Andrea Luquetta (she/her/ella) is CABC’s Managing Director. She has over twenty years of progressive leadership helping statewide and national non-profit economic justice organizations to build power, design strategies and campaigns, create sustainable work plans, secure and leverage resources, and increase leadership capacity to close systemic wealth gaps and end economic oppression for people of color, immigrants, and other historically marginalized communities.
As an independent consultant, Andrea also supports non-profit organizations who are building power to secure economic and political justice for people of color, immigrants, and other historically exploited communities. She is a community organizer by personality and training and an attorney admitted to practice in California.
She has designed and lead successful campaigns that centered immigrant leaders in the fight for economic justice after the 2016 national election; negotiated over $14 billion in new investments in low income communities; and stopped the state of California and the top three national banks from charging families fees just to access state income support benefits. As a litigator, she corrected the way housing authorities across the country calculate rent for residents who have special needs trusts, helped write Los Angeles policy to provide replacement housing to those displaced by redevelopment, and won $1 million judgment for very low income tenants who were unlawfully displaced from a former single room occupancy hotel.
Andrea is a graduate of UCLA School of Law, and both their Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies programs. She is a formerly undocumented immigrant from Colombia; her family gained legal permanent residency through the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. She lives in Richmond, California with her wife, Kathie, their toddler, Lucia.
Azul Cortez (they/them) is the Program and Production Coordinator at CABC. Azul is deeply invested in building intergenerational wealth and power within LGBTQIA+/BIPOC low income communities. Azul’s background is in real-estate, community engagement and policy. They believe in the power of advocacy, direct service and community engagement to find solutions to systematic barriers. Through direct service, Azul has supported 24 families access $2 million of downpayment assistance in California to purchase their first homes. They currently work as a regional affordable housing policy advocate in Northern California. In addition, Azul manages a boutique consulting firm Blue Lamb, Co. that supports organizations and companies to find solutions that meet their communities incorporating a R-EDI lens.
Azul is proud to be a Queer/NB, first generation Latinx professional from borderlands/la frontera de Baja California. They hold a B.S. in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis. In their free time, Azul loves to travel and spend time with their girlfriend, Vee and their dog Jay.
Melody Ng (she/her) is the Racial Economic Justice Fellow at CABC. She has previously worked with various organizations to plan and implement community programs and to research and advocate for policies addressing issues ranging from criminal legal reform to Native and Indigenous environmental stewardship and food sovereignty. Melody developed Building Pathways to Understanding — a community dialogue series that makes space for people from different communities to share and reflect on the way they experience different (policy) issues in an accessible way — that she has partnered with the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center to offer to the Greater Los Angeles community. She is interested in advancing land use planning and management policies that better support sustainable and equitable food systems and that re-envision land as a community asset rather than a commodity. She is also committed to integrating more cultural competency, rigorous equity analysis, and community-informed research into program and policy planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Melody is a first-generation college graduate who is proud of her Chinese-American immigrant parents — restaurant workers who raised their family in a rural Southern California desert community. She received her Master of Public Policy degree from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.
CABC Steering Committee
Jessica Bartholow is the Chief of Staff for California State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-District 9), Majority Whip, Chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee & Vice-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. Prior to joining the Senate, she led in anti-poverty organizing, programming and public policy advocacy in California for 20 years, achieving dozens of budget and legislative gains relating to financial empowerment, asset building, disability benefits, employment training and job creation.
She is a founding member of the California Asset Building Coalition and is also a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and a Board Member for the National Diaper Bank and the Alliance for Period Supplies. She holds two graduate degrees and is considered an expert on poverty in the U.S. Jessica is considered an expert on issues of poverty, its causes, consequences and public and private efforts to reduce or ameliorate it.
Bianca Blomquist handles Small Business Majority’s policy and legislative efforts throughout California and manages outreach in Northern California. She develops relationships with stakeholders to empower the voice of small business owners and reports to the Vice President, California. Currently, she serves on the Silicon Valley small business taskforce on federal and state funding and serves as liaison to the California Assembly Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy (JEDE) Committee in the CA State Legislature. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Bianca served as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill for a member of the House Financial Services Committee during the passage of the historic Dodd-Frank Act and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She also lobbied for five years on federal labor, trade, healthcare and transportation issues.
For over 20 years, Maria Cadenas has focused on developing local and global social, business, and philanthropic models that foster equity, community engagement, collaboration, and wealth building.
Born in Mexico and raised in California, Maria is the current Executive Director of Santa Cruz Community Ventures (SCCV), a nonprofit organization working in the Monterey Bay region to create compassionate and equitable local economies that contribute to the region’s wellbeing through financial capability, asset building, and advocacy. She has led efforts to create college savings accounts for all newborns in Santa Cruz County with the launch of Santa Cruz SEEDS and design ways to integrate financial coaching and education as a key metric of family health. In 2020, she coordinated the launch of UndocuFund Monterey Bay, a collaborative effort to provide cash assistance to undocumented workers in the Monterey Bay Region.
Maria is a Steering Committee Member for Kitchen Table Advisors and serves as the Secretary for the Podiatric Medical Board of California. She received her MBA from Alverno College and a BA in Business Administration and Creative Writing from Beloit College.
Rosalyn Epstein oversees National CAPACD’s Financial Capability and Housing work. This work includes being the only AAPI Focused HUD-Certified Intermediary Organization, managing National CAPACD’s signature financial capability framework, Empowerment Economics, and sub-granting to a portfolio of over 150 organizations across the country. Rosalyn previously managed a Bay Area county level asset-building network with nearly 50 member organizations. In leading the network, she built member advocacy capability while supporting peer learning and skill development among the member organizations. She also served as a CITC Policy Fellow with National CAPACD in 2015.
During her career, Rosalyn has developed and managed asset-building programs for youth and adults which include financial education, financial coaching, tax preparation, and managing a VITA tax preparation site. Previously, Rosalyn worked in the youth development and sexual and reproductive health education sectors. She has a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Smith College and an MSW from the University of California, Berkeley.
Anna Hasselblad is the Public Policy Director for United Ways of California, representing the 29 United Ways in the Golden State covering all 58 counties. Her role is primarily focused on state and federal advocacy on issues of economic justice, integrated systems change, and child-facing services, among other key issues. Anna has over 17 years of experience in the nonprofit sector.
Prior to UWCA Anna was the Director of Public Policy for the Steinberg Institute, where she focused on advancing sound public policy on issues of mental health and substance use disorder. Previously, she was the Deputy & Policy Director for California Coverage & Health Initiatives where she advocated on behalf of a statewide membership of community-based organizations, ensuring affordable health coverage and access to care for underserved children and families. Before Anna delved into policy, she was a direct service provider with children and families experiencing behavioral health crises, overseeing teams that supported integrated services in a variety of residential, educational, and community settings.
Anna is based in Sacramento and has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University. She is a passionate advocate who in her limited free time loves to garden, cook, sing, read, and be with loved ones.
Min Kim is a Program Officer at Alliance Healthcare Foundation. She is a Baltimore native who has worked extensively against the currents of social injustice and how they affect the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. She especially believes in dismantling power dynamics that cause inequities by building diverse, deep, meaningful relationships.
Min has spent her time supporting the cause at the Baltimore City Health Department’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau; Family League of Baltimore; Maryland Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities; and Thread. She holds both her B.S. and M.S. in Health Science from Towson University in Baltimore, MD, and is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). She lives in sunny San Diego with her husband, daughter, and shih-tzu.
Kristin McGuire has built her career advancing social justice movements for disadvantaged communities across Southern California. She has over a decade of community and political organizing experience and works tirelessly to empower communities of color. As Executive Director of Young Invincibles, Kristin works to amplify the young adult voice on matters that impact them the most.
Prior to joining Young Invincibles, Kristin worked for Los Angeles County Tobacco Control and Prevention Program where she played a vital role in shaping and implementing some of the most progressive tobacco policies in Southern California, namely smoke-free housing, parks, and outdoor areas in Compton, California. Kristin holds a Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is a proud PTA mom.
Perfecto Munoz is a retiree from the University of California, Berkeley campus with the School of Public Health. After retiring, he accepted a position as Executive Director of West Modesto Community Collaborative. The WMCC is a result of the formation of the Stanislaus County Minority Community Health Coalition, which was established April 22, 1991. It oversees the coordination and implementation of projects and services and has a membership of over five hundred people, over half of which are community residents and the remainder city/county representatives, faith-based organizations, educators and local businesses. He and his wife Lucy Munoz moved to Modesto in 2018 and enjoy being around their grandchildren and traveling along the central coast of California.
Keisha Nzewi was born and raised in Hanford, CA, but has spent her adult life in the East Bay. She attended U.C. Berkeley where she earned a B.A. in Social Welfare, and San Francisco State, where she earned a Master’s of Public Health. Keisha has spent her career as a community organizer and policy advocate. She has worked on issues such as tobacco control, health care access, anti-hunger hunger policies, and currently, child care policy with California Child Care Resource & Referral Network.
Keisha has recently emerged as a leading voice for racial equity and justice in the child care system in California and nationally. She is an unapologetic advocate for unbuilding systems with racist foundations. Keisha is a third generation Girl Scout leader and parent of a 7th grader.
Noe Paramo is on staff of California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation as Sustainable Rural Communities Project Co-Director and Legislative Advocate. For 15 years, Noe worked for California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. at the Modesto office. Noe was the Advisory Committee Chair for the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at CSU Fresno. Noe’s work focuses on social justice policies supporting farmworkers and low-income rural communities.
Mr. Paramo holds a BA degree in Political Science from UC Davis and a JD from Hastings College of the Law.
Julia is an advocate and ally for reentry justice. She is the Development Director for Creating Restorative Opportunities and Programs (CROP) an organization founded by proximate leaders with 100+ years of collective experience in the criminal justice system, that is reimagining reentry through a holistic, human-centered approach to advocacy, housing, and the future of work.
Based in Oakland, Julia has extensive experience in workforce and reentry policy, previously a senior policy associate with the Center for Employment Opportunities. She is a lifelong believer in the ability and power of grassroots organizations and the nonprofit sector to bring about social change. Julia was a 2020 Solis State Policy Fellow with the Women’s Foundation of California. She has an MPA from NYU and a BA from UCSD and is a parent of a kindergartener, second grader, and cat; and partner to a fellow advocate for social justice.
As Associate Director of the California Coalition for Rural Housing, Alicia Sebastian supports the organization’s work in providing technical assistance, capacity-building, research, asset-building, leadership development, and advocacy. Alicia serves rural, agricultural, and American Indian tribal communities across California.
Before joining CCRH, Alicia worked in San Diego launching resident civic engagement programs focused on infrastructure, affordable housing, transportation, and participatory budgeting advocacy. Alicia also worked in San Diego strengthening food systems through access and education to healthy foods and small business support for local growers. Alicia began her career in public health in HIV prevention and treatment strategies in Santa
Cruz. Alicia grew up in the rural foothills outside Yosemite National Park.
Alicia holds a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego, and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies and Education from UC Santa Cruz.
Marisabel Torres is the Director of California policy at CRL and works to advance strong consumer protections and promote responsible lending policies in the state. Before joining CRL, Marisabel was a senior policy analyst for the Wealth-Building Initiative at UnidosUS and focused on banking, homeownership, and retirement policies affecting Latino families, as well as immigrant access to financial services. Marisabel’s career at UnidosUS began as a policy generalist in the department of Legislative, Congressional, and Political Affairs, before being an analyst in the Economic and Employment Policy Project. Her work included analyses of federal investments in Latino-serving programs, the Latino electorate, and barriers to federal retirement programs for low-income Latino workers. Torres has authored or co-authored several publications, including The Future of Banking: Overcoming Barriers to Financial inclusion for Communities of Color (2019), Banking in Color: New Findings on Financial Access for Low- and Moderate–Income Communities (2014), Latino Financial Access and Inclusion in California (2013), and Affording Citizenship and Securing a Sound Financial Future (2012).
Marisabel holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from the University of Mary Washington.