Our Team

Meet our wonderful team of dedicated environmental  and social justice leaders

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Italia Garcia

Interim Executive Director

Currently, Italia serves as the Interim Executive Director at the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ). In her free time she enjoys spending time at the gym, gardening and watching movies.  

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Jean Kayano

Associate Director

After 30 years of extensive experience in the nonprofit world to help with organizational change and management work – she has finally discovered at CCAEJ her passion for social and environmental justice work.

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Graciela Larios

Administrative Officer

Graciela Larios, better known as Chela, joined CCAEJ in 2008. Her passion towards the community grows every day as more and more industry moves in and destroys the beautiful green rural area the Inland Valley once was.

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Gabriela Mendez

Youth Organizer

Gabriela Mendez is a resident of the City of Riverside and has been active in various movements fighting for immigrant protection, special needs, and environmental issues.

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Brenda Huerta Soto

Census Field Coordinator

Brenda Huerta immigrated from Mexico City at the age of twelve. She recently graduated from UC Riverside with a B.A. in English and Spanish Literature. Brenda will continue to be a leader and vocal advocate in her community and plans to attend graduate school in the future.

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Tamara Marquez

Media Specialist

Tamara is a fourth year student at UC Riverside, who looks use media as an agent for social justice. 


Andrea Vidaurre

Policy Analyst

Andrea is a Policy Analyst at the Center for Community Action, appreciating being a part of a greater movement for an equitable quality of life and conservation of the land we live on.


Anthony Victoria

Communications Director

Anthony is a former reporter, who has built a career on being an eye of the barrio.

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Veronica Roman

Community Organizer

Vero is a proud mother of three and a grandma to five grandkids. One of her favorite quotes is “He who does not live to serve, does not serve to live.”

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Hakan Jackson

Data Scientist

Hakan serves as Information Technologist, Cartologist, and Data Scientist.  For fun, Hakan enjoys: podcasts, audiobooks, video games and bringing down systemic racism and the patriarchy.


Ricardo Olea

Research and Policy Analyst

The son of two immigrant parents from Guerrero, Mexico, Ricardo is a research and policy analyst with interests in urban and regional planning. He is a native of the Inland Empire, having been born in Upland, CA and raised in Ontario, CA.


Ivette Torres

Research and Policy Analyst

As a research and policy
analyst, Ivette hopes to combine their science, policy, and community passion to advocate for
the Inland Empire.


The mission of the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice is to bring people together to improve our social and natural environment. We do this by developing indigenous leadership, community organizing through strategic campaigns and building a base of community power.

Email: contact@ccaej.org

Phone: 951-360-8451

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© 2020 CCAEJ.