Katie Heldt is a paralegal at Colectiva Legal who joined the team in August 2021. She studied at the University of Oregon and the Universidad de Sevilla for her undergraduate education and moved to Cusco, Peru to serve as an academic advisor and teach dance. She moved back to the Pacific Northwest in 2019 and began working in immigration law. She hopes to become an immigration attorney through the Washington State Law Clerk Program while working with Colectiva. Katie spends her spare time running in the forest with her two beloved pups, Naya and Daysi, dancing with Coalescence Dance Company, and riding bikes with her friends.
Victoria joined Colectiva in September 2016 to focus on policy, advocacy and development. Victoria holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Evans School at the University of Washington. She coordinates community partnerships, participate in policy discussions and expand Colectiva’s overall capacity.
Victoria has nearly 10 years of valuable experience as a community organizer and social justice advocate in Florida, California and Washington, with a background in grassroots mobilization, deportation defense, immigration detention and privatization research.
For fun Victoria enjoys cooking, creating art, and is learning how to play guitar.
Rita has always been a passionate advocate for justice and protecting the rights of others. She was born in Managua, Nicaragua to parents who both fought against the Somoza Dictatorship during the Nicaraguan Revolution. She was then raised in Honduras until she was brought to the United States as a child. Later she graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, OH with two degrees, one in Political Science and the other in International Studies.
At the beginning of 2006, Rita began working on immigration issues and was the program coordinator for Detention Watch Network under the then Executive Director, Andrea Black. While part of Detention Watch Network, Rita spearheaded the first national project dedicated to tracking the immigration raids led by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and other enforcement strategies employed by the agency. This project titled, "Tracking ICE's Enforcement Agenda" was submitted as part of the briefing materials to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants in 2007 as part of the Detention and Deportation Working Group.
In law school, Rita became a member of the UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic, part of the Washington School of Law from American University in Washington D.C. As a member of UNROW, Rita advocated in Federal Court against Michael Townley, a notorious torturer and assassin under the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile; and defended the rights of derivative U.S. citizens against unlawful discrimination and deportation by immigration officials in Federal and Immigration Court. While in law school, Rita also clerked at the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project, and at Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition in Washington D.C. where she coordinated meetings and materials for the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights for their visit to U.S. immigration detention facilities.
After law school, Rita dedicated herself to advocating strongly for her clients in immigration court or in front of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. She began practicing in New York, NY and later moved to Seattle, WA in 2013 to start her own firm until she met Guadalupe Cavazos at a free legal clinic hosted by the Mexican Embassy where they had both volunteered. Since then, Rita and Guadalupe have worked together bringing the same passion to their work and launching a firm together that encompasses their vision of creating a law firm that fights fiercely for their clients' interests while advocating for positive change within the judicial system for the larger community.
Sandy is an immigration attorney and co-founder of Colectiva Legal del Pueblo. She represents individuals in various stages of the immigration process including family-based petitions, deportation defense, naturalization and non-immigrant visas. Sandy is committed to working with immigrant populations individually and collectively, in a capacity that empowers and informs them of their rights.
Before becoming an attorney, Sandy focused on grassroots campaigns and organizing with migrant communities for education, immigration and worker’s rights.
Sandy grew up in Santa Ana, California and is the proud daughter of immigrant parents. She obtained a B.A. in Latin American Studies and a minor in History from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Sandy graduated from Seattle University School of Law. She is the first in her family to graduate college and obtain a professional degree.
Frederick graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2017. During law school, Frederick participated in the International Human Rights Clinic, Immigrant Refugee Assistance Project, Immigrant Family Assistance Project,and One America Citizenship days. In the International Human Rights Clinic he worked on writing a brief to the United Nations Special Rapport on Indigenous Rights about violations against indigenous populations in Nicaragua resulting from the construction of the Nicaraguan canal. Before coming to Colectiva, Frederick worked with a private immigration law firm where he practiced removal defense, bond, parole, asylum, VAWA, U-Visa,DACA, work authorizations, and family based petitions.
While in law school, he worked with unaccompanied and refugee youth, ages 17-21, as a bilingual youth counselor and assisted at a youth shelter for children ages 11-17. In addition, he worked in social services in a skilled nursing facility where he assisted with connecting clients to community resources and ensuring they had safe care plans for when they left.
In undergrad, he majored in criminal justice and minored in legal studies. He spent a semester studying in Argentina, which furthered his desire to assist others by becoming an immigration attorney. He is excited to bring his experience in social work and immigration law to Colectiva and is committed to helping undocumented immigrants through legal advocacy and community empowerment.
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his partner and their dog, getting outdoors and going to concerts. He is the first in his family to graduate college and obtain a professional degree.