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. As the Vice President of the board of American Civil Liberties Union (Southern California), Syed works to protect, preserve and defend the civil rights and liberties of every person. As a board member of the Death Penalty Focus, he works 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 holds two masters degrees in the natural sciences and continues to live as a student for life. He is married and has four adult children.
Andrés Felipe Rivera
Citizenship Program Coordinator
As OCCORD’s Citizenship Program Coordinator, Andrés organizes citizenship fairs that provide assistance to immigrant workers in the preparation and completion of their citizenship applications. He works closely with churches, schools, employers, unions, and neighborhood groups to build a strong social and economic movement that encourages residents to participate and improve conditions in their local community by becoming voters. Prior to joining OCCORD, Andrés was a teacher at UCLA’s Early Childcare and Education Center, where he learned that raising children is serious business, especially the diaper-changing! He has a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California, San Diego. Andrés lives in Garden Grove but claims Santa Ana as his hometown, and he enjoys playing soccer and whale watching.
As OCCORD’s Research and Policy Analyst, Clara provides economic and political data to support OCCORD’s projects, and works closely with SACReD in Santa Ana, helping the community navigate local government and planning issues. 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. Clara lives in Costa Mesa and enjoys camping and struggling to learn to play the violin. H
Hugo Ivan Salazar Gonzalez
Salazar Gonzalez is a Policy Analyst at OCCORD. Prior to his position at
OCCORD, he volunteered at the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project in
Dilley, Texas and the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles,
California where helped release refugee families from DHS detention
centers and prepared asylum applications for community members in
deportation proceedings. He also received the State Bar of California
Environmental Law Section Fellowship and clerked at Earthjustice in Los
Angeles, California where he worked on various environmental law issues.
He was also the recipient of the U.S. Department of State Fulbright and
CORO Public Affairs Program Fellowship. He received his JD from Chapman
University School of Law with an emphasis on Land Use and Real Estate
Law, and a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science from UC
Hugo enjoys hanging out with his wife and friends, trying out
new restaurants, reading history books, drawing, and watching football.
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.
Luis D. Vega
Citizenship Program Coordinator
Luis D. Vega is part of the Citizenship Program team. His role is to coordinate and organize Citizenship Fairs. Education about Naturalization is one of his top priorities. He gets empowered by inviting volunteers to practice their civic duty at citizenship fairs and he also enjoys teaching citizenship classes. Before OCCORD, Luis was an intern at UFCW Local 324. He graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with a double major in Chicano & Latino Studies and Political Science. As an undocumented student, he was active in student organizations that work towards social and economic justice. Luis lives in Stanton and enjoys spending his time with his family and visiting new places.
Communications and Operations Coordinator / Coordinador de Comunicaciones
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 being a community radio host.
Marisol Ramirez is a community organizer in Anaheim. She began her involvement with OCCORD in 2008 when she started volunteering as a neighborhood leader in Anaheim. As a volunteer she worked closely with six community organizers. Her involvement grew when she took the position as a board member for OCCORD in 2010, where she served for 3 years. Marisol was part of the Organizing Beyond Barriers program with UNITE HERE Local 11 in Los Angeles, and then officially joined OCCORD staff at the end 2013, bringing her knowledge as a community organizer to the city she was born and raised in. She assisted in the victory of winning district elections in Anaheim in 2014 and is currently strengthening and building power in underrepresented neighborhoods in Anaheim. When Marisol is not organizing communities of Anaheim, she enjoys going to the movies and spending time with her family.