Presented by Building Conexiones

UCR Alumni Panelists

Martha Escobar

Class of 2003 - BA in Chicano Studies and Liberal Studies

Martha D. Escobar is Professor in the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She received her doctoral degree in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, San Diego and bachelor's in Chicano Studies and Liberal Studies from UC Riverside. Escobar is the author of Captivity Beyond Prisons: Criminalization Experiences of Latina (Im)migrants (University of Texas Press, 2016).

Diana Flores

Class of 2007 - BA Major in History (US/Latin America) & Ethnic Studies. Minor in Women's Studies

As Director of Organizing Programs, Diana Flores oversees the Workers Rights Program, the Mission SRO Collaborative, SF Immigrant Legal and Education Network, and the SF Rapid Response Network. Diana is a proud Oaxaqueña and the second born to a costeña. Transplanted from the city of Angels to the Bay Area, she is a seasoned organizer, curator, and advocate with more than 15 years of base building and program development experience. Trained by gentle giants and rooted in transformative justice, she is guided by the spirit of strategic interventions and proactive intentions. Prior to her joining DSCS, she served as the San Francisco Housing Rights-Based Services Lead Organizer with Causa Justa::Just Cause. She is a graduate of the Labor/Community Strategy Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing.

Juan Cabral

BA in Political Science – Class of 1995

I graduated from UCR (UER, MEChistA Por Vida) in 1995 and immediately started working in the Val Verde USD in Perris. In Val Verde, I have served as a Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Director and currently I am the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. My wife, Veronica, also graduated from UCR in 1996 and is in her 24th year teaching high school. We have two kids, our daughter, Tonantzin, who is 24 and a graduate of UC Irvine (‘17) and our son, Amilcar, who is 22 and in his fourth year at CSU Fullerton. UCR was the best experience of my life and taught me how important it is to serve our community.

Victor Manuel Perez

Victor Manuel Perez was appointed by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. on May 9, 2017 to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, representing the County’s Fourth District, and was subsequently elected to a four-year term in June 2018. The Fourth Supervisorial District covers the eastern two-thirds of Riverside County, stretching from Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, south to the Salton Sea and east to Blythe and the Colorado River.

Born and raised in the Coachella Valley, the son of immigrant farmworkers, Manuel attended local public schools and graduated from the University of California, Riverside. He taught at a local middle school, and went on to earn a Master of Education degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University.

He worked as a youth advocate and director of community health and advocacy for Santa Rosa Del Valle-Borrego Health, at Centro Medico Coachella and Centro Medico Oasis. From 2004 to 2008, he served on the Coachella Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees, where he led the passage of a $250 million bond to construct and renovate schools in the eastern Coachella Valley.

In 2008, Manuel was elected to the California State Assembly, representing eastern Riverside County and Imperial County. Entering office during the great recession, he worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Governor’s Office to bring forth fiscal accountability, health care reform, renewable energy growth and job creation legislation.

A champion for eastern Riverside County, Manuel had more than 60 pieces of legislation signed into law to help create jobs, jumpstart the local renewable energy industry and make neighborhoods safer. His legislation focused on jobs, economic development, small business, education, health care access, infrastructure, renewable energy, transportation, air quality, environment, public safety, parks, technology, agriculture, water and the Salton Sea.

In the Assembly, Manuel became majority leader and worked closely with the Assembly Speaker on the day-to-day functions of the statehouse. He served as the chairman of the Jobs and Economic Development Committee, founding Vice Chair of the Select Committee for the Status of Boys and Men of Color as well as Chair of Stimulus, Economic Recovery and Jobs (SERJ).

After serving three terms in the State Assembly, Manuel continued his public service with election to the Coachella City Council. Prior to his appointment to county supervisor, he was Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer for Borrego Health, a federally qualified health center serving the under-served in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Manuel resides in his native city of Coachella with Gladis, his wife of 23 years. They have two sons, Ruben, who graduated from UC Davis and Alejandro, from UC Santa Barbara.

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