Faces of justice: Meet 10 Latinx activists fighting for equity in Nevada

Faces Of Justice: Meet 10 Latinx Activists Fighting For Equity In Nevada

Photo courtesy via Instagram.

By Aleza Freeman

May 6, 2024

While the Latinx community’s history of activism dates back to Colonial times, the modern-day fight for Latino civil rights picked up steam alongside other civil rights movements of the 1900s.

It’s a fight that continues today as the Hispanic population continues to face social, legal, and economic obstacles in the U.S. despite being the country’s largest minority group.

A common issue for activists in Nevada is voter engagement; the plight to ensure that every eligible Latino in the state registers to vote and casts a ballot.

These voting activists are sometimes Dreamers or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) participants who can’t vote themselves but understand the need to reach those who can. While the Latinx community makes up nearly 30% of the state’s population, it only accounts for about one of every five registered voters, according to the NALEO Education Fund’s 2024 Latino Voter Profile.

Other high-profile issues on the radar of Latinx activists and advocates in the Silver State include immigrant rights, environmental justice, food insecurity, and sharing Latin culture.

From local students to an international YouTube sensation, the 10 dedicated Latinas and Latinos are making a difference in Nevada.

Israel “Izzy” Hernández

Recognized as an Emerging Leader of Nevada, Israel Hernández is a a grassroots activist and public relations specialist for ACLU of Nevada. He’s a leader, speaker, and mentor for at-risk youth, who is particularly passionate about uplifting marginalized groups across the Las Vegas valley.

Hernandez takes part in protests for social justice reform and collaborates on projects that bring resources to underserved neighborhoods. He’s also an advocate for mental health, spiritual enlightenment, and personal growth.

Follow him on Instagram: @thedivineizzy.

Faces Of Justice: Meet 10 Latinx Activists Fighting For Equity In Nevada

Erika Castro

A longtime Las Vegas resident and University of Nevada Las Vegas graduate, Erika Castro is the organizing director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN).

An undocumented “Chilanga”, she aims to elevate the voices of local Latinos, many of whom are struggling due to the high cost of living or are undocumented themselves. Though she can’t vote, she urges Hispanic citizens to support progressive candidates and causes, telling NBC News in March that the Democratic Party shouldn’t take Latino voters for granted.

Follow her on X: @EriCastro07.

Faces Of Justice: Meet 10 Latinx Activists Fighting For Equity In Nevada

Photo courtesy of Battle Born Progress via X.

Rico Ocampo

A Dreamer and grassroots activist, Las Vegas resident Rico Ocampo writes on LinkedIn that he credits his mom for teaching him the credo “estoy a tu servicio,” or “I am at your service.” Born in Morelos, Mexico, he immigrated to the U.S. as a child and has dedicated his life to “the pursuit of justice and the uplifting of those in need” through advocacy and coalition-building.

As the Organizing Director for Make the Road Nevada, he advocates for immigrant rights and youth of color and helped expand the nonprofit to Reno in 2023.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Faces Of Justice: Meet 10 Latinx Activists Fighting For Equity In Nevada

Photo courtesy of Make The Road Nevada.

Katherine Lorenzo

A Las Vegas resident of Afo-Latinidad heritage and a climate activist, Katherine Lorenzo fights for a healthier environment as program manager for the Energy Foundation, where she oversees the region’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

She strives to give a voice to the Latino community in Nevada and fights for low-income and marginalized communities through organizations like Chispa NV, Mi Familia Vota, and Organizing for Action.

Follow her on X: @Kati_Amarlin.

Faces Of Justice: Meet 10 Latinx Activists Fighting For Equity In Nevada

Photo courtesy of Katherine Lorenzo via X.

Jazmín Cortez

Mexican-born Jazmín Cortez is a voting rights activist who moved to Las Vegas from Michoacán as a baby. She’s a Dreamer and Organizing Director at the progressive nonprofit For Our Future Nevada. There, she mobilizes working families in the Silver State through voter engagement and issue advocacy. She previously reached out to the Latinx community as an organizer for Nevada Democratic Victory.

You can find and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Faces Of Justice: Meet 10 Latinx Activists Fighting For Equity In Nevada

Photo courtesy of Jazmin Cortez via X.

Lalo Montoya

A native of Zacatecas, México, Lalo Montoya is a Dreamer and activist in Las Vegas who advocates for education reform, housing equity, and immigrant rights. According to his LinkedIn, he “empowers the undocumented immigrant community in Nevada through people-led campaigns focused on tenant rights, immigrant rights, and worker rights.”

He is currently engaging Nevada latinx community as the Civic Engagement Director at Make the Road Nevada

You can find and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Victoria Flores

Nevada activist Victoria Flores created The Solidarity Fridge, a community food pantry, garden, and library aimed at helping the food insecure in Nevada. The Solidarity Fridge aims to make healthy food more accessible to underserved communities through local projects, and education.

Follow her initiative on Instagram: @thesolidarityfridge.

Faces Of Justice: Meet 10 Latinx Activists Fighting For Equity In Nevada

Photo courtesy of The Solidarity Fridge via Instagram.

Brissa Arana

A cultural advocate, social activist, and licensed social worker with a master’s degree from UNLV, Brissa Yunuem Arana Torres serves as Executive Director of Promotor’s Las Vegas (PLV), a nonprofit ensuring health education and preventive health for the underinsured and underserved.

Born in Jalisco, México, she has helped develop preventative health programs for migrant communities at the U.S. border. She volunteers for nonprofits promoting social justice, mental health awareness, and empowerment of families, as well as those devoted to sharing Mexican traditions and culture.

Follow her on Instagram: @brissaarana.

Faces Of Justice: Meet 10 Latinx Activists Fighting For Equity In Nevada

Photo courtesy of Brissa Yunuem Arana Torres via LinkedIn.

Carolyn Salvador Ávila

International violinist, activist, UNLV student, and future lawyer Carolyn Salvador Ávila is Director of the Chilean American Association, a nonprofit that unites the community by spreading culture. She is also the National President of the College Democrats of America. Avila previously interned for Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in Washington D.C. She represents local Latinx youth as an advisor for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Follow her on Instagram: @carosalvadoravila.

Mariand Castrejón Castañeda (Yuya)

Mariand Castrejón Castañeda (or Yuya) is a Mexican-born beauty vlogger and YouTuber with tens of millions of followers. Though she isn’t from Nevada, she was honored for her dedication to spreading peace with a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars on the Las Vegas Strip in 2018.

Castrejón Castañeda is one of seven female YouTube creators who worked with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Action Campaign in pursuit of gender equality and empowerment for women and girls.

You can follow her on Instagram @yuyacst.

Faces Of Justice: Meet 10 Latinx Activists Fighting For Equity In Nevada

Photo courtesy of Yuya via Instagram.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.Faces of justice: Meet 10 Latinx activists fighting for equity in NevadaFaces of justice: Meet 10 Latinx activists fighting for equity in Nevada

  • Aleza Freeman

    Aleza Freeman is a Las Vegas native and award-winning journalist with two decades of experience writing and editing lifestyle, travel, entertainment, and human interest stories in Nevada. Her work has appeared in AARP magazine, Haute Living and Nevada Magazine.

CATEGORIES: COMMUNITY | LOCAL PEOPLE

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