Our Team

Meet our wonderful team of dedicated environmental and social justice leaders


Esther Portillo

Interim Executive Director

Esther Portillo returns to CCAEJ to serve as interim Executive Director after serving as a national campaign coordinator and previously working as CCAEJ’s Organizing Director from 2005-2008 as well as 2016-2018. She is a well-respected organizer and will bring strong leadership


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Italia Garcia

Interim Program Director

Currently, Italia serves as the Interim Program 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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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.


Mariana Lopez

Special Projects Coordinator

Mariana has a successful background in civic engagement, mobilizing the community, and currently leads CCAEJ's Census efforts. She is also a Planning Commissioner for the City of Jurupa Valley and triple-majored in international studies, sociology, and political science at University of California, Irvine.

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Mariela Loera

Research and Policy Analyst - Fellow

Mariela is a UC Riverside graduate student and supporting CCAEJ's local policy efforts.


Ana Gonzalez

Interim Finance & Admin Director

Ana Gonzalez joins the Executive Team with experience as a former business owner and educator as well as community organizer.


Gabrielle Scott Thetford

Office Assistant

Gabrielle will be leading internal communications and office management needs.


Faraz Rizvi

Interim Communications Coordinator

Faraz's brings experience as the former editor of UC Riverside's Highlander Newspaper and in local political as well as issue-based campaigns.


Ericka Flores

Interim Grant Coordinator

Ericka brings over 10+ years working in environmental justice, formerly as CCAEJ's organizing director. She will be leading grant management and development as well as reporting.


Adonis Galarza-Toledo

Interim Civic Engagement Coordinator

Adonis has a strong background in leadership as a former Student Body President at CSUSB and working directly with communities of color in civic engagement.

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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.”


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

Interim Policy Coordinator

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: admin@ccaej.org

Phone: 951-360-8451

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