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.
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 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.
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 PhD at UC-Berkeley.
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.
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 improve 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.
Muslim Latino Coordinator
Jessica Bravo has joined the OCCORD team as a Muslim Latino Program Coordinator. Her work involves: forging new and strengthening existing relationship between the Muslim and Latino communities; developing cross-cultural training programs, and recruiting & training young leaders. Jessica believes in resilience, especially in adverse times. She continues to pursue higher education and aspires to continually grow her leadership skills. She enjoys nature and loves bees.
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.