Director of Development From the Roots
Carmina is a community organizer at Colectivo Poder Comunitario, focusing on housing and land justice. She has experience in land-use equitable development organizing and grassroots leadership development. Carmina also sits in the Organizing and Transit Justice Committees of the Alliance for Community Transit-LA (ACT-LA) a coalition of diverse community organizations that has helped pass policies that support more development of affordable housing near transit and won the inclusion of equity goals within Metro’s Transit Oriented Communities Program. One of her current projects is organizing a coalition of local Mariachis in Boyle Heights to build a Mariachi Museum as a way to support mariachis remain and thrive in the community. Carmina was born in the neighborhood of East Hollywood in Los Angeles, and is of Salvadoran-Filipinx descent and is deeply interested in experiences of the diaspora of both, including the role of US imperialism in her respective country’s histories. She has a BA in Art and Feminist Studies with an emphasis in Science, Technology, and Medicine from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Here she was able to understand the connection between access to housing as a public health issue, as well as a human right. In her free time, Carmina paints, reads, and writes.
Carla De Paz
Director of Movement Building and Strategy
Carla De Paz is the daughter of an immigrant single mother from Guatemala that found herself planting roots in Lynwood, CA. She had a humble but joyful upbringing, raised in a household with extended and chosen family who instilled a strong sense of responsibility, community, and lots of dancing. Her passion for organizing flourished in college while volunteering for IDEPSCA at multiple day laborer sites. After graduating with a BA in Political Science and Labor & Workplace Studies from UCLA in 2010, she started organizing nursing homeworkers with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). While at SEIU, she organized over 500 workers to win union representation through National Labor Board Relations elections.
Carla became more interested in land use and housing issues after her family lost their home during the foreclosure crisis. In 2013, she started organizing with the East LA Community Corporation and over a 7 year period she led multiple high profile efforts including the base building work for the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign which won the legalization of street vending in 2019 and securing affordable housing and green space on all Metro-owned land in Boyle Heights. She also played a big part in shaping ELACC’s political orientation towards transformative organizing and movement building, making ELACC a prominent player within the housing justice movement ecosystem.
Unfortunately, after suffering a financial crisis that was amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization was no longer able to sustain its organizing programs. In April of 2020, Carla made the decision to lead the separation of ELACC’s organizing work into a new entity, the Community Power Collective (CPC), and now leads CPC’s operations, advocacy and coalition work. She chairs the Organizing Committees for the Alliance for Community Transit (ACT-LA), the Healthy LA Coalition, and is on the steering committee for Homes For All California.
Carla’s lived experience and learnings in the 12 years of organizing have solidified her identity as a social movement leftist and she hopes to continue building her skill sets as a strategist within CPC and to strengthen CPC’s role as a tool for winning housing and land use justice in Los Angeles. Carla enjoys reading poetry about radical free love, she enjoys summer day dancing to reggaeton, and enjoys Sundays by herself with her plants.
Director of Cultural Power
Quetzal Flores is a Chican@ musician, producer and cultural strategist/organizer raised in East Los Angeles. Born to activist parents, Consuelo Valdez and Roberto Flores, he inherited a deep rooted accountability to community and social justice. Under the tutelage of Lorenzo “Lencho” Martinez(Texmaniacs), Russell Rodriguez(Professor of Music, UC Santa Cruz) and Ramon Gutierrez Hernandez(Son de Madera), Quetzal has studied multiple forms of Mexican traditional music. He is the founder and musical director of the Grammy Award winning Chican@ band, Quetzal.
From the experiences generated through his family, mentors and the Chican@ arts&cultural community he has participated in multiple moments of radical transformation. In 1997 he co-organized the historic Encuentro Cultural Chican@/Indigena Por La Humanidad en Contra del Neoliberalismo, a week long dialogue/retreat in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. The Encuentro gathered 100 arts&culture practitioners from East Los Angeles and Mayan Zapatistas that developed multiple outward facing emancipatory cultural methodologies with tangible touchdowns into community practice. Furthermore in 2000 Quetzal was part of a group of artists from East LA who built important transnational and trans local relationships with fandango communities in Veracruz. Through these relationships an important network was formed that has given way to a current thriving national system of fandango practitioners in the US. In 2009 Quetzal co-founded the Seattle Fandango Project (SFP), a participatory music and dance community instrumental in providing an intergenerational space for people of color throughout Seattle. In 2012, he co-founded FandangObon, a yearly event that brings the Chican@, Japanese and African American communities together around participatory music and dance practices.
Since 2012 Quetzal has served as a Program Manager for the Alliance for California Traditional Arts(ACTA). He co-designed, curated the pilot and built to scale the now robust Arts in Corrections program where traditional artists from across the state are cultivating spaces for healing and connection with incarcerated people. In addition he co-developed and manages the traditional artist fellowship for ACTA’s health and equity work in Boyle Heights.
As a producer, Quetzal has contributed over 100 recordings with artists such as; Son de Madera, Jose Luis Orozco, Nobuko Miyamoto, B-Side Players, Alice Bag, Maya Jupiter, Aloe Blacc and Susana Baca. As a songwriter, he has contributed over 100 compositions and has established a unique and influential voice that has impacted younger artists like La Santa Cecilia.
From 2013 to 2019 he served as a board member for the Smithsonian Folkways Recorders. From 2016 to 2020 he worked Director of Cultural Vitality for the East LA Community Corporation. Currently, Quetzal is the co-founder and leads the Cultural Power work for Community Power Collective(CPC), overseeing internal and external facing cultural processes to build power with low-income tenants and workers through transformative, cross sectoral organizing.
Co Director for Street Vendor Justice
Sergio Jimenez has been an organizer since his late teens, having worked with student, labor, and community organizations for over 25 years. He was born in Tenochtitlan, and raised in West Los Angeles after migrating to this country. Sergio is currently attending California State University, Los Angeles, where he’s pursuing a Master’s in Latin American Studies, with a focus in Mesoamerican studies. A father of two, he is a self-identified bibliophile and film camera collector, along with being a skilled social documentary photographer. Recently, he has become an accomplished community gardener in his community.
Co Director for Street Vendor Justice
Rosa Miranda was born in San Buenaventura Hidalgo / Mexico. He grew up in a large family of 9 siblings. Her family is very humble and with limited opportunities for economic improvement and education. I emigrated to the United States in 1999 where I gave birth to three children. In 2007 she joined the Passenger Union (SDP) as a member. In 2009 I am part of the School for Organizers in Training (ILO). In 2010 I was on the staff of the Labor Community Strategy Center, which witnessed great struggles for public transportation in Los Angeles, was part of the fast for justice, the fight for global warming, the prison school pipe and defeating the Measure J. In 2016 Rosa began working with the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) in the Legalizemos La Venta Ambulante campaign, where she was part of creating a base of vendor seats throughout the city. Winning the decriminalization of informal work, the legalization of street vendor workers in the city of Los Angeles, and the state’s SB946 Act to decriminalize vendors across California, Rosa is committed to continuing to grow the immigrant working class movement.