As an educator, writer, and community activist for the past thirty years, Maria Elena Yepes has dedicated her professional career to providing higher educational opportunities for the most underserved populations in Los Angeles. As Director of the Learning Assistance Center and a faculty member at East Los Angeles College, she has created several special academic programs and a strong Learning Assistance Center to foster the educational aspirations of thousands of students, many of whom have returned to their respective communities to contribute as teachers, engineers, doctors, union leaders, and attorneys.
Al Foster has seen the broadcast, film and music industry change as an insider for the past four decades. CEO of Kamal Production, an offshoot of Bedford-Purdie-Foster. Of Carl Bedford, and Bernard Purdie, Kamal Production client’s include American based Advertising Agency for the African Television Authority. His background in music videos, documentaries, motion picture and commercials stems from over a decades work in post production at NBC, CBS, MGM and Columba Pictures. Al was Director of Archive at MGM, where he mentored many young producers. Al currently sits as President, Hollywood Black Chamber of Commerce as well as a board member of Plaza Community Services where he oversees a multimillion dollar budget. He is also the Director of International In-flight Film Reclaim and project partner in Electric Shadow Company Inc.
Richard Montoya is a Chicano actor, director, producer, screenwriter, playwright, comedian, and co-founding member of the San Francisco based performance troupe Culture Clash. His work in theater is largely comedy-based and centers around ideas of racism, immigration, discrimination, and identity in Latin-American communities.
He follows in the steps of his father, famous activist José Montoya, and is known for creating social and political change through a variety of artistic expression
Carlos E. Vasquez
Board Vice President
As a Broker Associate for a minority owned Real Estate and Mortgage Company we have served communities for over 15 years focusing on high quality service and hard work. As partner to the new Los Angeles Office located in the Boyle Heights area, our office specializes in working with non-profit developers, low to moderate income families, first time home buyers and responsible investors. Our office slogan is “De La Communida Para La Communida,” which translates to “From The Community For The Community.”
Reyna Avina Hernandez
Professor Reyna Avina Hernandez joined the Los Angeles Community College District at East Los Angeles College as a Professor of Child Development in the Fall 2015. Professor Hernandez was also appointed the role of coordinator for many Student Services Equity initiatives at East Los Angeles College, as well as programs that support and advocate for equitable access for all students. Ms. Hernandez has utilized her extensive networking skills to advance, support, educate, and advocate for many marginalized groups. She has led nation-wide projects for Girls Incorporated, and continues to expand services through lectures and outreach efforts.
Ms. Hernandez received her Masters Degree in Education in Leadership and Administration from the University of Southern California in the Fall of 2015. As well as her Bachelors of Science degree in Child Development and Early Childhood Studies from the University of La Verne in the Spring of 2013.
Cyndy Fujikawa has worked as a film, television and theater professional for the past 35 years. She has worked throughout the country and Europe as a finance manager, production accountant, production controller and producer on feature films, TV shows, pilots and documentaries. In theater, Cyndy has performed, written and directed with East West Players, San Jose Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle), Sacramento Theatre Co, Mabou Mines, New York Theatre Workshop, New Victory Theater (NYC), and Cornerstone Theatre Co. In the 1980’s she co-founded the award-winning Encore Theatre Company in San Francisco, and produced/collaborated on its first five seasons.
Araceli M Lerma
Araceli M. Lerma graduated from Occidental College in 1995 with degrees in English and Spanish literature and from UC Berkeley School of Law in 1999. Between college and law school, Ms. Lerma returned to her alma mater, Garfield High School, to teach. Ms. Lerma is past president of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association and a past board member of Community Lawyers, Inc. She previously worked for private law firms and is currently in solo practice in Norwalk, with a focus on family law and general civil matters. She has been a sole practitioner since 2006.
Ms. Lerma grew up in East Los Angeles and presently resides there. For the past two years, she has served as vice-chair of the school site council for her son's elementary school.