2020-2021 Chavista Congress
Elected by their peers, the Chavista Congress is made up of five Chavistas to lead the project priorities selected by Club members
After studying 8 years in Mexico, Yasmin traveled to the United States as an English Learner and is currently taking honors and AP classes at Crawford and aspires to become a lawyer with a specialization in immigration. She has fueled this dream by becoming President of the Leaders of Law at Crawford as well as serving the role of Expert Witness in the Mock Trial organization. In addition to her excellence, Yasmin is a multisport athlete who will be the Captain of her Cross Country team and the Track team. As the first elected President of the Chavista Congress, Yasmin is ready to help the Congress become a strong voice for youth in the community.
Jennifer has served as an Officer for the Chavez Clubs and played a big role in community organizing efforts. Her experience as a member of the Social Justice Academy has helped her understand the importance of mental health and she is currently serving on the Health and Wellness Committee at Hoover. Additionally, Jennifer has been involved in the ROTC since freshman year and this summer is training in Iowa to serve as a member of the National Guard. As the Congress Vice President, Jennifer will use problem-solving, good communication, and her heart to help her fellow Congress members reach their full potential.
Joel has been a part of the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs since 4th grade. He is great at leading by example serving as the President of his class cabinet at Hoover, Secretary of the Hoover Robotics team, and a member of both Hoover’s Cross Country and Track team. Outside of school, Joel is a member of the Aaron Price Fellows Program, which helps develop and engage diverse students in San Diego. In the future, Joel aspires to be a graphic designer or software development engineer. For now, he takes his responsibility as Secretary very seriously and will be attending every meeting to take notes and ensure that Congress memes stay on task.
A student at Edison Elementary School, Brian has been in the Chavez Clubs for 3 years and has continuously shown leadership since his first year as a Chavista. Brian has always been a student who loves to interact with others and loves to help and have fun with his fellow classmates. This year Brian has not only been an active and a more vocal member of the Chavista Club, but he has also become a member of his elementary school’s student council as Treasurer.
A student at Edison Elementary School, Martin has been a Chavista for a year and has been an absolute great role model. Since day one, he has been a vocal member of the Clubs and is never afraid to offer suggestions on activities and ideas. Although Martin gets really shy when it comes to speaking in front of an audience, he decided to run for Historian with the support of his friends. Martin has now attended every Chavista Congress meeting and has been part of the project committee who took action by speaking to the San Diego City Council on the ballot measure in early March. The ballot measure passed 4 to 1.
Mentors, leaders and social justice advocates committed to guiding our Chavistas through their educational journeys
Richard draws on 25 years of community organizing experience before he came on board as a director of the Chavez Service Clubs. His years of personal experience working in the community-led him to be elected to the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education. Richard represents a large core of San Diego’s inner-city schools where he has gained a hard-earned reputation working closely with parents, teachers and administrators. Richard’s impeccable reputation has earned him much praise from labor groups and the private sector. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in American History from UCSD and a Masters Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.
Left to Right: Paty Arvizu, Richard Barrera, Andrew Sanchez, Linda LeGerrette, Carlos LeGerrette, Natalie LeGerrette, Jonathan Burgos, Ariana Gallegos
From operations to mentorship and overall guidance, the Chavez Clubs staff does it all! Our staff is fully committed to helping build the leadership of our Chavistas and help establish curriculums that enhance their educational journeys.
Committed community leaders with a passion for education, equity and social justice
Ken Seaton-Msemaji has served as founder, president, and Chief Executive Officer of the United Domestic Workers of America (UDW). UDW is the first known successful domestic workers union in the United States, and only the third enduring union in American Labor History to be founded, built and directed by African-Americans or Latinos. He holds over 45 years of community service beginning in the 1960's during the civil rights movement and credits his organizational successes to the early support and close relationship between Cesar Chavez and the UDW. The legacy of Cesar Chavez was always in the forefront of the UDW’s activities and today provides union representation opportunities to over 200,000 California home care workers.
Board Vice President
Ann M. Smith She is an attorney in San Diego whose years of service to the United Farm Workers (UFW) in the 1970s and ‘80s, together with her continued commitment to working people in the practice of law since then, make her well-qualified to help the Clubs fulfill their mission. When Governor Brown signed the Agricultural Labor Relations Act into law in 1975, Smith came to California to help the UFW put this law into action to improve the wages and working conditions for California’s farmworkers.
After graduating cum laude from the Monterey College of Law in 1985, Smith passed the bar the same year and has been practicing law with the same firm ever since. In keeping with her UFW roots, for the past 30 years, Smith has specialized in employment litigation on behalf of employees and has also successfully litigated serious personal injury cases, including cases involving medical malpractice and product defects.
Sam M. Duran served as the founding Chief Executive Officer of Urban Corps of San Diego County. Through Sam's guidance, he developed the Urban Corps into a multi-million dollar organization that has empowered the lives of more than 5,000 at-risk youth. Now retired, Sam still dedicates himself to serving thousands of area youth through leadership and development programs. The Urban Corps has always been a partner to the Chavez Service Clubs, originally as the Club’s fiscal sponsor. Both organizations have worked very closely together in a number of community service projects.
Cecilia Estrada has recognized the lack of resources and incredible abilities of children attending poor, inner city elementary schools in San Diego. A highly esteemed former teacher and retired principal, Cecilia has always valued a strong parent participation in their children’s education. Under her guiding hand, Sheila provides tremendous insight regarding curriculum development and the practical use of k-12 service-learning models. As a principal or a teacher, Cecilia’s legacy in teaching continues. She continues in her quest of organizing parents through her work with the Price Philanthropies.
Bernie Rhinerson has a passion for public education and public service. He currently serves as an elected Trustee on the San Diego Community College District and is the former Chief of Staff at the San Diego Unified School District. He is also a Board Member of the Association of Community College Trustees, the national organization representing community college governing boards. During his 30+ year career as a marketing communications professional, Bernie represented numerous local government and corporate clients with marketing and public affairs programs. He has been active in the community having served on numerous boards including service as the former Chair of the San Diego County Water Authority and Past President of the San Diego State Alumni Association.
Beth Kransberger is a lawyer by training and has spent more than twenty years in higher education and legal education as a college vice president, law school dean, consultant and educational activist. Her civic and public policy work focuses on issues of race, gender and access to education. She currently serves in the President’s Office at National University, where she works collaboratively with local schools, districts and community groups to increase the number of historically underrepresented groups entering the teaching profession. Beth also consults for foundations, non-profits, law schools and educational institutions on change management, capacity building and equity and inclusion matters. She is a national speaker on issues of race, gender, LGBTQIA topics, race conscious remedies, educational equity and access to education. Locally, Beth is a member of the City of San Diego’s Citizens Equal Opportunity Commission, is a board member of Teach for America San Diego and a member of the San Diego Continuing Education Foundation Advisory Board.
Carlos Cota is an International Representative and Trustee for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) with over 25 years of community organizing related to both the Labor and Entertainment Communities. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Convention Center Corporation. Following his time working in the field as a Stagehand he served 13 years as Business Manager for IATSE Local 122 where his focus was expanding employment and educational opportunities in every community throughout the local jurisdiction. He was also responsible for establishing the organizations Training & Education Trust Fund. And has served as an Executive Board Member for the IATSE District 2, covering California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii, Executive Board Member for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. And 8 years as an Advisory Board Member for the College, Career, & Technical Education (CCTE) program for the San Diego Unified School District.
Dr. Carmen Garcia
Dr. Carmen García is currently Superintendent of the San Marcos Unified School District and she has a long attachment to San Diego schools through her experience as an administrator with in the San Diego Unifed School District. She was born in Tepatitlán, Jalisco, México and grew up in Escondido where she took advantage of its K-12 schools. Subsequently, she attended the University of San Diego where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Spanish. With motivation to teach, she received a Master’s Degree in Education and a teaching credential and went on to receive her Doctorate from the University of Southern California. Dr. García’s twenty-three-year career has allowed her to observe the educational sphere from the perspective of a Teacher, Researcher, Assistant to Superintendent and Superintendent. She is indebted to her public school education and aims to continue to pay it forward in order to make a difference in the lives of ALL students so, they too, can reach their highest potential.
Carlos & Linda LeGerrette
Lives Dedicated to Service
Carlos and Linda LeGerrette are two totally independent freedom rights workers who are known to be “joined” at the hip. Married and involved in the struggle of justice since the 60’s, Carlos and Linda are blessed to have been dealt a life full of opportunities of serving others.
Since the founding of the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs in 2000, Carlos has served as our Executive Director. Carlos’ path was filled with organizing successes including founding member of student organization MECHa, Educational Opportunities Program Director at San Diego State University, Special Assistant to Governor Jerry Brown, Board Member of the Southeast Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), Director of San Diego Convention Center Corporation, Operations Director of Urban Corps of San Diego and the local AFL-CIO's Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program which is now implemented nationally.
Carlos retired from Cesar Chavez Service Clubs in June 2016 to focus on managing his collection of more than 3,000 photographs of Cesar Chavez and the farmworker movement. Linda assumed the responsibilities Executive Director as of July 1. 2016.
Linda has blazed many trails serving on diverse boards such as the San Diego City Civil Service Commission, San Diego Transit Board, AYH (American Youth Hostels), MEND (Mother’s Embracing Nuclear Disarmament), Mid-City Health Services Foundation and Adult Protective Services. For six years, Linda dedicated her life to the United Domestic Workers' campaign struggle of bringing home health care workers collective bargaining rights, and respect. Cesar Chavez had two dreams, a union for farmworkers and a union for domestic workers. The United Domestic Workers Union is one of three national unions in labor history founded, organized and directed by people of color.
Linda and Carlos’ Some of their dual achievements include confidants and organizers for the late United Farm Workers President, Cesar E. Chavez, pioneers and developers of the Price Club’s (now Costco) multi-million dollar business delivery program, Field Office Director and Coordinators of San Diego City School’s successful Proposition MM $1.5 billion dollar school construction bond, and numerous other political and neighborhood campaigns.
As the founding architects of the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs, an organization dedicated to teaching our youth to believe in themselves and to know that they can make a difference, you’ll find Linda and Carlos teaching the values, leadership and organizational skills necessary for participation in a democratic society. Today, because of their hard work, leadership and direction, the Chavez Service Clubs is the fastest growing youth leadership club in San Diego.