Our Authors

Angelica Salas

www.chirla.org angelica_salas

Angelica Salas is executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a regional immigrant rights organization with a mission to advance the human and civil rights of immigrants and refugees, promote harmonious multi-ethnic and multi-racial human relations, and empower immigrants and their allies to build a more just and humane society. Since becoming CHIRLA’s executive director in 1999, Salas has spearheaded several ambitious campaigns locally, state-wide, and nationally. For example, she helped win in-state tuition for undocumented immigrant students and established day laborer job centers that have served as a model for the rest of the nation. She led efforts to allow all California drivers to obtain a driver’s license and is a leading spokesperson on federal immigration policy. She comes by her understanding of the immigrant experience firsthand. At the age of five, Salas came to the U.S. to rejoin her parents who had come from Mexico to find work and better provide for their family.

Arturo S. Rodriguez

www.ufw.org Arturo_Rodriguez

As president of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), Arturo S. Rodriguez is continuing to build the union Cesar Chavez founded into a powerful voice for immigrant workers by increasing its membership and pushing historic legislation on immigration reform and worker rights. Rodriguez is leading the UFW in bringing about meaningful change for farm workers by making it easier for them to organize and negotiate union contracts. He seeks to fundamentally transform American agriculture by creating jobs that offer workers decent pay, comprehensive health coverage, retirement security, protections against toxic poisons, job security and guarantees against discrimination and sexual harassment. Under Rodriguez, the UFW is working to offer innovative alternative representation through benefits and services, and to extend innovative representation to workers temporarily brought to work in U.S. agriculture. His goal is also to preserve America’s food supply through a strong and viable agricultural industry. The veteran farm labor organizer was first introduced to Cesar Chavez through his parish priest in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, in 1966. He became active with the UFW’s grape boycott as a student at St. Mary’s University in 1969. At the University of Michigan in 1971, where he earned an M.A. degree in social work, Rodriguez organized support for farm worker boycotts. He began serving full time with the UFW in 1973, when he first met Chavez, who became his mentor for 20 years. Rodriguez has more than 40 years’ experience organizing farmworkers, negotiating UFW contracts, and leading numerous farm worker boycott and political drives across North America.

Hon. Bill Lann Lee

www.rosenbergfound.org bill_lann_lee

Hon. Bill Lann Lee is chair of the Rosenberg Foundation’s Board of Directors. A former U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, he is a Shareholder with the law firm Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson P.C., in Oakland, CA, where he specializes in prosecuting employment discrimination and civil rights class actions. Hon. Lee has extensive experience in the litigation of police misconduct, housing discrimination, transportation equity, environmental justice, and other civil rights cases. Prior to joining Lewis Feinberg, he was a partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein. In December 1997, he was appointed Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Justice by President Bill Clinton and served as the nation’s top civil rights prosecutor until January 2001. A graduate of Yale College (1971) and Columbia Law School (1974), he is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award, U.S. Department of Justice John Randolph Distinguished Service Award, State Bar of California Diversity Award, Anti-Defamation League Pearlstein Civil Rights Award and the Pioneer Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans.

Hon. Cruz Reynoso

California Supreme Court cruz_reynoso

Hon. Cruz Reynoso was an associate justice for the California Supreme Court and the Third District Court of Appeal. He previously was special counsel for Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler and is currently professor of law and Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality at the UC Davis School of Law. From 1994 to 2004, Hon. Reynoso served as vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He also was a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and at the University of New Mexico. Earlier in his career, he was director of California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. and deputy director of the California Fair Employment Practices Commission. He also served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955. He is the son of Mexican immigrants and was an agricultural worker in California fruit orchards. He has served on numerous other federal, state and professional boards and commissions concerned with civil rights, immigration and refugee policy, government reform, the administration of justice, legal services for the indigent and education. In 2000, Hon. Reynoso received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, for his lifelong devotion to public service. He also is a recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award in Education. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ponoma College in Claremont and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Janet Murguía

www.nclr.org Janet_Murguía

Janet Murguía is president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Since 2005, Murguía has sought to strengthen NCLR’s work and enhance its record of impact as a vital American institution. One of her first priorities was to strengthen the partnership between NCLR and its network of nearly 300 community-based affiliates that serve millions of people in 41 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Murguía has been recognized on numerous occasions for her work. She has been selected twice as one of Washingtonian magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington” and featured in Newsweek magazine’s “Women and Leadership” issue. She has been chosen as one of the NonProfit Times’ “Power and Influence Top 50” leaders, named to People en Español’s “100 Most Influential Hispanics,” and selected as one of Hispanic Business magazine’s “100 Most Influential Hispanics,” Hispanic magazine’s “Powerful Latinos,” Latino Leaders magazine’s “101 Top Leaders of the Hispanic Community,” and Poder magazine’s “The Poderosos 100.” In 2005, she received the University of Kansas Law Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus/na Award. Janet Murguía grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. She received three degrees from KU: a BS degree in journalism (1982), a BA degree in Spanish (1982), and a JD degree (1985) from the School of Law. In 2011, she received an honorary degree—Doctor of Humane Letters—from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Ju Hong

www.aspiredreamers.org juhong

Ju Hong is currently a research assistant at Harvard University, working on the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP), a national research study that seeks to understand the effects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on the everyday lives of young undocumented immigrants receiving or wishing to receive its benefits. Hong came to the United States from South Korea at the age of 11 and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Laney College in Oakland, where he was elected as the first Asian American and youngest student body president. He graduated from Laney College and transferred to University of California, Berkeley, where he became the first undocumented student government Senator in UC Berkeley history.  In 2013, Hong challenged President Obama on a record number of deportations during his speech at the Betty Ong Center in San Francisco. His courageous action with ASPIRE (Asian Students Promoting Immigrant Rights through Education) appeared on national and international media, including CNNNew York TimesNPR, and BBC News. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in political science, and is currently pursuing a master’s in public administration at San Francisco State University. He hopes to continue to support underprivileged immigrant communities through public service. Hong enjoys traveling, dancing, reading, networking, and playing basketball. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @JuHong89.

Katie Joaquin

www.mujeresunidas.net kate_joaqin

Katie Joaquin is the campaign director of the California Domestic Workers Coalition. She organized thousands of workers and supporters to win last year’s historic passage of the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. Born in the Philippines, Joaquin was raised in a family of domestic workers, and has been organizing immigrant women workers for the past eight years. Previously, as a lead organizer for Filipino Advocates for Justice, she provided leadership development and strategic campaign support for low-wage workers, helping them expand membership and win wage theft settlements totaling over $1 million in unpaid wages.

Maria Distancia

www.mujeresunidas.net MariaDistancia

Maria Distancia is a domestic worker and mother who has transformed into a leader in the fight for immigrant women workers’ rights. Originally from Jalisco, México, Distancia has cleaned homes and cared for children and seniors for the past 30 years in order to support her five children. She has been a member of Mujeres Unidas y Activas for seven years, and was a key leader in the campaign to win California’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

Pablo Alvarado

www.ndlon.org pablo_alvarado_pablo

Pablo Alvarado is the executive director of the  National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), currently a collaboration of about 43 community-based day laborer organizations. Under his guidance, NDLON works with local governments to help establish worker centers to move job seekers into places of safety. There, they learn how to handle exploitation, improve skills and gain access to essential services. NDLON strengthens and expands local worker groups and builds immigrant leadership by acting as a central resource for information. Alvarado is the recipient of the Next Generation Leadership Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation, which recognizes entrepreneurial, risk-taking and fair leaders who seek to develop solutions to major challenges of democracy. In 2004, Pablo was also recognized by the Ford Foundation’s, “Leadership for a Changing World Program.”  In August 2005, TIME Magazine named Pablo among the 25 most influential Hispanics in the U.S.   In 2013, he was recognized by the LA Weekly as one of Los Angeles most interesting people.

Reshma Shamasunder

www.caimmigrant.org Reshma_ Shamasunder

Reshma Shamasunder has served as executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center since 2003. Under her leadership, CIPC has helped to advance several successful campaigns at the state level, including preserving important health and human service programs, supporting survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence, stalling abusive employment verification practices, and furthering important immigrant integration efforts. She previously served as co-chair of the South Asian Network in Los Angeles. Shamasunder was most recently an inaugural fellow with the Rockwood Fellowship for a New California, a leadership program for California’s immigrant rights leaders. She was previously director of benefits policy and government affairs at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, and also worked for several years on child labor issues in India. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a master’s in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Richard L. Trumka

www.aflcio.org Richard_Trumka

Richard L. Trumka was elected AFL-CIO president in September 2009. He has served as AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer since 1995. Born in Nemacolin, Pa., on July 24, 1949, Trumka was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council in 1989. At the time of his election to the secretary-treasurer post, he was serving his third term as president of the Mine Workers (UMWA). At the UMWA, Trumka led two major strikes against the Pittston Coal Co. and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association. The actions resulted in significant advances in employee-employer cooperation and the enhancement of mine workers’ job security, pensions and benefits. Trumka holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Pennsylvania State University and a law degree from Villanova University.

Santos Castaneda

www.centrobodeguero.org Santos Castaneda

Santos Castaneda is an organizer for the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, a non-profit organization that promotes safe jobs and worker leadership. Born in El Salvador, he migrated to the U.S. to join his family in 2002.  His dreams were to go to school and seek a career where he could help his family. In 2005, because of the harsh economic situation his family found themselves in, he stopped going to school and joined the dangerous warehouse industry, which was booming with work at the time. The exploitation common to this industry had him bouncing around from warehouse to warehouse as a temporary worker for the following seven years. In 2011, having developed the skills necessary to identify workplace hazards through trainings offered by the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, Castaneda began fighting for better working conditions for himself and all warehouse workers. He since has become a strong and dedicated advocate for the improvement of conditions within the warehousing industry. He speaks out publicly at events, rallies and worker demonstrations, calling on bad actor companies within the industry to remedy unsafe working conditions within their facilities, and to ensure that warehouse jobs are good, safe and stable jobs that pay a living wage.

Saru Jayaraman

www.rocunited.org saru_jayaraman

Saru Jayaraman is the co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC in New York, which has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants. ROC now has 10,000 members in 19 cities nationwide. The story of Jayaraman and her co-founder’s work with ROC has been chronicled in the book, The Accidental American. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, and was named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, 1010 WINS’s “Newsmaker of the Year,” and one of New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. Jayaraman co-edited The New Urban Immigrant Workforce (ME Sharpe, 2005), and authored Behind the Kitchen Door, published by Cornell University Press.

Timothy P. Silard

www.rosenbergfound.org tim-silard

Tim Silard is the president of the Rosenberg Foundation. Since joining the foundation in 2008, he has made criminal justice reform in California a core focus of the foundation’s grantmaking. Silard joined the Rosenberg Foundation from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, where he served as chief of policy, developing reforms in criminal justice, civil rights and immigrant rights. He previously was HOPE VI Director for the Corporation for National Service, where he served on the Community Enterprise Board and White House Urban Policy Working Group.

Veronica Alvarado

www.centrobodeguero.org VeronicaAlvarado

Veronica Alvarado is the program coordinator for the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, a non-profit organization founded in 2011 to promote safe jobs and worker leadership. The Warehouse Worker Resource Center is a project of Warehouse Workers United, an organization committed to improving the quality of life and jobs in Southern California’s Inland Empire. Drawing from her multicultural and working class background, Alvarado has engaged hundreds of warehouse workers through bilingual trainings to develop workers’ leadership skills and understanding of health and safety laws, and to empower them to advocate for themselves and their coworkers on the job. Her work has been particularly focused on the web of contractors that work in service of the retail giant Walmart and strategies to advocate effectively for this workforce. Alvarado is part of several active statewide and national coalitions that work to advance the working conditions of low-wage immigrant workers.