An eyewitness to the brutal immigration raids during the 1950’s, Bill Chandler, a California native, has been continuously involved in supporting the rights of immigrant workers for more than 45 years. He began with union organizing and community activism in the 1960s in Los Angeles. He participated in the 1965 grape boycott effort and organized cross-border actions with Mexican and American workers to support the United Farm Workers in their efforts to improve conditions, even in the face of police harassment and brutality.
Since then, Bill’s organizing focus has been primarily with the lowest paid workers in the South, including farm workers, hospitality, health care, public and immigrant workers. Beginning in 1989 i n Mississippi, he organized the aggressive Mississippi Alliance of State Employees/Communications Workers of America. He helped start the successful effort by some 5,000 casino workers to organize into UNITE HERE in Mississippi.
Responding to attacks on immigrant workers and discrimination against Latino school children in Mississippi, Bill brought a group of immigrants, labor, civil rights, religious, social and human rights activists and organizations together to form the MIRA in November of 2000. Initially an organization of volunteers, the MIRA has grown into a major force with a staff of organizers, an attorney and advocates, led by a board made up of mainly African American and Latino leaders in Mississippi.
Bill has six successful adult children and six grandchildren. He is married to L. Patricia Ice, the MIRA Legal Project Director. They live in Jackson with two dogs and three cats.
L. Patricia Ice
Director, MIRA Legal Project
Ms. Ice served for two years as a United States Peace Corps volunteer English teacher in Porto Novo, Benin, West Africa in the 1980s. Later, after teaching English in the Philippines, Haiti, Honduras and the United States, Ice developed an interest in immigration law. She moved to Mississippi in 1998 to work as a reference librarian at the Mississippi College School of Law. A year later, she began an immigration law practice in Jackson, continuing with the work she had started in Michigan in 1994. Ice joined MIRA in 2001 as an attorney volunteer and then as a board member. She joined the MIRA staff in 2006 and created the MIRA Legal Project after being awarded an Equal Justice Works Katrina Legal Fellowship. Ice has been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1993. She writes an immigration related column which appears periodically in The Jackson Advocate and La Noticia. She holds a B.A. in History from Spelman College, an M.A. in Linguistics with a major in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Ohio University, and M.L.I.S. (Library Science) and J.D. (Law) degrees from Wayne State University. A native of Detroit, Ice is an attorney admitted to practice law in Michigan, Mississippi and New Mexico.