Linda Carranza is a human rights advocate and trainer who believes in grassroots activism, advocacy that is responsive to local communities, and non-violence as a key tactic in social change.
Subjects she has worked on include discrimination, minority rights, women’s rights, sexual assault and domestic violence awareness, sex trafficking, refugee/immigration issues, LGBT rights, environmental justice, freedom of expression, and freedom of association. She has managed international NGO projects, given presentations on international anti-discrimination law to European lawyers and NGO professionals, conducted trainings on creative advocacy in human rights for activists and practitioners in Central and Eastern Europe, coached students at the Central European University Legal Studies Program in an annual human rights moot court, and acted as a mentor and advisor to numerous young people on pursuing a human rights career.
Linda began her European human rights career at the European Roma Rights Centre, and remains committed to supporting Romani activists working to protect the rights of Roma across Europe. Later, she worked as a Legal Officer for the Public Interest Law Institute (PILI), a Budapest-based international legal reform NGO, where she focused on European human rights and anti-discrimination standards and enforcement mechanisms.
Previously, Linda also worked on minority issues, anti-discrimination, and immigrant rights support in the US. While a student at New York University School of Law, Linda was a member of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, which provides legal services and advice to immigrant communities and individuals in the New York area. Her primary case involved a long-time immigrant resident of the United States who was illegally deported to Colombia based on a faulty interpretation of law. Linda researched and drafted legal petitions in the highest stage of the case, in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The court decided in the client’s favor, ultimately resulting in his being returned to the US and reunited with his family nearly 8 years after his deportation.
She also provided legal assistance to the grassroots organization Domestic Workers United, made up of housecleaners, babysitters, and other domestic employees. Linda participated in researching and drafting a proposed law that the women of DWU sought to pass in New York state, and accompanied representatives of DWU to the state capital to advocate for the law with legislators. That bill was eventually signed into law as the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights on August 31, 2010, and took effect on November 29, 2010. In addition, Linda served as a trainer with the New York Civil Rights Coalition, leading workshops on combating stereotypes and discrimination for high school students in New York City. More recently, she was a member of the Advisory Panel for an international documentary film under development entitled Painting Our Courage: A Revolution To End Gender Based Violence and HIV & AIDS, and was a founding member of the Global Network for Non-violence, a group of international activists focused on international peace actions.
Linda’s other interests include writing and web design. She served on the staff of the Journal of International Law and Politics, first as a staff editor and then as a member of the editorial board. In her professional capacity, she has contributed to grant proposals, written news and profile pieces for online publication, and designed and authored conference reports. She developed content for PILI’s website, and copyedited/proofread hard-copy publications.
Currently, Linda writes for the Ráday Salon blog, which she designed and maintains. She has also designed a number of other small-scale, blog-based websites, including personal web sites and websites for small non-profit organizations. While at PILI, Linda led the organization’s web team, overseeing the redesign of PILI’s two main websites and the creation and maintenance of two additional sites.
As the child of a Costa Rican family that immigrated to the United States, Linda is a native/bilingual speaker of English and Spanish, and has always been a lover of languages. She is an advanced speaker of Russian and has intermediate skills in Hungarian and conversational-level Italian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. In addition, she has also formally studied Polish, Japanese, German, and French. She is an experienced language teacher, having taught Russian at the university level in the United States, as well as English and Spanish in both the US and Hungary. She has also done translations of short articles into English from both Russian and Hungarian.
Linda is also an experienced stage actor. Her first introduction to the Central and Eastern European region was on a theatre exchange in 1990, between an American school theatre group and a Moscow children’s theatre, which included performances of Man of La Mancha in Moscow and (then) Leningrad. Later acting highlights include performing the lead role of Katherina in an alternative staging of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, and playing for several years in the ensemble improvisational comedy troupe Mission: IMPROVable at the University of Massachusetts.
A native of southwestern Connecticut, or what she would rather call the New York City suburbs, Linda considers herself a New Yorker at heart. She attended university at the University of Massachusetts, where she had a major specialization in Russian, minor specializations in Spanish and international relations, and completed a certificate program in foreign language interpretation for Spanish and Russian. She received a Master's degree from Indiana University, where she studied Russian and East European area studies and Russian literature. Subsequently she attended law school at New York University School of Law, where she focused on human rights, anti-discrimination, and immigration law.