It was with incredible sadness that we received the news that one of our former staff members, Marc Hanson, passed away on August 25. Marc will be remembered for his passion for social justice and human rights, his political skill and imagination, and his infectious enthusiasm for life. He was a valued colleague, a generous, true, and spirited friend.
Marc came to WOLA in 2013 with extensive experience on Capitol Hill and in non-profit advocacy. He brought a rich store of knowledge on how to make a pragmatic impact for social change. As Senior Associate in WOLA’s Cuba program, he established the Bipartisan Congressional Cuba Working Group. He also inaugurated WOLA-sponsored Latin American policy dinners for Members of Congress. He mentored many other WOLA staff in the arcane ways of legislation, always with a spark of excitement that made even the most mundane congressional proceedings seem filled with drama and possibilities.
Previously, Marc had worked at Refugees International as a government relations specialist, and at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as a community and political organizer. His deep commitment to the people of Latin America included service in the Peace Corps in La Ceiba, Honduras. As a congressional staffer, he played an important role in securing funding for the Peace Corps, promoting human rights as a core element of U.S. foreign policy, as well as in raising awareness of the root causes of migration and injustice in Central America. In 2016, he returned to his home state of California to continue his passion for progressive politics by working for state and local public officials and causes, most recently as chief of staff for California state senator Josh Newman.
We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Shaina Aber, who also has been a close colleague of WOLA, and their two young sons, Jasper and Enzo. The WOLA family holds you close, mourns with you, and will honor the memory of Marc in our ongoing work for human rights and social justice.