Hernan Carvente-Martinez is the Interim Executive Director of Alianza for Youth Justice, Founder of Healing Ninjas, Inc., Youth Leadership Coach, and Social Entrepreneur.
As the Interim Executive Director, he supports the coalition’s efforts to continue amplifying the visibility and advocacy of Chicanx/Latinx young leaders to transform youth justice systems with long-term solutions rooted in cultura, comunidad, and healing.
At Healing Ninjas, he has worked to create a social enterprise focused on creating access to wellness resources for BIPOC communities. He does this through his podcast, social media platforms, and partnerships with other mental health and wellness leaders.
Mr. Carvente-Martinez has worked with a myriad of industries including juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, corrections, and philanthropy. He is passionate about developing and implementing sustainable community-driven solutions in partnership with youth and families. Most recently, he worked at the Youth First Initiative, where he supported state campaigns that focused on closing youth prisons and reinvesting money into community alternatives. He worked with directly-impacted young people in these campaigns by offering professional development support, coaching, and monetary resources. Mr. Carvente-Martinesz also serves on the boards of Community Connections for Youth, and the Alliance for Youth Organizing. He is also a member of several philanthropic funds that support the leadership of directly impacted communities.
Mr. Carvente-Martinez is a Chicano, formerly incarcerated, dad, brother, and man on a journey of healing.
Julia Ramirez is one of the interns at Alianza for Youth Justice. She is a first generation student who is currently completing the three-year program for the Masters in Social Work (MSW) program at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB).
Julia received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Collaborative Health and Human Services (CHHS) with an interdisciplinary emphasis in Public Administration and Social Work from CSUMB in 2016.
She currently works as a Spanish tutor for Upward Bound (UB), a pre-college readiness program for low-income and first generation high school students, at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC).
Sussan Garcia is a passionate Central American advocate and researcher who sees the digital world as the future of accessible education that centers the teachings of decolonial, queer, Black, Indigenous feminist, system-impacted communities. She was born and raised on Canarsee land, also known as Queens, New York City by two Guatemalan parents.
Sussan is the founder and director of Central American Disruption, where she provides radical education to the Central American diaspora and others around her as she unlearns and relearns regional and diasporic narratives. She graduated from New York University in Abu Dhabi with an Arab Crossroads Studies and Political Science degree in 2020. She is also a UC Berkeley PPIA JSI alumna.
Priscilla Amao is a student parent and current Master of Social Work Student at California State University, Monterey Bay. During her undergraduate journey, Priscilla was engaged in undergraduate research as a research assistant as a Koret Scholar through the University's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROC). As a research assistant, she worked on quantifying a data set to demonstrate a systematic analytic process in Latina/os' Familial, community, and educational experience. The idea was to bring together valuable data proving that students from Latina/os' families bring immense cultural capital to their studies and overall academic success.
However, one of her most meaningful involvements came from joining the campus Family-Friendly Club. During her time with the club was inspired by her fellow student parents and was an active member in fundraising for Family-Friendly study rooms. This project gained local recognition from the media.
Before transferring to CSUMB, Priscilla worked with various nonprofits to support foster youth and higher education. Her goal is to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and to work in a hospital setting with low-income and immigrant populations.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, exercising, reading, hiking, watching movies, and exploring new foods.
Elizabeth Ayala is a proud mother of two beautiful young men. She is enrolled in the Master of Social Work Program at CSUMB on a two-year pathway. Through the MSW program, she is an intern at the Alianza for Youth Justice team, focusing on local communities and the youth justice system to increase equity for Chicanx, Latinx, and Indigenous youth by
decreasing to end the use of incarceration and improving alternatives to
imprisonment with the collaboration of the organization throughout the country.
In addition, Elizabeth is proud to say that she brings many years of experience in community organizing through Barrios Unidos, Santa Cruz. Barrios Unidos is a multi-cultural, non-profit organization in Santa Cruz, California. The primary goal is to provide alternatives and prevent and curtail violence, primarily among Latinx youth in Santa Cruz County.
Jessica Chavez Ornleas is a first-generation Chicana from San Jose, CA, and in the two-year program for Master in Social Work (MSW) program at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Jessica received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Pre-Law from CSUMB in 2022.
She is the program coordinator for the Lawyer Referral Service of Monterey County. Its purpose is to serve Monterey County residents regardless of income to improve the quality and affordability of legal services.
Amanda Hernandez is in the two-year pathway for the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Amanda began her journey to higher education in the fall of 2018 at Monterey Peninsula College. She graduated with high honors with an Associate in Sociology and an Associate in Social and Behavioral Sciences degree in the Spring of 2020. She went on to earn a Bachelor's in Sociology from California State University Chico in Fall 2021.
Amanda works as a behavioral technician for Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, focusing on objective data intake and supporting at-risk students in a classroom setting. She is passionate about becoming a social worker and hopes to play a big role in making lasting changes for at-risk youth in her community and around our country.
Korina McKinley received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Social Work from California State University, Monterey Bay. She is working on her Master of Social Work at CSUMB.
Korina was born and raised in Salinas, California, and transferred to CSUMB from Hartnell College with 2 Associate Degrees in Psychology. She is 26 years young, a mother to 2 wonderful little boys, and a certified personal trainer!
Korina is a proud social justice advocate and aspiring social worker. She loves learning and always tries to build on her current knowledge and experiences.
Alejandra Mejia is a first-generation Chicana from Salinas, CA. In 2022, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Davis. She is in her first year of the two-year program for the Master of Social Work (MSW) at California State University, Monterey Bay.
Alejandra works as a Community Navigator at Special Kids Connect, serving families with loved ones with special needs in Monterey County. She is excited to be interning with Alianza for Youth Justice and make a positive change.