NGLC IR 2017-2018 Cohort


2017-2018 COHORT

Yvette Abreo


Yvette lives in the city of Rialto, with her wife and their daughter.  As a formally incarcerated, lesbian, woman of color, she understands the hardships and struggles living in an undeserved community.  Yvette started advocating for women while she was in Central California Women's Facility.  While incarcerated, she obtained her AA in Social and Behavioral Science from Feather River Community College.  Upon her release in April 2010, she continued with her education at Valley Community College, and studied Human Services and Drug & Alcohol Counseling.  In June of 2011, she began working with the Family Assistance Program, educating others on LGBTQ issues and concerns. In January 2012, Yvette began facilitating a behavior modification curriculum to youth, in the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility. Today, Yvette continues working with the Family Assistance Program, where she manages probation homes in San Bernardino County. She is also the Executive Director of the Inland Region Equality Network (IREN). 


Elizabeth Ayala


Elizabeth is passionate about developing authentic and powerful grassroots leaders.  She is a program associate for the Women’s Policy Institute County, a fellowship offered by the Women’s Foundation of California. Elizabeth is also an alumna from the inaugural year of WPI-County. Previously, Elizabeth worked as a community organizer for Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC). Her leaders successfully changed Riverside city policies on DUI checkpoints and were part of a statewide coalition that created laws decreasing the negative impact of checkpoints on immigrant neighborhoods. She also served as coordinator for an innovative bilingual English/Spanish civic engagement project for El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center, a multicultural health education agency. Elizabeth received a Bachelor’s in International Relations with honors from Stanford University.


Edward Brantley


Edward Brantley is a community organizer and an advocate for education and social justice. He serves as a Juvenile Justice Commissioner for San Bernardino County, Chairman Rialto Community Coalition , Vice Chair Youth Action Project, Youth Director for Westside Kinship Support Services, Outreach Coordinator for PAL Charter Academy, Lead ILP instructor for Telios Training Solutions, and serves and works with numerous organizations throughout San Bernardino County. Edward is passionate about building and creating opportunities for people. "My Purpose is helping others reach, achieve, and ultimately find their purpose in life." Favorite Quote: "Be the change you want to see, and if you don't like what you see ... change it!"


Silvia Carrillo


Silvia is an immigrant mother who has worked in the Inland Region for over a decade educating families with little children. She is a labor organizer who has helped to organize a non-union airport and who has worked to organize janitorial and warehouse workers for better working conditions and to become unionized. She is currently an active member of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, and is really enjoy doing intentional work to engage the community for social change.  


Cindy Corrales


Cindy Corrales is the Workforce & Volunteer Manager for GRID Alternatives Inland Empire.  She has been working as a non-profit professional since 2010. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Biology from Cal Poly Pomona and is a member and volunteer leader for the Association of Women in Water, Energy and Environment.  In 2017, she was selected as a Reach Beyond Honoree from Cal Poly Pomona’s Center for Community Engagement through her work with Cal Poly Pomona piloting Solar Spring Break, a national alternative break program bringing college students out of the classroom and into the community building residential solar electric systems for low-income families. Cindy enjoys music, good people, and playing on her keyboard.




Claudia Diaz Carrasco received her B.S. in Food Industry Engineering from Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in 2012, a M. Ag. in International Agriculture from Oklahoma State University in 2014, and a M.S. in Management and Marketing from Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla in 2015. As a graduate assistant, she conducted research on food security and coordinated community development projects in Puebla, Mexico. As an Area 4-H Youth Development Advisor, Claudia's primary focus is to develop, implement, evaluate, strengthen and expand local 4-H programming to better serve currently under-represented populations and places, including Latino and/or low-income youth in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. On her free time, Claudia enjoys playing basketball and listening to live music. 


Darlene Elliot


Riverside Public Utilities Administrative Analyst, Cofounder of Spanish Town Heritage Foundation, President of Riverside Latino Network. 

Darlene Trujillo-Elliot is also an avid community volunteer, logging more than 400 hours annually and leading many of the city's annual community events. She is the current President for the Riverside Latino Network.  In 2012, she cofounded Spanish Town Heritage with two of her cousins, with the mission to champion Hispanic/Latino legacy by sharing the stories of the Inland Empire’s first settlers, creating cultural learning opportunities, leading community efforts to restore and revitalize the Trujillo Adobe and La Placita de Los Trujillo’s, a place for history, learning, entertainment, and the arts. In its fifth year, the annual Riverside Tamale Festival is an event that benefits the foundation and takes place in April.  


Jacquelyn Gonzalez


Jacquelyn González currently serves as the Associate Director of Governmental and Community Relations at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Prior to joining UCR, Jacquelyn served in the U.S. House of Representatives working for her home district member Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) both in the Member’s Capitol Hill and District Office. Additionally, she was a Public Administration Fellow for the U.S. Department of the Interior as well as a part of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI). A daughter and sister of immigrants, Jacquelyn’s passion for public service and advocacy stems from the experiences of both her family and the families throughout her community. She is currently completing a Master of Public Policy degree at the UCR School of Public Policy and is a proud alumna of California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). 




Margari Aziza Hill is co-founder and co-Director of Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) and columnist at MuslimMatters. For over 20 years, she has worked in education and training at various capacities including anti-racism training, adjunct professor, education research, curriculum design, school policy, teacher training, and secondary school teaching. She currently lives in Rancho Cucamonga, balancing her community work and homeschooling her 5-year-old daughter. A habitual blogger and notorious tweeter, she can often be found at the intersections of Black Twitter and Muslim Twitter offering commentary on race, gender, and faith.  She has given talks and workshops at various universities and community centers throughout the country.


Felicia Jones


Felicia Jones is the Associate Director with
Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement
(COPE) in San Bernardino, CA. She cut her teeth
in faith-rooted community organizing Los Angeles
Metropolitan Churches leading a number of school
improvement efforts. She continued her work in family
engagement and policy advocacy as the Director of
Community Engagement and Advocacy with Families in Schools and served as Board Chair and Deputy Director with Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE). Driven by a deep sense of community empowerment, Felicia is a founding member of Building Leaders and Cultivating Change (B.L.A.C.C.), a giving circle for professionals in supporting organizations empowering the African American community through education, jobs and leadership development. Felicia is a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles College. She
is a single mother of one child—her 14 year old son.


Debbie Martinez


Debbie Martinez is the program manager for the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. She provides strategic planning, implementation, and management of the Stronger Hearts Helpline, Move with the Mayor, and the Counter Cholesterol initiative. Prior to her arrival at the National Forum, she managed Harvey Mudd’s Transnational Relationships Lab.

Debbie is a first generation Mexican-American, born and raised in Southern California. In her spare time, she enjoys her three c’s: coffee, cooking, and cycling. She graduated from Claremont Graduate University with a Masters of Arts in health psychology and evaluation. 


Nina Mohammed


Nina Mohammed is the Assistant Program Director for the Inland Empire Biking Alliance. She grew up in Ethiopia and is the daughter of a bicycle wholesaler. 
Nina is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton, where she received a B.A. in Political Science. Her work with the City of Grand Terrace introduced her to Active Transportation Program Grant, which brought her into the realm of alternative modalities of transportation. Getting more kids to bike is one of her driving passions. 


Luis Nolasco


Luis has been an active organizer and policy advocate in the Inland Empire for several years. He is a graduate of California State University, San Bernardino, and co-founder of the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition. Before joining ACLU SoCal, he served as a detention reform coordinator at the Justice for Immigrants Coalition where he worked with state, congressional and law enforcement leaders regarding immigration detention-related issues. He currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice and Board Member for the Inland Region Equality Network.  


Melissa Pitts


Melissa Pitts began her work in the ending violence against women movement in 1997. With over 11 years of experience in the non-profit management sector, she has worked closely with government, school and faith sectors on the community impacts of violence. Melissa  has managed programs, provided domestic violence prevention, and trauma-informed trainings on the local level. Currently, Melissa is the Director of Programs for the House of Ruth where she oversees the Community Services, Residential and Counseling Programs.  Melissa ensures that the voices of domestic violence survivors are heard and reflected in the operations of House of Ruth.


Mtizie Perez


Mitzie Perez arrived to the Inland Empire at age five, when her family migrated to the United States 
from Guatemala. Mitzie has been organizing alongside the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective 
(IEIYC) since the beginning of 2012 and now serves as the Program and Development Coordinator for 
the IEIYC. She also serves as a steering committee member for Inland Coalition for Immigrant 
Justice (ICIJ) and the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance (CIYJA). Mitzie hopes to 
continue supporting efforts that are crucial to the undocumented identity and to work in solidarity 
with black, Muslim, LGBTQIA*, and other communities that are the most marginalized. Mitzie is 
currently attending the University of California Riverside, where she is pursuing a degree in 
Gender and Sexuality Studies. Mitzie is an unapologetically resilient, brown, and undocumented 



Paulina Rojas


Paulina is the Program Associate and Reporter at Coachella Unincorporated, a youth media training program in The Eastern Coachella Valley. The native New Yorker received a journalism degree from The University of Houston in 2014. Paulina is the daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Through her work she hopes to continue to uplift the stories of underserved communities. 


Luis Suarez


Luis Suarez is a queer, undocumented and first generation college student. He immigrated into the United States at the age of eight with his parents from Jalisco, Mexico. He graduated from the California State University, Los Angeles in 2016 with a B.S. in Kinesiology. Luis has been part of the Inland Empire-Immigrant Youth Collective since 2012 and currently serves as a board member of the organization. He founded the Active Community Health Program that aims to provide communities of low income with education on physical, mental, social, environmental and spiritual health. His goal is to provide individuals with the tools to reach an optimal state of wellness to prevent health disparities that are predominant in communities of color. Currently, he works for the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice as the Project Coordinator. He plans to continue his education to obtain a Master in Public Health and implement health work within immigrant spaces.


Jasmine Tate


Jasmine C. Tate is a Louisiana native who has a passion for impacting lives and communities through service. She transitioned to Southern California to begin her career with Inland Empire United Way in 2016. Jasmine currently serves as the Community Engagement Coordinator and is primarily responsible for new business development and management of the Inland Empire Volunteers Program. She attended Southeastern Louisiana University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and continued her studies in The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Mass Communication and Journalism, where she earned a Master of Science in Public Relations. Prior to IEUW, Jasmine worked in various roles with other nonprofits including the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.


Jernine Williams


Jernine Williams is the Fund Development Manager for the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council. She received her B.A. from Sonoma State University and her M.A. from Arizona State University before eventually becoming the Chief Operating Officer of Sigma Beta Xi Inc., Youth Services in 2015. In addition to her work in the nonprofit sector, Jernine taught History courses at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, CA. Currently Jernine serves as the first Vice President of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and oversees all programming and volunteer efforts for the organization. 


Josephine Young


Josephine Young joined the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice in March 2016 as the Community Empowerment Coordinator. At CCAEJ, she works to develop curriculum for each of CCAEJ’s leadership programs and coordinate the Boards & Commissions Program. Prior to joining CCAEJ, Josephine became engaged with social and environmental justice organizing while working with the Student Sustainability Collective at the University of California, San Diego, a commission of student government geared towards fostering a comprehensive understanding of sustainability that recognizes the political, economic, and social contexts in which environmental harm occurs.

Josephine holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Environmental Systems from the University of California, San Diego.