Amanda Allen--Attorney, Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley, LLP
Stephen Heverly--Council Representative, San Diego City Councilmember Sherri Lightner
Denise Serrano--Education & Advocacy Associate, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Countiess
Geshalem Perez-- Organizer, UDW Homecare Providers Union, AFSCME Local 3930, AFL-CIO
Geshalem Perez is an organizer for the UDW Homecare Providers Union where she helps advocate, educate, and empower in home supportive service workers and their recipients. Her prior work experience includes almost two years as the administrative assistant at the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. After a short stint at Los Angeles Pierce Community College, Geshalem transferred to and graduated from San Diego State University in 2007 with a B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in diversity and change. Since then, she has been actively involved in the labor movement, helping to empower workers and strengthen the middle class.
Geshalem was born in Toluca, Mexico and raised in Canoga Park, California. In 2008, she proudly became a U.S. citizen and now casts her voice in all elections as a permanent absentee voter.
Geshalem currently serves on the board of directors for Justice Overcoming Boundaries as a Fiesta del Sol co-chair, the Labor's Training and Community Alliance, the San Diego Foundation for Change and Train of Thought San Diego. She enjoys being part of the weekly open mic experience that is Train of Thought where a family of poets, storytellers, singers, songwriters, comedians, musicians and all are welcome.
Omar López is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Southern California, School of Social Work. He received a BA (1999) from UCSD with a double major in sociology and Spanish literature and a MSW (2001) from SDSU. He is currently completing an MPA program at SDSU with plans to transfer and continue his graduate studies at USC. Prior to his current position, Omar worked for SDSU as field faculty and liaison with administrative responsibilities with the County of San Diego, HHSA-Child Welfare Services (CWS).
Omar has an eight-year background in county government as a child welfare social worker delivering direct services and in administrative roles, including international liaison and internship and training coordinator at policy and program support, for HHSA-CWS. Concurrently, he served as an executive board officer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU Locals 535 as president, and 221 as secretary), which led to a unique perspective on administrative issues and practices. He has also worked as a research consultant for Columbia University (NY) and as trainer/instructor with SDSU Academy for Professional Excellence, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College and Rady Children’s Hospital.
He serves on non-profit boards such as the Chicano Federation of San Diego County, Inc., the House of México in Balboa Park and the San Diego Latino Social Work Network. Omar is originally from México City and immigrated to the United States in 1989 as a non-English speaking teenager. He enjoys boxing, long-distance running, yoga and watching his Chargers win! He lives in the Marina District downtown.
Norma Rodriguez--Organizer, Center on Policy Initiatives
Norma currently works at the Center on Policy Initiatives as an organizer. Her previous work experience includes grassroots organizing mainly focusing on immigration issues and civic participation. She has also been chair and coordinator of Fiesta Del Sol, San Diego's largest Latino street festival which is a two-day event celebrating the history, diverse cultures and engagement of the people of San Diego.
Norma has also taught art and Spanish. She obtained her bachelor's degree in studio art with minors in education and Chicano/Latino studies from the University of California, Irvine and a master’s degree in Latin American studies with an emphasis on international migration from the University of California, San Diego.
She is originally from Porterville, California and her parents are from Puruandiro Michoacan, Mexico. Norma had the opportunity to participate in the Mexican Migration Field Research Program, a binational research project between Yucatan and the U.S. while doing her master's work and was one of the authors of the book which published their findings. She enjoys good books, practicing hot yoga and running.
Jesse Mays--Council Representative, City of San Diego Councilmember Sherri Lightner
Jesse Mays is a council representative for San Diego City Councilmember Sherri Lightner, providing strategic advice on policy, politics and communications, as well as serving as liaison to the University City neighborhood of San Diego and UC San Diego. He served as campaign coordinator for Lightner's winning grassroots campaign in 2008.
Previously, Jesse worked in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. At ABC Studios, he worked on the creative side of top-rated network television shows. Prior to that he was selected for the Agent Training Program at United Talent Agency, where he worked for an agent representing some of Hollywood’s most sought-after television directors and writers. He has also worked for legendary feature film producers Richard & Lauren Schuler Donner and coordinated musical guests on ABC’s late night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Jesse earned a B.A. in English from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, where he wrote his senior thesis on Margaret Fuller’s call to social activism. He grew up in Lake Forest, IL and lives with his wife, a medical student, in University City.
Kath Rogers--Programs Coordinator, Animal Protection & Rescue League
Kath Rogers lives with her husband, dog and two cats in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. She currently works as programs coordinator for the Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL), a non-profit organization she co-founded in 2004.
Kath has worked to pass local and state laws, coordinated educational events, managed volunteers and staff and established a successful thrift store located at 5497 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard in San Diego to raise funds for APRL. In 2008, Kath received the Humane Society of the United States' leadership award for her role as volunteer coordinator for Proposition 2, a ballot initiative to ban certain inhumane practices on factory farms.
Kath attended San Diego City College, followed by UCSD, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. She enjoys volunteering as a history tutor for high school students and recently spent the summer teaching English and History at a low-income middle school in Los Angeles. Kath enjoys hiking, kayaking in her inflatable tandem kayak and spending time with friends and family in San Diego.