa
School: University of Iowa
Degree: B.A. in Political Science and B.A. in Ethics and Public Policy
Placement One: American Civil Liberties Union
Placement Two: Office of Rep. Pramila Jayapal

Lilián Sánchez was born in Atlacomulco, Mexico, and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. As the daughter of an immigrant single mother and survivor of domestic violence, she witnessed the challenge of raising children in pursuit of a life free from violence. Despite growing up undocumented, Lilián became the first in her family to graduate from college. She double majored in Ethics & Public Policy and Political Science, with minors in French, Philosophy, and Latinx Studies. Lilián served as a peer advocate for underserved students through the Iowa Edge and TRiO programs. She was elected Student Body Vice President, which made her the first Latina to serve in an executive position. She also spearheaded the “I’m the First” First-Generation Student Summit” to support the estimated 25% of undergraduate students. For her efforts, she received the Diversity Catalyst Award, Dean’s Achievement Award, and Hancher-Finkbine Medallion for demonstrating exceptional leadership.

Lilián was selected to participate in a competitive ten-week national fellowship as Amnesty International’s Ladies Kristof Fellow. She worked in the Organizing and Activist Unit in Oakland, California, to develop a National Youth Strategy for mobilizing young people in the fight for human rights. As an activist, she promoted local human rights for women, migrants and refugees, and LGBTQ+ people. She then went on to become the legislative and operations intern for Senator Kamala Harris, also serving as the Iowa Deputy Political Director for Sen. Kamala Harris’ Presidential campaign and became one of the youngest Board Members of Emerge IA, an organization focused on electing Democratic women to office. Most recently, Lilián served as the Executive Assistant for Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand and received the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence B.R.A.V.E. Award as well as was inducted into the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame.

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Lilián hopes to cultivate her understanding of the intersection between justice, law, and public policy. She plans to pursue a law degree and practice immigration and civil rights law. Inspired by her own experience as an immigrant, she hopes to advocate for other refugees in the United States.