President of Organización Negra Centroamericana (ONECA)
Mirtha Colón is originally from Honduras and has lived in New York for almost 40 years. She currently serves as president of Hondureños contra el SIDA (Hondurans against HIV/AIDS), an organization that promotes healthy practices and education about HIV / AIDS in both New York City and Central America. She also serves as president of Organización Negra Centroamericana (ONECA), an organization based in Central America with headquarters in Bluefields, Nicaragua. ONECA fights for human rights and social justice and seeks to improve the quality of life of Latinos, Central Americans and, in particular, of Central Americans of African descent.
Executive Director, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) DC
Abel Núñez is Executive Director of CARECEN in Washington DC, with extensive experience in management and fundraising for organizations, as well as a history of community activism. Prior to CARECEN, he was Associate Director of Centro Romero in Chicago, IL, and was primarily responsible for the day to day operations, fiscal management, program administration, and communications. Before he moved to Chicago, he worked in D.C. for the Latino Civil Rights Center. From 1998 to 2000, he was also on the staff of CARECEN serving first as its Citizenship and Civic Participation Project Coordinator and later as its Deputy Director. At the national level, he has served as an advisor for the Salvadoran American National Network (SANN) since 2008. He is one of the original founders of the "Residency Now" campaign, which was launched in January 2012 to urge for permanent legal residence for immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua with Temporary Protected Status. He obtained his degree in Business Administration from Hofstra University in Long Island, New York.
Lariza Dugan Cuadra
Executive Director, Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) San Francisco
Lariza Dugan-Cuadra, is the Executive Director of the Central American Resource Center CARECEN of Northern California, an organization that provides direct services and is involved in community development and advocacy to help create a flourishing and vibrant Latinx community in San Francisco, the Bay Area and beyond. Lariza has almost two decades of experience in designing and implementing community development initiatives that educate and improve the lives of children, families and immigrant communities in San Francisco and the Bay Area. She earned a B.A. in Humanities with an emphasis on Community Development and a minor in La Raza Studies, as well as certification in Early Childhood Education. She attended City College in San Francisco, San Francisco State University and New College of California. She is proudly Nicaraguan-Irish, raised in Managua and currently living in San Francisco’s Mission District.
TPS PROGRAM COORDINATOR AT THE FLORIDA IMMIGRANT COALITION, FLIC
Yareliz Méndez-Zamora is the Secretary on the Board of Directors and currently the TPS program coordinator at the Florida Immigrant Coalition, FLIC. Born and raised in Florida, she was inspired by stories of immigration from her family to become an activist for migrants. Her family is originally from the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes - Nicaragua. She graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in literature and history and a specialty in Latin American Studies. Recently she graduated from the University of Miami with a master’s degree in education, with a focus on communities and social movements. She is involved with Latinas Rebels, was the coordinator for the Latin@ Diaspora in the Americas Program, Senator for the Student Government at the University of Florida, interned at the public defender’s offices in Broward, was an ambassador to La Casita, a contributor to the Huffington Post, and more.
Advisor, CRECEN, Houston
Elmer Romero represents CARECEN in Houston, Texas as the Director of Strategies and Partnerships. He has recently worked as an educator working as a program manager at the Houston Center for Literacy. Previously, he developed programming and oversaw local and federal contracts and grant implementation for Baker Ripley/Neighborhood Centers, Inc. in Harris County. Before moving to Texas, he was the Director of Education for CASA of Maryland, Inc. He has a degree in journalism from the University of El Salvador and a diploma of advanced studies in popular education and community development from the University "Antonio Ruiz De Montoya," the Jesuit University in Perú. Before moving to the U.S. in 2000, he worked in his home country of El Salvador for 15 years as the Director of Publications for Asociación Equipo Maíz, El Salvador, one of the most prestigious education non-profits in Central America. He used popular education methods for adult education, that are grounded in a vision for participatory democracy.
Executive Director of CIELO, Los Angeles
Odilia Romero is the co-founder/ executive director of Comunidades Indigenas en Liderazgo (CIELO); she is also an independent interpreter of Zapotec, Spanish, and English for indigenous communities in Los Angeles and throughout California. She has over a decade of experience organizing indigenous migrant communities. Her organizing knowledge and experience are held in high regard, with multiple academic publications, awards, and lectures in universities across the United States, including John Hopkins, USC, and UCLA. Ms. Romero has published on the challenges of organizing in indigenous communities, developing women’s leadership, and preparing a new generation of youth. Her work has also been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Vogue and Democracy Now.
Director of Community Organizing at the Latino Commission on AIDS
Judith Montenegro is the Director of Community Organizing for the Latinos in the Deep South Program at the Latino Commission on AIDS. Since 2004 she has focused her efforts on immigration reform, defending and raising awareness of agricultural workers, and the unionization of immigrant workforces. She is also a board member of two non-profits located in North Carolina where she has a key role in fundraising strategies and managing the social networks of each organization. Mrs. Montenegro graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology. Born in Durango, México, she came to the U.S. at a young age. Her parents applied for residency in the U.S. under amnesty in 1986. She currently lives in Durham, North Carolina.
Volunteer at Casa Yurumein and Hondureños contra el SIDA (Hondurans against AIDS), New York
Katy Gil is an activist for Honduran peoples’ rights through Casa Yurumein and the Honduran AIDS Organization in New York City, both organizations affiliated with Alianza Americas. Originally from the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Katy worked in San Pedro Sula, Honduras at the Honduran Teacher Training Professional College (COLPROSUMAH). She also served as elected Secretary of Women's Affairs of the Honduran Workers’ Confederate Union (CUTH), one of the most important unions in the country. She moved to the United States and was granted political asylum due to threats she received as a result of her activism promoting human and labor rights. Katy has a Bachelor of Education and has been an educator throughout her life. She is working towards her master's degree in education at Baruch College in NYC. She is also a graduate of the 2018-2019 Alianza Americas Leadership Institute.
Juana Leticia Casildo
Executive Director of Familias Unidas en Acción, New Orleans
Juana Leticia Casildo is the Executive Director of Familias Unidas en Acción in New Orleans. Originally from Honduras, she worked as an investigative detective for five years. In 2004 she was forced to leave Honduras to protect her life and the lives of her family members and moved to New Orleans in 2005. In 2007, she gained her first experience in the fight for social justice by working with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice as part of their Congress of Day Laborers. Alongside other community leaders, she recently started an organization called United Families in Action (Familias Unidas en Acción) in 2018, where she was selected as executive director. The organization seeks to organize, empower, and train immigrant community members, keeping in mind the founders’ own experiences as impacted families.
President of Women Working Together USA
Rosana Araujo was a co-founder of Women Working Together USA, a member of Alianza Americas and the Domestic Workers Alliance, where she is President. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Rosana Araujo attended la Universidad de Cultura Popular to earn a degree in arts and culture. She has been an activist from a young age and has participated in student movements against the Uruguayan dictatorship. She participated in the "landless" and "homeless" movements as well as movements for women's rights as one of the founders of Comuna Mujer. She participated in several education and health efforts within the Montevideo government and was a UNICEF volunteer as part of the "Integrating the Excluded City" project. In December 2002, she emigrated to the United States. In 2007, she joined the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and has also collaborated with the Miami Workers Center, Sisterhood of Survivors, and other organizations in Miami ––participating in hundreds of campaigns for the rights of immigrants, survivors of domestic violence, and displacement. Araujo served as vice president of the board of directors of Miami Workers Center and WeCount! In 2009, she was a correspondent for the Uruguayan radio El Prado FM and in 2014 she was the founder of the "Entre Nosotras Compartimos" program.
Guadalupe de la Cruz
Youth and Farmworker Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee Florida Program
Guadalupe De La Cruz serves as the Youth and Farmworker Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee Florida Program and leads AFSC Florida’s mutual aid work by bringing food, cash assistance, COVID-19 testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to hundreds of farmworkers and their families in Homestead, Florida. She is also a Tri-Chair of the Florida Coordinating Committee for the Poor People’s Campaign. Guadalupe has been a tireless advocate and educator for immigrant families and farmworkers in Homestead, FL for the last 10 years, organizing as part of a worker-led movement for labor rights, higher wages, and better working conditions. Guadalupe has been instrumental in building an influential youth-led immigrant movement and winning local victories, such as shutting down the Homestead Detention Center for Immigrant Youth in 2019. She is a co-founder of Seeds of Resistance, which is a program that focuses on addressing the needs of immigrant youth by fully integrating art, ancestral knowledge, political education, agroecology, and trauma-healing work to the local immigrant justice movement.
Executive Director of Lila LGBTQ, North Carolina
Alex Cordova is currently the director of Lila LGBTQ Inc., integrating art such as painting, dance, and theater as a path to healing the social aggression suffered by the LGBTQ community in addition to the traditional programs of prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Alex is from El Salvador and arrived in San Francisco, California in 1989. Alex has been an activist for the LGBTQ community for many years as a worker and founder of groups such as Hermanos de Luna y Sol, Padres Gay, Teatro LGBTQ, Santi Project, and Sida Por Vida. He has worked many years in public health for HIV and AIDS prevention and throughout all phases of the Pandemic. After moving to Durham, North Carolina in 2006, Alex created the LGBTQ program Bolero Pequeño Teatro Latino, which is a theater that runs plays with LGBTQ themes and their experiences as immigrants.
Defender and connection for the Latinx LGBTQ community in Birmingham
Cindy Garcia is the Mental Health Latinx Peer Support Specialist at "AIDS Alabama and Alabama Latino AIDS Coalition" where she connects Latinx persons who live with HIV / AIDS with social services in Birmingham, Alabama. She was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Salinas De Hidalgo, SLP México. While living in Alabama in 2011, she became an activist when HB56 went into effect, a law that criminalized undocumented migrants in Alabama. Cindy focused her efforts on protecting children whose parents were arrested and deported. Cindy also founded the Immigrants Alabama Movement (I AM), the first all-volunteer group in Birmingham, AL. I AM fought against discrimination against immigrants in the state.
Democracy Project Fellow with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Giselle Rodriguez is a 23-year-old immigrant from Nayarit, Mexico. She is currently a Democracy Project Fellow with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), working on the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign to empower immigrant communities to vote during this very important election. Giselle’s passion is advocating and organizing for immigrants' rights, specifically immigrant youth. She received her bachelor from Northeastern University and recently obtained her Master in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. Giselle has worked with many different nonprofits concentrating on immigrant advocacy, workers' rights, and survivors of sexual assault. Giselle believes that through policy advocacy, education, organizing, and building leadership we can empower our immigrant youth community. Giselle’s ultimate goal is to make higher education accessible for immigrant youth. As an immigrant herself, Giselle believes that education should be accessible to all students regardless of citizenship. She now focuses on informing and educating youth on higher education scholarships and opportunities for undocumented students..