From 4,000 miles away in Quito, Ecuador, Nora Quinonez spoke of what it's like to be a refugee and a lawyer.
An attorney in her native Colombia, Quinonez began getting death threats and then an attempt on her life after she became involved in her hometown politics. She fled to Ecuador, and now works as a community legal adviser with Asylum Access, a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to refugee rights, while also operating a local tourism business.
Quinonez had been scheduled to tell her story in person Thursday evening at Asylum Access' annual reception for staff and supporters at The Fairmont hotel. But because, like so many refugees, she doesn't have a passport or a bank account, she was denied a visa by the U.S. embassy. "In my reality, how could I have a bank account?" she said in Spanish via video message.