Emily Grijalva roots her pedagogy in social justice and love. The youngest daughter of Central American immigrants, she has been an English teacher for 12 years. Currently, she is the Restorative Justice Teacher in Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School in Boyle Heights. She holds a B.A. in Sociology with an Education Studies Minor and a M.A. in Education with a Teaching Credential from UCLA. She also has a M.S. in School Counseling because she realized that her students needed social-emotional support as well as literacy skills. Emily is a proud sponsor of her school’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) and also strives to engage parents and community members in supporting youth. Emily is also on the board of Las Fotos Project, a non-profit photography mentorship program for teenage girls. Emily has been a CCEJ volunteer for several years and always looks forward to attending Building Bridges camps with her students.
Hieu Nguyen is a co-founder and current co-Chair of Viet Rainbow of Orange County (VROC). Through engagement, education, advocacy, and support-services, VROC works to promote positive visibility of the LGBTQ community, to eliminate fear and to inspire compassion and affirmation. The organization was founded in response to the Orange County Tet (New Year) Parade organizers’ decision to ban LGBTQ groups participation. Mr. Nguyen organized peaceful protest actions during the 2013 parade and spoke out against LGBTQ discrimination at city council meetings. As a result, the 2014 parade featured LGBTQ inclusion and VROC was founded to advocate for LGBTQ rights and to raise awareness in the Vietnamese community. Professionally, Mr. Nguyen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who serves marginalized communities through advocacy and counseling. He currently works as a Director of Clinical Services and Operations at Asian Pacific Islander AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT)—a community-based organization that serves the medically marginalized communities living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS and other health disparities.
Marisol has engaged in expansive work to help improve the quality of life for residents of the greater Long Beach area, including children and families who have low incomes, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ communities. Marisol has served on the Advisory Board of the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBIRC) for more than 5 years. She is a graduate of Cal State Long Beach and has worked for the Long Beach Children’s Clinic and California State Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal’s office. She is currently District Director for the Office of Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell.
Latino Muslim Unity (LMU) is the first grassroots movement launched in Orange County to unite Latinos and Muslims by creating community building and storytelling projects that redefine narratives and promote positive social, cultural and political change. Led by Founder, Rida Hamida and Co-Founder, Benjamin Vazquez, they host the popular and nationally recognized Taco Trucks at Every Mosque: a series of pop-up events across California that partner taco trucks with mosques and serve free halal tacos to “fight hate one halal taco at a time”. LMU’s #IStandwithHijabis is another popup educational project about Muslim women’s first amendment right to wear hijab (headscarf) and #SanctuaryMosque which led to the first publicly declared Sanctuary Mosque in California in partnership with a predominantly African American mosque, ISLAH LA to outreach and engage undocumented communities to feel welcomed and receive support at local mosques.