Board Members

Anna Lisa Vargas

Anna Lisa Vargas is the Lead Community Organizer for Communities for a New California Education Fund (CNCEF). CNCEF fights to achieve public policy that is socially, economically and environmentally just for California families. The organization educates and motivates voters who have historically been left out of the policy decisions impacting their schools, neighborhoods, and families. In her role, Anna oversees the integrated leadership development and mass voter engagement strategy efforts in the Coachella Valley. She brings over 15 years of community organizing experience to her role and IE United both, offering expertise in skill-building and capacity building for community leaders in the areas of education, advocacy, and policy change.

Benjamin Briggs

Pastor Briggs has been married to Margaret Briggs for forty (46) yeas. Together they have three children, eight grandchildren and two great, great grands. Pastor and Sister Briggs are both skilled musicians who have spent a great deal of their life playing and teaching music. They have worked with such artist as Earth Wind and Fire, a Taste of Honey, Denise Williams and so many more. Pastor Briggs responded to his Pastoral call in 1995 and founded Greater Light Community Church in Perris, California. For the past 25 years Pastor Briggs has dedicated himself to serving the Lord, and his people. In 2000 Pastor Briggs met Rev. Eugene Williams and Rev. Sam Casey and later became a community organizer with Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE). He now serves as the Director of Civic Engagement.

Janet Bernabe

Janet Bernabe is the Riverside coordinator for Mi Familia Vota. She is a first-generation recent graduate from California State University, Fullerton with an M.A in the American Studies and a B.A in Political Science and Chicana/o Studies from the same institution. On her spare time she likes to spend as much time with her 13 year-old daughter, family, and close friends as well as traveling. She draws inspiration from her daughter and parents, who immigrated from Mexico in the late 1970’s and became naturalized citizens after many years in the U.S. Growing up as a Mexican-American/Xicana in Perris, CA, she developed a strong connection with her Mexican roots. Her ​education​, volunteer and professional work experience opened her eyes to the importance of community involvement and pushing for social, economic, educational and political equality.

Javier Hernandez

Javier Hernandez is an immigrant and queer leader who defends immigrant rights in the Inland Empire (IE), uplifts pro-immigrant policies and is working to end the unjust deportation machine. Javier believes that justice for immigrant communities is intertwined with struggles against poverty, criminalization and for health access. He has advocated against deportations and challenged anti-immigrant policies throughout the country. He is the co-founder of several grassroots groups including Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Collective (IE-IYC). Since 2015, Javier has been the Director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (IC4IJ), a coalition of over 45 diverse & intersectional organizations that collectively advocate for immigrant justice. Javier believes that through collective organizing, building community power, and an intersectional approach the Inland Empire will be a region where justice abounds and the contributions of immigrants are acknowledged and respected.

Karen Borja

Karen Borja is the Director of Community Affairs in Riverside County for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest (PPAFPSW). PPAFPSW works to advance access to reproductive health and justice through non-partisan political action, advocacy and education. PPAFPSW fights for broader access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, comprehensive sex education, and the issues that matter to our communities in our three-county region of San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties. We work together with our community partners to ensure the basic human rights of all our patients, volunteers, and supporters, regardless of income, race, documentation status, gender identity, faith, or sexual orientation.

Matt Abularach-Macias

Matt Abularach-Macias currently works as CLCV's Campaigns and Organizing Manager. Originally focused in San Bernardino and Riverside, Matt has expanded to also work on statewide organizing efforts. He also chairs the Board of the Inland Region Equality Network an Inland Empire based LGBTQ Advocacy & Education Org. His work with CLCV(EF) and IREN is an extension of his previous organizing on educational access, LGBT rights, and anti-racism issues. He got his start in the professional organizing and political world as a regional field director on the successful campaign to elect Pete Aguilar to US Congress. Prior, Matt graduated from UCLA with a degree in Chicana/o Studies.

Sheheryar Kaoosji

Sheheryar Kaoosji is the Founder and Executive Director of the Warehouse Worker Resource Center. He has spent 20 years developing research, policy and campaign strategies to support deep and sustained organizing among the most marginalized and critical communities in California, including families facing displacement in San Francisco, farm workers in the state's agricultural valleys, misclassified truck drivers at the Port of Los Angeles and, for the past 10 years, workers and communities affected by the massive warehousing and logistics sector of Inland Southern California. He was behind the WWRC's innovative campaign model to organize workers in the supply chains of the largest companies in the world, and the WWRC's broader communities to demand a sustainable and just goods movement sector in Southern California. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from UCLA and a BA from UC Santa Cruz. He and his wife, ceramicist Alyson Iwamoto, have a three year old named Aiko.

Vonya Quarles

Vonya Quarles Esq. is a native Californian and the co-founder of Starting Over, Inc. Starting Over, Inc. has operated for over 10 years, and has helped over 1000 men, women, and children address immediate housing needs while working to address long-term solutions that include systems change. Vonya blends experience, education, logic, and love, into an organic concoction that has helped to organize and lift the voices of people who have been historically marginalized. Vonya holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a Juris Doctorate. She practices law and criminal justice policy work. Vonya is one of the founding members of the Riverside All of Us or NONE Chapter that works to end the discrimination faced by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. She is system-impacted herself and works to address the complexities and collateral consequences of criminal convictions as they relate to family reunification, housing, employment, and other intersections. Vonya has fused these developmental opportunities with her own lived experiences to become a powerful and competent systems change agent that works within ever-widening circles.

Staff

Michael Gomez Daly

Michael Gomez Daly is the Executive Director of IE United, a coalition in the Inland Empire whose work focuses around engaging impoverished communities and people of color. Michael has been on the forefront expanding voting rights and increasing civic engagement in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties through tech solutions, data-driven field, and leadership development.

Sky Allen

Sky Allen is the Census Coordinator and Special Projects Manager for IE United. She got her start in the field as a policy fellow with the Warehouse Worker Resource Center before beginning her position with IE United. She graduated from UCR in 2018 with a B.S. in Business Administration with a Concentration in Management and a Minor in Ethnic Studies.

Oscar Giovanni Ruiz

Oscar Giovanni Ruiz is the Data Director and Software Developer for IE United. He became an activist during the Occupy Wall Street Movement in 2011 and has been involved with local activist groups since. He graduated with a B.S. in Physics from Cal Poly Pomona in 2014 and M.S in Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2017.

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