Fernando Romero – Executive Director
Fernando is the incoming director for the PEOC and started this position in January 2015. He comes into this position with an extensive background and experience in community organizing around immigrant rights and workers rights. He was the Lead Coordinator for the Justice for Immigrants Coalition of Inland Southern California from 2011 to 2014. With JFIC, some of the most prominent work at a national level was that of the unjust situation of the Migrant Children and Families in Murrieta, CA during July 2014. As a DREAMer student at Cal State Long Beach, he studied creative writing and journalism and was a co-founder of the first AB 540 support group at the university. The activities during this project will include project and staff supervision, grant reporting, community and public relations, coalition building and participating in educational forums and workshops.
Benjamin Wood: Community Organizer.
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 on this project would include obtaining and maintaining BIA-accreditation, conduct trainings for DAPA processing and documentation, coordinate meetings with collaborative partners, hold leadership trainings for members and leaders, and create civic engagement opportunities for our leaders to advance deferred action for all.
Eddie Gonzalez is a Day Laborer Organizer at the PEOC. Eddie has extensive experience in union organizing with SEIU and empowering youth to make positive changes in their lives with the LA Commission for Children, Youth and their Families. He graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills with a degree in Sociology. He oversees the organizing work in Pomona and the Inland Empire. He coordinates the Fernando Pedraza Community Coalition in Rancho Cucamonga, facilitates leadership development workshops, and works with the day laborer soccer teams.
Mariela Martinez is the Bookkeeper at the PEOC. She works for the Center on a part-time basis.
John Nolte is the Chair of the Board of Directors. He is a lawyer residing in Pomona who specializes in legal support for children and parents receiving special education services in the public school system. He was a legal fellow at Uncommon Good, a non-profit organization in Claremont, where he advocated for tenants’ rights. He has been on the Board for six years and has been Chair for four years.
Jose Calderon is the Secretary of the Board. He is one of the founders of the PEOC and helped organize the day laborers into the Center in 1998. He is a Professor of Sociology and Chicano/a Studies at Pitzer College. He designed the partnership between Pitzer College and the PEOC, which began as early as 1999. He is a prominent and recognized advocate for day laborer and immigrant rights in the region and the country. He has written many articles on day laborers and the Center and is a valuable resource for information and history about day laborers, immigrant organizing, and the Center itself.
Miguel Caballero is the Treasurer of the Board. He is a managing lawyer at the Herbert Hafif Law Firm in Claremont. He has extensive experience in immigrant worker organizing, union organizing, and legal advocacy for workers’ rights in the workplace. He worked with an immigrant worker collaborative and is a resource for immigrant organizing history in Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley.
Francisco Suarez is a Member of the Board. He is a founding member, and helped start the organization in 1998. He is a prominent criminal defense lawyer in Pomona.
Additionally, several workers are part of the Worker Board. They are elected by the workers at the Monday meetings, typically once a year or as needed.