Our Staff

ABBY_pic.jpgAbigail Espinosa
Administrative Assistant and Operations Coordinator

Abigail Espinosa is OCCORD's operations person. She joined our team in November 2015. Her role at OCCORD is to make sure all administrative tasks are fulfilled, provide budget reports for our funders and perform other office logistics. Prior to become an OCCORDista, Abigail was attending vocational schooling to become a Registered Nurse. She received her CNA Long Term and Acute CNA license from the State of California. She grew up having a strong dedication to helping others and making a positive impact in the world during her lifetime. Abigail enjoys playing outdoor volleyball, reading, and going to concerts.


Andresselfie.jpgAndrés Felipe Rivera
Citizenship Program Coordinator

Andrés organizes and oversees our citizenship program. Andrés was born in Medellín, Colombia, and at the age of 6 he and his mother immigrated to Santa Ana. Andrés obtained a BA in Latin American Studies from the University of California, San Diego.  With a passion for helping people, Andrés volunteered in various organization assisting immigrant communities.  In August of 2012 Andrés joined OCCORD as the Citizenship Program Coordinator.  He now organizes immigration fairs which provide assistance to immigrants in preparation and completion of their citizenship and DACA applications.  Andrés lives in Anaheim with his partner Perla and son Ezequiel, and he enjoys playing fútbol, traveling, collecting artwork, and spending time with his family.


ClaraSelfie.jpgClara Turner
Research and Policy Analyst

Clara provides economic and political data to support OCCORD’s projects and organizing, and also manages OCCORD's foundation grants. Prior to joining OCCORD, Clara worked in land use planning and housing with public and nonprofit organizations in Northern California. She has a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. 



IselaSelfie.jpgIsela Lopez
Community Organizer

As OCCORD’s Community Organizer, Isela provides grassroots organizing skills to support OCCORD’s projects. She works closely with neighborhood unions in Anaheim, helping the community to become civically engaged and to fight to address local issues. Prior to joining OCCORD, Isela worked with hotel workers organizing with nonprofit organizations in Anaheim. Isela has lived in Anaheim since January 2014 and in her spare time she enjoys listening to music.



Mario.jpgOmar Perez
Citizenship Organizer

Omar Pérez is part of the Citizenship Program team. He joined our team in January 2017. His role is to assist the Citizenship Program Coordinator coordinate and organize Citizenship Fairs, to ensure our Orange County Communities are active in the democratic process and to support the organizing efforts of our Anaheim and Santa Ana Campaigns. Education about Naturalization is one of his top priorities. Before joining OCCORD as a staff member, Omar has been a stellar volunteer in our Citizenship Committee helping out at many Citizenship Fairs and other events while being a School Community Liaison for the Garden Grove Unified School District and pursuing a degree on Digital Media through Santa Ana College. He grew up fostering a vocation of service, learning and rapport. Omar is dedicated on making a meaningful impact in the life of those who he meets. Reading, mentoring, and self-teaching are just a few things Omar enjoys doing.  


Joese_1.jpgJoesé Hernandez
Community Organizer

As OCCORD’s Communications and Operations coordinator, Joesé is in charge of administering and doing outreach through OCCORD’S social media, email blasts, and our website. He works to promote the great work that is being done through our neighborhood unions, citizenship fairs, and coalition work as well as the organizing of our data and office logistics.

Prior to joining OCCORD, Joesé participated in several of canvasses tied to our GOTV efforts and educating the community on different health, civic, and community resources that are available through OCCORD and its allies. Joesé lives in Anaheim and enjoys volunteering for causes he believes in, playing basketball and tennis, organizing cultural events, MCing, and hosting a community radio show.


Ines.jpgInes GiraldoCitizenship Organizer

Inés V. Giraldo is part of the Citizenship Program Team.  She is responsible for working with the volunteers that help out at the office and at the fairs. Her roles also include organizing and coordinating Citizenship Fairs and outreaching to the community.  Before joining the team, Inés was an active advocate for youth at risk, Parent Partner, and School Community Liaison. 

In 2014, after being assisted by OCCORD with her Citizenship process, she became a dedicated volunteer.  She earned her BS degree, in Human Services from the California State University, Fullerton. She is originally from Perú, and enjoys visiting museums, new ethnic restaurants with her family and getting to learn more about other cultures.  



staff_pic_shkeel_1.jpgShakeel Syed
Executive Director

 Syed’s advocacy and activism is rooted in the principle that every person deserves respect and equal opportunity and that change does not come from top-down, but rather bottom-up. One of his core value is to work together in alliances and coalitions for the common and the greater good.

Syed knows OCCORD and Orange County well. During his tenure as Chairman of the Board of Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, Syed has been steadfast in advocating for a just and fair economy for working families. Syed did not hesitate to challenge powerful corporations when they compromised the rights of workers. He has marched, fasted and put himself at risk of arrest as an expression of his conscience and his belief in fairness and respect for workers. 

Syed serves the boards of American Civil Liberties Union (Southern California), Public Law Center and Death Penalty Focus to protect and defend the civil rights and human rights of all and to abolish the death penalty in our nation.

Syed comes to OCCORD after serving as the Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, where he organized, empowered and mobilized communities for more than a decade. He led the Council to become a leading voice on issues of xenophobia against immigrants and participated in a walking pilgrimage of Dreamers from Sacramento to Bakersfield.

Syed continues to live as a student for life and he is married and has four adult children.