Community Scholars 2000-01


Community Scholars 2000-01

Overview of Community Scholars Class of 2001

The group of Community Scholars selected for the Class of 2001 represent an exceptional set of community and labor activists who are currently working on issues of health and economic justice in Los Angeles. In addition to Scholars from the fields of community-based research, popular education, and direct healthcare services, Scholars from the labor field will contribute lessons learned from the successful Justice for Janitors and Homecare Workers Union campaigns. The seven Scholars currently working for the newly formed Homecare Workers Union 434b will help us anchor our Community Scholars program this year in issues of coalition building and organizing as they share their own diversity as leaders, organizers and staff to provide in-depth and specific experience with their successful campaign to organize 74,000 home care workers (in 90,000 homes) into a union. Scholars and students bring a tremendous diversity of experience and perspectives and together will learn lessons of the successful campaigns and coalitions and examine how community and labor struggles, planning, and policymaking fit together within a framework of participatory democracy and coalition building.

The Scholars for the upcoming year are:

Stephanie Arellano
Lead Organizer
SEIU Local 1877 Janitorial Workers

For the past two years, Stephanie has served as the Lead Internal Organizer for SEIU Local 1877, instrumental in the development and overall program and strategy of the union, in particular developing and implementing training plans for the Justice for Janitors campaign. Prior to coming to SEIU, Stephanie served as President of the United States Student Association, a grassroots student organization that serves as a training ground for young organizers across the country.

Hugo Camacho
Division Coordinator, 5th Supervisoral District Los Angeles County
SEIU 434-B Homecare Workers

Hugo has been a staff member of SEIU Local 434B since 1998. He is currently a Division Coordinator for Los Angeles County’s 5th Supervisoral District that encompasses the northern areas of Los Angeles County. His work includes recruitment, leadership development, organizing community and membership activities. Hugo played a key role the recruitment drive last year which resulted in over 5000 new members and was instrumental in setting up the Union’s chapter and informational meetings across the county.

Esperanza DeAnda
Secretary, Executive Board
SEIU 434-B Homecare Workers

An active member of 434B since 1991 Esperanza brings a depth of experience in educating and organizing union members, community allies, and elected officials around issues of homecare workers. Her leadership is evident within her local union as well as by her involvement with the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the Los Angeles Chapter of the Coalition for Labor Union Women and Civil and Human Rights Conference of the Western Region of SEIU. She currently serves as the Secretary of the Executive Board.

Amanda Figueroa
Member Organizer
SEIU 434-B Homecare Workers

Struggles as homecare worker have led Amanda to become an active leader within the Union where she plays an active role in educating workers on the importance of politics to their organizing and political campaign work. Amanda currently serves on the contract negotiation team responsible for addressing membership concerns in collective bargaining processes. As a parent, Amanda also plays an active role in her community where she serves as treasurer of the local Parent Teachers Association.

Pronita Gupta,
Director of Research
Community Institute for Policy, Heuristics, Education, and Research (CIPHER)

Pronita leads CIPHER, the research arm of AGENDA and the LA Metropolitan Alliance. Founded in 1997, CIPHER provides research and analysis, training and support to the grassroots leadership of AGENDA, an organizing project based in South Los Angeles as well as the regional organizing work of the LA Metropolitan Alliance. In addition to her research skills, Pronita has more than 10 years of experience working in organizing and most recently, campaign experience gained from leading the Living Wage Research effort of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE).

Richard Yong Kim
SEIU Local 434-B Homecare Workers

An organizer for the Homecare Workers Union since 1999, Richard carries out the recruitment, member organizing, and political outreach programs for the union. Richard brings more than 20 years of labor organizing, particularly in the Korean American community. In 1979 he founded the Korean Labor Association of American to protect the rights and interest of Korean immigrant workers in the U.S. He is a member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.

Evan LeVang
Director, Quality Homecare Coalition of Los Angeles County
SEIU Local 434-B Homecare Workers

As the Community Coalition director of the union, Evan is in charge with building and strengthening the Quality Homecare Coalition of Los Angeles County aimed at reforming the In Home Support Services program through building labor community alliances. Evan brings with him seven years of grassroots organizing in the disability and senior communities.

Addie Parson
Treasurer, Executive Board
SEIU Local 434-B Homecare Workers

As a homecare worker faced with the challenge of caring for her mother and earning a living, Addie is a founding member of the Homecare Workers Union. She currently serves as Treasurer of the Executive Board where she sets budgets and works on contract negotiations, staff training and campaign development. She also recruits new members, participates in trainings and volunteers at every level of the organization. In addition to her work with the union, Addie is involved with her church in South Los Angeles where her activism began.

Louie Rada
Lead Organizer
SEIU Local 1877 Janitorial Workers

Louie is Lead Organizer for SEIU Local 1877, a statewide union that represents more than 24,000 workers in the janitorial industry. As Lead Organizer, Louie’s work focuses on the issues facing Latino workers from Mexico and Central America such as language and immigration status. Louie’s work centers on organizing campaigns, contract negotiation campaigns, political coordination campaigns and leadership development.

Christine Stoffels
Operations Director
South Central Family Clinic

Christine is responsible for the daily operations of a 20-year-old community health clinic based in South Central Los Angeles that serves nearly 25,000 patients per year. Prior to her work at the Clinic, Christina directed G.A.T.E.S. (Gathered in Action Toward Economic Self Sufficiency) an organization established in 1996 by a group of young Latina women in South Central Los Angeles searching for ways to improve their community. Christine has also served as an organizer in Guatemala working with women to set up a bakery as a means toward economic self-sufficiency.

Enrique Velasquez
Community Organizer
Strategic Actions a Just Economy (SAJE)

As an organizer for SAJE, Enrique builds leadership of residents and helps them to develop the necessary tools to carry out their work as community leaders. Utilizing these community organizing strategies, Enrique works with community residents who live around the Staples Center and who are struggling to preserve their homes and neighborhoods. In addition, he is working with other organizations to build a coalition of organizations working in the Pico Union neighborhood.

Loretta Williams
Campaign Coordinator, Division 2
SEIU 434-B Homecare Workers

As Division 2 Coordinator, Loretta leads efforts for mobilization, recruitment of the union efforts in the LA County Supervisory District 2 an expansive area that includes the cities of Los Angeles (including Koreatown, South Los Angeles, Mid City, and others) Culver City, Lynwood, Compton, Carson, and Inglewood. It is the area with the highest density of homecare workers in the County. Loretta joined the 434-B in 1998, immediately leading a recruiting effort that resulted in the highest number of new members to the union.