In December of 2014, Alberto Velasquez became the Senior Policy Advisor for Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, the first Latina elected Mayor in the history of San Diego County. In that capacity he is the Mayor's primary advisor on issues ranging from Economic Development, Infrastructure, Transportation, the Environment to Binational Affairs. He is also the primary contact in regards to these issues for the Mayor's office.
A near life-long resident of the South Bay of San Diego, Albert has been active in his neighborhood as chair of the Otay Mesa/Nestor Planning Group and as the District Eight representative for the Qualcomm Stadium Advisory Board. He is a graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and was named the most outstanding student of political theory of his graduating class.
Prior to joining the Mayor's staff, Albert was a District Field Representative for Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez serving the communities of San Diego, Chula Vista and National City. He was lead policy person in the district on Health Care, Education, the State Budget, Transportation, the Environment and Border Issues.
In his spare time Albert enjoys traveling, reading, and a fan of Manchester United and the San Francisco Giants.
Wilda Wong's family left Hong Kong shortly after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests saw the massacre of demonstrators throughout China, leaving indelible images of those trying to block the military's advance. It was perhaps then she began to understand the power of the media to shape perception and give voice to the oppressed.
Her family arrived in San Diego, where Wilda joined her high school paper as an award-winning features editor, later earning a degree in film at UC Berkeley as a first-generation college student. She has since traveled to six continents and lived or worked in four, studying cinema in France, volunteering for an Italian NGO in Cambodia and serving in the Peace Corps in South Africa.
Wilda's international work took her back to San Diego, where she continues to learn about local issues. She is a communications professional specializing in telling stories for various causes in the social sector, having done work for the Government Accountability Office, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, and San Diego Workforce Partnership. She has also volunteered with Amnesty International, International Rescue Committee, Tam Tam Mandingue and Pacific Arts Movement, where she helps program its annual San Diego Asian Film Festival.
Gabriel Urias currently focuses on the implementation of the landmark class action lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Lopez-Venegas v. Johnson. Before working at the ACLU Urias was an associate at Kraus Law Corporation where he focused on Immigration Law and removal defense. Throughout his legal career, Urias has committed himself to serving underrepresented immigrant communities with the care, compassion, and dignity they deserve.
Urias was born and raised in the rural farm community of Shafter, California, and the proud son of two immigrant parents from Mexico. He attended UC Berkeley and San Diego State University as an undergrad, and received a law degree from California Western School of Law. He is an active member of the San Diego Raza Lawyers Association and is on the executive board for Cal's Chicana/Latino Alumni Association of San Diego.
Mark Tran is a Program Associate at The California Endowment. He joined TCE in January of 2016, and provides support in grant making, grant monitoring, assisting grantees with grant proposals, analytical and research support, and providing consultation, technical assistance, information, and other support to strengthen capacity of community partners to engage in collaborative community-led change strategies.
Before joining TCE, Mark was at Mid-City Community Advocacy Network (CAN), a community collaborative based in the diverse community of City Heights in San Diego, California. He was at Mid-City CAN for 6 years, beginning as the Youth Community Organizer, transitioning over to their Leadership Development Specialist, and eventual promotion to Associate Executive Director.
Mark's background in community development work began years earlier with his post-Hurricane Katrina experience in East Biloxi, Mississippi. It was here where Mark received his grounding in community development and community organizing; working with the historic Black and Vietnamese American communities of East Biloxi.
Mark attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he doubled majored in Asian American Studies and History. He is also a graduate of Gamaliel National Leadership Training, Midwest Academy, International Association for Public Participation, and the Institute of Cultural Affairs.
A Chicago native, Isabel Schechter moved to San Diego in 2014. She has worked as an event manager for almost 20 years. Prior to moving to San Diego, Isabel was very active in the Chicago sustainability community, including outreach to underserved communities. She served as a board member for Faith in Place, an environmental nonprofit working with faith communities on environmental issues, and a Steering Committee member for Women in Green, a women's sustainability group.
Isabel is a strong supporter women's reproductive freedom, including volunteering for women's clinic defense. She has also supported civil liberties and hunger causes for many years. Isabel is passionate about libraries as a public good, and has volunteered as a literacy tutor, and served on the Chicago Public Library Foundation Junior Board. Within one week of moving to San Diego, she joined the Friends of the Library chapter for her local branch library and has been an active volunteer.
Isabel has been active in science-fiction communities for more than 20 years, attending and planning conventions, and as a frequent panelist. Her essays on fandom, religion, community building, and race and representation in science fiction/fantasy have been published in WisCon Chronicles; Invisible 2: Personal Essays on Race and Representation in SF/F; and Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Isabel is currently co-Chair for the San Juan (Puerto Rico) in 2017 bid for the North American Science Fiction Convention.
Isabel is a first-generation college graduate and holds a master's degree in Divinity from University of Chicago.
David Lin works as an attorney for a plaintiffs' law firm with an emphasis on securities, antitrust, and derivative shareholder class action suits. Outside of work, David volunteers with Casa Cornelia, representing asylum applicants in immigration court, and with the California Innocence Project. The common thread throughout David's work has been the use of the justice system to protect people against abuses of power by those in positions of authority.
David received his B.S. in Physics from UCSD and went on to earn his J.D. at the Northwestern University School of Law. While at Northwestern, he worked for the National Immigrant Justice Center and the MacArthur Justice Center. He also volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for the Chicago family court system.
David is licensed to practice law in New York.
Ashley Rodriguez works as the Donor Engagement Manager for Inewsource. Previously, she worked for the Center on Policy Initiatives as the Development Coordinator. Ashley has extensive experience in grants management, social media, community engagement and event planning. Ashley helped to organize a statewide coalition that advocated around public transit to provide free transit passes to students.
She served as the Event Chair for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of SDSU, and is now a Legislative Ambassador for the ACS Cancer Action Network. She is chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) board and serves as a committee member of the local political action committee, Run Women Run.
Ashley graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in International Security and Conflict Resolution, and minored in Spanish and Women's Studies. She recently completed her Master's in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego in 2015.
In her spare time, Ashley enjoys taking her dogs on walks and sampling craft beer from local breweries.
Mehry Mohseni is a family law attorney with the firm Cage & Miles, LLP. A native San Diegan, Mehry grew up in Encinitas and graduated from Carlsbad High School. She then graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Long Beach where she received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and a minor in Child Development and Family Studies.
During her undergraduate degree, Mehry worked as a pre-school Teacher's Assistant and as a visitation supervisor for families affected by domestic violence. After graduation, Mehry became a Program Assistant for the National Family Justice Center Alliance. In this role, she consulted communities and multi-disciplinary service providers throughout the nation on providing coordinated services for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and elder abuse.
Mehry next obtained her Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law. She served as Vice President of the Public Interest Law Foundation, Secretary of the Women's Law Caucus, and Community Chair of the Child, Family and Elder Law Society. She also clerked for San Diego Superior Court, Juvenile Division judges, handling research on various juvenile dependency and delinquency matters. She then clerked for San Diego County Counsel, Juvenile Dependency Division where she represented Child Welfare Services on numerous dependency matters.
Mehry currently serves on the Women's Resource Fair Task Force, is Co-Chair of the Membership Development Committee for Lawyers Club of San Diego, and volunteers for the Think Dignity Legal Clinic. She is passionate about creating safe homes and communities for youth and families in San Diego.
A first generation college student, Kenyatta Parker was born in the small town of Vallejo, CA and moved to San Diego with her family when she was 8. She attended San Diego State University, earning her Bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in public health. It was during these years her passion for sexual health bloomed; participating as both a sexual health peer educator and a research assistant with The Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health assessing the sexual health needs of women in adult entertainment.
After graduating, she began her career in public health at Vista Community Clinic as an HIV Health Educator for at risk adolescents and young adults of color. She developed her skills as a certified HIV test counselor and family planning educator, often counseling clients on sensitive topics such as family planning, HIV/AIDS, STDs, sexual assault, substance abuse and violence prevention.
Kenyatta Parker is currently the Lead Health Planner for the San Diego HIV Planning Group, formerly know as the San Diego HIV Health Services Planning Council. As an employee of The San Diego LGBT Community Center out-stationed at the County of San Diego HIV, STD and Hepatitis Branch she and a small, dedicated staff coordinate a variety of planning functions related to care and treatment for people with HIV/AIDS and in support of the San Diego HIV Planning Group.
Malieka Johnson is a humanitarian, artist and healer. As a general and adult special needs dentist, she firmly believes in a patient-centered approach to oral health care. This involves actively listening to the needs and desires her patients and working collectively with them and staff to achieve the best outcomes.
Malieka graduated, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 2003. She later earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2011. Dr. Johnson completed a general practice residency at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, California where she received specialized training in treating people with special needs, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries.
Dr. Johnson also serves as volunteer adjunct faculty for Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and as a volunteer clinical faculty instructor for the UCSD Student-Run Free Dental Clinic. She is a board member for the San Diego Dental Health Foundation as well as a member of the Editorial Board for the San Diego County Dental Society. Dr. Johnson is an alumna of the American Dental Association Institute for Diversity in Leadership.
Malieka has been on multiple dental mission trips abroad, volunteers in her local community with various events, and helps lead a ministry building homes in Mexico. Malieka enjoys learning, music, Spanish, as well as a variety of hobbies and interests that focus on staying mentally, physically and spiritually active.