To unite Oregon Latinos behind a non-partisan values driven agenda that acknowledges diversity, and empowers Latinos with tools that equip them to step into Civic Leadership roles
The Oregon Latino Agenda for Action (OLAA) was an effort facilitated by Oregon Consensus of Portland State University to bring together a broad range of representatives from the Latino community throughout Oregon to collaborate in developing an “Oregon Latino Agenda for Action.”The motivation for OLAA came from discussions and gatherings (Salons) facilitated by Oregon Consensus with key Latino leadership in 2009 and 2010. Prior to 2009 tri county Latino community members met to discuss the need for a convening body that brought together statewide Latino leaders to support and build an action agenda to promote, recognize and build an actionable agenda. From these gatherings and a series of committee meetings emerged the Oregon Latino Agenda for Action (OLAA). OLAA is governed by an executive committee and is staffed in large part by volunteers and a facilitation team.
Current Board Members:
Reyna Lopez, Co-Chair
Reyna Lopez, a former Civic Engagement Director for Causa Oregon, is a strong advocate in the statewide Immigrant Rights and Latino Movement. While at Causa, Reyna helped lead the organization to win big victories in the legislature with Tuition Equity and Driver’s Cards as well as worked to advance and empower the Latino community in Oregon’s political process. Reyna has worked tirelessly to build innovative ways to increase Latino voter registration in Oregon—her work with the New American Voter Project and as Director of the Yes on 88 field effort, Oregon’s first Bi-lingual and Bi-Cultural ballot measure in 2014, are prime examples of this innovative leadership. Reyna currently serves as Outreach Director for Our Oregon, where she focuses on building a statewide progressive network for some of the most high-profile issues on the 2016 ballot.
Cristabel Nichols, Co-Chair
As a bilingual, bi-cultural, and equity-drive professional, Cristabel has focused most of her career in government and has worked in many different agencies within local, State and Federal offices. Additionally, she has worked in the private sector doing communications and outreach within Latino and communities of color to increase access to education, resources and opportunity.
Cristabel has previously worked for La Opinion Newspaper in Los Angeles, which is part of ImpreMedia the largest national publishing company in the United States, which caters to the Latino community and engages in “ownable content that connects to [our] culture.” While there, Cristabel was instrumental in partnering with UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) in coordinating and implementing the business development program, Éxito Empresarial, where Spanish-speaking community members could receive a first-rate course, at low to no-cost and learn how to establish their own small-business, educating them about local laws and policies; while also addressing how to navigate potential barriers such as their legal status in the U.S.
Cristabel currently works with the Multnomah County Elections Division where she supports her team on strategies for being culturally inclusive to communities of color and applies her lived and overall cultural competency background to better work & serve communities of color, those living in poverty and engaging with LEP (Limited English proficiency) communities. Cristabel also serves on the Multnomah County Equity Council, where she participates in making recommendations on diversity and equity issues within the county to the Board or appropriate stakeholders. As Ben Duncan, the Chief Diversity and Equity Officer for Multnomah County recently shared, “Cristabel has shown incredible curiosity and a willingness to ask the difficult questions. She brings and leverages her background and experience to identify issues in a way that is able to move equity work forward and would be an asset to teams seeking this approach.”
Carlos Crespo, Bord Member and Founder
Dr. Carlos J. Crespo is Professor and Director of the School of Community health at Portland State University. He graduated from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, and has a Master of Science in Sports Health from Texas Tech University and a Doctor of Public Health in Preventive Care from the Loma Linda University. Previous work experience includes working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the National Center for Health and as a public health analyst for the Office of Prevention, Education and Control at the National Institutes of Health. His main area of research involves the epidemiology of physical activity in the prevention of chronic diseases and research on minority health issues. He lists more than 100 publications and has been a contributing author to five textbooks on minority health and sports medicine, and more than 10 government publications, including the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health. He received the 1997 U.S. Secretary of Health Award for Distinguished Service as part of the Salud para su Corazon campaign, and in 2003 became a Minority Health Scholar from the National Institutes of Health. He is an emeritus board member of American Council for Exercise and past President of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is a past member of the National Advisory Council of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Active Living Research, Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Urban and Health Sustainability. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, and a member of the Oregon Health Policy Board and the Board of Directors of the Oregon Public Health Institute and the Oregon Latino Agenda for Action.
Linda Castillo, Board Member
Linda helped found Latino Network in 1996, and returned as a staff member in 2014. She runs the Unid@s leadership cohort for grasstops leaders.
For 22 years, she has worked in local government in various counties in the Northwest. She also spent a decade working for nonprofits in direct service for communities of color in Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. An active leader in the Latino community, she was a co-founder of Bienestar de la Familia and helped lead the team that developed the Communities of Color Organizational Assessment tool for Cultural Competence.
Linda identifies as a bicultural, bilingual first generation Latina of Mexican heritage. She was born and raised in Northern California as the eldest daughter of farm workers from Zacatecas and Michoacán and was the first in her family to graduate from high school, attend college, and complete graduate school with a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. Her upbringing was filled with experiences of and addressing poverty, violence, sexism, discrimination, social justice, protests in the streets for equity, civic engagement, and community organizing and authentic connection and building trust in communities of color.
Having lived in Portland, Oregon for many years and raised her twin daughters here, she enjoys art, music, foodie adventures, and team sports and relays. She also enjoys working on issues of diversity & equity.
Shannon Garcia, Board Member
Shannon Garcia grew up in a suburb of Phoenix, AZ but has been in the Pacific Northwest for over 15 years. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA, majoring in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies and minoring in American Indian studies. Her primary focus was on global wealth inequity, the sociology of reproductive health and the politics of identity. From there, she obtained her Juris Doctor degree at Lewis & Clark, where her primary focus was on international human rights and workers’ rights as human rights.
Currently, she is the Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic at El Programa Hispano Católico. In her work she represents primarily ESL clients, the majority of which are native Spanish speakers. She strives to increase financial self-sufficiency and empowerment in the latino community by providing educational workshops in Spanish about common tax issues, including tax preparer fraud, and representing taxpayers in their problems with the IRS. She is the local tax expert when it comes to tax issues related to ITINs and working under invalid social security numbers. She continues to bepassionate about workers’ rights as human rights, particularly in the context of farm work.
Maria D. Hernandez,
Maria was raised in Cruz de Aguilar Romita, Guanajuato, a small town of no more than 600 individuals. She then moved to Woodburn, Oregon at the age of 12, with her family, and has since considered Woodburn home. Growing up in a small town every decision counted and therefore community led. Her experience growing up as bicultural and bilingual led Maria to dedicate her work to community engagement, connection building, and building power for most impacted communities.
Maria received her bachelor’s of arts degree from Willamette University in Politics with a minor in Sociology and Latin American Studies. During her college career, Maria’s research was very much connected with her experience as a farm worker. She conducted a community-participatory research titled: Broken Laws, Families Separated, and Unprotected Workers: The Faces of Wage Theft in Oregon, which examined the many barriers undocumented farm workers faced in identifying and reporting wage theft. Maria’s commitment to wage theft research, lead her to complete her senior thesis titled Wage Theft and Sexual Harassment in the Fields of Oregon; The Intersectionality of Struggle with the Law for Migrant, Low-wage Women Workers. María continues to examine ways to strengthen Oregon laws and policies to recover stolen and report abuses.
After Willamette, Maria went on to complete a Public Affairs Fellowship with CORO Northern California to then later work as the Program Manager for CORO’s Exploring Leadership Program where she built policy awareness around issues of police brutality and created leadership development opportunities for students of color.
Most recently, Maria was the Deputy Campaign Manager working to elect State Representative Teresa Alonso Leon, the first Indigenous Latina to represent a district in the state of Oregon. Maria now works as the Advocacy Coordinator at Organizing People/Advancing Leaders (OPAL) Environmental Justice Oregon where she leads advocacy efforts at a local, county and statewide level through Oregon. Maria’s work with OPAL and the Oregon Just Transition Alliance seeks to provide partners access to solidarity networks and opportunities to build people power.