Fabiola Bawden, Community Organizer, Civil Rights
Fabiola Bawden is a proud mother of three children, Santiago, Sebastian, and Triana. She arrived in this country over 10 years ago seeking a better life, and is the eldest of three children. She was born in Torreon, Coahuila, and raised in Ciudad Juarez. She started as a member of El CENTRO in 2013 when her brother was placed in deportation proceedings. She never realized that organizations like El CENTRO existed, “When my brother was deported, I felt like I had lost my family, but when I arrived at El CENTRO, I gained a community.” Since that time, she decided to dedicate herself to the fight for immigrants’ rights and social justice.
Dalia Hernandez, Office Administrator and Outreach Coordinator
Dalia Hernández is one of 13 children comes from a very hardworking, close-knit immigrant family. She worked for years at her family-owned restaurant, Taquería México. She received her GED from HEP at the University of New Mexico, studied English at CNM and received her community health worker certification. She volunteered at health clinics for over a year because she likes to help her community. She was also a “promotora” at Enlace Comunitario. In 2006 she became a member of El CENTRO when she proudly took a lead on organizing a thousands-strong rally and the largest march in Albuquerque’s history fighting for immigrants’ rights and immigration reform. She is proud to be part of the fight for social justice.
Marian J. Méndez-Cera, Community Organizer, Worker’s Justice and Civil Rights
Marian comes from an immigrant family and has lived in the U.S. for the past 11 years. She is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She moved to the U.S. when she was 11 years old. Recently, she graduated from the University of New Mexico and received a double major in Psychology and Philosophy with a concentration in Pre-law. Her interest in social justice began in 2011 “Initially, I became active with El CENTRO because they provided me with information and opportunities which allowed me to further my education, but later, activism became part of my life, part of who I am, part of my family”. Marian has demonstrated her deep passion for social justice and equity through her dedication in various campaigns and projects. She continues to promote human rights as one of El CENTRO’s workers’ justice and civil rights organizers.
María José Ramos Villagra, Communications Organizer
María José is a theater community organizer focusing on the intersections of race, gender, class, and desire. Born and raised in Liberia, Costa Rica. Her artistic work focuses on regional community planning, alternative justice, economic development, and performance art as pedagogy. She has plenty experience working with different organizations around the world, including orphanages and hospices in India, immigrant groups and LGTBQ grassroots in USA, Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. She started working with El CENTRO because she is passionate about social justice and finding ways to empower others. Through her work with El CENTRO, she can develop her professional career and her artistic endeavors simultaneously. In her free time, María José writes academically oriented pieces, works on multimedia art projects, and enjoys running or cooking. Click here to check out her art.
Rachel LaZar, Executive Director
Rachel is a Native of Albuquerque, where the majority of her family resides. After graduating from the University of New Mexico, she went on to co-found Enlace Comunitario, a domestic violence organization which serves the Spanish-speaking community in Central New Mexico, with the goal of bridging the gap between direct services, advocacy, and community organizing. Out of Enlace Comunitario, El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos was born in order to address the broader systemic and institutional barriers faced by the Latino immigrant community in Albuquerque. Under Rachel’s leadership, El CENTRO has grown a membership of over 2500 and plays a key role in garnering support for comprehensive immigration reform and administrative relief, in combating deportation enforcement programs in Albuquerque, and in improving conditions for workers through minimum wage and anti-wage theft initiatives.