Administrative Assistant and Operations Coordinator
Abigail Espinosa is OCCORD's operations coordinator. 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 becoming 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.
Andrew Hausermann was born in Vermont and has lived in Southern California on and off for the last 10 years. He was introduced to community organizing as a volunteer member of Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA) in Worcester, MA where they fought to create opportunities for returning citizens. Andrew has previously worked as a faith-based community organizer with PICO affiliates in Orange County and then in Queens, NY. With more than 12 years experience in community, electoral, issue & faith-based organizing, Andrew is passionate about community leadership in fighting for a more equitable Orange County.
Andrés Felipe Rivera
Lead Organizer, Citizenship Program
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 organizations 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.
Associate Director, Research & Policy
Clara joined OCCORD in 2012. She oversees the policy and research program and also manages the organization’s foundation grants. Prior to OCCORD, she worked in nonprofit housing and economic development in Northern California. She has a Masters of City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is pursuing a Ph.D. at UC-Berkeley.
As a community organizer at OCCORD, my passion lies in helping people become responsible residents within their community in the city of Anaheim. Helping people become informed and civically responsible has been part of my life since I lived in my hometown of Tepic, Nayarit, helping presidential campaigns and other volunteer work in local government in 1996. This experience taught me that people can bring about great change within their local government by getting involved via volunteer work. Years later, when I immigrated to the United States, I began working as a banquet server at the Disneyland Hotel (DLH). After years of working as a banquet server and growing tired of the injustices I would see in my workplace, I became involved with DLH’s labor union, Unite HERE! Local 11 and started volunteering as a committee member. Eventually, I joined Unite HERE! as an organizer and collected 6 years experience. Now, I am currently a community organizer for the non-profit organization OCCORD, where I have worked for the last 6 years. I have been lucky to use my years of experience and my relocation to Anaheim in 2013 to help my fellow residents improve their quality of living in their own hometown. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, traveling, and making new friends.
As Research and Policy Analyst, Karen assists with research and policy development to support OCCORD's projects and organizing efforts. Grounded in the belief of advancing social justice, Karen joins OCCORD committed to improving the overall quality of life for local residents. Prior to joining OCCORD, Karen researched environmental policy for The Greenlining Institute as a summer associate. She received her bachelor's in Urban and Environmental Policy from Occidental College and was born and raised in Anaheim, California.
Minerva Siguenza Gomez recently joined OCCORD as a Senior Organizer and CAL DOJ Partially Accredited Representative. Her focus will be to enhance OCCORD's work in the city of Anaheim. Minerva was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos Mexico and is the mother of precious 2-year-old Samantha. Her journey in organizing began in 2001 when she joined a student movement organization at Santa Ana College. She is the co-founder of the Orange County DREAM Team Coalition that was established as one of the first undocumented youth-led movements in 2004. Additionally, she has a wealth of experience in organizing across interfaith, community and labor unions. Lastly, Ms. Gomez holds a Masters Degree in Applied Social Research and 2 Bachelors Degrees from the University of California at Long Beach.
My Nguyen was born in Vietnam and grew up in Kansas City. His mission is to build strong communities and to continue the work of sustainable advocacy by empowering marginalized communities. He began organizing in 2011 after his attendance to Youth Leadership Institute where he learned about institutionalized oppression and social issues. Understanding the power of advocacy and after hearing the stories of his inspirational undocumented friends, he began advocating for Undocumented Students with KSMODA (Kansas Missouri Dream Alliance) for In-state tuition within Missouri. As a homeless teen himself, he became a proponent of homeless youth while holding a Missouri Ambassador position in Youth Service of America. Today, he serves as the Citizenship Volunteer Coordinator at OCCORD continuing his advocacy within the immigrant community providing Free Naturalization services in the hope of OCCORD's mission of expanding our electorate.
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.