Morning Plenary Speakers
Speakers listed in alphabetical order by first name within their respective agenda items.
Francisco Estrada, Councilmember & Programs Officer
City of Watsonville & Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust
Francisco Estrada was born and raised in the city of Watsonville, dividing his youth between playing futbol and helping his parents in the raspberry fields. After completing his graduate work at San Jose State University, Francisco spent nearly a decade working for the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, helping to provide the youth in Watsonville with vocational opportunities through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grant and the Sueños Program.
In his role as Program Officer for the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust, he has worked to oversee two new health collaboratives focused on addressing the social determinants of health, as well as managing the grant-making program. As a type-1 diabetic, Francisco is aware of the importance of championing wellbeing and bringing health equity to the residents of the Pajaro Valley.
In 2019, Francisco had the honor of serving as the mayor of his hometown, fulfilling a promise to his immigrant parents and honoring their sacrifices. As a member of the city council, Francisco works to create a shared community where all can thrive.
Francisco also volunteers as a mentor for the Aztecas soccer program, teaches US history at Hartnell College, is an advisory board member for Regeneración Pájaro Valley Climate Action, and a member of Rotary Club International.
Welcome & Event Overview
MariaElena De La Garza, Executive Director
Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County (CAB, Inc.)
MariaElena De La Garza has over 29 years of experience in nonprofit work and is currently the Executive Director of the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County. She holds a dual Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Chicano Studies from Scripps College in Claremont, Ca. and also has had extensive leadership development and training experience including Stanford University Graduate School of Business Executive Leadership Program, Bank of America National Leadership Program, and the United Way of Santa Cruz County Leadership for Community Transformation. In 2018, MariaElena was awarded the prestigious University of California Santa Cruz Tony Hill Award for her work in social justice and community service.
MariaElena has passion for building and supporting community networks, leadership in action, and solution-based strategies. She has years of experience serving on various boards for local and statewide nonprofits and currently is serving on California Association of Community Action Partners Board of Directors and the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Board. MariaElena believes in community outreach, culturally respectful services, program development and inclusiveness to support and increase equity for all members of the community. She holds a strong commitment to nurture and support emerging leaders and understands that professional development opportunities include leadership development, lifelong learning, and stepping out of comfort zones. MariaElena has a strong professional network and is frequently asked to speak at special events, graduations, and conferences on her experiences as a nonprofit director and a community leader.
MariaElena’s mother, an immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico and her Texan father taught her about hard work and the importance of being of service. She was born and raised in Watsonville, Ca. where she lives with her husband, Marc, and her pooch.
Patrick Meyer, Chair
Cabrillo College Human Services Program
Randy Morris, Director
Santa Cruz County Human Services Department
Randy Morris, an Alameda County social services executive with a strong commitment to public services, has been named Santa Cruz County’s next Director of Human Services. Morris has served Alameda County for nearly 25 years in a variety of roles, developing a breadth of expertise in the fields of child welfare, Medi-Cal, and adult and aging services, while establishing a track record of community and stakeholder engagement and collaboration.
Immigration Policy & News Update
Doug Keegan, Attorney & Director
CAB Immigration Project
Lily Ana W. Sturgis, Attorney
CAB Immigration Project
Dr. Vilma Reyes, Associate Clinical Professor
University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Vilma Reyes is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco in the Child Trauma Research Program. Since 2009, she has been providing Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) services, training, clinical supervision, consultation and coordinating community-based mental health outreach services and evaluation. She is a national trainer in CPP and has co-authored articles and chapters on CPP theory and application.
Dr. Reyes developed a CPP-based group intervention, Building Bridges, which has been applied and researched in several community settings including 7 family shelters across 3 counties in the Bay Area, CA. This intervention was adapted to the displaced community in Bogota, Colombia and the Afro-Colombian community in Tumaco, Colombia. This adaptation, Semillas de Apego, is being researched in two randomized controlled studies with a sample size of over 1,200 families. Dr. Reyes has presented this research at national and international conferences, including the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
In addition to her Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Reyes has also earned a Master of Arts in Education and has experience offering consultation, supervision and training in trauma informed systems in school-based settings. Dr. Reyes is an immigrant from Peru and is devoted to increasing access to trauma informed services for Latinx immigrant families. She has done several lectures in national conferences on the intersection of immigration and trauma; with a focus on asylum seekers and refugees exposed to armed conflict, systemic oppression and racism.
Panel I: Best Practices in Immigration Advocacy & Organizing
Jennifer González, Co-Founder
Allies to End Detention
Jennifer Gonzalez is an advocate, organizer, information designer and legal communicator based in Tijuana and San Diego. In 2018, she cofounded Allies to End Detention, a grassroots organization that defies the silencing and dehumanization of people in the context of migration through acts of individual solidarity and support and seeks to amplify the voices of detained migrants. She is an active participant in several local coalitions and has helped lead partnerships with human rights defenders on both sides of the southern border. She is also a key organizer for Project Torchlight, working to expand the movement for migrant rights and build community-wide, collaborative infrastructure for advocate, allies, and service providers. Before her move to the southern border, Jennifer worked as a public interest fellow at the North Carolina Immigrant Rights Project representing refugees fleeing gang and cartel violence in Latin America, and spent time in Silicon Valley building technology tools and resource to better support legal advocates. Ms. Gonzalez trained at Stanford’s Hasso Platter Institute for Design and was president of the Stanford Law and Visual Media Project where she produced documentary films exploring the human cost of legal decisions.
Prior to her organizing and legal career, she was an award-winning teacher, trainer, and consultant in Washington, DC. In addition to her JD from Stanford Law School, Ms. Gonzalez has an M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition and a B.A. in English from Brigham Young University. She lives by the beach in Tijuana and regularly crosses the border to San Diego.
Kathryn LaPointe, Director
San Diego Oasis Center
Kathryn is the director of the Oasis Center in San Diego, California, which provides direct support to asylum seeking families, including shelter, transportation and orientation activities. The center also trains volunteers and churches to provide relevant assistance to asylum seekers, and works with other partners to end mass incarceration.
She has previously worked as a corporate paralegal, human resource management, church finance and in ethical investment services. She is in the ordination process with Church of the Brethren, an anabaptist expression of faith.
Teresa Castellanos, Immigrant Services Coordinator
Santa Clara County Office of Immigrant Relations
Teresa Castellanos has worked with the diversity of communities in our County for more than three decades. She began her career early as a labor organizer with Justice for Janitors, leading campaigns in the Silicon Valley’s high-tech companies and continued to work with the Health Care Workers Union where she represented and organized convalescent home workers. Teresa also worked with the Catholic Charities’ Immigration Program in San Jose where she led the organizations’ citizenship efforts in the mid-1990s.
Teresa was a guiding force behind the Santa Clara County’s citizenship and immigrant integration programs between 1996 and 2015 and remains the most experienced staff member in the Office of Immigrant Relations (OIR) where she is an immigrant programs coordinator. Teresa’s scholarship, teaching of immigrant leadership courses, outreach and community organizing have helped generate interest and attention regarding the immigrant experience in Silicon Valley. She is a contributing author to Bridging Borders in Silicon Valley and KIN: Knowledge of Immigrant Nationalities, two books based on the data from the Summit on Immigrant Needs and Contributions, as well as the Office of Human Relations’ report A Tale of Two Valleys: The Price We Pay for Living in Santa Clara County. This research has been nationally recognized.
In 2012, Teresa was elected as a Trustee of the San Jose Unified School District, and reelected for her second term. She also serves on the Board of Metro Ed Board, focusing on Adult and Career Technical Education. She is a recipient of numerous awards including Congressional, and County recognition for her tireless and courageous work on behalf of immigrants and refugees. She was also a recipient of a Woman of the Year Award presented by the Senator Jim Beall in 2016 and Assembly member Ash Kalra in 2018.
Teresa is the mother of four adult children, and grandmother of two granddaughters and godmother of two children.
Panel II: DACA & Education
Cabrillo Sueños Club Representatives
The Sueños Club at Cabrillo College is composed of students who’s central mission is to create a safe community for Undocumented/AB 540 & DREAMers. Through peer support, advocacy and student led programs, we create campus awareness of the needs for Undocumented communities. The club also focuses in bringing information and organizing events to fundraise for scholarships for undocumented students. Allies welcome!
Efren López, Undocu Student Collective
University of California, Santa Cruz
Mariana Jiménez, Undocu Student Collective
University of California, Santa Cruz