Martine Kalaw is a community advocate, speaker and writer on the topic of immigration. Her focus is on sharing her personal, seven-year battle as an undocumented immigrant with the world in order to highlight the absurdity of current immigration policy that marginalizes undocumented immigrants, to demystify who the illegal immigrant is and to give a voice to a community that is often too afraid to speak up. Furthermore, she also seeks to share her universal message, which applies to everyone, immigrant or not---how to create freedom from within yourself. She is currently in the final stages of editing her book entitled, Memoirs of an Illegal American: All I had Was My Name. She was a featured speaker on immigration reform at various forums and rallies, such as Senator McCain’s Town Hall Rally on Immigration in New York City in February 2006. Her story has also appeared in editorials in newspapers, and publications such as USA Today, Metro New York and The New York Sun. On May 18, 2007, she was a panelist and speaker to the U.S. House of Representative’s Judiciary Subcommittee’s hearing on Immigration Reform, where she shared her story and spoke on behalf of the DREAM Act. She was the keynote speaker at the convocation ceremony at her alma mater, St. Anne’s-Belfield School, which included noteworthy attendees such as John Grisham.
She is a Manager of Learning and Development for one of the coutry's top retailers. In her role, she develops curriculum and facilitates leadership development training to senior management in an effort to provide them with tools to empower themselves on the job. She also manages programs within Macys.com to help identify and develop future leaders of the organization such as the Mentorship Program.
She received a Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College in 2003, where she majored in World Politics. In 2004 she was awarded a Master of Public Administration with a Certificate of Legal Studies at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Her area of focus in her graduate studies was immigration law.
She was born in Zambia, Africa, but lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) until the age 4, when she immigrated to the United States. She is proud to call the United States her home.