Board of Directors

Charlene MendozaCharlene_Bio_Photo_cropped.png
Board Chair
cmm246@gmail.com
Charlene Marie Mendoza is a native Tucsonan who has dedicated much of her life to education, equity, agency and choice. After earning a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University in 1995, she came back to Tucson and began working in education. She earned her M.A. at the University of Arizona in Adolescent Literature, Literacies and Social Justice, and is pursuing her doctorate. 
Charlene is a founder and teacher at Arizona College Prep Academy, a non-profit public charter high school. She is committed to creating a learning environment grounded in social justice, inquiry, investigation and equity that is open and accessible to all.
Charlene serves on the Boards of Tucson Values Teachers and the Arizona List. She has a deep commitment to civic engagement, representation in government at all levels and, in particular, electing Latinas and other women of color into office. She enjoys organizing and mentoring youth in issues of importance to them and their communities, helping them to find their place in the electoral process.  

 


Jennifer AllenJennifer_Allen.jpg
Past Chair
jenallen.az@gmail.com 

 

Jennifer joined the League of Conservation Voters in April 2013 to develop a program aimed at building the voice and leadership Latino families and leaders in the fight against climate change. With grassroots community organizing programs operating in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Maryland, the program has become one of the largest national efforts focused on Latino communities.  For more than a decade, Jennifer was the founding Executive Director of the Border Action Network, then Arizona's largest immigrant and border community organization, where she developed successful state and national policy campaigns that were led by immigrant families.  Jennifer's prior experience includes economic and community development work with indigenous and rural communities throughout the southwest. She is an appointee to citizen advisory committees for the City of Tucson where she lives with her family. She has authored numerous reports and academic articles. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO.

 


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Manuel Guzman
Treasurer
man.eegee@gmail.com

 

Manuel Guzman is a 7th generation Arizonan, originally from the rural community of Superior. He moved to Tucson in 1998 while attending the University of Arizona for Religious Studies and a minor in Business Administration and Spanish. He has over 20 years of experience working with grassroots efforts in community mobilization, Xican@ culture preservation, and youth empowerment; serving as Chairperson of the City of Tucson's Human Relations Commission and Co-Chair of the Arizona César E. Chávez Holiday Coalition. Manny enjoys DJing parties and listening to live mariachi music.

Eva Carrillo DongEva.jpg
Board Member-At-Large
ecdong1@gmail.com

 

Eva Carrillo Dong has worked in public service much of her life and is currently the superintendent of the Pima Accommodation School District. She supervises the CAPE educational program at the Pima County Juvenile Detention 
Center and the Pima County Adult Detention Center, and has worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the Department of Economic Services. Eva has a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Arizona, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and a Superintendent Certificate from the University of Phoenix. Eva is a Sunnyside Unified School District’s Governing Board Member.

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Maricruz R. Ruiz
Board Member-At-Large
mrruiz1@gmail.com

 

Maricruz R. Ruiz is a founding member of Las Adelitas.  She worked on the bylaws committee and the candidate review committee when Las Adelitas was first formed.  Maricruz has been involved in community activism since she first came to Tucson back in the 1990s. Maricruz received a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Arizona and a Master of Science in Mexican American Studies, with a focus on Latino Health, also from the University of Arizona. She resides in Sahuarita with her husband Manuel and their children Athena, Joaquin and Emma.  There is nothing more important to Maricruz than family and community.  She is proud to serve as a member of the Board in an organization that has done so much for Latina empowerment.

 


Laura EnriquezLaura_Enriquez.jpg
Board Member-At-Large
laurainarizona@gmail.com 

 

Laura Enriquez is a Tucson native who attended the University of Arizona. Her lifelong interest in Democratic politics became a profession while interning for the special election of Congressman Ron Barber. After serving as the Statewide Field Director for the pro-choice democratic committee Arizona List, she led the outreach efforts for the successful re-elections of State Representative Victoria Steele and Tucson City Council Member Regina Romero. She managed the first campaigns of State Representatives Kirsten Engel and Domingo DeGrazia. 

 

Gabriela_Valdez.jpgGabriela Valdez
Board Member-At-Large
gvaldez@email.arizona.edu

 

Gabriela Valdez was born and raised in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico and moved to Tucson to attend her last years of high school. She received a Ph.D. in International Education & Global Perspectives from The University of Arizona, a Master’s degree in Education with a focus in Human Development from Northern Arizona University, and a Master’s of Arts in Language, Literature & Culture in the Hispanic World from Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. Gabriela has had the opportunity to work in the field of education, both k-12 and higher education, for the last 9 years in the United States, Mexico, Spain and the Dominican Republic. She currently serves as Programs & Services Coordinator at the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC). Previous to her current position, she was an International Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. Aside from serving as a board member for Las Adelitas, Gabriela also serves as a board member for the Council of International Higher Education and has participated in different task forces including the internationalization Task Force for the American Educational Research Association Higher Education Division and University of Arizona’s International Students Task Force. Gabriela’s dissertation centered on perceptions about classroom exclusion from Chinese international students studying in the U.S. and her research interest focuses on comparative and international higher education.

Elvira Din39739889_1975360605854071_7564113882784989184_o.jpg
Board Member-At-Large
elvirakdin@gmail.com

 

Elvira Suarez Din was born and raised in El Centro California. She is the daughter of immigrants and the first generation in her family, along with her 2 older sisters, to be born in the United States and to graduate from college. Elvira studied political science and public policy at Arizona Western College and UC San Diego. Growing up in an underserved border community made it clear to Elvira that issues affecting her community often stemmed from representation that was disconnected from the people they served and inspired her to work to empower women, people of color,  underrepresented students, and working families. 
Elvira started community organizing in Tucson through civic engagement work with students, political education, and lobbying elected officials with LUCHA (Living United for  Change in Arizona). Elvira led efforts to register new voters in Pinal and Pima County and knock on doors to get the vote out in 2018. In 2019, Elvira was the field director for Regina  Romero’s historic campaign for Tucson Mayor and helped elect the city’s first Latina and woman mayor. Elvira is looking forward to continuing to organize with her community and build collective power to influence the future of politics and elect women of color who fight for a better future for everyone.