Dante Apaéstegui (he/him) is NJAIJ's Community Response Coordinator. With a focus on Newark, Dante leads the local, state, and federal advocacy and service coordination for asylum seekers and new arrivals from the Southern Border.

Prior to joining NJAIJ, Dante advocated for fair and equitable access to employment, housing, medical treatment for people living with a conviction history, substance use disorder, and/or HIV/AIDS at The Legal Action Center. Dante holds a masters in philosophy from the New School for Social Research and is currently pursuing a J.D. at Rutgers Law School, in Newark, NJ. 


  • Immigrant justice is recognizing migration as a human right, advocating for legal protection, and addressing the Kafkaesque challenges of the U.S. immigration system. Personally, as a child of immigrant parents, justice means moving without fear, working with hope for the future, and living with fulfilling peace.

  • One advocacy memory that stands out vividly is from a Know Your Rights workshop I facilitated with community members. As we gathered together, I felt a palpable sense of empowerment permeating the room. There's an undeniable strength in unity, especially when it's fueled by a common cause. It wasn't just about knowing our rights; it was about owning them, asserting them, and demanding justice.

  • It's difficult to choose just one! There's a book for every mood and moment. Feeling empowered? Dive into Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” Want to learn and connect? Explore powerful storytelling by Ta-Nehisi Coates in “Between the World and Me” and Karla Cornejo Villavicienco in “The Undocumented Americans.” Craving laughter? David Sedaris will not disappoint.