ABOUT

We are a broad-based network of community organizations, religious and business groups, legal service providers committed to protecting the rights of and economic development of refugee and immigrant communities in the state.

The mission of CIRC is to promote the rights and opportunities of immigrants and refugees in Connecticut and to foster their civic participation.

CIRC, a registered 501c3 nonprofit, has been advocating for immigrant and refugee communities in Connecticut since 1996.

Goals

The goals of the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition:

  • Provide collective leadership for organizations serving the diverse immigrant and refugee communities of Connecticut
  • Utilize individual organizational agencies to develop a collective and consensual leadership strategy that ensures the rights of the foreign-born
  • Strengthen Coalition Members’ effectiveness as independent organizations to facilitate progress and innovation in delivery of services to immigrant and refugee communities across Connecticut
  • Provide technical assistance, fundraising expertise and policy guidance to Coalition Members

Board

Currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition are:

  • Andre Blaszczynski (Chair)
  • Dana Bucin
  • Claudia Connor 
  • Christopher George 
  • Demetrios Giannaros (Vice Chair)
  • Edgar Johnson (Treasurer)
  • Alan Lazowski
  • Kim May-Bailey
  • Zaheer Sharaf
  • Suresh Sharma
  • Kyle Thompson (Secretary) 
  • Ban Tran 

Staff

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Robert J. Fishman, Executive Director

Bob Fishman served for 23 years as Executive Director of the Jewish Federations Association of Connecticut (JFACT) and during that time also served for many years as president of the Connecticut Immigration and Refugee Coalition. 

He retired from JFACT in 2017 and became Executive Director of CIRC, the first time the previously all-volunteer organization has had professional staff, reflecting the increasingly acute need to respond to Connecticut’s refugee and immigrant population in collaboration with and support of members of the Coalition.

Fishman has worked with interfaith groups on behalf of children and the elderly, and has worked with the Connecticut General Assembly on the Neighborhood Association Act (NAA), a tax-credit program, and a range of issues, including Connecticut’s DREAMERS legislation. He has also collaborated with the state Department of Economic and Community Development, and various agencies and elected officials at the state and federal levels, advocating successfully for legislation, grants and support for initiatives that promote opportunity in Connecticut.