Aldea is led by our amazing
Aldea – The People’s Justice Center seeks to ensure that members of the community are the very ones leading the organization. We desire to be a voice BY the people FOR the people. Our founders are well-qualified members of the community and advocate for the very people we serve. It is to them that Aldea continues to prosper in Pennsylvania.
we are Aldea and we are
here for the people
The concept of the Aldea (Village) is a community living together and caring for each other’s needs. In that spirit, the mission of Aldea is to provide a holistic approach to meeting the multi-faceted needs of our immigrant community members, including through legal, social, educational, and medical services.
The main office for Aldea – The People’s Justice Center is located at 532 Walnut Street, Reading, Pennsylvania. We provide quality pro bono or discounted legal representation across the state in areas including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Norristown, York County, etc. We also provide services in other states across this great nation, so please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information and services in your region.
Meet our Staff
Alyssa Kane is the Managing Attorney of Aldea. She joined the organization in April of 2019 as the organization’s first full-time staff attorney and dedicated the first two years of her tenure to representing people detained by ICE at the York County Prison and the Berks County Residential Center. As the organization has grown, she now manages the organization’s community legal services projects as well as providing pro se services to people detained by ICE throughout Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Aldea, she worked as an associate at a small business immigration firm and spent many years teaching English as a Second Language. She earned her JD from Northeastern University School of Law and is licensed to practice law by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Alyssa is a proud alumnus of AmeriCorps NCCC.
ADRIANA ZAMBRANO, J.D.
Adriana Zambrano is a dedicated advocate and Programs Coordinator at Aldea. Adriana joined us originally in 2016 as an on-the-ground advocate for families incarcerated at Berks County Residential Center, while studying law at Michigan State University. With her background as an immigration paralegal, she supports the representation of hundreds of our clients and is tasked with the development and capacity building of our organization. In addition, Adriana coordinates program activities and ensures the effective implementation of our projects. Adriana also manages relationships with external stakeholders and partners.
MERLINE CHARLES, J.D.
Merline Charles is currently a Law Clerk at Aldea PJC, where she spearheads the Haitian Outreach Project. Merline’s journey with Aldea began as a Creole interpreter, where she worked tirelessly with the Aldea team to help free illegally detained clients seeking asylum. With a passion for humanitarian advocacy, Merline plays a pivotal role in assisting clients seeking asylum, work cards, and humanitarian parole petitions. Her commitment to justice and her understanding of immigration law have made her an invaluable asset to the Aldea team. Her compassion, combined with her awareness of the Haitian plight ensures that those she serves receive the support they need during challenging times. Merline earned her JD from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.
LUIZ VARJAO, J.D.
Luiz Varjao is a recent graduate from the University of California, Davis School of Law (King Hall). He joined the Aldea Team as a Law Clerk in the summer of 2023. He was a member of the Immigration Law Clinic in his 3L year when he volunteered to translate credible fear interviews from English to Portuguese for Aldea’s work representing asylum-seeking women at the Berks County Residential Center. He was an oralist and assistant coach of the Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition and a member of the Moot Court Honors Board. Before coming to the United States, he was an attorney in Brazil for about two years practicing Labor & Employment and Civil Litigation.
Samuel Romero is a Senior Paralegal with Aldea – The People’s Justice Center. He joined Aldea in March of 2019 as the organization’s first full-time employee, and has since worked on a wide range of immigration cases, including asylum, VAWA, U and T visas, and permanent residency applications, for detained clients and those in our community. Sam has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Spanish from Kutztown University. He enjoys learning about immigration and serves our clients with compassion and professionalism. Sam is a notary public in Pennsylvania.
Communication and Intake Assistant
Nathalia Cruz is our dedicated Intake Assistant with an associate’s degree in arts from Reading Area Community College. With a background as an organizer and canvasser in Berks County, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to our community’s well-being and a passion for positive change. Nathalia’s contributions to Aldea include Spanish translation and interpretation, intake assistance, and invaluable support to our legal team through various administrative tasks.
Sofia Sanchez originally began working with Aldea in 2019 as a translator and interpreter for Spanish-speaking clients while studying Criminal Justice at Florida International University. Upon graduating from her university in 2022, she officially joined the Aldea Team as a legal assistant. She assists our lawyers in the preparation and management of legal documents, as well as carrying out various administrative tasks to ensure the attorneys have the support necessary to carry out each case. Prior to officially joining Aldea, she worked as a legal assistant and interpreter for the Transgender Law Center, the largest national trans-led organization offering services and support to LGBTQ+ immigrants.
Ailean Santana is a recent graduate from Albright College, where she studied International Relations with a Co-Major in Spanish and a Legal Studies Minor. Ailean joined the Aldea team January 2023 as an Intern and after graduating in May 2023, she became a Legal Assistant. Ailean supports the legal team by translating documents, and filling out asylum applications and applications for employment authorization, which make a great difference in the quality of our clients’ lives. Ailean is passionate about helping the people of Reading, and those coming to our city from different countries because she grew up in Reading, and shares a commitment to making it a better place for all.
Stephanie Graziani-N is a Paralegal at Aldea – The People’s Justice Center. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2021 from Franklin & Marshall College with a joint major in International Studies and Environmental Studies, along with a minor in Arabic Studies. Stephanie joined Aldea in September 2023 after dedicating two years as an AmeriCorps Immigrant Integration Specialist at CASA de Maryland. She is particularly passionate about helping individuals navigate the naturalization process, bringing her knowledge and dedication to those seeking to become U.S. citizens. With a strong foundation in both immigration and community service, Stephanie is committed to making a meaningful impact in the field of immigration and social justice.