With over fifteen years of policy experience, I am committed to advancing justice through systemic policy change.
As the daughter of an El Salvadoran immigrant, I grew up in a rural town with pervasive intolerance. As a result, I developed a passion for racial and gender justice issues. I am currently working to advance dignity and opportunities for all by centering my work in the strengthening of Black and Indigenous communities.
I currently serve as a policy and advocacy consultant to a number of clients including NGOs, universities, and government agencies. This work is not limited to but includes grassroots and grasstops organizing, facilitating stakeholder feedback in policy changes, policy tracking and analysis, report writing, and creation of various communications materials and policy tools. I believe that in all of this work, we must keep a systems view of change while also acknowledging and handling individual healing.
Additionally, although I do not give legal advice, I can help educate individuals and groups about how systems work and how to advocate for their rights in matters involving government bodies, such as schools, government agencies, and courts. I apply methods of coaching in the education, preparation, and resolution of individuals’ cases with attention to their health and well-being.
- Expertise in policy and advocacy with legal experience in education, criminal justice, and immigration/migration
- Specializing in gender, race, and civil/human rights
- Skills in research and writing policy, building and coordinating coalitions, and facilitation
Policy Lead, Equity in All Places (formerly Orleans Parish Place Matters)
January 2014 – May 2017; New Orleans, Louisiana
- Developed and implemented the organization’s policy and advocacy projects, provided strategic direction, and supervised volunteers/interns on advocacy and communications work.
- Researched and produced small and large-scale reports that encouraged evidence-based and place-based approaches in education equity, as well as issue briefs, news releases, and other communications materials.
- Collaborated with partner organizations and stakeholders to strategize and create a collective approach to impact policies that address the school-to-prison pipeline, including drafting legislation and a social media campaign.
- Attended relevant education and government meetings and distilled key information.
- Wrote content and curricula for anti-oppression and racial healing trainings.
Policy Director, Ohio Commission on Hispanic Latino Affairs
May 2008 – June 2010; Columbus, Ohio
- Established the Public Policy Center program of the Commission and oversaw its operations, including its role and function, strategic plans, supervision of staff and interns, and budget.
- Monitored, researched and, evaluated state, national, and international laws and policies regarding Latinos, migrants, and immigrants, drafted law and policy, and directed staff and stakeholders regarding communications strategy, engagement, and national alignment.
- Wrote press releases, web content, issue briefs, reports and held forums, presentations, press conferences and lobby days in order to communicate persuasive positions.
- Built networks and alliances, cultivated relationships, and collaborated with legislators, government agencies, civil society organizations, community leaders, and news agencies.
- Represented Commission at legislative hearings, meetings, and as a member of coalitions.
Liaison Officer, Ohio Commission on Hispanic Latino Affairs
Feb 2004 – Aug 2006; Columbus, Ohio
- Gathered and disseminated information regarding organizations, programs, and events.
- Managed communication between the Commission, public, and legislature.
- Reviewed, analyzed, and compiled state and national data concerning Latinos, migrants, and immigrants.
- Executed qualitative and quantitative assessments of the needs and priorities of Ohio Latinos.
- Researched and drafted internal and external informational materials regarding policy.
Prosecutor, City of Columbus Prosecutor’s Office
Columbus, Ohio, May 2007- May 2008
- Arraigned defendants, negotiated plea agreements, and made recommendations to the presiding magistrate regarding sentencing in traffic misdemeanor cases.
- Represented the city of Columbus during court trials and researched, crafted and filed motions regarding the admission and suppression of evidence.
- Researched, reviewed, and summarized appellate decisions of cases involving misdemeanors.
Children’s Rights Intern, Justice for Children Legal Clinic
Columbus, Ohio; Sept ’07 – May ‘08
- Served as the legal representative of several juvenile clients under the supervision of a licensed attorney in immigration and criminal matters.
- Obtained favorable immigration certifications, plea agreements, and rulings for clients.
Immigration Law Intern, Office of Dennis Muchnicki, Esq
Columbus, Ohio; Jan’08 – March ‘08
- Completed immigration applications, researched legal issues and legislative history and prepared memorandums on a variety of immigration matters, such as removal proceedings, refugee and asylum status, and marriage visas.
Organization Development Officer, Peace Corps
September 2010 – November 2012; Mokolo, Cameroon, Africa
- Designed and implemented a media project, “Communicating Change,” to facilitate the establishment of a women’s rights organization.
- Collaborated with local health institutions, government bodies, NGOs and local prison to provide and execute income-generating projects, trainings, workshops, and services.
- Drafted advocacy organization’s communication, action and strategy plans, statutes and by-laws; and facilitated development of mission, roles, and functions.
- Conducted interviews and wrote case narratives of local female prisoners.
Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children – Developed an education toolkit for parents to advocate for their children’s rights
New Orleans Health Department – Developed strategies for a policy approach to community dialogue about violence and education and produced a report
Tulane Public Service Fellows – Conducted an equity assessment of the program’s field manual, course syllabus, and trainings
Lindy Boggs Literacy Center – Researched federal, state and local policy issues and created a series of issue briefs on five areas of focus
Reform Immigration for America – Aided and advised RIFA organizers on strategies and organizing tactics and strategies in Ohio
EDUCATION AND LICENSURE
- Licensed to Practice Law in Ohio, November 2008
- Juris Doctorate, Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law, June 2008
- MFA credits, Non-fiction Writing, Univ. of New Orleans, 2013-2015
- B.A., Sociology and Criminology, Ohio State University, June 2003
- National: Ebony.com, The Humanist Magazine
- Local: Times-Picayune, New Orleans Advocate, Dayton Daily News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch
- Literary: Lunch Ticket, Drunk Monkeys, Mused: Bella Online Literary Review, When Women Waken
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Culture of Health Leader, Oct 2017- present
- 2010 LULAC inductee to Advocacy Hall of Fame
English (Native); French (Advanced-Low); Spanish (Intermediate-High)