N.J. Alliance for Immigrant Justice inks interim director

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice announced on Tuesday it has made changes to its leadership team.

Johanna Calle, the director from 2018-2020 and previously the program director since the alliance’s founding in 2014, will be transitioning out of her role into a new opportunity in April. In the meantime to ensure a smooth transition, the firm’s executive committee has appointed Maneesha Kelkar as interim director.

“Johanna Calle truly led the NJAIJ into the incredible victories of these past few years that for decades were unimaginable. She has built a strong foundation that will serve us in the years to come. Even in these shifting times, we know her work will endure and we will be well guided in the interim thanks to Maneesha Kelkar. We are sad to see Johanna leave and yet we go forward in the confidence of her work and vision that will endure,” Rev. Dr. Robin Tanner of Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation and co-chair of the NJAIJ executive committee, said.

Kelkar will be tasked with overseeing the alliance’s operations and development as well as provide stability while the executive committee searches for a new replacement.

“While it is sad to be leaving an organization that has been a major part of my life for nearly six years, I am grateful that I had the pleasure of working with a legion of tireless fighters who believe that everyone should live in this country with dignity and respect, regardless of where they were born. This is a personal fight for me and I will always fight for the community that I love and has given me so much,” said Johanna Calle, out-going director of the New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice.

Previously, Kelkar served as the executive director of Jersey Promise and Manavi.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead NJAIJ through this leadership transition. Immigrant concerns are critical now more than ever, and I look forward to helping strengthen the excellent foundational work established by Johanna Calle, the Executive Committee and membership of NJAIJ,” Kelkar said.