About

Mission

 

The Latino Action Network (LAN) is a grassroots organization composed of individuals and organizations committed to engaging in collective action at the local, state, and national levels in order to advance the equitable inclusion of the diverse Latino communities in all aspects of American society.

 

About LAN


Founded in 2009, LAN advocates on issues of greatest importance to the Latino community, including Immigrant Rights, Education, Healthcare, Affordable Housing, Criminal Justice Reform, Disabilities, Voting Rights, Youth Empowerment, Environment, Community Organizing, and Poverty.


LAN was founded by a group of Latino leaders from across New Jersey who agreed that the time had come for progressive Latinos to come together to take action against the attacks our community was facing.  Since its inception, LAN has played an important role in influencing legislative redistricting in the state and been a clear voice on the need for diversity on the state’s highest court and marriage equality. 


Our members continue to testify at public hearings, write opinion pieces for many publications, and meet with legislators to champion our various causes. We have participated in numerous legal challenges promoting fair housing, equitable healthcare delivery, desegregation of New Jersey schools, and electoral integrity.  The Latino Action Network has promoted quality public education and spoken against the proliferation of unaccountable charter schools and voucher gimmicks. The Latino Action Network invites you to learn more about our organization and to connect with other Latinos and our allies who are working hard every day to improve the lives of Latino families.


 

Leadership

Executive Committee

 

Javier Robles, J.D.

President

 

Javier Robles president of the Latino network,  A Hispanic man with a pink shirt and tie with salt-and-pepper goatee and black hair.Mr. Robles is the President of the Latino Action Network of New Jersey (LAN) and a faculty member and professor of The Kinesiology and Health Department. He is the Director of the Center for Disability Sports, Health and Wellness and Co-chair of the Rutgers University Disability Studies committee. He was a member of the Rutgers University Academic Master Plan Committee and is currently a member of the Rutgers University DEI Committee. He is the Chair of the New Jersey Disabilities Covid-19 Action Committee and was appointed by Gov. Murphy to the Puerto Rico Commission. He is a United Spinal National Board member and was Commissioner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems. Until recently, he was on the Canine Companion for Independence Northeast Board board for 15 years. He is past President of Thisabled, LLC, an organization supporting persons with disabilities through self-empowerment and perseverance. He is the Founder of the Facebook Group “People with Disabilities Helping Each Other Survive the Coronavirus.”   Robles has written for numerous publications, including The Hill, Latinos NJ, ThisAbled Nation, and New Mobility. Javier Robles is a Juris Doctor graduate of Seton Hall Law School and has a double degree in Sociology and Puerto Rican and Caribbean Studies from Rutgers University. He is a photographer and a collector of glass and vintage negatives from the 1800s and early 1900s. Additionally, he is a beekeeper and gardener in the Central Jersey region.  He has two children and lives with his wife and service dog in New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beatriz Osterheld

Executive Vice President

Beatriz is a prominent community leader, influential change agent, and capable administrator with expertise in developing and managing vital, high-impact community programs and initiatives. Since February 2010, Beatriz has served as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Community Affairs Resource Center in Asbury Park, Freehold Borough, Keansburg and their newest office in Lakewood, Ocean County. During her tenure, Beatriz strengthened the organization’s infrastructure, built solid community alliances, enhanced services, and improved the center’s financial position. Beatriz holds leadership positions with several organizations, and she is a board member of the VNA Community Health Center and the Asbury Park Charter School. In addition, she is a member of the Governor’s Council for Disability and is the chair of the Interagency Lead Task Force at the state. Beatriz holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Puerto Rico and a Non-Profit Management Certificate from Brookdale Community College.

 

 

 

 

 

Sofia Rosa

Secretary

Sophia RosaSofia Rosa, a multi-talented individual from Honduras, holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Advertising from Winona State University. She has leveraged her education to excel as a freelance graphic designer, creating a wide range of advertising materials for her clients. Beyond her design work, Sofia is passionate about her role as Housing Access Organizer at the Latino Action Network Foundation. In this role, she is dedicated to promoting access to affordable housing for all residents of New Jersey, particularly those from immigrant and minority communities. With a focus on policy and advocacy, Sofia is working tirelessly to close the racial wealth gap in the state and provide equal opportunities for Latino residents to benefit from home ownership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeimi Hernandez 

Tresurer

Yeimi Hernandez

Ms. Hernandez is the Treasurer of the Latino Action Network, the Secretary of the Latino Coalition of New Jersey, and a member of the LAN Steering Committee. She attended Brookdale Community College and is now a student at Rutgers University, where she is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology. Ms. Hernandez has been involved in the NJ Drivers License Movement, Occupational Licenses, and many other initiatives. She began advocating for the immigrant community at the age of 11 and has never stopped fighting for them. Ms. Hernandez aspires to follow in the footsteps of her mentor and to inspire others during her journey. Ms. Hernandez recently had the honor of being a part of the ACLU 2020 Summer Advocacy program and was awarded a scholarship by Peggy Anastos for the school year 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cory Garriga

Vice President of Communications

Cory GarrigaCory Garriga Is the Vice President of Communications for the Latino Action Network he was born and raised in the Greenville section of Jersey City. From a young age, Cory saw the importance in being of service to his community. Currently, Cory is on the Steering Committee for the Latino Action Network, a local Committeeman in Jersey City, and is a Commisioner for the Jersey City Preservation Commission. Cory is the inaugural President of the Jersey City Young Democrats, an organization that promotes political and community involvement for Young Democrats ages 18-40.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henry Pena

Membership Committee Chair

 

Henry PeñaHenry Pena is the Chief Electrician for plant operations at Carewell Health Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey. A member of the Latino Action Network since 2016 and a steering committee member since 2017, Pena currently chairs the membership committee at LAN. Pena is also on the labor, criminal justice, and Bylaws committee. In 2014 Mr. Pena and 2 friends began uniting street respected Latino "big bros" that had achieved personal and professional success despite their past mistakes or the neighborhood they come from. Throughout New Jersey's roughest barrios, rehabilitated business owners, correction officers, construction workers, barbers, and single fathers came together to form UPLIFT Barrio Outreach with Pena as its co-founder and State Director. Aside from everyday one-on-one guidance (with a specialty in street organizations), Mr. Pena utilizes UPLIFT and Latino Action Network to introduce the average at-risk youth or recently released brothers, to the importance of networking and community service participation to better one’s own life and community. Henry Pena has an associate degree in Paralegal Studies from Berkeley College of Business and is currently studying for his Master's Electrician’s License.

 

 

 

 

 

STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS


Christian Estevez 

President Emeritus

Christian EstevezBorn and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, Christian has a strong record of community leadership at the state and local levels. The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Christian understands the struggles of working families trying to provide a better future for their children. Christian earned his Bachelor's degree from Rutgers University where he studied Labor Relations and Latino Studies.  He was an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University where he taught a course on Latino Workers in the United States. His career in the labor movement includes serving as Education and Training Coordinator for the New Jersey AFL-CIO from 2002-2009 and as a Union Representative for Communications Workers of America Local 1037 since 2009 where he currently serves as Executive Vice President.

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Argote-Freyre

President Emeritus 

Frank Freyre in a brown jacket and plaid shirt white hair and goateeFrank is a Founding member and President Emeritus of the Latino Action Network. He is a Professor at Kean University and serves as Board Chair of the Latino Action Network Foundation. He was previously Press Secretary to Senator Bob Menendez when he was a Member of the House of Representatives. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Public Policy Committee Chairs 

 

Cuqui Rivera

Criminal Justice Reform Chair 

Displaying C Rivera.jpgCuqui has been a Latina community leader and Criminal Justice Reform Advocate in New Jersey for over 30 years. She is employed by the Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB) as a Records Coordinator & the Latino Action Network Foundation (LANF) as Programs Director. In addition to her position with LAN, she is Board President of the Anti-Poverty Network, and the Campaign Coordinator for the JUNTOS/TOGETHER Puerto Rico Disaster Relief efforts, to name a few. She also has extensive service in areas of Nonprofits, Youth, Community Building & Race Relations. She has also worked at La Casa de Don Pedro as a Case Manager for the Newark Re-Entry program and as the Outreach Manager for the Hispanic Directors Association of NJ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ann Bagchi

Health Committee Chair

Conference Planning Committee Chair, 2024

Ann BagchiDr. Ann D. Bagchi is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at Rutgers University. Her research focuses on reducing health inequities among members of under-served populations, including those living in poverty, people with limited English proficiency, and people living with HIV. She is also a member of the Latino Coalition of Monmouth County where she co-coordinates a soup kitchen in Freehold during the winter months to serve the area's day laborer community and residents who are homeless.



 

 

 

 

Dr. Jose Laureano

Chair of Education Committee

Jose LaureanoDr. José Laureano serves as the Chair of the Education Committee for LAN and as the Executive Dean for Student & Enrollment Services at Middlesex College. His research focused on Hispanic Serving Community Colleges in New Jersey and building a culturally engaged campus environment for Latino/a/x students. Besides serving on the LAN Steering Committee, he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development in Perth Amboy NJ, and as an Advisory Board Member for the Center for Latino Arts and Culture at Rutgers University. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katherine Sastre

Immigration Chair

Katy Sastre is the immigration committee chair of the Latino Action Network. From 2019 - 2021, Katy was the Campaign Strategist for the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ), responsible for coordinating and supporting NJAIJ's campaign priorities, ensuring members and partners were actively engaged. Before joining NJAIJ, Katy worked as the Program Coordinator for the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, providing programmatic support to legal and education services. Katy is a graduate of Cornell University (BA, Sociology & Government) and SOAS, University of London (MA, Gender Studies). After completing her undergraduate degree, she initially worked in the private sector, for a legal recruitment firm in NYC. Following this, she transitioned to the non-profit sector, and from 2010-2012, she worked as a Program Coordinator for the Middle East North Africa region at the International Center for Transitional Justice. From 2012-2015, Katy held various roles at the International Rescue Committee, including Program Manager for the CASAMENA Region and Syria Regional Response in NYC, Senior Grants Manager in Erbil, Iraq, and then Grants Coordinator for the Ebola Response Consortia Coordination Unit in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Following her post in Sierra Leone, she completed her master's in Gender Studies, with a focus on migration and the intersections of gender, class, and race.

 

 

 

Maria Andrade 

Steering Committee Member 

Maria Andrade is a proactive Newark resident with an ardent drive for Social Equality and all it encompasses. Throughout the last several years, she has worked closely to develop, direct, and coordinate many Social and Strategic Impact Projects in the state of New Jersey. She is the SITE Director of NJ GEAR UP/College Bound at NJIT and a proud ALUMNI and REGIONAL AMBASSADOR OF NJ GEAR UP. Her free time is used for professional development in her interest areas. Social Justice, Equality, and Equity concerns Minorities, Criminal Justice Reform, Education, Advocacy for the underserved community, and interrelated issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Francesca Baroni

Steering Committee Member

Displaying PIC F Baroni.jpgFrancesca Baroni, MSW, LSW is the Policy Director for the Latino Action Network Foundation and is also currently completing a fellowship in Washington, D.C. In 2020, Francesca graduated Summa Cum Laude with her BASW from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and as an Honors College Scholar and Matthew Leydt Society Inductee. In 2021, she graduated from the Rutgers School of Social Work’s (RUSSW) MSW program with an Outstanding MSW Student Award. Francesca’s specialization is Management and Policy and her area of emphasis is Social Policy. During her time at the RUSSW, Francesca was a Policy Fellow and a part of the Latino/a/x Initiatives for Service, Training, and Assessment (LISTA) certificate program. In addition, Francesca worked as a research assistant during this time, conducting research on child welfare and child support policies. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calandria Ortiz-Resende

Steering Committee Member

Calandria Calandria Ortiz-Resende is a policy coordinator at the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence. Licensed Master of Social Work from Rutgers–New Brunswick School of Social Work with a Management and Policy Specialization and Area of Emphasis on Social Policy in conjunction with the Violence Against Women and Children, an Equitable Community Change Certificate from Cornell University and the Eagleton Fellowship Program in Politics and Government Certificate. Recipient of the Harold and Reba Martin Fellowship and Robert Gutman Sociology Award. Summa cum laude bachelor’s degree studies in sociology at Rutgers–New Brunswick. Member of the National Association of Social Work, the Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society, and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I also volunteer in the Juvenile Conference Committees at the Family Division of Superior Court in Trenton. I make recommendations to judges to ensure a resolution supporting juvenile offenders' rehabilitation.

 

 

 

 

 


Lazaro Cardenas

Steering Committee Member

Lazaro Cardenas is a Rutgers University School of Law – Newark graduate. Upon graduation, Mr. Cardenas and two other colleagues opened their law firm. Currently, he is a managing partner at Patel, Cardenas & Bost, LLC, headquartered in Freehold Borough, New Jersey. He also serves as the firm’s policy director. In his legal career, Lazaro takes pride in assisting clients in various legal matters, from foreclosure defense to probate and real estate matters. In addition, he serves on the boards of directors of some of the leading Latino advocacy organizations in New Jersey, including the Latino Coalition of New Jersey, where he serves as Deputy Director, and the Latino Action Network, where he is a steering committee member. Since 2016, he has worked with the Latino Action Network Foundation, where he is currently their Chief Compliance and Legal Officer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlos Hendricks 

Steering Committee Member

Carlos HendricksCarlos Doel Hendricks-Verdejo was born in Trenton, NJ. At age three, his family relocated to Carolina, Puerto Rico, where he would enjoy his formative years. He returned to New Jersey 16 years later and began his studies at Livingston College Rutgers University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Spanish and Puerto Rican Studies. During his years on the bank, he was a Student/Athlete lettering on the RU Baseball Team and the Panthers varsity Football team of Livingston College. Carlos was also active in several student organizations, such as the Unión Estudiantil Puertorriqueña, El Congreso Estudiantil Latino Americano, Rutgers University Hispanic Coalition (RUHC), and the Paul Robeson Athletic Association (Black Knights), to mention a few. One of his greatest achievements is being a charter member of Latinos Siempre Unidos (Lambda Sigma Upsilon, Latino Fraternity, Inc.), which was founded in 1979 at Rutgers University.

 

 

 

 

Alberto Hernandez

Steering Committee Member

Displaying Al Hernandez.jpgAlberto is a founding member of the Greater New Jersey Pride at Work Chapter and currently serves as its President. He worked with some of the most prestigious Labor Unions in the state. For eight years he was proud to serve as the Latino Caucus Chairperson for the Middlesex County Democratic Organization. Currently, he is a Writing Assistant and a graduate student at Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations. He owns his own insurance agency.

 

 

 

 

Daniel Santo Pietro 

Steering Committee Member

Displaying D SantoPietro.jpgMy career started with nearly twenty-five years of international experience working with non-profits.  From 1998 to 2010, I was the Executive Director of the Hispanic Directors Association of NJ (HDANJ) , a network of thirty-two Hispanic-organized community-based organizations in New Jersey. While with HDANJ, I served on various State Commissions, including Governor Whitman's Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Protection Services and on the Governor's Early Childhood Advisory Commission.  In 2005, I co-chaired Governor Corzine’s Department of Human Services transition advisory group.  I also served on the boards of the NJ Immigration Policy Network and Citizen Action.  I participated in the Consumer Voices for Coverage leadership team, a project supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to advocate for universal health coverage.  I worked with the NJ Healthcare Coalition to support the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. After retiring, I continued to serve on the Steering Committee of the Latino Action Network.  I concentrated on creating a LAN Foundation and served as Executive Director until I moved to San Diego in 2018. I received my B.A. from Harvard College in 1966. I was a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil and completed graduate work in Political Science and Latin American Studies at Stanford University. I am fluent in both Portuguese and Spanish.  I have four children, Patric, Cristiana (McCarthy), Sara, and Erica (Sayko), as well as seven grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

 

David Matos 

Steering Committee Member

David MatosAn extensive public policy background, having served as a senior legislative and executive branch administrator with policy and management expertise in health care, transportation, telecommunications, homeland security, and urban affairs. Knowledge of the inner workings of the legislature and executive agencies, coupled with a vast network of resources and contacts, both in and outside of government. One of the most sought-after public affairs strategists in New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ana Cecilia Delgado Santana 

Steering Committee Member

Displaying A Delgado.jpgAna holds an Associate in Science with a focus on Chemistry from Camden County College (2004), a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on Biology from Rutgers University- Camden (2006). Since then, she has turned her sights toward Nursing and graduated from the Helene Fuld School of Nursing (2009). Ana Cecilia has dedicated her career to focusing on working in Behavioral Health and Pediatrics. She started off as a Registered Nurse at a Psychiatric Child Residential Facility, and currently, she is a Health Care Case Manager at Rutgers University, FXB: Child Health Unit. She also spent several years at a Behavioral Health Hospital encompassing a Dual Diagnosis, an Adult, a Geriatric, and an Adolescent Unit.  Ana's bilingual skills have continuously helped to facilitate services for Spanish-speaking clients throughout her career. In addition to the LAN Steering Committee, Ana Cecilia embraces her passion and leadership skills as a Union Representative with Health Professionals & Allied Employees (HPAE) Local #5094 and as a member of their Negotiation Committee. 

 

Kimi Wei 

Steering Committee Member

Kimi WeiKimi Wei's passions are justice, community building, conserving nature, and traditional cultures- all components of the field of sustainability. Kimi founded the merch, media and marketing agency The Wei LLC, which is a for-profit social enterprise with a give-back commitment to underserved communities. The Wei helps community-based small businesses, NGOs, and also government agencies to reach multicultural audiences. Team members are Kimi's sons Jorge, Ivan, and Ari, aged 31 and 27. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole Rodriguez 

Steering Committee Member

Nicole RodriguezNicole Rodriguez is President of New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). This nonpartisan think tank drives policy change to advance economic, social, and racial justice through evidence-based, independent research, strategic communications, and advocacy. Driven by lived experience, Nicole is deeply committed to centering Black and brown communities in policy change in pursuit of equity and justice. Nicole brings ten years of experience driving strategic campaigns through rigorous research, boosting prosperity for Massachusetts and New Jersey residents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organizational Members

 

Dr. Jesselly De La Cruz, Organizational Member

Latino Action Network Foundation (LANF)

Laura Bustamante, Organizational Member

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

 

Displaying Laura Bustamante Headshot .jpegAs an immigrant Latina queer woman, I have dedicated my career to amplifying the voices of the voiceless. Through my experience, I have focused on helping underserved communities through public service by formulating creative and effective ways to communicate and engage them. Through my work in communications and working for elected officials, I have developed outreach programs and campaign strategies that have increased our reach to minority constituencies by 95%. My experience in data-driven strategies, community partnerships, communications, and establishing trust in the communities I serve has been the cornerstone to my success.

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Cullinane, Organizational Member 

Make the Road Action New Jersey

Displaying S Cullinane.jpgSara Cullinane, Esq, is the Director of Make the Road New Jersey (MRNJ) and Make the Road Action New Jersey. Founded in late 2014, MRNJ is a membership-based organization that builds the power of immigrant and working-class communities of color to achieve respect and dignity through community organizing, the provision of legal and support services, policy innovation, and transformative education. MRNJ operates three organizing hubs in working-class immigrant cities in New Jersey that provide legal and support services, including adult education and youth development. In the past 8 years, MRNJ has won over a dozen landmark pro-immigrant and pro-worker policies, including the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund, driver's licenses and occupational licenses for undocumented immigrants, a $15 minimum wage, and the nation's first guaranteed severance law. Previously, Sara was a staff attorney and Equal Justice Works fellow at Make the Road New York. She has also taught as an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She holds a JD from NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern public service scholar.

 

 

 

 

Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB)

Jose C Montes

José Carlos Montes is the CEO of the Puerto Rican Action Board, an organization which helps equip individuals and families in Central New Jersey to achieve personal, family, and community development, which also provides access services to over 25,000 individuals and families across 11 sites. He previously served as the Deputy/Facility Director of the Transitional Housing Program for 249 homeless single men and as the Special Assistant to the President/Chief Operating Officer of the Latino Pastoral Action Center. Mr. Montes holds a Master of Divinity in Bible and Theology from the Alliance Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Yale University, and is an ordained minister.

LAN Advisory Members 

Roberto Frugone

Roberto Frugone is president of The Frugone Group, a neighborhood development & government relations consulting firm. With more than a decade of extensive experience in organizational leadership, project management, media, and mentorship, Frugone trains local leaders on strategies to influence policy and create sustainable change in their neighborhood. He also works with community groups to identify and develop strategic partnerships and works with elected officials and political candidates to develop and/or strengthen community support for projects or initiatives. A resident of New Jersey, Frugone holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Rutgers University.

Latino Action Network Previous Steering Committee Members

Patricia Campos-Medina

 Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina is a researcher and labor educator focusing on the intersection of race, immigration status and worker's rights. She is a Senior Extension Associate and the Executive Director of the Worker Institute at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University where she leads research, policy innovation and training to advance worker justice, collective bargaining rights and the interest of workers in today's economy and society. She is a community leader serving as President of Latina Civic and PODER PAC, two organizations advancing women's representation in state legislatures and in the US Congress. She is the current PAC Chair for NJ Citizen Action, an organization advancing policy reform for working families, and is an NJ Working Families Party board member. She currently serves as an Advisory Committee Member for ELLA Wins/Ready to Run, a program of the Center for American Women in Politics and she is a Visiting Fellow at the Eagleton Institute, Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She holds a PhD in Global Affairs, focusing on political science and immigrant integration from Rutgers University. She holds a BS from Cornell ILR and an MPA from Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. She is the Host and Executive Producer of her podcast Activista Rise Up, a forum for activists to engage everyday people in the work of promoting social and economic justice.

 

 

 

Cynthia Mellon

Environmental Justice Committee Chair

Cynthia is an Environmental Advocate. She worked as an Environmental Justice Organizer for the Ironbound Community Corporation where she worked on issues at Port Newark. She received an M.A. in Sociology from the International Institute in Sociology of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies.

 

Daniel Ulloa

Displaying D Ulloa.jpg

Dan Ulloa is a Journalist covering Hudson County politics for Hudson County View and New Jersey Cannabis for headynj.com. In 2021 he was named the 82nd most influential person in New Jersey Cannabis by InsiderNJ.com. He represented the Latino Action Network on the ACLU-led NJ United for Marijuana Reform (NJUMR) pro-cannabis coalition.

 

 

 

 

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  • Lan Editor
    published this page 2023-01-04 17:27:57 -0500
  • Lan Editor
    published this page 2022-02-06 23:28:35 -0500
  • Lan Editor
    published this page 2021-11-10 17:55:37 -0500