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, Chair
Reyna is currently the Executive Director of PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Union. She grew up in Salem, Oregon and graduated from Willamette University with her BA in Political Science and Sociology. She is a fierce leader and advocate for the Latinx community in Oregon, receiving the Immigrant Award from the American Association of Immigration Lawyers of Oregon, and Willamette University’s Young Alumni of the Year Award for her work in social justice causes, campaigns, movement and coalition building.
Reyna’s passion for organizing and community is reflected throughout her career from her position as Civic Engagement Director at Causa, where she lead Yes on 88(Safe Roads), Oregon’s first bilingual bicultural ballot measure campaign! She founded the organization’s New American Voter’s Project and worked tirelessly to win Tuition Equity after 13 years of fighting for Oregon’s Dreamer population. In recent years, Reyna was the Outreach Director at Our Oregon, where she lead the Fellowship Program and organization’s base building efforts for the A Better Oregon Campaign, a ballot measure demanding corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
Linda Castillo, Co-Chair
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, Treasurer
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 be passionate about workers’ rights as human rights, particularly in the context of farm work.
Jennifer Martinez, Secretary
Jennifer Martinez was born in Bakersfield, CA after her parents settled from Mexico to build a living as farmworkers. Her life experiences were shaped by the inequalities that arise from living in a predominantly agricultural community with low civic involvement in everyday life. This early experience has driven Jennifer to devote her life to public service. She has since attained a Masters of Public Administration from University of Texas at Arlington and has worked as a Financial Analyst for the City of Grapevine, Texas where she helped manage the budget process, capital projects, and investment portfolio and facilitate the debt issuance process.
In 2015 as a Fellow at the Institute of Public and Urban Affairs at San Diego State University and in good company of Salvador Espinosa, PhD and Christine Martell PhD she has a forthcoming publication “Why Some Municipalities in Mexico May be Better Property Tax Collectors than Others?”
Currently as a doctoral student in the Public Affairs and Policy Program at Portland State University, Jennifer is devoted to further explore the connection between public finance and citizen participation.
Carlos Crespo, Founding Board Member
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.
Maria D. Hernandez, Board Member
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.
Ivan Hernandez, Board Member
Ivàn is passionate about improving outcomes and increasing representation for marginalized and underserved communities. Iván’s passion comes from growing up as an immigrant in rural eastern Oregon. His family emigrated from Mexico to the United States when he was 5 and he grew up in rural agricultural communities. During his time in eastern Oregon, he helped found the Columbia Basin Hispanic Soccer League to give the community an organized league with its own facilities. The league grew to 20 teams and close to 400 players. Ivàn graduated from Hermiston High School and Blue Mountain Community College before he moved to Eugene.
Ivàn graduated from the University of Oregon with a BS in Business Administration. During his time at the U of O, Ivàn volunteered his time to organize the KIDSPORTS Invitational, which allowed children from disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in sports and meet their sports idols without cost. He also contributed to the Lundquist College of Business’ diversity recruitment and retainment goals as a student ambassador and mentor to students of color and their parents.
Currently, Ivàn works at Lara Media, a multicultural full-service marketing, research and communications firm based in Portland where he is the Marketing and Communications Manager. At Lara Media he connects services and resources that clients offer with the underserved communities they hope to reach. Ivàn is currently going through Latino Network’s Unid@s Leadership program. Ivàn enjoys volunteering his time and supporting causes that focus on social equity.
In his free time, Iván loves spending time with his daughter, visiting his family in eastern Oregon, exploring Oregon’s natural wonders, dancing, staying active and cheering for his Oregon Ducks!
Rosalie Diaz, Board Member
Rosalie Diaz has dedicated herself to public service in Gresham, Oregon for over a decade. She is a native Oregonian, born and raised in the East Portland/Gresham area. Her passion for serving the community started in her work as an Elementary School Teacher’s Aide. Here, she started helping young children develop and grow, with a focus on third graders. Throughout her time in the public schools system, she also worked with older students, and eventually worked directly with social service field workers. It was there where she found her passion for Social Service work, and has dedicated her career to supporting marginalized communities in the Gresham area. Rosalie believes people should be able to fulfill there basic needs. Only then can we get our communities on the path to thriving and flourishing in Oregon. She currently serves as the Executive Assistant to Patricia Rojas, at El Programa Hispano.
Meet the Interns:
Giselle Reynoso, Communications Intern
Giselle Reynoso was born and raised in Central Oregon, up until she was 20 years old. She graduated from Central Oregon Community College with her Associate’s Degree. Soon after achieving her Associate’s, she moved to Portland to pursue her dream of becoming a Clincal Psychologist. She is currently graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Portland State University. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Pacific University. Her dream is to help people with mental illnesses and help assess and treat them with their illness and disabilities. She is currently working a second internship through the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department. She has previously volunteered in numerous organizations within her community, which include the justice system for adolescence, a head start program for children of migrant field workers, Friends of Trees, and Meals on Wheels distributing food for the homeless. She is a current member of the multicultural community service based sorority Kappa Delta Chi. Giselle is always looking for more ways to get involved in giving back to her community.
Thank You To Our Past Board Members:
Consuelo Saragoza, Founder
Jessica Rodriguez-Montegna, Past Chair
Luis Nava, Past Co-Chair
Cynthia Carmina Gomez, Past Co-Chair