Andrea Guerrero, Executive Director
Andrea Guerrero is the Executive Director of Alliance San Diego. She leads an outstanding team that is building coalitions and mobilizing resources to achieve greater impact on the issues that matter. Before joining Alliance San Diego, Ms. Guerrero was the Field & Policy Director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. Prior to that, she practiced immigration law before administrative, federal district and appellate courts. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley Law School (J.D. 1999), University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs (M.A. 1994), and Stanford University (B.A. 1992). Originally from Mexico City, Ms. Guerrero views the world from a binational, bicultural, and bilingual lens. She has dedicated her professional life to protecting civil rights and advancing social justice. Watch Ms. Guerrero's TEDx talk, Immigration Reform: A Chance for a Better America.
Christopher R. Wilson, Associate Director
Christopher received a Bachelors degree in History and Ethnic Studies from the University of San Diego and is currently the Associate Director at Alliance San Diego. His work centers on empowering communities of color and low-income communities through building bridges, creating collaboration, and identifying common issues. He is a father, brother, uncle, husband, and global change activist, who has traveled and lived all over the world. Christopher’s life experiences, education, training, and work give him a deep understanding of the complexities involved with empowering people. He is inspired by family, artists, co-workers, and close friends, who keep him honest and hopeful.
Rey López-Calderón, Advancement Director
Rey López-Calderón is the incoming advancement advancement director of Alliance San Diego, starting January 2020. He has a wealth of experience in organizational development, fundraising, and organizing that he uses to improve the lives of the communities he serves. His activism has taken him from the role of volunteer youth organizer at the United Farm Workers in Orange County to the founding of several community organizations in the Chicago area, and to various leadership roles at Common Cause including executive director of California Common Cause and vice-president for development for the national office where he expanded Common Cause’s national fundraising operations. He is an honors graduate of the University of Chicago and holds a Juris Doctor from DePaul College of Law. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his husband and three toy fox terriers in the San Diego/Tijuana region.
Michelle Celleri, Human Rights Counsel
Michelle Celleri is the Human Rights Counsel for Alliance San Diego. She has been actively involved with the immigrant community and promoting diversity for over fifteen years. She came to Alliance San Diego to create high impact change. She believes everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of where they came from and their socio-economic status.
Vicki Gaubeca, SBCC Director
Vicki Gaubeca currently serves as the Director for the Southern Border Communities Coalition, a national coalition that is convened by Alliance San Diego. Prior to this role, Vicki served as the Director of the ACLU-NM Regional Center for Border Rights, based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she helped develop and implement its mission of addressing civil and human rights violations that stem from border-specific immigration policy.
Hiram Soto is a lifelong resident of the Tijuana / San Diego region. His passion for social justice and social change carried him to the world of journalism. Mr. Soto is a former multimedia journalist and columnist with a thorough understanding of social-economic issues that impact communities of color, particularly Latinos. Most recently, he was the creative director for a digital agency specializing in content marketing programs and helping national organizations become top-notch publishers. When left unsupervised by wife and kids, he picks up his guitar and sings outdated songs nobody cares about.
Erin Tsurumoto Grassi, Human Rights Policy Advisor
Erin grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is biracial (half Japanese American and half White) and fourth generation Japanese American, experiences which helped shape her passion for social justice and racial equality. The first to graduate from college in her immediate family, Erin has a Bachelor's degree from Whittier College in Political Science and Spanish, and a Master's of Art degree from UCSD in Latin American Studies with a concentration in International Migration. Past internships include the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in the Bay Area, Assemblywoman (now State Senator) Lois Wolk's district office, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva Switzerland. Prior to joining Alliance San Diego, Erin was a community organizer with Justice Overcoming Boundaries, where she worked with leaders on a variety of issues, including transportation, housing, and immigration. In her free time, you can find her running, cooking, reading, dancing and rock climbing.
Itzel Maganda Chavez, Immigration Integration Manager
Itzel was born in Mexico City and was raised in San Diego, CA from a young age. She is one of the beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which allows her to work and be protected from deportation in the United States. Itzel began her career young while volunteering through her mother’s union and learned very early the hardships that many workers and mixed-status families face in the border region. As Alliance San Diego’s Immigrant Integration Manager, Itzel has been organizing and coordinating informational forums throughout the county as well as immigration consultations and workshops for the immigrant community. Itzel graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Political Science. In her spare time, Itzel enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and dogs.
J. Lee Hill, Jr. Interfaith Justice Coordinator
J. Lee Hill, Jr. is the Interfaith Justice Coordinator of Alliance San Diego. His work at Alliance is focused on developing an interfaith coalition of empowered faith leaders, and people of good conscience, to engage in collective strategies that lift up our shared values. He is an ordained minister with full standing in both the Alliance of Baptists and the United Church of Christ, with more than fifteen years of experience as a religious leader and justice advocate. He has earned degrees and alumni distinctions from both George Mason and Wake Forest and received a doctorate from Emory University. He concurrently serves as a local church pastor in the Emerald Hills community of Southeast San Diego.
Jayne Sacco, Finance Manager
Jayne Sacco was born as the sixth child to an immigrant father from Sicily. She was exposed to diversity at a young age in the middle-class neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio in which she was raised. Jayne always dreamed of traveling, advancing her education and learning about different cultures. At the age of 18, she made the move to San Diego - by herself - to further her education. Jayne holds an MBA, as well as a Bachelors in accounting and business. Jayne continued her journey in education, pursuing her interest in learning sign language by becoming a certified interpreter for the Deaf. She currently tutors Deaf students via webcam, and interprets on occasion. Jayne's true passion is working in non-profit organizations; she transitioned from the private sector to do work that she feels touches our community. In the position of financial management Jayne is happy to use her skills to serve her community in a positive way. On any given day, you will find Jayne cooking up a storm, weight lifting, or playing with flowers, that is, if you happen to catch her when she’s not traveling (which she does often).
Jenny Johnson, Border Policy Advisor
Jenny Johnson serves as the Policy Advisor for the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), a national coalition convened by Alliance San Diego. Based in Washington, DC, Jenny engages policymakers and partner organizations to amplify and advance SBCC’s vision for border policies that expand public safety for all, protect human rights, and welcome people at our borders. Prior to joining the SBCC, Jenny was the Senior Policy Associate for the Latin America Working Group's Mexico & U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Program. Jenny was born in Washington, DC, but called southern Arizona home for almost a decade.
Karen Le, Special Project Organizer
Karen Le is the Special Projects Organizer at Alliance San Diego. Being the child of refugees has played an integral role in her passion for immigrant rights, social justice, and educational equity. Karen graduated from the University of California San Diego in 2016 with a B.A. in International Studies-Political Science. During her time as a student, she held teaching assistant positions in both the Education Studies department and the College Academic Mentorship Program. As a teaching assistant, she regularly taught university students about the importance of teaching for social justice. She also interned at various local non-profit organizations and gained experience in policy research. Karen is thankful to be on the Alliance San Diego team and eager to fight for "harmony, safety, equality, and justice."
Kyle Brandon, Office Coordinator
Kyle Brandon currently serves as the Office Coordinator for Alliance San Diego and is an alumnus of San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Afrikana Studies. Prior to working for Alliance San Diego, he served in many different capacities for the Grossmont Union High School District, Mission Valley YMCA and even managed and operated a food truck. He hopes to bring his experiences growing up in Central Los Angeles and experience running college, high school and elementary organizations to provide support for all of Alliance San Diego’s needs.
Miesha Rice, Advancement Manager
Miesha Rice is native of Charlotte, NC, but has lived in San Diego for about 9 years. She has a B.A. and M. A. in English Literature and Liberal Studies. At a young age, her parents began actively involving her in community outreach work with Coca-Cola Bottling company. She grew up learning the knowledge and skill of interacting with all kinds of people on personal levels. That skill was later elevated during her tenure with Apple as a Concierge team member. With the help and creativity of her mother she gained experience with planning and executing large events. She spent the rest of her free time traveling and performing original poetry on stages all over the country. That exposure inevitably led her to the social justice work here in San Diego. She spent a few years as a teaching artist in various local elementary schools in partnership with Arts for Learning San Diego. Miesha started her journey advocating for change as the Volunteer Coordinator during the 2012 election season; learning a host of information about immigration, education reform, and canvassing. It has been an amazing trip; especially for her two growing daughters who are striving to be Change Agents themselves.
Nora Cardona, Human Rights Organizer
Nora Cardona was born and raised in San Diego up until 2011 when she moved and was fortunate enough to call San Francisco home for five years. She graduated from San Francisco State University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Art in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. Nora first became involved with Alliance San Diego through volunteering, and then she was a part of the Neighborhoods Rising Institute and the Fall Civic Engagement program. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, but most of her free time is dedicated to her niece and nephew.
Patricia Mondragon, Special Projects Coordinator
Patricia "Patty" Mondragon is a first-generation American; one of three daughters of Mexican parents who immigrated from the beautiful state of Michoacán. Her father having worked as a bracero in Northern California decided to relocate his young family to San Diego, where they established strong roots in North Park. Patty went on to study Psychology, Information Systems and Human Computer Interaction at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. She is passionate about public policy, social justice, civic engagement and issues important to womankind. She is the proud mother of a budding social justice warrior, Alex, and together they have supported the work of Alliance San Diego to mobilize for change.
Tara Kaveh, Communications Coordinator - Graphic Designer & Multimedia Producer
Tara Kaveh is the Communications Coordinator, Graphic Designer and Multimedia Producer for Alliance San Diego. She is a first generation Iranian-American, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her Bachelor's degree in Journalism with a concentration in Integrated Marketing and a minor in Ethnic Studies from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She has a dynamic background as a multimedia reporter, copywriter, graphic designer, and marketing manager. Growing up in a progressive environment, Tara has had a passion for human rights and social justice from a very young age. She has worked with numerous organizations including Amnesty International, The Beat Within, and the National Iranian-American Council. When she's not working as an activist, Tara loves writing, photography, international travel, and enjoying the beauty of nature.
Tomás Perez, Communications Assistant
Tomás Perez was born and raised in San Diego, but has also lived and studied in Washington D.C. & the central valley of California during his time as an undergraduate at the University of California, Merced. Since 2013, he has been involved in local and national organizations focusing on protecting civil rights and social justice, and in 2016 he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from UC Merced. Soon after he moved back down to San Diego when he first became involved with Alliance San Diego as a participant in the Neighborhood Rising Institute and Fall 2016 civic engagement program before eventually becoming the Communications Assistant for Alliance. Tomás enjoys writing music, going to art and music shows, and dabbles in photography and videography.
Vanessa Green, Census and Redistricting Fellow
Vanessa was the director of the nationally recognized Domestic Violence Program for Men, a NY Model Batterer Program. Her anti-oppression work included Rockland Pride, and their LGBTQI initiative in Hudson Valley New York for over 23 years. Vanessa began her social justice work as the Director of the Rape Crisis Program in Orange County, NY. In her capacity as Racial Justice Organizer, she organized 40, 2 and ½ day workshops facilitated by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond Undoing Racism in Hudson Valley, NY. September 2014, Vanessa along with #100Sistahs began #FeedThePeopleSquad and fed over 2,500 hundred house-less folks Saturday and Sunday in Yonkers NY, as well as co-founding a recognized chapter of Black Lives Matter in Hudson Valley NY. Vanessa was recognized in New York State as an activist in the fight to end men’s violence against women. In addition, her article, “The Impact of Pornography on Women” was published and shared nationally. Her work revolves around Human’s rights, women’s rights and sexuality, race and identity politics concerning African diaspora peoples.
Yesenia Padilla, Communications Assistant for Media and Public Relations
Yesenia Padilla serves as the Communications Assistant for Media and Public Relations for Alliance San Diego. They received their Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing with a minor in Political Science from UC San Diego, where they also organized with AFSCME via Students for Economic Justice. Growing up in San Francisco as the child of immigrants meant that they were exposed to the importance of social justice and activism at an early age. Yesenia has worked with numerous organizations, including ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, ACLU of California, and Home Start. Yesenia also has a vibrant volunteer life, volunteering with many local and national organizations. Yesenia is a published poet who performs across California, and co-curates a monthly reading series called Now That's What I Call Poetry. In addition to writing, they love to read, do yoga, cook for family and friends, and spend time outdoors.