Dolores Huerta Foundation Staff
Ms. Chávez is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF). From the DHF headquarters in Bakersfield, Ms. Chávez oversees training for low-income community members in the areas of leadership and organizing skills specific to civic and electoral participation so that they can become catalysts for change in their own communities.
The ideals of non-violence, selfless motivation and personal responsibility were instilled in Camila by her parents Richard Chávez and Dolores Huerta. Camila grew up at the UFW Headquarters of La Paz where those same ideals were reinforced through the actions of people like her Uncle Cesar E. Chavez.
After graduating early from High School in spring of 1994, Camila participated in the UFW’s historic 343 mile Pilgrimage from Delano to Sacramento. The goal of the Pilgrimage was to show the world that in spite of the passing of Cesar E. Chávez, the union was alive and well. During the twenty-five day pilgrimage, Camila performed nightly as a member of Teatro Peregrino to convey to workers the benefits of creating a union in their own workplace.
Camila’s academic career led her next to Mills College in Oakland where she successfully balanced her undergraduate studies with her passion for working to achieve social justice. She served as a campaign coordinator for the Stop Prop. 209 Campaign, which fought to save Affirmative Action in California.
After graduating in 1998, Camila worked in the public health arena for five years promoting Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and other health coverage programs for low-income and undocumented families in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.
In 2003, Camila returned to the Central Valley to establish the Dolores Huerta Foundation with Dolores Huerta. Camila is convinced that it is our responsibility to take advantage of every opportunity to develop leadership, in ourselves and our communities, by building consensus around a common set of principles, values and priorities. It is the process of pursuing a life of principle we are able to ensure human rights.
Some of Camila’s accomplishments with the Foundation include:
- Establishment of over 40 DHF grassroots community organizations in six communities in Kern and Tulare Counties working on neighborhood improvements and community projects, including a youth leadership program.
- A successful campaign for just wages which resulted in a wage increase for farm workers in Southern Central Valley in 2005
- The Defeat of Propositions 73, 85 and 4 which would have amended the California Constitution to impede women’s reproductive rights.
- Defeat of an anti-immigrant resolution proposed in the Bakersfield City Council in September, 2007.
- Establishment of first micro-lending pilot project targeting farm workers in the Central Valley.
- Development and implementation of teen pregnancy prevention campaign.
As the Director of Programs & Planning at the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF), Manuel Barrera oversees philanthropic and governmental funding while providing supervision and support to staff. His previous working experience includes working for the California State Assembly as a Field Representative and Community Action Partnership of Kern as an Administrator for a federal and state funded childcare program for migrant agriculturally working parents. Born in Mexicali, Mexico, Manuel was raised in east and central Bakersfield graduating from local schools including Bakersfield High School and California State University of Bakersfield where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy. Manuel’s passion to improve the socio-economic conditions of his community led him to return to the DHF where he previously worked as a program manager, supervising a group of community organizers in south Kern.
Amaranta Campos grew up and attended elementary school in Lamont, California. She graduated from Arvin High School and is currently enrolled at Bakersfield College. At a young age she got involved with the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Noticing all the positive changes her parents were able to achieve in their community, inspired and encouraged her to begin volunteering in the communities of Arvin and Lamont. She participated in several projects with the Dolores Huerta Foundation Vecinos Unidos. She helped with the campaign to pass Measure C. This enabled the school district to build a gymnasium and add fencing around the schools in Weedpatch, California. She helped pass Measure L, in Arvin, which provided the city with funds for safety and recreation such as: paving of streets, street lights, and park improvements. In 2012, she begin working with the DHF as a canvasser on statewide campaigns. She worked to pass of Proposition 30 and informed community members about new healthcare coverage options under Obamacare. She is now on the staff of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and hopes to continue to improve the community for generations to come.
Erika was Born and raised in Nicaragua. After receiving her law degree in 2002, Erika worked for the National Assembly of Nicaragua as a legal Advisor for six years. Prior to moving to the United States in 2008, Erika was also actively involved with a community based organization in her hometown of Jinotega to bring medical care to rural women suffering from cancer.
She joined DHF in May 2009 as a community organizer in Woodlake. Mrs. Brooks stablished a “Vecinos Unidos” chapter of approximately 75 trained parents and community members. They successfully advocated for infrastructure repairs on dilapidated streets, installation of water fountains at Woodlake City Park, and the construction of a new park in the Olive Subdivision neighborhood. They formed a volunteer led youth guitar group that performs at special community events. “Vecinos Unidos” members regularly attend City Council meetings and engage in non-partisan voter education and outreach. They also host monthly community forums on various health and educational topics.
As the Education Manager, Erika has trained hundreds of parents in Kern and Tulare counties on a range of educational issues with the goal of increasing parent and community engagement. She has develop dozens of parent’s leaders who advocate for Education Equity in Kern County. She developed a bilingual “Student/Parent Manual to School Discipline” to educate parents and students on their rights with suspension, expulsions, involuntary transfers and truancy cases. She was instrumental in training parents about the education funding after the passage Proposition 30 in 2012 and the Local Control Funding Formula in 2013, and creating recommendations for Local Control Accountability Plan in targeted school districts.
She chairs the Kern Education Justice Collaborative and recently joined the statewide “School Discipline Action Team”
Timoteo “Timo” Prado is a native of Nayarit, Mexico and currently lives in Weedpatch, CA. A father of 6 children, he is an organizer for the City of Arvin, CA.
Timo was introduced to the Dolores Huerta Foundation during a Weedpatch house meeting. “When I met the Foundation” Timo comments, “I realized the needs of my community and began to organize.” Timo continues, “Especially after Camila (DHF Executive Director) entrusted responsibilities to me, I thought ‘oh wow! I cannot fail.’”
As a volunteer, Timo helped the community of Weedpatch attain the installation of public lights, drinking fountains filters in schools, fences around the schools, and a gym. Some of his other victories include the passing of measure “L” which provided the city with funds for safety and recreation, paving of streets, street lighting and park improvements. Furthermore, Timo has been able to improve relations between communities and public entities such as schools, city councils and the police.
Gerald Cantu was born in San Antonio, Texas. His parents left Texas when he was twelve to come to California in search of work. After a shaky late adolescence, in which he dropped out of high school, he attended the Bakersfield Adult School for a year-and-a-half and obtained his high school diploma in 1996. Thereafter he began his undergraduate studies at Bakersfield College in 1997 and went on to study philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. His education culminated in 2010 when he obtained a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine.
Having experienced what it takes to succeed at each of these college levels, Gerald became keenly aware of the importance of getting a head start in one’s education. Children and adolescents need an environment which values education, which exemplifies the appropriate role models, and which has schools with adequate resources. Equalizing education opportunities begins, therefore, by addressing the socio-economic inequities among those individuals on the lower rung of the economic ladder, because it is they who tend to lack the preconditions of a successful education.
He returned to Bakersfield after obtaining his Ph.D., and has committed himself to the pursuit of social justice. He interned for the Dolores Huerta Foundation in 2012 and came on board as staff in August 2015. He will be providing support to the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Kern Education Justice Collaborative’s pursuit of education justice in Kern County Schools.
Irlanda has been a Community Organizer for the Dolores Huerta Foundation since June 08, 2010. She is from Venezuela, where she was trained as a teacher. Irlanda previously worked with the Education Department in Venezuela for fourteen years, and has worked in schools as an elementary teacher. In the United States, Irlanda served as an organizer for the Parents Institute for Quality Education, and was also a PIQE parent.
Yesenia “Jess” Contreras is a long-time resident of Arvin, California. Active in sports, she benefited from Title IV programs. She was one of a few girls on the Arvin High School Freshman Football Team. She was a founding member of LINK Crew, which mentored incoming freshmen. After graduating high school, she coached Arvin Little League Baseball for two years.
She became active in Civic Engagement as a canvasser for The California Vote Project, which registered over 12,000 voters in the Kern County area. She went on to work on various election campaigns, including Leticia Perez, for Kern County Supervisor, Rudy Salas for State Assembly, and Willie Rivera for City Council.
She began working with the DHF as a canvasser for Yes on Proposition 30 in 2012. She continued on as a volunteer, and was soon hired as a Team Lead to run the Obamacare outreach campaign. Her team pre-enrolled over 200 people into Obamacare.
In May of 2014, she joined the DHF team as a full time Community Organizer. In October 2014, she ran the campaign for Yes on Prop 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. Her team contacted 9,433 voters and identified 5,844 in support of Prop 47. They recruited 107 volunteers to walk precincts in South Kern and Bakersfield on Election Day.
Yesenia became an intern with the Dolores Huerta Foundation in 2006 after learning about Mrs. Huerta’s leadership role in the farm worker’s movement, and has continued her involvement with the foundation ever since. From a young age, Yesenia was drawn to both social justice and health fields. Coming from a family of farm-workers, Yesenia learned first-hand the health disparities and social injustices in low-income communities. While in college, she explored her interests and career options in many settings, including the Children’s Hospital Oakland. Yesenia Ocampo received her B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley and nursing pre-requisites and upon graduation has worked in different social service and health-care settings in the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay area. Her previous work as a Youth Health Services Manager fueled a passion to tie her interest in public health with her passion for social justice. She is proud of returning to her community and hopes to make a positive impact through her work.
Elizabeth was born in Mexico City, and was raised in Arvin, Ca and comes from a family of farmworkers. Her background prompted her to empower other farmworkers and inevitably she became a Promotora De Salud (Community Health Worker) for 7 years. Having connections with family and friends who worked in the fields, she successfully visited many (Cuadrillas) crews of farm workers and educated them on health and legal topics, and providing them with water bottles and food on a weekly basis. While working as a Promotora de Salud, Elizabeth joined the American Cancer Society, in which she assisted cancer survivors support groups in Bakersfield and Arvin, California. Most recently before joining the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Elizabeth joined Lideres Campesinas, a non-profit organization promoting work-safety, sexual assault and focusing on the dangers of pesticides for farm-workers in Kern County. Currently working with Dolores Huerta Foundation, she hopes to organize and create leaders in the community to keep making healthy changes that will benefit us and most important our children.
Moises Duran was born and raised in Michoacán, Mexico. At 18 years old he moved to California to pursue a culinary career. After graduating with an Associate’s degree from The Art institute he relocated to Napa valley where he worked for a few renowned restaurants. After a few years in the industry He suffered a rotator cuff injury which made him change career paths. He received a Spanish Medical Interpreting certificate from Berkeley City College and while going to school he volunteered for multiple organizations such as the Berkeley free clinic, the YMCA and Rota-care Richmond clinic in which he did HIV testing and counseling, mentoring and interpreting. In the summer of 2014 Moises moved to Bakersfield and got involved as a volunteer at The Gay and Lesbian Center of Bakersfield where he found his calling. Seeing all the needs the community had he decided to take on many projects but dedicated a lot of his volunteer work towards HIV and suicide prevention among other youth targeted projects. He is currently a Sociology Major at Taft College and the president of the GSA (Gender and Sexuality Awareness Club) on campus. His passion to be a role model and a mentor for LGBTQ youth and desire to enhance the community have brought him to the Dolores Huerta foundation in hopes to make an impact in our youth and the overall community.
Dean Welliver has been involved with social justice efforts and movements in Kern County and Southern California to improve the lives of community members since he was a junior in high school. From starting as a volunteer for LGBT equality and educational justice, to media advocacy, organizing trainings and events, to campaigning for LGBT inclusive school policies, Dean has grown and acquired the skills to make a positive difference in our community. Now as a sociology student, he has recently joined the Dolores Huerta Foundation’s staff as a part time Equality Organizer.
Martha Leon forms part of the Development Team as a Public Relations Associate at the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF). From the DHF headquarters in Bakersfield, Martha oversees press communications and Dolores Huerta’s speaking engagements, as well as grossing honorariums and revenue for the foundation. The ideals of hard work, discipline and perseverance were instilled in Martha by her parents, two farm worker immigrants who sought a better life in Kern County and succeeded. After graduating from California State University Bakersfield with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and Chemistry, Martha worked at an Environmental Laboratory where she explored environmental policy and raw data analysis from major oil and agricultural corporations along the west coast. Martha’s environmental career and social awareness led her to pursue a career with the DHF. Her passion and calling is to promote and protect social and economic justice for the communities of Bakersfield and South Kern. Martha has served in Undergraduate Leadership committees at her local university and continues to work with local tutoring, mentoring and non-profit organizations in her community.
Juanita “Juana” Chávez is the daughter of Richard Chávez – brother of César Chávez – and Dolores Huerta. Growing up in the Farm Worker’s Movement, Juana joined her family on the picket lines as soon as she learned to walk.
As a young woman, she interned at the National Office of the Feminist Majority, in Washington DC. She studied and worked in San Francisco where she served as a foster parent and a mentor for “at-risk” youth. She provided guidance and resources to youth groups who successfully organized to demand culturally representative curriculum and increased funding for education. She earned a BA in Spanish from San Francisco State University.
She began her career as a professional educator, teaching children in the inner-city public schools of San Francisco and Los Angeles for over a decade. She was an active member of UTLA.