Bio

As the co-founder and co-director of Healing to Action, Karla Altmayer, Esq. advances a multidisciplinary, community-driven model to transform individuals, neighborhoods, and broader communities, to break the silence of gender-based violence.

Karla’s expertise is rooted in her work representing farmworkers in rural Illinois. Upon receiving an Equal Justice Works fellowship in 2012, Karla launched a new project at LAF Chicago to represent farmworker women who experienced workplace sexual violence. As a fellow, she trained hundreds of attorneys, government officials, and community organizations across the Midwest. She also litigated federal and state employment law cases, and developed a trauma-informed, peer-support outreach model to build community around gender violence throughout the state, reaching over 800 workers in two years. Karla also co-founded the Coalition Against Workplace Sexual Violence (CAWSV), a collaboration among sexual assault advocates, attorneys, and labor organizers in Chicago, and co-authored its popular education curriculum and legal guide. Funded by the Department of Justice, Karla co-authored and edited a curriculum to train anti-violence advocates across the country on working at the intersection of labor organizing and anti-violence. Karla also has significant expertise representing detained survivors in immigration removal proceedings as an attorney with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), with expertise on victims of trafficking and gender-based violence.

Karla has trained, presented, and published on the intersection of gender-based violence and race, poverty, migration, and public health nationally and locally. News outlets like Univision, CBS, Vocalo, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and the Chicagoist, have quoted her. Karla has also published in news outlets like Role Reboot. Karla is a native of Chicago, IL. She graduated Loyola University Chicago with dual degrees in Philosophy and Criminal Justice, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, College of Law.

Sub-specialties: Farmworker labor and immigration law, Immigration detention & women in migration, Labor trafficking, Workplace sexual violence, Community organizing, Trauma-informed representing and community organizing, Peer support models in public health