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Our Team

Photo Credit: Inspira Studios

We are Rise Together

Click Our Portraits to Read Our Stories

All portraits were taken by Devi Pride Photography.

Angela Chambers

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Angela Chambers, an Oakland native, was raised in Berkeley and is a long time resident of Santa Cruz County where she has established her role as a deeply rooted community leader, fierce youth..


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Consuelo Alba is the executive director and co-founder of the Watsonville Film Festival (WFF). Under her leadership, WFF developed from a grassroots collective into...


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I am a proud child of la bella María Elena y Antonio el hermoso. In my parents’ search for home, they found each other in Boyle Heights, where they first...

Jennifer Herrera

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Jennifer Herrera was born and raised in California with her three sisters, by a family that emigrated from the Philippines.  She grew up in a tight-knit family around the Filipino-American communities in...


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Jennifer Herrera was born and raised in California with her three sisters, by a family that emigrated from the Philippines. She grew up in a tight-knit family around the...



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Jorge Savala grew up in a migrant labor camp north of Santa Cruz. His mother asked the owner to address the inhospitable conditions, but he refused...

Ashlyn N. Adams


Ashlyn was once a young person in what felt like an impossible situation. She raised herself and her siblings in the Bay Area, and came to Santa Cruz for education and new opportunities

Esabella Bonner

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Esabella Bonner is a long-time Santa Cruz resident, entrepreneur, visionary, and award-winning changemaker working to bridge the community. Bella is a Cabrillo College.. 

Fe Silva-Robles

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Fe Silva-Robles is an indigenous woman, native of Santiago Laxopa, Ixtlán, Oaxaca. She grew up speaking Zapotec, learned Spanish in elementary school, and learned English when she...

Kara Meyberg Guzman

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As the CEO and co-founder of Santa Cruz Local, a local newsroom, I focus on serving communities not otherwise served by local media. I’m passionate about producing fair, accurate, reliable news.....


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Jaime Molina is a longtime resident of Watsonville and comes from strong and proud Mexican roots. He is a family man who lives by family and cultural values. His parents come from.... 


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Cat Willis is the founder and executive director of the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center in Santa Cruz. She is originally from Rochester, New York, where she began her...

Elaine Johnson

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Elaine Johnson is from the Bronx in New York City. From an early age, community, collaboration and making a difference in her community led her to do the work that she does...

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Gina Castañeda

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When you hear my story, do not think of me as a victim or a survivor. I am a champion!

I do not remember most of my childhood. I just know I wanted to be loved. By age 11, my mom and I...

Jennifer Herrera

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Jennifer Herrera was born and raised in California with her three sisters, by a family that emigrated from the Philippines.  She grew up in a tight-knit family around the Filipino-American communities in...

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As the granddaughter of Jewish refugee factory workers and union organizers and the daughter of civil rights and feminist queer activists, I inherited a hard wired drive

De La Garza

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Born and raised in Watsonville, I bring over 30 years of nonprofit experience to my work as executive director of the Community Action Board (CAB) of Santa Cruz County...

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María Ramos Bracamontes

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I am a Mexican Indigenous certified nurse midwife in Watsonville. I was born at home in the Coca territory of Ayotitlán, Jalisco, and raised between Ayotitlán and the beach flats in the coastal Awaswas territory... 


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I am the daughter of loving parents who worked the fields, safeguarded traditions, served others, and emphasized the importance of education and familia. These values have...

Dr. Nereida
Robles Vásquez

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Dr. Nereida Robles Vásquez is a co-founder of Senderos, a non-profit organization created in 2001, as a folklorico dance group for disenfranchised youth. She was inspired to...

Chairman Val Lopez

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Valentin Lopez has served as Chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band since 2003, and the President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust since its inception. Valentin is a Native American Advisor to the University of California...

Justin Cummings,

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As a child growing up in Chicago, IL, I was very passionate about diversity, social justice, and protection of the natural environment.  This inspired me to become very active as a college student...

Dr. Rebecca Hernandez

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Rebecca, Mescalero/Warm Springs Apache and Mexican American, believes that when we commit to truth-telling, we are all liberated. She earned her PhD in American studies, specializing in the...

Stephanie Barron Lu

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I stand for courage, compassion, dignity, well-being, and joy for myself and all others. I am a proud daughter of immigrants, with Mexican, Guatemalan, and Chinese heritage...

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As the CEO of Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Susan oversees the stewardship of over $170 million in assets and mobilizes people, ideas and resources to...

Past Members

Brenda Griffin

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I was born and raised on the East Coast. My family moved to the North to escape the Jim Crow South. I was raised by my grandmother. Although she did not have a high school education

Jacob Martinez

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“When you create an environment where youth feel respected, like they belong, and have a supportive community, they can envision a different future for themselves.”

Powell, M.D.

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Born in Monterey and raised in Santa Cruz through the ’80s and ’90s, I know that my life today as the director of pediatrics at Watsonville Community Hospital is the reality of...

Keisha Browder

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Keisha Browder has a legacy of breaking barriers to pave the way for communities of color - from her early years as a member of one of the first African American Girl Scout Troops in Compton...

Thomas Sage Pedersen

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When Thomas was a child, one of his first phrases was “friendly conversation”. Ever since, the driving force in Thomas’s life has been his ability to have deep and transformational ...


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I came from very humble beginnings, growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois—a place rivaled by street gangs and poverty. I am the son of a schoolteacher and a construction worker...

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Stacey Marie

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I come from a bicultural family, composed of teachers, Cuban immigrants, environmentalists, athletes, organizers, and poets. They taught me how to...

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Kevin spends most of his days hanging out at the intersection of giving and action for the greater good. Each passing day is a chance to learn from ...


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Kevin spends most of his days hanging out at the intersection of giving and action for the greater good. Each passing day is a chance to learn from and assist generous souls and community problem..

Erica Padilla-Chavez

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I was born in Watsonville, the first U.S.-born daughter of Mexican immigrant parents. As a small child, I remember vividly the day that Cesar Chavez came to our home...

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