NGLC IR Tier 2 2019-2020 Cohort



This program builds on the first phase of the Next Generation Leaders of Color Inland Region Program. The teams in this program are multiracial and include leaders of color and white allies. 



As the eldest daughter of working-class, immigrant parents and a working mother of five, San Bernardino City Unified School District’s President Abigail Medina and Inland Region Equality Network (IREN)’s Executive Director, knows firsthand the concerns many parents have about how the surrounding environment is affecting the health of their children.

In 2016, she ran for the CA State Assembly's 40th District against a Republican incumbent and defied the odds by coming in first in the primary. Although Abigail ultimately finished 1,948 votes behind the incumbent, she ran a grassroots campaign that was centered on delivering environmental, social, and economic justice, which invigorated activists in the local community.

Abigail is also a dedicated and effective public servant. Since being elected to the SBCUSD in 2013, Abigail has taken the lead on the board’s budget and strategic planning. Under her leadership, high school graduation rates have exceeded state and county standards for the first time in over 40 years. 

Beyond her work as an elected official, Abigail has a proven track record as a community advocate. She has been a powerful voice in the community working to improve the lives of everyone, particularly when it comes to environmental protection, expanding educational access and equality and fair treatment. 

Angie Balderas


Angelica, a long time resident of San Bernardino, currently serves as an Organizer and Representative for the Sierra Club. Angelica is also an organizer and board member for the Inland Region Equality Network (IREN), a non-profit social justice advocacy organization. Angelica has worked as an organizer for UFCW local 1167 on labor issues.

During her time at Cal State Northridge and San Bernardino Valley College, she served on student government to push many social justice issues. Angelica has found that being exposed to these issues that plague our communities is something that drives her to become more knowledgeable. As an activist and organizer, dealing with LGBTQ, education, and labor among other social justice groups for over twenty plus years, she feels that there is still much to learn and lots of opportunities to grow. Angelica is looking forward to expanding her horizons by continuing to be involved in numerous organizations in order to help her community.

Atra Felmons


Atra E. Flemons is a MuslimARC American Muslim Anti-Racism Leadership (AMAL) Curriculum fellow. She is also a social justice activist and graduate of and Graduate of Essie Justice Group “Healing to Advocacy” Program and facilitators training.  She’s been active with Essie Justice Group as in trainings, strategy meetings , fundraisers, retreats and community building activities. Atra possesses the leadership skills, motivation, and strategy to build capacity within organizations to conduct outreach, engage affected women and children; develop analysis, enlist partners, build resources and utilize programs to empower and improve the lives of those affected by incarceration. She also has a background in non-profit fundraising, accounting, and entrepreneurship.  

Ayan Fama


Ayan is based in the Orange County area where she has over four years of both volunteer and professional work with school district, city of Irvine, youth work at her local Islamic Center, and the university. She was active at her college campus, UC Irvine, both in her MSA and with other campus organizations such as the student government. In her last year of undergrad at UCI, she and few other students started an initiative to create a food pantry on campus with a mission to eradicate food insecurity. UC Irvine food pantry, FRESH Basic Needs Hub has it's own center today with full-time staff, student workers and serves students providing various programs such as Cal Fresh, meal tickets, grocery, workshops etc. and has been an advocate for food justice. She has led youth retreats and through MSA West, led workshop on exclusivity, creating strong MSA on campuses and combating anti-blackness in the MSA.  She also has experience in non-profit data evaluation and housing industry both private and public housing.

Ayan is very active in the SoCal community, volunteering with local organizations as well as being an ally to the larger communities. She is a recent Muslim Power Building Project fellow through Faith in Action. She's passionate about higher education and student affairs with focus on equity and resource building for students from underserved communities, students of color and first generation college students. Her work is motivated by social & racial justice and creating equity.

Cindy Corrales


Cindy Corrales is the Workforce & Volunteer Manager for GRID Alternatives Inland Empire.  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.  Cindy has a passion for educating about the benefits, opportunities, and the importance of access around clean technology. Cindy is a first-generation Filipino-American born and raised in Northern California and has lived, studied, and worked in the Inland Region for 14 years.  Cindy is excited to continue her learning and growth through the NGLC's organizational strengthening program this year!

Clara Garcia


Clara is Director of Programs with the Autism Society Inland Empire for the last 3 yrs. Clara has been active in the field of social services for the past 21 years in the areas of mental health and drug treatment counseling, gang prevention/intervention programs and has spent the last 12 years serving those in the disability community by promoting inclusion, advocating and educating.

Clara has created and implemented inclusive programs for special needs children and their typical peers which include a Summer camp, play dates, outings in the community. Clara has appeared on PSA’s promoting inclusion and advocacy for the disability community.

What stands out most about Clara is the special relationships she builds with families. Because of her genuine care for families, they turn to her for assistance with advocacy, share important family issues and best of all helps families improve their children’s lives.



Claudia Patricia Diaz Carrasco received her B.S. in Food Industry Engineering from ITESM 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.

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!"

Elyse Serverson


Elyse is the Prevention Manager at House of Ruth. In 2015, prior to her current role, she provided direct client services; however she has always had a passion for prevention and, more specifically, a vision for the voices of youth in her community to be heard. Her focus as the Prevention Manager is to engage the community in discussions around healthy relationships, toxic masculinity and bringing awareness to the issue of teen dating violence. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Criminal Justice. Although her career did not directly reflect the criminal court system, she is still very much an advocate for justice in all ways!

Felicia Jones


Felicia Jones is the Associate Director with Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE) in San Bernardino, CA. COPE organizes clergy, parents, youth, and community leaders to revitalize their communities in which they live, work, and worship through grassroots organizing. In this role, she supports policy advocacy, leadership development, grant and contract administration, human resources, and special events to advance the organization’s multi-issue social justice organizing.

She cut her teeth in faith-rooted community organizing with Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches where she led the organization’s school improvement efforts. She continued her focus in education advocacy as the Director of Community Engagement and Advocacy with Families in Schools, a parent advocacy organization and served as a former Board Chair and Deputy Director with Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE), a South LA based parent-led organization who works to ensure that all children are rightfully educated regardless of where they live. She is a founding member of Building Leaders and Cultivating Change (B.L.A.C.C.), a giving circle of the Liberty Hill Foundation that provides seed funds to organizations working to uplift and empower the African American community. She is a graduate of Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles College and a single mother.

Javier Hernandez


Javier Hernandez is an immigrant and queer leader fighting for immigrant rights in the Inland Empire (IE). Javier believes that justice for immigrant communities includes addressing all the intersections that are crucial to the undocumented identity such as health, poverty, criminalization, and other disparities that keep the undocumented marginalized. He has advocated and taken direct action against anti-immigrant policies and deportations throughout the country and has co-founded several grassroots groups. Since 2015, Javier has been the Director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ), a coalition of over 35 organizations, legal service providers, unions, congregations, etc. that convene to collectively advocate for immigrant justice in the Inland Empire. Through his leadership the ICIJ has broadened its reach in the Inland Empire, by diversifying its coalition membership and increasing participation in hard to reach areas of the region. Javier believes that through collective organizing and community power, the IE will be a region where justice abounds and the contributions of immigrants are acknowledged and respected.

Jennaya Dunlap


Jennaya Dunlap was raised in Southern California, and has lived in the Inland Empire for most of the past 15 years. She grew up in Southern California in an abusive home, leading her to find refuge and support in the local immigrant community as a teenager. As she became aware of the systemic abuses and injustice faced by immigrants, especially in communities of color, the fight for justice and liberation became a lifelong passion. She spent ten years volunteering with the Inland Empire rapid response network and with the Coalition before joining the ICIJ staff in 2017. As the Deportation Defense Coordinator, Jennaya works to stop deportations, support directly impacted families, build legal response capacity, and to coordinate and strengthen the volunteer Emergency Response Network. She is a queer woman and mother of two young children, with whom she spends most of her free time, alongside creating art, enjoying music, and continuing to learn.

Jewell Patterson


Jewel Patterson is the Youth Organizer for Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE). She has worked with COPE for 3 years designing and facilitating the organization’s youth organizing and leadership development programs. However, her love for organizing did not start here. As an Inland Empire native, Jewel has constantly questioned the stark contrast in access to equitable programs and resources from city to city. So much so that she dedicated her college career to researching Black people’s experiences with and responses to inequity. During that time she volunteered with Community Based Organizations to provide various resources, services and civic support to underserved communities. She graduated from the University of Redlands, Johnston Center with a Bachelor of Arts in Black Personhood: Activism, Arts & Africana Studies. Currently, Jewel is attending California State University, San Bernardino to receive her Master’s in Counseling and Guidance. She plans to continue serving overlooked communities in the Inland Empire by using therapy and artivism.

Lisa Castilone


Lisa Castilone, Community Development and Tribal Program Manager, at GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (IE) office. Over the past 9 years Lisa has been responsible for serving families, building brand and promoting GRID's program throughout the IE. Lisa has established many partnerships with county, city and local non profit organizations.  Lisa also helped develop GRID IE's Tribal Program, and has served over 350 Native American families located on tribal lands in the IE, and served hundreds of families located throughout the IE. Lisa is an experienced program manager and a hands-on person, with a strong sense of advocacy in effecting change within our environment and the lives of the families she serves. Lisa is a forward thinking environmentalist, a mother of eight, who loves dogs and the outdoors. Lisa is committed to creating a healthier tomorrow for future generations by implementing the three R's: Renew, Reuse and Recycle!

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.

Margari Hill


Margari Hill is the Co-founder & Managing Director, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC). She is is also a blogger, editor, and freelance writer with articles published in Time, Huffington Post,  and Al Jazeera English. She has five years full-time experience working full-time in community organizations, and five years experience in administration and technical writing in Silicon Valley small businesses and startups.

She has over 13 years teaching experience at various capacities including substitute teacher, instructor, curriculum design, school policy, teacher training, as well as graduate research assistant and teaching fellow. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History from Santa Clara University in 2003 and master’s in History of the Middle East and Islamic Africa from Stanford University in 2006. She has given talks and lectures in various universities and community centers throughout the country.

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.

Nancy Stingley


Nancy Stingley is a member of the Inland Empire Community Collaborative (I.E.C.C.), an organization dedicated to enhancing the sustainability of non-profit organizations through capacity building and development. She is a passionate educator who has worked in the field of education as a teacher, school principal, and college professor. She has also served as Director of Grants and Special Projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), a Teaching Credential from the University of Southern California (USC), and a Masters degree from Pepperdine University. She is an advocate for social justice and change. She is an innovator and a transformative leader.

Neil Warren


Born and raised in the Inland Region, Neil has been a carpenter for close to 25 years, framing new residential tract houses throughout California. In 2010, Neil decided to reinvent himself by breaking into the solar industry. He went to school to take a training course in residential PV systems earning his ETA entry-level certification as well as attaining his NABCEP entry-level certificate.  Neil joined the GRID Alternatives team in 2011 and is excited and honored to continue building and deepening his leadership and people management skills through the NGLC IR organizational strengthening program.

Sabrina Almaraz


Sabrina Almaraz has a passion to serve families that have been affected by Domestic Violence. Her heart, as well as her compassion, is felt by everyone she serves and leads. Her career started as a young woman, during her early twenties. During Sabrina’s early years as a DV advocate, she began to serve as a volunteer at House of Ruth, which is located in the City of Pomona. House of Ruth is a well known DV establishment, HOR has been providing life-saving domestic violence services for residents of eastern Los Angeles and western San Bernardino counties since 1977.  In her recent years at House of Ruth, she serves as the Community Services Manager. Additionally, she serves as a Ministry Board Member at a local church that is part of an International Christian Movement. Furthermore, she is the Children’s Director/Core leader for the church that she attends and also loves to serve as a teacher. Her education and training stem from human development, strategic leadership as well as management. She is a strong woman of faith and loves to help others in need. Her gift and calling are to lead others to success. One of her many favorite quotes is “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”― John Bunyan. 

Sonya Gray Hunn


Sonya Gray-Hunn is the mother of six adult children. She lives and works in the city of San Bernardino, CA as a Program Coordinator with Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE). Sonya has thrived in both her personal and professional life; stemming from being a parent, an early education teacher and serving in her children’s schools. She started being  involved with the community as educational staff at the preschool, a secretary in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and then to the president of the African American Parent Advisory Council (AAPAC) at her children's high school. Sonya aims to engage students, parents and the community to strive towards excellence in areas of academic achievements, personal growth and household and community leadership. In her current position in COPE, Sonya has been able to transcend her life skills to build capacity of parents and community members in the areas of education, civic engagement, health and justice reform. Sonya uses her communication skills to engage and empower others to be creative and to emerge as leaders and change the dynamics within their families and communities. Sonya considers herself a scholar and creative thinker, shown to be intellectually curious and a servant leader to her community. As of date, Sonya is completing her Bachelor’s of Art Degree in Applied Studies from Azusa Pacific University, majoring in Organizational Leadership.

Stephanie L Barrett


Stephanie L. Barrett is the 4-H Program Representative for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties in Southern California. Stephanie manages the day to day operation of the 33 community clubs in the Inland Region and provides expertise in youth development and age appropriate practices to more than 350 volunteers. Before she joined UC ANR, Stephanie volunteered for the 4-H Club program for more than 8 years holding leadership positions at the local, regional and state level. Stephanie is a very energetic and innovative leader who is constantly looking for more efficient ways to do things in the local 4-H program and helping volunteers use  best practices in teaching and learning (inquiry, critical thinking, experiential).

Susan Gomez


In September 2013, Susan Gomez became the President of the Inland Empire Community Collaborative.  The Inland Empire Community Collaborative (IECC) is the result of five years of 59 non-profit agencies working together to strengthen our organizations and improve outcomes for individuals and communities throughout San Bernardino & Riverside County.

Prior to becoming President of the IECC Susan was the Executive Director, responsible for the leadership of Another Way, a volunteer nonprofit organization made up of employees of Inland Regional Center.  Helping to advocate for services and supports for clients with developmental disabilities.

Currently, she serves as the Project Coordinator of the Capacity Building Continuum initiative.  The project is lead and developed with consulting support from Social Entrepreneurs, Inc. (SEI), a premier consulting firm, under contract with First 5 San Bernardino County. Her role in this 3-year project includes supporting and co-facilitating training opportunities, overseeing fundraising events, grant opportunities, and on October 5, 2018 the 3rd Annual IECC Capacity Building Conference “Thrive-Beyond Nonprofit Survival.”

Her collaborative efforts include, being the co-chair of the Funder’s Alliance “Inland Empire Capacity Building Network,” a partner of the San Bernardino Neighborhood Transformation Collaborative, and is a current member of Hispanics in Philanthropy, and the Latino Community Foundation- Los Angeles Giving Circle member and the California Nonprofit Association: Research Advisory Committee for Causes Count-Economic Power of California’s Nonprofit Sector.

Yolva Gil


Yolva J. Gil received her B.A.  in Ethnic Studies and Education from University of California Los Angeles in 2012. Ms. Gil also holds and Applied Behavior Analysis Certification since 2012.  Her passion to work with under-represented audiences started from seeing the needs that her own community had while she was growing up. She has extensive experience working with and training  people of different socio-cultural backgrounds, ages, and genders.

As a 4-H Program Representative in Riverside County for the UC ANR Latino initiative Yolva’ s primary role is to expand and implement 4-H programming opportunities to new audiences. She is very passionate about serving the youth and helping the next generation of leaders to create great change within her community.

Yvette Abreo


As a formerly incarcerated, lesbian, women of color, she understands the hardships and struggles living in an undeserved community. Yvette's educational background is in Social and Behavioral Science, Human Services, Drug and Alcohol Counseling.  Yvette is also a core member of the Concerned About Recovery and Education, (CARE) team and she works closely with those detained in Central California Women’s Facility and Division of Juvenile Justice.