Where Are They Now?: Catching Up With OneAmerica Family Members Through the Years

Lucia Vasquez-Martinez

Years involved at OneAmerica: 15 years

Role(s) at OneAmerica: Volunteer in Wenatchee, Yakima, and Seattle; temporary organizer in Spokane

Current Position: Field Director at SEIU 775

How did OneAmerica shape you?

OneAmerica sparked my involvement in organizing and social change. I was young 18 year old in Wenatchee when I first met Pramila, David, Maha, and other leaders at OA in Ellensburg, WA. They were given a training and it was there where I wanted to be more involved. I spent my college years at EWU where I started organizing as volunteer. David Ayala was very connected to my community back home and he talked to me about temporary organizing in 2013 in the big push for comprehensive immigration reform. At first I was not sure what that meant and he was first person that told me I could make a career of organizing, he believed in me. Over the next few months I worked to build immigrant power in Eastern WA, it was my start. While organizing in Spokane I met union members of SEIU 775 and they were hiring an organizer in Pasco, I became their organizer by November 2013. Now more than 8 years later, I have stepped into various leadership positions within my local but will always credit OA and especially the passion and mentorship of David Ayala for my start.

What is your favorite OneAmerica memory?

While I was applying for college roughly 2008 or 2009 David Ayala came to Wenatchee and did a presentation at our community meeting, CAFE. He showed a video of civil disobedience direct action that OA held in downtown Seattle where a professor of EWU and was so moved by the commitment to immigrant justice, years later while organizing we helped our very own direct action in of Cathy McMorris office.

What made OneAmerica feel like home?

I think the welcoming environment, especially given that I am very much an introvert and being part of OA pushed me to grow into my true self.

Where are they now?

Today, Lucia is a Field Organizer with SEIU 775, helping workers organize around their rights, fair wages & benefits, workplace protections and more. We are so excited that she is building off of her organizing work at OneAmerica to help build power for working people across the state!

Vy Nguyen

Years involved at OneAmerica: 2015-2017

Role(s) at OneAmerica: Policy Associate

Current Position: Port of Seattle as Senior Data & Policy Analyst with the Office of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

How did OneAmerica shape you?

OneAmerica was instrumental to me learning to connect my own lived experiences and voice to the work that I do – it was foundational to the work I did at OneAmerica, Seattle City Hall for (former) Council President M. Lorena González, and now at the Port of Seattle. 

What is your favorite OneAmerica memory?

My favorite work memory is building a diverse coalition of dual language leaders to advocate for the DLL bill and intentionally asked ourselves: who else needs to be at this table? Who else needs to be reflected in this bill? We wrote a bill rooted in solidarity for each other via dual language learning; I built a coalition of tribal language advocates and home language advocates to successfully pass our DLL bill to bring dual language learning education to more school districts across the state. Outside of that, some of my most favorite moments were lunch dates with my beloved colegas. 

What made OneAmerica feel like home?

Agreements & disagreements/frustrations – just like a real family. 

Where are they now?

Today, Vy serves as as Senior Data & Policy Analyst with the Office of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion at the Port of Seattle! We are so lucky to have a thoughtful, strategic, and bold leader like Vy building more equitable and inclusive policies for our communities through her work at the Port.

Hamdi Mohamed

“OneAmerica provided me with an opportunity to grow as a professional, flourish in community, and truly understand my purpose. It is an honor to continue to serve my community today – both as a board member at OA, and now as a Port Commissioner.”

Hamdi started her career in public service at OneAmerica as a college intern. She assisted in voter registration canvassing efforts that helped thousands of new Americans register to vote. She also facilitated dialogues between policy managers, elected officials, members of the immigrant and refugee communities. 

Where are they now?

Today, Hamdi serves as a Commissioner for the Port of Seattle. Her priorities as a Commissioner include economic development to make the Port more competitive and to create jobs locally; equitable economic recovery for workers and small businesses impacted by COVID-19; environmental justice by expanding the Port’s role in reducing toxic pollution and promoting renewable energy; and reducing the impact of aircraft noise and pollution to our neighbors.

Hamdi is the first Somali woman elected to public office in Washington State, and the first Black woman elected to the Port of Seattle Commission.

Christian Lopez-Moreno

Years involved at OneAmerica: 14 years

Role(s) at OneAmerica: Volunteer, Community organizer, radio programs producer for KQWZ Oneamerica Voice

Current Position: Project coordinator at VTRU Voice Tacoma Radio Universal & KQWZ OneAmerica Voice 106.5 LPFM.

Christian (bottom right) is pictured with the late David Ayala (top left), namesake for OA’s David Ayala Fellowship Program.

How did OneAmerica shape you?

OA connected me with other leaders that inspired me to fight for justice, justice for all but with focus on the communities with no representation at the decision’s table.

What is your favorite OneAmerica memory?

I have many, but I could pick the one when I went to DC with 40 amazing leader to participate in the big rally for CIR, 2010 I believe, to hear Pramila speaking for 1st time, was one of my favorite part of that adventure.

What made OneAmerica feel like home?

Its always awesome staff full of extraordinary people.

Where are they now?

Today, Christian is a Project coordinator at Voice Tacoma Radio Universal (VTRU) & KQWZ OneAmerica Voice 106.5 LPFM. He is a gifted story-teller and facilitator, helping amplify stories of the people in our communities in support of justice for all of us. We are thrilled to announce that Christian will be our emcee this year at OneAmerica’s 20th anniversary celebration!!

Sudha Nandagopal

Years involved at OneAmerica: Over 15 years

Role(s) at OneAmerica: Board member OneAmerica, founding Board member OneAmerica Votes, President of the Board, OneAmerica Votes

Current Position: CEO, Social Venture Partners International (www.reimaginegiving.org)

How did OneAmerica shape you?

OneAmerica gave me a movement and political home. It was at OneAmerica that I truly learned about what building power with and for communities looked like, and in my role as board member where I first experienced multiracial, multiethnic collaborative governance.

What is your favorite OneAmerica memory?

Too many to list! Being part of passing So much amazing statewide legislation including the voting rights act. Really committing to being a multi-issue organization that holds complexity and endorsing and helping pass marriage equality. Seeing the organization from in scope and scale and achieve huge impact and build movement across our state.

What made OneAmerica feel like home?

The multi ethnic, multi racial power aware space that I experienced while a board member of OneAmerica is rare – it was in this space that I learned that we create belonging by building community and that when we all bring our whole, unique selves to the table we are all stronger for it.

Where are they now?

Today, Sudha is the CEO at Social Venture Partners (SVP). She is a highly regarded organizer, facilitator, strategist, and movement builder focused on democratizing systems of power and shifting power outward to those most affected by injustice and oppression. At SVP, she implements these skills to cultivate and expand a philanthropic network to catalyze more resources to communities around the globe, demonstrate new ways for philanthropy to share power and wealth, and build stronger relationships between philanthropists and communities. 

Shankar Narayan

Years involved at OneAmerica: 3 years

Role(s) at OneAmerica: Policy Director

Current Position: Independent Consultant on issues of equity and technology

How did OneAmerica shape you?

OneAmerica was a formative experience for me — it was my first nonprofit role, and the first place where I moved towards my goal of making tangible change towards equity in the world.  In those early days, everyone at the org was a jack-of-all-trades in some ways — and for me, that involved not just doing policy work, but melding it with legislative work, community organizing, and communications work as well.  So I learned a lot of valuable skills.  And it was also a critical time in the immigrant rights’ movement — we worked with a coalition of orgs across the country to advance comprehensive immigration reform.  I crossed paths with many community members and activists with incredible personal stories, many of whom I am still in touch with today.  And of course, working with Pramila was inspiring.

What is your favorite OneAmerica memory?

Having long conversations with Abdullahi Jama is a favorite memory of mine.  He was a truly wonderful person and had an incredible store of life experience, stories, and wisdom.  I enjoyed hearing about his family and his journey — it was like talking to a favorite uncle.

What made OneAmerica feel like home?

I am an immigrant myself, and at OneAmerica, I found a place where everyone worked to help immigrants in their journey, no matter what their background or circumstance.  Because the work is so close to my heart, it felt good to be doing it everyday alongside wonderful colleagues.

Where are they now?

After OneAmerica, Shankar joined the ACLU of Washington as their Legislative Director, and later became their Technology and Liberty Project Director.  After over 11 years, he left the org in 2020 to start a new nonprofit, MIRA!, which addressed issues of equity in technology.  Shankar is now an independent consultant on issues of technology and equity, and also teaches creative writing at Hugo House and elsewhere.enecccblrjgckvtucurkijfrifbvbulddcuechjkrcdf

Yasmin Trudeau

Years involved at OneAmerica: 13 years

Role(s) at OneAmerica:  Intern, Volunteer, Board Member and Vice Chair

Current Position: Washington State Senator for the 27th Legislative District

How did OneAmerica shape you?

I started as an intern during 2009 during my undergraduate degree. I was really seeking an opportunity to bridge different immigrant communities and communities of color and OA provided that for me. I saw for the first time the chance to stand in solidarity and build power together. I later went on to become the Legislative Assistant to former Director and now Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal when she joined the State Legislature where we worked alongside OA to improve public policy and opportunity for our immigrant communities. 

What is your favorite OneAmerica memory?

The dinners have always been one of my favorite events of the year but the most memorable day was participating in a nationwide protest effort to put pressure on the Obama Administration. I was arrested in downtown Seattle with community organizers and leaders across the state. 

What made OneAmerica feel like home?

An opportunity stand in solidarity, build bridges, and consolidate the power and passion of immigrant communities. For the first time, it felt like a space where we could bring our full and diverse selves as members of different immigrant communities with a shared goal and purpose.

Where are they now?

Today, Yasmin serves as a Washington State Senator for the 27th Legislative District (Tacoma). In addition to her organizing experience with OneAmerica, she brings extensive legal experience to this role. Since graduating from Seattle University School of Law, she has held multiple externships – including one for Justice Mary Yu – in the state of Washington. And as a Bengali-American, Yasmin is the first woman of color to serve as senator for the 27th Legislative District.

Jessica Juarez Scruggs

Years involved at OneAmerica: 3 years

Role(s) at OneAmerica: Washington New Americans Program Manager

Current Position: Director of Training and Capacity Building, Congressional Progressive Caucus Center/Progressive Caucus Action Fund

How did OneAmerica shape you?

OA was my first political home, it taught me what organizing is and it taught me what it looks like and feels like to keep fighting even when it looks grim.

What is your favorite OneAmerica memory?

So hard! I think it’s a tie between the beginning of the Fight for $15 rally in SeaTac, the day DACA was announced and all of the lobby days especially watching new Americans make their voices heard in Olympia for the first time

What made OneAmerica feel like home?

The people!! <3

Where are they now?

Today, Jessica serves as the Director of Training and Capacity Building at the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center. Alongside her members, she works to create people-centered policies that confront the most pressing issues of our time. Through their network approach, they work closely with think tanks and movement organizations to educate and inform the public on solutions and strategies to build a more just, equitable, and resilient nation.

Veronica Gallardo

Years involved at OneAmerica: 15 years

Role(s) at OneAmerica: Board Member, Board Chair, Bilingual Education Member, ELL Work Group Founder

Current Position: Assistant Superintendent at OSPI

How did OneAmerica shape you?

OneAmerica has been instrumental in helping me navigate and grow into my leadership roles. First as a school district Bilingual and Migrant Director I was supported in meeting other leaders in districts close to me as we worked on issues often ignored or not prioritized. In my current role I bring with me my learning from OA on policy, finance, advocacy and a strong understanding that I must continue to learn, speak and dismantle education systems that often hinder our historically underserved youth. OneAmerica supported me when few others did and now as a state Assistant Superintendent I lead with a fearlessness that I would not have had without my experience working with OneAmerica.

What is your favorite OneAmerica memory?

Board meetings. I learned from other board members and felt and still believe the work we do in OneAmerica is unmatched and vital for our communities across WA.

What made OneAmerica feel like home?

The leadership, employees, members and community are all in this work to serve others. I love that feeling and sense of belonging.

Where are they now?

Today, Veronica Gallardo is Assistant Superintendent at OSPI, where she works on system and school improvement. She continues to employ her organizing skills through collaboration between OSPI, regional educational service districts, professional associations, local school districts, and schools to support continuous school improvement through quality technical assistance, relevant professional learning opportunities, and information about best practices and effective learning opportunities.

Veronica – thank you for helping us build our movement, and for carrying on the work of creating change for our communities <3

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