Fernando Romero: Executive Director, BIA Accredited
Fernando is the Executive Director for the PEOC since January 2015. He has an extensive background and experience in community organizing on immigrant rights and workers rights. Fernando lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for 21 years since the age of 8. As of August 2015, he is accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to conduct document preparation and at low-cost for immigration benefits He was the Director for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice from 2011 to 2015 where some of the most prominent work was that of the crisis of the Migrant Children and Families in Murrieta, CA during July 2014. As an undocumented student at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), he studied creative writing and journalism and was a co-founder of FUEL, the first AB 540 support group at CSULB, co-founder of the independent, on-campus publication focused on Latina/Latino students El Reflejo and the video blog project for undocumented youth Dreamers Adrift.
Daniela Alvarenga: Workers’ Organizer
Daniela graduated from Pitzer College in the spring of 2017, where she received her B.A. in psychology. During her time at Pitzer, she worked with multiple Community Engagement sites such as Prototypes, Pomona Day Labor Sites, and Camp Afflerbaugh Paige. At Prototypes, she further developed and implemented a Mind, Body, Art curriculum that aimed to promote wellness and a creative outlet for expression for the womxn on site. With the Day Labor Sites, she facilitated English Language Learning classes, capacity building workshops, and organized the annual Fútbol is Vida Tournament where students, day laborers, and community organizations come together to raise funds for a designated community organization or platform. She continued her engagement with the Pomona Day Labor Center as the Pitzer Community Hecker Fellow coordinating programming and student-faculty engagement. Outside of Pitzer, she has developed English Language Art Curriculum as a Breakthrough Collaborative Fellow- an education organization focused on, “creating an empowering educational experience that results in equitable access to higher education for our students and prepares our teaching fellows for education sector roles”. Daniela’s educational interests include mental health in the Latinx community, critical and socially responsible curriculum development, art as a tool for community empowerment, and equitable access to higher education.
After majoring in languages at UCSB, Benjamin returned for a Master’s in Education and his teaching credential. While at Santa Barbara, he became involved in the grassroots organization PUEBLO, ultimately serving on board of directors. He returned to his Inland Empire community to teach high school and eventually transitioned to a career in community organizing, at first with a faith-based organization. He transitioned into PEOC in 2012. Benjamin’s activities as community organizer include AB 60 study sessions, coordinate and facilitate meetings with collaborative partners, hold leadership trainings for members and leaders, and create civic engagement opportunities for our leaders to advance different campaigns. As of August 2015, Benjamin Wood is accredited by the BIA to conduct document preparation at low-cost for immigration benefits. Contact E-mail: email@example.com
Javier Garcia: Day Laborer Program and Jobs Coordinator
Javier is the Jobs and Workforce Development Coordinator at the PEOC. Javier understands the immigrant struggle. Living in the shadows for over 15 years, he empathizes with working class people, especially those who have given up their birth place and adopted this country as their own. He knows what it is to be stigmatized in a strange land. Javier’s beliefs and values revolve around making a difference and utilizing his various skills and passions to brighten the future for all those that strive to better their lives. Contact E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Kandamby: Civic Engagement Coordinator
Karen graduated from Pitzer College in 2015, where she received her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish. During her undergraduate years, she got involved at PEOC and Rancho corner, leading the weekly Encuentros program, and organizing the Misa Jornalera and Fernando Pedraza Memorial. After graduating, Karen became Pitzer College’s Hecker Community Fellow where she connected students to local organizing efforts and programs at the PEOC and other local organizations. In May 2016, she joined California Partnership as their Los Angeles Organizer. During her time there, she organized statewide efforts to protect, improve, and expand health and human services programs like SSI/SSP, CalWORKS, food assistance programs, and advocated for a Single Payer system in CA. In the fall of last year, Karen returned to her organizing roots in Pomona to lead PEOC’s first Integrated Voter Engagement campaign for the 2018 Midterm elections. She returned again six months later to lead the center’s second campaign. Karen currently leads our civic engagement work and Census outreach in Pomona and the Inland Empire. Karen is committed to supporting the PEOC in its efforts to turn out Pomona’s low propensity voters in the 2020 presidential election and ensuring an accurate count for the 2020 Census.
Jose Diaz: Educational Outreach Coordinator
Jose Diaz has been with the PEOC since 2007. He came to the PEOC as a day laborer and after rising through the leadership ranks he has become an invaluable asset for his knowledge and commitment to the day laborer and low-wage, immigrant worker community in Pomona. Jose has been pivotal in various campaigns including the passage of AB 60 in 2013 at the state level as well as the grassroots advocacy for rent control and tenant protections in Pomona.
Mariela Martinez: Bookkeeper
Mariela is the Bookkeeper at the PEOC and has been in that position since 2005 to present. She has a Master’s degree in accounting from the Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit (Nayarit University). She works for the PEOC on a part-time basis and has been with PEOC for over 10 years. She is also a full-time accountant at PMS in West Covina, CA.