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César Lara

Policy & communications director

Mr. Lara is executive director of the Monterey Bay Central Coast Labor Council, the local body of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), representing 65 unions and more than 35,000 union members and their families.  He is the lead on BHCs ACA/Health4ALL campaign.  Cesar grew up in Salinas and in middle school moved to Greenfield, a small town just North of Salinas and graduated from Chico State University with a degree in International Relations.






Rubi Galarza

Health Equity Organizer

Ms. Galarza grew up in East Salinas, graduated from Everett Alvarez High School, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Galarza’s passion for youth and community engagement has led her to coordinate the Ciclovía Salinas Internship Program and the Youth Voice Movement. Ms. Galarza's passion for addressing health injustices and for ensuring that our undocumented community has access to affordable, quality healthcare has motivated her to serve as the Health Equity Organizer for East Salinas Building Healthy Communities. She currently leads the Health4All resident committee, which focuses on building resident power to be change agents and to increase access to affordable healthcare for community residents in Monterey County, regardless of their immigration status.




Jesús Valenzuela

Communications Coordinator

Mr. Valenzuela is the Health Equity Organizer for Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (MBCLC) along with working as the Communications Coordinator for BHC East Salinas. He is an active leader on both the BHC Health4All and immigration campaigns.  Prior to working with the MBCLC he was an organizer with the United Farm Worker Foundation, leading outreach and enrollment efforts for the Affordable Care Act.   He is a resident of Salinas and graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Sociology and Communications.





Larry Imwalle

Executive Director, Action Council


Mr. Imwalle is the Executive Director of ACTION Council, a nonprofit organization that serves as a social equity incubator for emerging projects and change-makers in the Monterey Bay region.  Mr. Imwalle joined the ACTION Council in 2004 as the Research & Evaluation program director, and became Executive Director in 2007. Prior to joining the ACTION Council he worked in a variety of academic, institutional, and community research positions. A native of the Salinas Valley, he graduated from Salinas High School and earned a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA.  He received his MA in Political Science/International Relations from the University of Arizona, and advanced to Ph.D. candidacy (ABD) before moving back to Salinas.  



Andrea Manzo

BHC Hub Manager
Ms. Manzo is Hub Manager for the East Salinas Building Healthy Communities. She leads the BHC GRE Action Team, which focuses on implementing racial equity policies and practices within local government. Her role is to support the BHC initiative including its grantees by forging relationships with the community and government ensuring meaningful collaborations. She is an advocate for authentic community engagement and is passionate in supporting young people to be agents of change in their community. As the daughter of immigrant parents she is deeply rooted in her culture. She grew up in Salinas went to Everett Alvarez High School and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chicana/o Studies and French Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2015 she was honored as one of the Women of the Year by the Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women commending her work with youth on the only nationally youth-led open streets event, Ciclovía Salinas.



Laura Tinajero

Healing Informed Practices Coordinator

Laura Tinajero was born and raised in Salinas. She has been actively involved in her community by helping youth make positive changes
in their lives through organizationa and programs such as 2nd Chance, La Cultura Cura Network, National Compadres Network, and the Building Healthy Communities Initiative. She is a founding member of the National Comadres Network and is currently the Healing Informed Practices Coordinator with East Salinas Building Healthy Communities. Ms. Tinajero has been facilitating Joven Noble and Xinachtli leadership groups since 2010 and is a planning-team member and mentor to young women through The California Endowment's statewide Sisterhood Rising Leadership Retreat. She continues to provide guidance and support to youth and adults utilizing the La Cultura Cura philosophy. Ms. Tinajero is currently working towards her Bachelor of Arts at the California State University Monterey Bay in Social and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Sociology and a minor in Social Work. She continues to be a positive role model in her community by bringing healing and understanding to all her relations



Alma Cervantes

Education equity coordinator

Ms. Cervantes was born in East Salinas where she was raised by her single mother. She is the first of her nine siblings to attain a higher education. Ms. Cervantes is a graduate of Cal State Monterey Bay with a Bachelor's of Arts in World Languages and Culture and a Master's degree in Mexican-American Studies with an emphasis on Policy and Education at San José University. Her passion for education and her belief in authentically engaging residents to use their voice and power to transform their community stems from her personal experience and involvement in various institutions. Ms. Cervantes is specifically interested in the intersection of race, gender, class and youth power. She is a facilitator for Xinactli (a woman's rite of passage program), and a mentor for the California Endowment's statewide Sisterhood Rising Leadership Retreat. She is currently the lead for the Education Equity Action Team for BHC East Salinas.  



Alejandra Silva

Youth Equity Coordinator

Ms.a Silva comes from mixed ethnic backgrounds, and takes pride in all of her identities. She grew up in Salinas, California and attended the University of California, Santa Cruz for Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies & Biology. Her passion for community work was cultivated throughout her lifetime, having been able to see the hard work and dedication that her father, Dr. Silva, displayed for his patients. After undergrad, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in the Natural Resource Management sector in the Philippines. Currently Ms. Silva is BHC’s Youth Equity Coordinator and Ciclovía Salinas Coordinator. She joined the team in August 2016. Her vision for Salinas youth is that one day they will have an authentic influence on system-wide decisions that impact their quality of life and ability to reach success. 

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Lauren Padilla-Valverde

Program Manager, The California Endowment

Lauren Padilla-Valverde joined The California Endowment in October 2009 as Program Manager for East Salinas (Alisal). Prior to joining The Endowment, Padilla-Valverde was director, Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies/Master of Public Health Program at Touro University’s College of Health Sciences in Vallejo, California. Padilla-Valverde’s experience includes Senior Health Sciences Analyst, Health Affairs and Program Coordinator, California-Mexico Health Initiative, both at University of California, Office of the President. Padilla-Valverde is a clinician for Planned Parenthood Shasta Diablo’s Vallejo and Richmond clinics and served as a bilingual health educator for Salud Para La Gente Clinic in Watsonville, California. Padilla-Valverde’s commitment to community is exemplified by her service as a National Health Service Corp Ambassador for the HRSA Bureau of Health Professions, among other boards.