Salvador Bustamante | Executive Director |

Salvador Bustamante (Chava) has worked to promote labor, human and civil rights for Latino immigrants in California for over 40 years.For the past 7 years Chava has contributed his time working as a full-time volunteer Executive Director for Latinos United for a New America a.k.a. LUNA, which he helped to found. Before helping to found LUNA, he was the First Vice President of Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877, where he worked for over 19 years.

Chava’s work as Labor organizer and community leader includes working with organizations and campaigns like the United Farm Workers Union, California Rural Legal Assistance, Mental Health Advocacy Project, Economic and Social Opportunities, Catholic Charities Legalization Project and SEIU Local 1877; the Justice for Janitors campaign, Healthy Kids Initiative, the Living Wage Ordinance and Just Cause in the city of San Jose. In all these capacities, he has assisted working families in their struggles to achieve a better life through community empowerment, leadership development and civic participation.

Chava is also a fellow with the American Leadership Forum (Class XVIII) and has served on the board of several non-profit organizations like Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA), Silicon eValley Raising (SVR) and Sacred Heart Community Service.

Gabriel Manrique | Community Organizer |

Gabriel Manrique is originally from Petatlán, Guerrero, a town on the Mexican Pacific coast. His immigrant journey started when his family decided to come to California in the early 1990’s. They settled in the East Side San Jose where he continued his education. He graduated from high school and attended San Jose State University. Gabriel got involved in an organization called Movimiento Estudiantil de Chicanas/os de Aztlán (MECHA) at San José State University. MECHA was very politically involved and fought against budget cuts in education, better services for students of color in the California State Universities, and cooperated with outside organizations to fight for immigrant rights, workers rights, and other issues affecting the Latino community. Gabriel Graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from San Jose State University and in 2017 he got a graduate degree in Applied Anthropology. Gabriel has collaborated and advocated to bring awareness about the struggles undocumented students faced getting a higher education. He advocated for statewide financial aid for undocumented students in California colleges. The hard fought campaign was successful and in 2012 the California Dream Act was signed by Governor Brown that allows undocumented students in california to receive state financial aid for college. He has been very active in organizing and volunteering fighting for comprehensive reform for everyone and other issues of importance.

Mayra Pelagio | Community Organizer |

Mayra was raised in Penjamo, a small pueblo in Guanajuato, Mexico. At the age of 13, she migrated to the East San Jose to reunite with her mother. In 2017, Mayra graduated with a degree in Environmental Science and Management, and she is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree focused on increasing educational opportunities in the field of wildlife conservation for the Latinx communities. After being an Immigrant Justice Fellow for the county of Santa Clara Rapid Response Network, Mayra was brought on board to join the LUNA team to work on the census campaign. In her free time Mayra enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with her little sisters.

Board of Directors

Michelle Cordova | President

Michelle is from Ecuador, South America. She has written several bestselling social studies books and textbooks throughout South America. She is a political analyst for Russia TV (RTTV) on issues related with Militarization and Human Rights. On March 2016, Michelle was granted the Beacon of Light Award from the Office of Immigrant Relations from the Santa Clara County and received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for advocating for immigrant rights and for her collaboration to the community and the arts. Michelle is fluent in English, Spanish, German and Italian.

Alfonso Mendez | Vice President

Alfonso Mendez was born in Apatzingán, Michoacán, México. At the age of 16 Alfonso moved to California in 1975. For the following three years he worked as an irrigator in the fields around, Wasco, CA in the Central Valley. In 1978 he moved to the East side of San Jose, where he eventually bought a house and raised his family. Alfonso became involved in community work out of concern to provide a healthy and safe environment for his children.

Presently he is a co-coordinator of the chapter leadership committee. Some of Alfonso’s responsibilities include facilitating committee meetings, acting as MC in community meetings, and being a spokesperson for LUNA with politicians and elected leaders and members of the media. 

Baltazar Barron | Community Representative

Born in Aguililla, Mexico, Baltazar Barron migrated to the U.S. in 1969 and became a citizen in 2010.  Working as a janitor for IBM in 1976, Baltazar noted how far beneath the wages of other IBM workers those of janitors were.  He organized fellow janitors into a union, leading them on strikes and marches in the early days, serving as shop steward, and negotiating fair labor contracts, as a member of the union’s executive board.  Baltazar believes the Latino community must have good leadership, and co-founded Comite Cesar Chavez to develop such leadership in the style of Cesar Chavez.  Baltazar understands that one’s vote can profoundly change one’s community.  In recognition of that potential, he is a founding member of LUNA and a member of its board.

Maria Granados | Community Representative

Maria fled the war in El Salvador in 1980.  The 7th child of a peasant family, she cleaned houses and cared for elderly individuals.  With a third grade education, opportunities were limited until she became a unionized janitor for Macy’s in 1987.  That sparked a passion for union organizing.  In her first year on the job, she became the union steward.  She has been an activist in the Justice for Janitors Campaign, and was an elected member of the Executive Board of SEIU-UHWW from 2000 to 2014 when she retired.  She has worked countless campaigns to convince Latino immigrants to be involved in the civic and political processes of this country and their community.

Delma Hernandez Villasenor | Community Representative

Delma Hernandez Villasenor is originally from Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 5. She was raised in east San Jose. With the immense support of her parents and family she graduated with an A.A. in Social Welfare from Evergreen Community College and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Mills College. In 2015, Delma worked as a Volunteer Coordinator at Sacred Heart Community Service. During her time working at Sacred Heart Community Service (SHCS), she volunteered for two years with Colectivo, a group of women working towards raising awareness in the community and healing around domestic violence and trauma. Delma then transitioned into a Community Organizer role with LUNA and after three years from 2016-’19, she joined the Board of Directors in early 2020. LUNA has allowed Delma to be in the forefront of community campaigns for living wages, renters and immigrants’ rights, improving services and political power for local communities in East San Jose. Delma is now a Self-Sufficiency Advocate in the Housing Department of Next Door Solutions for Domestic Violence. She is convinced that organizing is one of the main actions that allows people to recognize, embrace, and execute their power as an individual and as a community for positive change!

Omar Vasquez | Community Representative

Omar Vasquez, nació en la selva Amazonas de Perú, en un pueblo llamado Bagua. Emigró a EEUU en 1996 a la edad de 16 años. Terminó high school en San José, CA y trabajaba mientras estudiaba. Se casó a los 19 años y tiene una hermosa hija llamada, Ariana Vasquez. Después de trabajar tanto y ver que su calidad de vida no mejoraba, Omar empezó a cuestionar si el sueño americano era una realidad o un idea fabricada. Un día, una amiga le invitó a una junta para discutir los temas que nos afectan a los Latinos y la posibilidad de crear una organización para trabajar en esos temas. “Al llegar noté que habían ocho a nueve locos queriendo cambiar las cosas por medio de la participación cívica,” dijo Omar. Pero decidió quedarse porque todo lo que decían tenía sentido. Así fue como empezó a creer que no se trata de aislarte y trabajar y trabajar. Se trata de la participación colectiva para cambiar las cosas que no nos dejan avanzar. “Quiero un mejor futuro para mi hija, pero también quiero un mejor futuro para mi,” dice Omar.

Jorge Casas
| Community Representative

Originally from Seaside California, Jorge’s experience in community service started early on as a graduate, employee, and then Board Member of the non-profit Community Partnership for Youth (CPY), established in 1991 as a response to violence in the community. Growing up with a single mother and facing unique challenges, Jorge greatly benefited from programs like CPY, dedicated to helping people and families like his. Jorge moved to San José in 2015 for work and also enrolled in school while serving on the student Government Body at San José City College. In his passion to learn more about government, Jorge started to volunteer and attend District 5 meetings and events for Councilmember- then-Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco to both, better understand the impact and inner workings of local government, but also to gain valuable work experience related to his pursuit of a degree in Political Science. In the fall of 2017 after 13 years in at Whole Foods Market, Jorge was accepted as a student intern for Councilmember Carrasco’s office and in the fall of 2018 was able to take over a full-time vacancy. Jorge became involved in community service work in San Jose through Latinos United for a New America (LUNA). Jorge was impressed by the grassroots organizing and the determination and tenacity of community members. After a couple of years as a LUNA member, in 2018 Jorge joined the Board of Directors for where he continues to learn and grow alongside his community.