Advocacy Staff

Ana Maria Rea
AVP of Advocacy
Austin, TX
Ana Maria was born and raised in Mexico City until the age of 10. In 1998, she and her family migrated to Texas. She served 2 consecutive years in AmeriCorps NCCC as a Team Leader where she led various AmeriCorps teams in disaster relief rebuilding and environmental projects. Ana Maria completed a B.A. in International Relations at Austin College in Sherman, TX. Her passion and interest in immigration policy led her to complete programs in Comparative International Law and Policy in Washington D.C. at George Mason University and American University. While in D.C. Ana Maria also gained professional experience in Latinx focused policy issues while working with the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute and political consulting firm, Solidarity Strategies. After S.B. 4 was enacted, Ana Maria returned to Texas to dedicate herself to immigration issues affecting communities in the state she calls home.

Barbara Peña
Director of Strategic Partnerships
San Antonio, TX
A graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio with degrees in English Literature, Humanities and a minor in Art History, Barbara is a passionate advocate for immigrant rights and reproductive rights. As the Director of Education and Outreach for RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), Barbara works to advance community engagement on immigration issues and advocate for legal and social services for immigrants and refugees. Prior to joining RAICES, Barbara worked on mayoral, statewide, congressional and senate races in New Mexico, Texas, Washington State and the District of Columbia. She has a background in public relations, marketing and development.

Adriana Quiroga
Austin Organizer
Austin, TX
Adriana Quiroga was born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia and moved to Austin, Texas at the age of 16. She recieved a B.A. from Rhodes College and then joined the human rights fight in the Dominican Republic serving with an international NGO (International Justice Mission) working to rescue and restore child victims of sex trafficking and bring perpetrators to justice. She worked to develop and implement a communication and outreach plan to raise local awareness of the prevalence of this crime. Adriana’s bicultural background and passion for human rights brought her back to her second home, Texas, to join RAICES two years ago as a legal aid working directly with unaccompanied minors, immigrant and refugee families. Most recently Adriana joined the Advocacy team to organize and build power within the immigrant community in Austin. She works alongside advocates and leaders to push for policies that protect immigrants.

Gabriella Castillo
Dallas Organizer
Dallas, TX
Gabriella Castillo is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelors Degree in Criminology and a minor in Sociology. She first started organizing on campus with her sorority and became a member of the North Texas Dream Team (NTDT). She started at RAICES as a volunteer and shortly after became an intern for the education and outreach department. As an intern she became involved with the coalitions in Dallas. Gabriella also conducted Know Your Rights presentations in local grocery stores, consulates, and shelters. As an organizer her goal is to band people together by engaging the immigrant community to lead efforts for policy change.

Sindy Mata
Ft. Worth Organizer
Fort Worth, TX
Sindy Mata began her organizing experience after returning from the University of North Texas to her hometown Fort Worth. She joined the grassroots coalition group ICE out of Tarrant in an effort to end the collaboration of ICE and local law enforcement through the 287(g) agreement. In ICE out of Tarrant, Sindy led the community outreach team to build people power and mobilize change in her community. Sindy continues to advocate for change by organizing for immigrant rights as the RAICES community organizer for Fort Worth.

Beatriz Alvarado
Corpus Christi Organizer
Corpus Christi, TX
Beatriz Alvarado grew up in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She now lives in Corpus Christi. Before joining RAICES, she reported for five years on national, state and local issues for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times newspaper and USA Today. Throughout her reporting career she covered the criminal justice, immigration, and public education systems, as well as their intersections. RAICES has helped Alvarado branch off into exploring these intersections through a social justice and advocacy lens.

Debbie Hernandez
Community Organizer
San Antonio, TX
Debbie Hernandez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She has spent most of her work life in the corporate world and has a degree in management. She left corporate life after an injury and began organizing and advocating full time for San Antonio’s South side. She’s organized various protests against the school district to help teachers and cafeteria workers, and through picketing, social media and holding elected officials accountable, successfully closed a jail that was going to be set up inside of a low income neighborhood. She’s become a leader within grassroots local groups like ACLU People Power and helped organize the Let My People Vote campaign, Stop SB4 Protest action and the Stop the Separation of Families campaign. As a member of Texas Organizing Project, she graduated from their leadership program & worked on various immigration related actions. As a core member of SA Stands she strategizes with 26 other civil rights groups to make changes in current processes in order to stop the arrest to deportation pipeline as well as the arrest to incarceration pipeline of black and brown people. Debbie currently works as the San Antonio Community Organizer for RAICES, where she advocates for immigrants’ rights by stopping unjust actions.

Marco Luna
Social Media Manager
San Antonio, TX
Marco was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. He crossed the border illegally at the age of four and was undocumented until the age of 18. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He has been involved with the undocumented youth movement since the age of 16, working with United We Dream, and was a founding member of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. He is also a founder of the NYU Dream Team, which advocates for the rights of undocumented students and their families at NYU. He was also a Core Member at the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first undocumented youth led organization in the country.

Jessica Ortiz
Public Relations Specialist
Houston, TX
Jessica was born in San Miguel, El Salvador and migrated to Houston, Texas along with her parents at the age of 5. Jessica, a first generation student, moved to San Antonio to attend Our Lady of the Lake University where she received her Bachelors in Multimedia Journalism in 2017. She served as a Multimedia Journalist and News Producer for Univision until joining the RAICES Advocacy team in 2018 as the Media Relations Specialist.

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