Our Staff

Maria Brenes Maria Brenes
Executive Director

Maria Brenes, Executive Director, earned her Master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has worked with InnerCity Struggle since 2002. Maria began her involvement in community organizing as a high school student growing up along the U.S./Mexico border with immigration issues and continued as a student activist at UC Berkeley on Affirmative Action and Et...

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Henry Perez Ext:107 Henry Perez Ext:107
Associate Director

Henry Perez, Associate Director, earned his Master's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles' Graduate School of Education and Information Studies where as a student activist he worked to recruit undergraduate students of color. Henry also worked as a community organizer in West Los Angeles where he organized residents to be involved in shaping policy around com...

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Esthefanie Solano Ext:121 Esthefanie Solano Ext:121
Senior Youth Organizing Coach

Esthefanie Solano, Senior Youth Organizing Coach, she is a former United students member and an Alumna for the School of Law and Government at Roosevelt High School . Raised in Boyle Heights, Esthefanie confronted systemic obstacles, but she remained driven by the belief that education is not a 'privilege,' but a 'right.' As part of United Students, Esthefanie, along with her p...

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Laura Zavala Ext:106 Laura Zavala Ext:106
Policy and Research Director

Laura Zavala, Policy and Research Director, earned her Master's degree from the University of Utah School of Education: Education, Culture and Society program where she worked as a staff member and Oral History Coordinator for a community, school and university partnership in Salt Lake City, Utah. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Chican@/Latin@ Studies...

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Blanca Dueñas Ext:116 Blanca Dueñas Ext:116
Parent Organizer Volunteer

Blanca Dueñas, Parent Organizer Volunteer, is a former member of Familias Unidas in Boyle Heights. She has extensive experience in education organizing including leading a campaign that mobilized parents to demand a new high school to relieve overcrowding at Roosevelt High School. Her daughters now attend the new high school: Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Center. She c...

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Waldo Gonzalez Ext:108 Waldo Gonzalez Ext:108
Events Coordinator

Waldo Gonzalez was born in the city of Bellflower, CA but was raised and currently resides in unincorporated South Whittier. He graduated from Pioneer High School and went on to complete his undergraduate studies at Cal State University, Long Beach (CSULB). Waldo majored in Psychology and Chicana/o Latina/o Studies while also completing a minor in Philosophy. While attending c...

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Daniela Hernandez Ext:138 Daniela Hernandez Ext:138
Academic Services Coordinator

Daniela Hernández, Academic Services Coordinator, is a graduate of Scripps College, one of the five Claremont Colleges. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP) and a minor in Spanish. While at Scripps she dedicated her free time to providing high school students with academic support and college mentorship. On campus, she was involv...

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Brigette Plascencia Ext. 101
Office Manager

Brigette Plascencia, Office Manager, was born and raised in Lincoln Heights where she attended Lincoln High School and is a class of 2003 graduate. She is currently attending Mount ST. Mary's College where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Brigette is a former Project Assistant for a non-profit organization with five years experience in collaborating with...

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Beatriz Rafael Ext. 113 Beatriz Rafael Ext. 113
Academic Service Advisor

Beatriz Rafael, Academic Service Advisor, is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Chican@ Studies with a minor in Education. Throughout her time at UCLA, she volunteered through different programs that mentored and tutored high school students. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, she saw the educationa...

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Jennifer Maldonado Ext. 120 Jennifer Maldonado Ext. 120
Youth Organizer

Jennifer Maldonado, Youth Organizer, is a graduate from University of California San Diego, with a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies and a minor in Education Studies. At San Diego, she worked toward the holistic retention of underprivileged students of color through her involvement in Moviemiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A) de UCSD and the Cross-Cultural Center. S...

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