A New Community-Based Model of Public Investment in Worker Co-ops for Excluded Workers
Thu, March 23, 2023 | 8:30 AM – 4:15 PM PDT
Pauley Ballroom 2495 Bancroft Way Berkeley, CA 94720
Keynote Speakers | Panelists | Agenda | Keynote & Panelist Bios
This special event was made possible through the generous support of The James Irvine Foundation.
Interpretation services were graciously provided by Weingart Foundation.
California State Assemblymember
Chair of the California Legislative Progressive Caucus, and Chair of the Committee on Labor & Employment
Office of the Deputy Secretary U.S. Department of Labor
- Vanessa Bransburg
Co-Executive Director for Operations & Programs, Democracy at Work Institute
- Christina Chung
Executive Director, Center for Law and Work, UC Berkeley School of Law
- Luis Diaz
Worker-Owner, CLEANWash Mobile
- Glen Eagleson
Principal Workforce Policy Analyst, San Francisco Office of Economic & Workforce Development
- Catherine Fisk
Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Distinguished Professor of Law,
Faculty Director, Center for Law and Work, UC Berkeley School of Law
- Juan Hernandez
Worker-Owner, CLEANWash Mobile
- Melissa Hoover
Co-Executive Director for Partnerships & Growth, Democracy at Work Institute
- Reg Javier
Executive Director, California Employment Training Panel
- Zulma Maciel
Director, Office of Racial Equity City of San José
- Anh-Thu Nguyen
Director of Strategic Partnerships, Democracy at Work Institute
- Leslie Payne
Initiative Director, The James Irvine Foundation
- Iliana Perez
Director of Research & Entrepreneurship, Immigrants Rising
- Tonatiuh Ramos
Worker-Owner, Radiate Bay Area Cooperative
- Aquilina Versoza Soriano
Executive Director, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
- Zen Trenholm
Senior Director of Employee Ownership Cities & Policy, Democracy at Work Institute
- Ana Siria Urzúa
Director, Cooperacion Santa Ana
- Laura Valdez
Executive Director, Dolores Street Community Services
|8:30 – 9:15 am||Registration & Breakfast|
|9:15 – 10:00 am||
The symposium will open with an overview of California SEED (Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development), an innovative state grant program promoting socially responsible business ownership opportunities for workers who are excluded, due to their limited English proficiency or immigration status, from gainful employment. Having envisioned and launched SEED when she was Senior Advisor of Law and Policy at the California labor agency, Ms. Chung will frame the day’s discussion by providing insights into why and how SEED was created, and spotlight the key components of SEED’s community-based worker cooperative model.
|10:00 – 11:30 am||
Panel 1 | Growing from SEED: The California Worker Owner Collaborative
In 2021, California launched SEED, a state grant program that funded an impressive model partnership between community-based organizations (CBOs) in California that organize excluded workers in low-wage industries, and national experts in worker co-op development. Through SEED, this partnership incubated and formed worker co-ops in the car wash, child care, taxi cab, and homecare industries. Showcasing the CBOs that spearheaded the co-op projects, and the worker-owners who now lead them as part of the California Worker Owner Collaborative, this panel will discuss their successes, challenges, and lessons learned – and ultimately, demonstrate the tremendous potential of this model as an equitable workforce development strategy that empowers workers and raises labor standards.
|11:30 – 11:45 am||Break|
|11:45 – 1:00 pm||
Panel 2 | Seeding Replication: Utilizing the Rapid Response Cooperative Model
Worker cooperative business incubation and formation can be a long and complex process, especially when aiming to center the needs and interests of excluded and historically marginalized workers. This panel highlights the Rapid Response Cooperative (RRC) model and toolkit developed by the Democracy at Work Institute, a key component of the worker co-op projects funded through California SEED. The RRC model standardizes elements of cooperative decision-making and high-road workplace practices to help cooperatives launch more quickly and at scale. Panelists will explore how the RRC model is now being replicated beyond California SEED as part of local workforce development initiatives in California and nationally to open up meaningful economic opportunities for excluded workers. Discussion topics will include challenges and insights for scaling co-op development and maximizing impact on targeted communities and industries.
|1:00 – 1:45 pm||Lunch|
|1:45 – 2:30 pm||
Keynote: In Dialogue
These distinguished speakers will share their unique perspectives from the top levels of state and federal government, where they have advanced and supported innovative economic justice policies for our most vulnerable workers. They will discuss the critical role that the public sector plays in fostering equitable workforce development strategies and initiatives, including California SEED and beyond.
|2:30 – 2:45 pm||Break|
|2:45 – 4:00 pm||
Panel 3 | Seeding Investment: Increasing Public and Private Sector Development of Worker Co-ops for Excluded Workers
How can we build on the innovative worker cooperative model funded under California SEED, in order to further expand worker ownership for communities locked out of good jobs and other workforce opportunities? Panelists from state and local government and philanthropy will share insights on how to make the case within the public and private sectors to invest in worker co-ops for excluded workers, as essential to an equitable workforce development strategy; and how stakeholders can and should work creatively together to support the growth of SEED’s community-based model of worker co-op development, in synergy with the larger movement of economic justice for excluded workers.
|4:00 – 4:15 pm||
Keynote & Panelist Bios
California State Assemblymember Ash Kalra
- Chair of the California Legislative Progressive Caucus, and Chair of the Committee on Labor & Employment
Assemblymember Ash Kalra represents California’s 25th District, which encompasses the majority of San José, including downtown and open space areas northeast of Santa Clara County. He was first elected in 2016, becoming the first Indian American to serve in the California Legislature in state history, and was re-elected to his fourth term in 2022.
Assemblymember Kalra is the Chair of the Committee on Labor & Employment and also serves as a member on the Housing & Community Development, Judiciary, Transportation, and Water, Parks, & Wildlife committees.
Assemblymember Kalra is Chair of the California Legislative Progressive Caucus to help guide a strategic, thoughtful approach to advancing a compassionate, inclusive agenda for Californians. He has established himself as a leader on issues ranging from criminal justice reform to environmental protection, and has championed legislation on health care reform and sustainability, housing affordability, growing transportation infrastructure, and expanding economic opportunity for all.
In the State Assembly, he has authored successful legislation promoting secure and peaceful communities for all residents, including protecting and preserving civil rights and civil liberties, and has dedicated his tenure in public service to equity and social justice issues.
To confront racism and systemic bias in our systems of justice, he authored the historic California Racial Justice Act of 2020 (AB 2542), a landmark bill addressing racial discrimination in criminal sentencing and convictions and a follow up bill in 2022 (AB 256) to apply the Act retroactively for persons with past convictions. As a longstanding champion of a single-payer health care system, Assemblymember Kalra introduced AB 1400 in 2021 – the statewide legislation also known as CalCare – which would guarantee comprehensive, high-quality health care for all Californians as a human right.
He previously served on the San José City Council for eight years and was formerly a Deputy Public Defender for Santa Clara County for 11 years, representing clients in dozens of felony jury trials. As a public defender, he represented indigent clients in both felony and misdemeanor matters, and a majority of his time was spent in drug treatment court where clients were given the opportunity to complete a rehabilitation program and turn their lives around.
Assemblymember Ash Kalra was born in Toronto, Canada, and moved to California as a young child, residing in the same South San José neighborhood where he grew up. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a law degree from Georgetown University.
- Senior Advisor Office of the Deputy Secretary U.S. Department of Labor
Betty Hung is currently Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Labor, at the U.S. Department of Labor, where she focuses on equity, good jobs, and worker safety net issues. Previously, her leadership roles included serving as staff director at the UCLA Labor Center; Policy Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles; Directing Attorney of the Employment Law Unit at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles; and Special Counsel at the Inner City Law Center. Betty also served on the legal team that litigated the El Monte Thai and Latinx garment worker case, as well as the legal team supporting the leadership of Dream Team LA in the successful campaign to win Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). A longtime social justice advocate and leader, Betty has worked on an impressive spectrum of social and economic justice campaigns and initiatives, in the area of workers’ rights, racial justice, immigrant rights, education equity, and gender justice. She played an integral role in several victorious campaigns, including winning $22 million in additional annual income for Los Angeles taxi workers; enacting landmark state legislation allocating $240 million to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the K-to-University of California graduation pipeline; establishing protections for undocumented immigrant students in K-12 schools throughout California; defeating proposed legislation that would have required the equivalent of English-only business signs in a predominantly immigrant municipality; and passing state legislation to address racial profiling by law enforcement. Betty has served on numerous boards, including the CLEAN Car Wash Worker Center, Economic Roundtable, LA Black Worker Center, and National Lawyers Guild–LA. Betty is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.
- Co-Executive Director for Operations & Programs Democracy at Work Institute
- Vanessa Bransburg, LMSW, is the Co-Executive Director for Operations and Programs, overseeing all programmatic and operations strategies, including organizational culture building, professional development, and progress toward organizational goals. Vanessa also leads the Rapid Response Cooperative Development Project and provides training and consultation to cooperative developers working with vulnerable workers and immigrant communities. Previously Vanessa was the Director of Cooperative Development at the Center for Family Life (CFL) in Brooklyn, NY for 8 years. While at CFL she expanded the program's capacity by tripling the number of staff, spearheaded the worker cooperative incubator program for hundreds of immigrant and low-income residents, established the NYC Cooperative Development Initiative to support NGOs looking to become cooperative incubators, and was one of the founders of the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives. She also has a background in community organizing and clinical social work. Vanessa has an MSW from Columbia University, a BA in Sociology from UCLA and is an immigrant from Argentina.
- Executive Director Center for Law and Work UC Berkeley School of Law
- Christina Chung is the founding Executive Director of the Center for Law and Work (CLAW). Before joining CLAW, Christina spent over 20 years in public service and at non-profits advancing the rights of low-wage workers. A gubernatorial appointee under Governors Brown and Newsom, she worked for a decade within the state labor agency on issues of economic equity for low-income communities. As Special Counsel to the California Labor Commissioner, she was the Commissioner’s chief advisor on the most significant legal and policy issues affecting workers in the state, and more recently, as Senior Advisor of Law and Policy for the California Labor Secretary, she directed and developed labor policy for the largest state labor agency in the nation. Her many accomplishments in the public sector included creating California’s SEED program, which has granted $30 million in state funds to support undocumented and limited English proficient communities in building worker cooperatives and socially responsible small businesses. An expert on the intersection between worker rights and immigrant rights, she developed model laws and policies for immigrant workers, including the first state labor agency protocols in the nation to address unlawful attempts by ICE agents to detain workers at labor agency offices. Christina also drafted a wide array of policies to promote the rights of workers, including to address misclassification of workers as independent contractors, provide essential workers with paid sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic, enhance labor law enforcement tools, and codify other key worker protections.
- Worker-Owner CLEANWash Mobile
- Luis Diaz’ journey to CLEANWash Mobile began in 2017 when he was unjustly fired from his workplace. That led him to the CLEAN Carwash Worker Center. Alongside his fellow carwasheros he won his claim against the car wash owners in one of the largest settlements against a car wash in the history of Los Angeles. This difficult moment granted him the opportunity of forming a part of the cooperative. With over 27 years of experience, including positions as a manager, Luis joined CLEANWash Mobile with the hope to build a sustainable business where workers have a future. As a member-owner, Luis wants to prioritize rest and meal breaks, professional development ladders, and health and safety. Within the cooperative Luis is utilizing his managerial experience to establish the business’ operations mechanisms.
- Principal Workforce Policy Analyst San Francisco Office of Economic & Workforce Development
- Glenn is the Principal Workforce Policy Analyst for the San Francisco Office of Economic & Workforce Development (OEWD) overseeing the Workforce Policy & Planning Unit. Previously, Glenn worked for the Department of Children, Youth & Their Families serving as the Citywide Lead for TAYSF, an effort designed to improve outcomes for transitional age young people through intentional policy alignment and ensuring youth voice at the table. His work has focused on developing and supporting citywide efforts to improve outcomes for disconnected, system-involved and underserved young people. He has led numerous efforts to reform approaches to working with those who are justice-involved, impacted by violence, need alternative educational pathways, or lack work authorization. Glenn has been an active member of the National Youth Employment Coalition for 30 years. He has developed curricula and trained extensively on quality workbased learning and the skills needed for workforce professionals. He currently serves as a member and Past Chair of the Board of Directors.
- Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Distinguished Professor of Law | Faculty Director, CLAW
- Catherine Fisk teaches Employment Law, Labor Law, Civil Procedure, and Understanding the U.S. Legal Profession. She is a Faculty Director of CLAW as well as the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. Professor Fisk is the author of several books. Her first, Working Knowledge: Employee Innovation and the Rise of Corporate Intellectual Property, 1800-1930 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009, 2014), won prizes from the American Society for Legal History and the American Historical Association. In her next book, Writing for Hire: Unions, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue (Harvard University Press, 2016), Professor Fisk explored the law and norms of credit and compensation for writing, contrasting the writer-protective rules negotiated by unionized writers in film and TV with far less protective norms developed in non-union advertising. Professor Fisk is the co-author of four books for use in law school and legal studies classes: Labor Law in the Contemporary Workplace (3d ed. 2019), The Legal Profession: Ethics in Contemporary Practice (2d ed. 2019), What Lawyers Do: Understanding the Many American Legal Practices (2020), and Labor Law Stories (2005). Her next book will examine the professional identities of lawyers who represented activist, multi-racial, and politically progressive unions in the mid-twentieth century. Professor Fisk has published over 100 articles and essays in leading publications including, most recently, California Law Review, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Harvard Law Review Forum, Yale Law Journal Forum, Law and History Review, Ohio State Law Journal, and Indiana Law Journal. Her recent articles address the intersection of antitrust, labor, and copyright law in structuring labor relations in American theatre, the crafting of New Deal era labor and social welfare legislation, social movement lawyering, free speech rights of worker organizations and in the workplace, new forms of labor organizing, and police unions. Professor Fisk’s current public service and pro bono legal work includes filing amicus briefs on various labor and employment law issues, service on the Advisory Board of the Berkeley Labor Center, the board of directors of the American Society for Legal History and the boards of directors of two Bay Area workers’ rights nonprofits, and occasional service as an arbitrator under collectively bargained labor contracts. Before joining the Berkeley faculty in 2017, she was on the law faculties at UC Irvine, Duke University, the University of Southern California, and Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. Prior to entering academia, Professor Fisk practiced civil appellate litigation and union-side labor law in Washington, D.C., and clerked on the Ninth Circuit. Professor Fisk received an A.B. summa cum laude from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was elected to Order of the Coif.
- Worker-Owner CLEANWash Mobile
- Juan Hernandez has worked in the car wash industry for over seventeen years. During this time he has seen his fellow coworkers robbed of their pay, rest and meal breaks, felt disrespected, and sustained injuries under unsafe working conditions in the LA heat. Juan’s mission to better the carwash industry is more than a dream - it is his driving force. He was involved with the Raise the Wage campaign in Los Angeles and successfully helped pass the citywide $15 minimum wage ordinance. Within CLEANWash Mobile, he is passionate about the co-op’s usage of eco-friendly products where the health of the workers, clients, and the environment are prioritized. Juan is proud of his contributions to transform the car wash industry and hopes CLEANWash Mobile can bring more economic opportunities to hardworking carwasheros.
- Co-Executive Director for Partnerships & Growth, Democracy at Work Institute
- Melissa Hoover is the founder and Co-Executive Director of the Democracy at Work Institute, which expands worker ownership as a strategy for people locked out of good jobs and business ownership. She helped start and grow the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the national grassroots membership organization for worker-owned businesses. Melissa also worked for six years as a cooperative business developer with the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives in Oakland, helping launch two successful startup worker cooperatives and supporting several mature cooperatives to grow and thrive. Melissa is an Executive Fellow of the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing, and serves on the board of Safe Passages of Oakland. She advises nonprofits, foundations and policymakers on effective interventions to support employee ownership as a tool for racial and social equity.
- Executive Director California Employment Training Panel
- Reg Javier has worked in workforce development for over 25 years. During this time, he has held positions at all levels ranging from front line staff to executive leadership. Over the course of his career, Reg has worked at the national, state and local levels. His work history includes working at the State of California Employment Development Department, the San Diego Workforce Partnership (the local Workforce Board), an international consulting firm – Public Consulting Group, the County of San Bernardino, and was appointed by Governor Newsom in August of 2020 to his current role as the Executive Director of the State of California Employment Training Panel. Over the course of his career, Reg has worked on policy development, system designs, redesigns, strategy development, operations, and capacity building at the local, state, and national levels.
- Director Office of Racial Equity City of San José
- Zulma Maciel has 25 years’ public administration experience and is a versatile leader with expertise in public policy development, local government administration, and legislative work. In July 2015, Zulma became the first Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA) for the City of San José, CA, and led the development of the City’s first Welcoming San Jose Plan, and subsequently a second edition. While serving as Director, Zulma was committed to implementing strategies that would create a more inclusive environment and improve the quality of life of immigrants and refugees. Through this work Zulma recognized the need for an institutional approach that would result in better outcomes for immigrants, specifically the undocumented, limited or non-English speakers, and the poor. In 2020, Zulma was appointed as the inaugural Director of San Jose’s Office of Racial Equity. She aims to embed a racial equity practice within the organization and embody a culture that sustains it, so that the needs and aspirations of Black, brown, indigenous, and other historically underserved communities are centered in policies, programs, and practices. Zulma’s diverse leadership experiences, track record of authentic community partnerships, and results-driven approach has enabled Zulma to live out her calling in this role. In her spare time, Zulma volunteers on local non-profit boards and regularly enjoys hiking and Pilates. Zulma is binational (México and US citizen), bilingual, and bicultural. She earned a B.A in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
- Director of Strategic Partnerships Democracy at Work Institute
- Anh-Thu leads and supports market development initiatives, innovations, and strategic partnerships for worker cooperative creation, scale and growth. She supports DAWI’s NYC work through the NYC Council-funded Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative, providing consulting, education and technical assistance to emerging worker cooperatives and developers. She was named a 2022-23 Coro New York Immigrant Civic Leadership Fellow. She currently serves on the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC)’s Workforce Policy Strategy Council and as a staff representative to the DAWI board. Anh-Thu’s work has encompassed international human rights, social enterprise, and sustainable fashion. She began her career with the UN Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials (UNAKRT), and has launched and consulted on several conscious beauty and fashion brands, including being on the founding team of MAKE Beauty. She studied Classics and Government at Georgetown University and received her JD from the University of Texas School of Law.
- Initiative Director The James Irvine Foundation
- Leslie Payne joined The James Irvine Foundation in 2016 as a Senior Program Officer and was named Initiative Director in July 2021. Leslie leads Irvine’s Better Careers initiative, which focuses on readiness for and access to middle wage jobs. Prior to Irvine, Leslie held a variety of roles in mission-driven organizations in the private and independent sectors, specializing in strategy, innovation, and partnerships. She serves on the board of Innovate Work Labs and Telescope. She has almost two decades of experience helping organizations learn, adapt, and grow to find effective ways of meeting complicated challenges. Leslie received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and MBA from Georgetown University.
- Director of Research & Entrepreneurship Immigrants Rising
- Iliana G. Perez, Ph.D. is Immigrant Rising’s Director of Research & Entrepreneurship. She was born in Hidalgo, Mexico and immigrated alongside her mother, father and younger brother to the U.S. at the age of eight. Iliana grew up in the California Central Valley and navigated the educational system as an undocumented student for 18 years until she became a DACA recipient in 2013. Iliana holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Fresno State, a M.A. in Economics from Claremont Graduate University and recently completed a Ph.D. in Education Policy, Evaluation and Reform, also from Claremont Graduate University. Her research focuses on immigrant entrepreneurs, the occupational and educational attainment of immigrant students, the effects of deportation on the lives of young adults, and economics of immigration. Iliana has shared her story and presented her work to various audiences across the country via keynotes and research presentations at professional conferences, organizations and college campuses. Iliana looks forward to helping all immigrants, regardless of legal status, reach their highest potential through entrepreneurship opportunities.
- Worker-Owner Radiate Bay Area Cooperative
- Tonatiuh Ramos is a Non-Profit Entrepreneur and a Web Developer and Designer with a background in Software Engineering. Tonatiuh is the ED of Dreamers in Tech and Member-Owner of Radiate Bay Area, a consulting co-op. As a Web Developer Consultant, Tonatiuh works with non-profit organizations and start-ups. Tonatiuh is a driven individual that brings leadership and analytical thinking to every initiative, project, team, and client he works with. As an advisor, Tonatiuh has supported non-profits find creative solutions and programs for the professional development of the undocumented community in the US. Tonatiuh’s mission is to propel the professional advancement of undocumented individuals through networking, collaboration, coaching, and entrepreneurship. As the Director of Dreamers in Tech, he is working to provide access to skill-building resources, networking, and helping undocumented individuals find their first career opportunities and professional growth in the tech industry.
Aquilina Versoza Soriano
- Executive Director Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
- Aquilina is founder and current Executive Director of the Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, a nonprofit serving and organizing the low-wage Pilipino immigrant community in Los Angeles. She has served as Executive Director of PWC for 17 years and has been working in the Pilipino community for 22 years, both here in Los Angeles and in the Philippines. She has been at the head of PWC as it has been a part of the growing statewide and national movement of domestic workers. She studied her BA in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. A mother of two, she sees her work for social justice as a lifelong endeavor that she hopes to pass on to her daughters. Aquilina is also serving on the Board of Mission Asset Fund and as the current President of the Board of Directors of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
- Senior Director of Employee Ownership Cities and Policy with the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI)
- Zen Trenholm is the Senior Director of Employee Ownership Cities and Policy with the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI), equipping cities with tools, technical assistance, and a community of practice to build equitable economies through worker ownership. He developed the Shared Equity in Economic Development Fellowship program (SEED) in partnership with the National League of Cities, working with over 10 cities to advance shared ownership strategies including the preservation of minority-owned legacy businesses through transitions to employee ownership. In addition to building capacity at the municipal level, Zen informs state and federal employee ownership legislation and develops policy agendas, reports, and toolkits for lawmakers and advocates. He serves on the steering committee of the Worker Owned Recovery California Coalition, on the advisory committee of the Oregon New Economy Project, and was previously selected as a 2022 Next City Vanguard fellow working to make cities more equitable. Prior to DAWI he was an organizer for fossil fuel divestment and a director at the California Student Sustainability Coalition. At UC Berkeley, he co-founded the Student Environmental Resource Center and after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Cooperative Business Development, he returned to his alma mater to teach a course on cooperative entrepreneurship. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Ana Siria Urzúa
- Director Cooperacion Santa Ana
- Ana Urzúa is the Founding Director of Cooperación Santa Ana, a cooperative business development program that increases community wealth through business ownership, policy change and relationships of solidarity and reciprocity in Orange County, California. She has worked as the Director of Sustainability with Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities, and as a community organizer with organizations such as Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development (OCCORD) and El Centro Cultural de Mexico, in support of community-driven development. Ana currently serves on the board of THRIVE Santa Ana Community Land Trust. She has published several articles on urban planning, gentrification, displacement, and economic development in Santa Ana. Ana was born in Colima, Mexico, and received her anthropology degree from the University of California, Irvine. Ana believes in embodying the change we wish to see in the world. She is a long time practitioner of tai chi and yoga, and a coach, and brings these and other healing practices into movement spaces to support personal and collective transformation.
- Executive Director Dolores Street Community Services
- Laura Valdéz was born and grew up in El Paso, Texas on the U.S./Mexico border. Her social justice framework is rooted in the struggles she witnessed growing up as a daughter of Mexican immigrants and queer Xicana. Laura brings over 20 years of leadership experience in nonprofit administration, public health, public policy and grassroots organizing. As a human rights activist, she has led several social justice organizations including organizations working for immigrant and LGBTQ rights. As a National Urban Fellow, she earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Bernard M. Baruch College, School of Public Affairs in New York City and was chosen as a LeaderSpring Fellow and 21st Century Fellow of the Pipeline Project. Laura believes that long-term social change in this country requires sustained commitment and leadership from those most closely impacted by pervasive inequity and injustice. She is the Executive Director at Dolores Street Community Services and currently serves on the board of directors for Our Family Coalition.