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 daughter of revolutions. Born and raised in Miami, Yareliz grew up listening to immigration stories from her family. These stories are her source of inspiration. Her family is 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 speciality 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 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 ambassador to La Casita, contributor to the Huffington Post and more. Currently, she is the TPS program coordinator at the Florida Immigrant Coalition, FLIC.
Advisor, CRECEN, Houston
Elmer Romero was most recently an educator working in the field of Adult Education as a program manager at Houston Center for Literacy. Previously, he developed programming and oversaw local and federal contract 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 & community development from the university "Antonio Ruiz De Montoya", the Jesuit University in Perú. Mr. Romero is originally from El Salvador. He worked 15 years as the Director of Publications for Asociación Equipo Maíz, El Salvador, one of the most prestigious educational non-profits in Central America, using popular education methods for adult education, that are grounded in a vision for participatory democracy. Since 2000, he has lived and worked in the United States with community-based organizations to support immigrant and refugee populations in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Texas. His passion is leadership development, education, and community organizing.
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.
Judy Montenegro is the Director of Community Organizing for the Latinos in the Deep South Program at the Latino Commission on AIDS
Judith Montenegro es la Directora de Organización Comunitaria para los Latinos en el Programa Deep South de la Comisión Latina sobre el SIDA. Desde 2004 ha trabajado con la población inmigrante centrándose en la reforma migratoria, la defensa y sensibilización de los trabajadores agrícolas y la sindicalización de la fuerza laboral. Es miembro de los Consejos de Administración de dos organizaciones sin fines de lucro en Carolina del Norte y trabaja para desarrollar sus estrategias de recaudación de fondos y administrar sus redes sociales. La Sra. Montenegro se graduó de la Universidad de Carolina del Norte en Chapel Hill con una Licenciatura en Sociología. Nació en Durango, México y llegó a los Estados Unidos a una edad muy temprana. Sus padres solicitaron la residencia permanente en los EE. UU. Bajo la Amnistía de 1986. Actualmente vive en Durham, Carolina del Norte con su esposo y su perro.
Volunteer at Casa Yurumein and Hondureños contra el SIDA (Hondurans against AIDS), New York
Katy Gil was born in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. 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. In San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Katy worked at the Honduran Teacher Training Professional College (COLPROSUMAH). She served as elected secretary of women's affairs of the Honduran Workers’ Confederate Union (CUTH), one of the most important unions in the country. Gil has a Bachelor of Education and has been an educator throughout her life. She currently lives in New York City, where she is working towards her master's degree in education at Baruch College. During her free time, she works as an activist for the Honduran people through Casa Yurumein and the Honduran AIDS organization, both organizations affiliated with Alianza Americas. Gil is a graduate of the 2018-2019 Alianza Americas Leadership Institute.
Juana Leticia Casildo
Executive Director of Familias Unidas en Acción, New Orleans
My name is Juana Leticia Casildo and I am from Honduras. I am married, and am also a mother, sister, and daughter. In 1998, I joined the police as an investigative detective, where I worked tirelessly for five years. However in 2004, I was forced to leave Honduras to protect my life and the lives of my family members. In 2005, I arrived in New Orleans, where I have lived ever since. In 2007, I gained my first experiences 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, I recently started an organization called United Families in Action in 2018, where I 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
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Rosana Araujo completed elementary, middle and high school at Colegio Sagrado Corazón before attending la Universidad de Cultura Popular to specialize 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 "landless" and "homeless" movements as well as movements for women's rights: education and prevention of domestic violence and sexual abuse as part of the founders of Comuna Mujer. She participated in several education and health efforts within the Montevideo government (such as HIV/AIDS, among others) and was a UNICEF volunteer in the Social Coordination program 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, WeCount! 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. She is currently a co-founder of Women Working Together USA, a member of Alianza Americas and the Domestic Workers Alliance.
Guadalupe de la Cruz
Youth and Farmworker Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee Florida Program
Guadalupe De La Cruz is a bold and dynamic Chicana leader. She was born and raised in South Florida, in a working-class farmworker family. She is a proud single mother to her daughter, Melly. 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. Currently, she 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. She is also a Tri-Chair of the Florida Coordinating Committee for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. 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. Through her leadership and strategic vision, she has shifted public perceptions of undocumented youth and focused attention on policy issues that affect them with the goal of building power.
Executive Director of Lila LGBTQ, North Carolina
Soy Salvadoreño y llegué a San Francisco CA hace 31 años. Soy padre de dos hijos, Josué y David Cordova. Soy incansable trabajador y defensor de la comunidad LGBTQ y fundador de grupos como Hermanos de Luna y Sol, Padres Gay, Teatro LGBTQ, Santi Project, Sida Por Vida. He trabajado muchos años en los programas de prevención VIH Sida y todas las fases de la pandemia. Me traslade a Durham Carolina del Norte en 2006, creando y promoviendo programas LGBTQ. Soy el creador de Bolero Pequeño Teatro Latino, presentando obras de teatro con temas LGBTQ y sus experiencias como inmigrantes. Actualmente soy director de Lila LGBTQ Inc. He integrado el arte tales como pintura, danza y teatro como vía de sanación ante la agresión social sufrida por nuestra comunidad además de los tradicionales programas de prevención de las enfermedades de transmisión sexual. La experiencia de trabajar con el tema LGBTQ en el sur ha sido fantástica porque he podido crear espacios y programas que no existían como mi programa en FB Alex Cordova Contigo con temas educativos para la comunidad latina en general sobre temas LGBTQ. Actualmente estoy casado y con mucha energía para seguir trabajando por mi comunidad apoyado incondicionalmente por mi esposo.
Defender and connection for the Latinx LGBTQ community in Birmingham
Cindy Garcia is a woman passionate for social justice and defender of vulnerable communities. She was born in Fort Worth Texas and grew up in Salinas De Hidalgo, SLP México. She began activism in 2011 when HB56 went into effect, the law that criminalized migrants in Alabama. Cindy focused her efforts in protecting children whose parents were arrested and deported. Cindy founded the first all volunteer group in Birmingham AL, called “I AM” Immigrants Alabama Movement, that fought against discrimination against immigrants in the state. Cindy actively fights to defend the rights of women victims and survivors of violence. Currently, through her work at AIDS Alabama y ALAC she connects Latinx persons who live with HIV / AIDS with social services and she is a defender and connection for the Latinx LGBTQ community in Birmingham.
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..