Originally from California, Barbara is a first generation American. Barbara learned about the importance of her community from her Guatemalan parents, who came to the United States in search for a better life. Deeply invested in social justice, Barbara organized with Service Employees International Union locals in CT, MA, RI, MN and CA. There Barbara was able to empower thousands of health care workers, home care workers and child care providers to form unions and secure contracts. Barbara received an Associate Degree of Liberal Arts from Santa Monica College, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master of Science in Labor Studies from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 2015, Barbara became the second co-founding organizer and built Make the Road CT. Her first undertaking was to organize the first parent committee where they launched their first successful campaign, In Our Language Please. Then as lead organizer, Barbara strategized, supported and implemented campaigns with members to fight for dignity, respect and a better quality of life. As Director, Barbara will take Make the Road CT to the next level of it's work as a statewide multi-issues and multi-generational organization.
Barbara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy was born in Peru and migrated to Connecticut when she was twelve years old with her family. Growing up in Fairfield County, she saw first hand the struggles that her community faced: lack of language access, affordable healthcare and college access opportunities were limited depending on your immigrant status. Wendy’s first fight was to get access to a quality education for herself and her peers regardless of their immigration status. As a result, she joined CT Students for a Dream where she was part of the organizing that passed the bill that granted undocumented students in-state tuition. Wendy has a deep passion for education equity, this brought her to work for Building One Community. At B1C, Wendy developed parent leaders from Stamford public schools, and was an essential part of creating a parent power committee. She worked with leaders to meet with stakeholders, strategize and implement a campaign that fought for public school transparency. As Lead Organizer at Make the Road CT, Wendy has the great task of training, developing and strategizing of our new organizing team! Wendy's sharp organizing skills, dedication for social justice and commitment to our members will be the foundation for her success. When she’s not organizing, Wendy enjoys spending time with her loved ones, eating different types of food, going on hikes and listening to music.
Wendy can be reached at email@example.com
Mary Elizabeth Smith
Development and Programs Organizer
Mary Elizabeth, better known as M.E., was born in New Haven, CT. She grew up understanding firsthand the struggles of the working poor, when her father lost the family lobstering business and her mother tried to piece together a living wage working three different jobs. M.E. studied Environmental Studies at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Then pursued her Masters in Human Rights in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the Universidad Popular de la Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, an alternative university founded by the Mothers of the Disappeared. She then moved to Bolivia where she spent years 7 working with popular education projects and participatory curriculum design with indigenous communities in the highlands. M.E., returned to New Haven, she landed at Junta for Progressive Action and was integral to strengthening the Adult Education and Advocacy programs. As the Development and Programs Organizer at Make the Road CT, M.E. has the great task of identifying funding to sustain our statewide organization. As well as developing innovative programs that meet the needs of our members.
M.E. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth is a first generation American from Mexican and Salvadoran immigrant families. She grew up in Oregon and California and still has a lot of family out west. Now living in Connecticut, she is excited to explore the East Coast and learn more about the people and history here. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Oregon State University. Wanting to help empower workers and migrant communities, a career in organizing was her calling. She has helped dozens of car wash workers in L.A. County recover lost wages, has tirelessly canvassed grocery workers in Oregon to help pass the Fair Work Week legislation, and has helped thousands of healthcare workers unionize to achieve dignity on the job. Prior to joining the Make the Road CT team, Elizabeth spent the last few years as a Senior Organizer with the American Federation of Teachers in Washington, Oregon, and Michigan. Elizabeth is excited to lead the Madres Guererras to launch their first educational equity campaign in Hartford. She is proud to immerse her cultural heritage into organizing work. When she is not organizing, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, learning new recipes in the kitchen, gardening, and going on hikes.
Elizabeth can be reached at email@example.com
Doris Cordova was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Danbury, Connecticut as a first generation American with Ecuadorian roots. Both of her parents migrated to the USA in the early 1990s to chase their American dream and start a family. In a mixed status household like the one Doris grew up in, she was able to see the hardships, lack of resources, and prejudice undocumented families went through first hand. After earning her Associates degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences at Naugatuck Valley Community College, she dedicated her time to fighting for education equity for undocumented students with CT Students for a Dream where she worked as a Logistic Coordinator for their 4th annual Education Conference, while also working collectively within the organization to help win the Institutional Aid for Undocumented Students campaign. It is because of these experiences that she was able to continue her passion for advocacy work with the CT Working Families Party. She is also very proud of being a founder of Western Beyond Borders group at Western CT State University where they fought for social justice. Her fight for systemic change has led her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Western CT State University. Doris is honored to continue the legacy of organizing for youth power with Make the Road CT.
Doris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fight Back Organizer
Sonia was born in Honduras and migrated to the United States in 2002. She lived in New York for 14 years and that’s where her activism started. She joined the New Sanctuary Coalition in NY, where she shared her story of self, participated in rallies and was trained to do court accompaniment to support individuals with open immigration cases. She moved to Connecticut in 2018, her children entered the Bridgeport Public School District, where she experienced the lack of interpretation and a non-welcoming environment to immigrant families. She joined Make The Road CT's Madres en Accion parent committee in Bridgeport to fight for language justice. As a member, she also joined the Fight Back committee because of her past experience working with the immigrant community. As a fight back member leader, she trained other members on the accompaniment process, family preparedness plan, and along with other members hosted legal clinics. As the Fight Back Organizer at Make The Road CT, Sonia will continue to develop strong leaders in Bridgeport to fight for a better and just city where they can thrive and live with dignity.
Sonia can be reached at email@example.com
Stefan was born in New Haven, CT, and grew up in the small town of Bethany, where he grew up mostly unaware of the systemic injustices that many in surrounding communities faced. Stefan's exposure to these injustices began when he worked at Bassick High School in Bridgeport, where he saw the lack of resources and support available to black and brown students and the difference between Bassick and the resource-rich, mostly white school he attended. At Bassick, Stefan also met an undocumented student that got him involved in CT Students for a Dream, an undocumented youth-led organization, where he learned about how racist and xenophobic our immigration system really is. Since that day in 2014, Stefan has been working alongside undocumented youth leaders to pass legislation to give students more access to college, training educators to better support undocumented students, providing college access support, and developing youth leaders to challenge the schools and systems that oppress them. Stefan wholeheartedly believes in the leadership of youth, work-class folks, immigrants, black, brown, and indigenous people, and queer, and trans folxs, and that working together we will build the power we need to dismantle these systems and create a more liberated world. Stefan is excited to continue to learn, grow, and move towards that vision at Make the Road CT and support the work of the powerful organizers there.
Stefan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org