LAN

The Latino Action Network is a grassroots organization composed of individuals and organizations that are committed to engaging in collective action at the local, state and national levels in order to advance the equitable inclusion of the diverse Latino communities in all aspects of United States society.

About


Mission:

The Latino Action Network (LAN) is a grassroots organization composed of individuals and organizations committed to engaging in collective action at the local, state and national levels in order to advance the equitable inclusion of the diverse Latino communities in all aspects of American society.


About LAN


Founded in 2009, LAN advocates on the issues of greatest importance to the Latino community, including Immigrant Rights, Education, Healthcare, Affordable Housing, Criminal Justice Reform, Voting Rights, youth empowerment, environment, community organizing and poverty.

LAN was founded by a group of Latino leaders from across New Jersey that agreed that the time had come for progressive Latinos to come together to take action against the attacks our community was facing.  Since its inception, LAN has played an important role in influencing legislative redistricting in the state and been a clear voice on the need for diversity on the state’s highest court and marriage equality. 

Our members continue to testify at public hearings, write opinion pieces for many publications, and meet with legislators to champion our various causes. We have participated in numerous legal challenges promoting fair housing, equitable health care delivery, desegregation of New Jersey schools, and electoral integrity.  The Latino Action Network has promoted quality public education and spoken out against the proliferation of unaccountable charter schools and voucher gimmicks.

The Latino Action Network invites you to learn more about our organization and to connect with other Latinos and our allies that are working hard every day to improve the lives of Latino families



Leadership:


Christian Estevez - President


Born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, Christian has a strong record of community leadership at the state and local levels. The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Christian understands the struggles of working families trying to provide a better future for their children. Christian earned his Bachelor's degree from Rutgers University where he studied Labor Relations and Latino Studies.  He was an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University where he taught a course on Latino Workers in the United States. His career in the labor movement includes serving as Education and Training Coordinator for the New Jersey AFL-CIO from 2002-2009 and as a Union Representative for Communications Workers of America Local 1037 since 2009 where he currently serves as Executive Vice President.



Javier Robles- Executive Vice President

Javier is a Professor at Rutgers University and a disability advocate.








Cuqui Rivera- Executive Secretary, Endorsements Chair, and Criminal Justice Chair

Cuqui has been a Latina community leader and Criminal Justice Reform Advocate in New Jersey for over 30 years. She is employed by the Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB) as a Records Coordinator & the Latino Action Network Foundation (LANF) as Programs Director.

In addition to her position with LAN, she is Board President of the Anti-Poverty Network, and the Campaign Coordinator for the JUNTOS/TOGETHER Puerto Rico Disaster Relief efforts, to name a few. She also has extensive service in areas of Nonprofits, Youth, Community Building & Race Relations. She has also worked at La Casa de Don Pedro as a Case Manager for the Newark Re-Entry program and as the Outreach Manager for the Hispanic Directors Association of NJ.


Frank Argote-Freyre - President Emeritus

Frank is a Professor at Kean University and serves as President of the Latino Action Network Foundation. He was previously Press Secretary to Senator Bob Menendez when he was a Member of the House of Representatives.






Daniel Ulloa - Vice President of Communications
Daniel Ulloa is an accomplished writer who has covered domestic politics and policies at all levels of government before focusing on the cannabis industry. Daniel is currently Editor of HeadyNJ.com, an online, independent news site covering cannabis reform and the industry in New Jersey.

Daniel has also represented LAN to the NJUMR coalition pushing cannabis reform in New Jersey. 





Maria Andrade - Vice President of Membership


Maria is a Parent Liaison for College Bound, a New Jersey Statewide GEAR UP Project at the NJ Institute of Technology (NJIT). She is also working as an Instructor with youth at risk in a Juvenile Detention Center in Biology for applied sciences. Maria has also worked with Newark Public Schools' in urban classroom settings.

Ms. Andrade has a B.A. in Criminal Justice from NJCU. She is a graduate from the Center for American Women in Politics (CWAP) NEW-Leadership Cohort Class of 2016. She was also awarded a Political Science Certificate from TWC-The Washington Center in Washington D.C. She has been recognized by the New Jersey City University (NJCU)- Opportunity Scholarship Program EOF and inducted in Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society, along with being a part of the National Society of Leadership and Success- NJCU Chapter. She is also a Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) Women in Global Policy Alumna. She has served as the Regional Ambassador for the NJ GEAR UP & College Bound Alumni Network since 2010. 


Luisa Torres- Vice President of Fundraising


Luisa Torres is a community leader and ardent advocate for Latinx issues.  Ms. Torres earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Justice Studies from Montclair State University.  She earned a Master of Arts degree from Montclair State University in Law & Governance with a concentration in Compliance and Regulation where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.  Ms. Torres also earned a Master of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Montclair State University to refine her business acumen.  

Ms. Torres has worked with the Pre-Legal Program at Seton Hall Law School and is an alumna of the program.  Ms. Torres spent six years in the banking industry prior to transitioning to the legal field where she has spent the last eight years in the public and private sectors. Ms. Torres serves on the Passaic County’s Census Committee and is continually active in the community.


Carlos Hendricks - Treasurer


Carlos is President at Carlos Doel Hendricks Verdejo Enterprises, LLC and a community leader in Trenton.









STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS


Renee Koubiadis- Housing Chair


Having grown up in poverty in Camden County, Renee Koubiadis is deeply committed to identifying and breaking down barriers that prevent many people and families from meeting their basic necessities. Renee has been an advocate and community organizer, helping disempowered populations use their voices towards social change throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania for over 18 years. Renee currently serves as the Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of NJ. She previously served as the statewide Advocacy Coordinator of the National Association of Social Workers – NJ Chapter (NASW-NJ) and prior to that the Assistant State Campaign Director for the Citizens’ Campaign, a New Jersey non-partisan movement of hundreds of citizens dedicated to innovative government reform and promoting citizen leadership. Renee is
co-creator of Garden State Leaders, a leadership and advocacy institute for people impacted by poverty. 

Renee has educated thousands of people on issues of poverty, leadership, and civic engagement. In late 2017, she served as co-chair for Governor Phil Murphy’s transition housing committee and in May 2020 was named to the New Jersey Restart and Recovery Advisory Council. Renee is a 2019 Lead New Jersey Fellow and was recognized by New Jersey Citizen Action the same year with a Community Service Award. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Movement Alliance Project and the Steering Committee of the Latino Action Network. Renee is a Licensed Social Worker in New Jersey and holds an MSW from Temple University and a BA SW from Rutgers University.




Cynthia Mellon - Environmental Justice Committee Chair


Cynthia is an Environmental Advocate. She worked as an Environmental Justice Organizer for the Ironbound Community Corporation where she worked on issues at Port Newark. She received an M.A. in Sociology from the International Institute in Sociology of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies.


Henry Pena - Labor Committee Chair

Henry is a Journeyman Electrician and the Head Journeyman of Park Electric Inc. which specializes in commercial development. He is also an active member of the Latino community, having assisted numerous organizations. 






David Ortiz Sr. 

David has extensive experience working in the workforce development field as a counselor and instructor. He recently completed his Master's degree in Political Science from Rutgers University- Newark.


He is also the founder of the Puerto Rican Progressives of New Jersey whose objective is to empower and advocate for the Puerto Rican Diaspora living in New Jersey and for Puerto Rico.


Lazaro Cardenas


Lazaro is a Managing Partner at The Law Offices of Patel, Soltis, and Cardenas. Lazaro serves on the boards of directors of some of the leading Latino advocacy organizations in New Jersey including the Latino Coalition of New Jersey where he has served as Deputy Director since 2003, and the Latino Action Network where he is a founding member. Cardenas is one of the founding chairs of the Latino Festival of Monmouth County, established in 2005.


He also serves as Deputy Director for the Latino Coalition Foundation, a non-profit working on empowering Latina women throughout New Jersey, census outreach and school desegregation efforts among other important initiatives. Cardenas resides in Freehold, New Jersey with his wife (Yeni) and two sons (Andres and Alejandro). Lazaro is a graduate of the Rutgers University School of Law.


Jose Laureano


José Laureano brings close to 20 years of experience working in higher education in New Jersey. Laureano serves as the Executive Dean for Student & Enrollment Services at Middlesex County College. He is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Educational Leadership program at Rowan University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Latino & Hispanic Caribbean Studies and a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Administration, Planning, & Policy from Rutgers University.


Ann Bagchi - Health Committee Chair


Dr. Ann D. Bagchi is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at Rutgers University. Her research focuses on reducing health inequities among members of under-served populations, including those living in poverty, people with limited English proficiency, and people living with HIV. She is also a member of the Latino Coalition of Monmouth County where she co-coordinates a soup kitchen in Freehold during the winter months to serve the area's day laborer community and residents who are homeless.

 
 
Patricia Campos


Dr. Patricia Campos Medina is a labor and progressive political leader.










Alberto Hernandez


Alberto is the Latino Caucus Chairperson for the Middlesex County Democratic Organization. He helped co-found and currently serves as President of the Greater New Jersey Pride at Work Chapter. He worked with some of the most prestigious Labor Unions in the state. He is currently a self-employed insurance agent.





Elisa A Charters


Elisa is the principal of EAC Business International, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) strategies and financial, business and operating strategies relating to transportation, planning, commercial real estate and fashion. She was a founding partner of Toussa International LLC, a wholesale distribution and sourcing company of children’s apparel imported from Argentina, Peru, and Brazil.   

Elisa served the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for 13 years in executive and management capacities as assistant comptroller responsible for the Port Commerce line business, as lead negotiator of real estate development and operating agreements such as the redevelopment effort of the World Trade Center site post 9/11, the development of waterfront properties along the Hudson and East Rivers in New York and New Jersey, and as a financial manager of the PATH interstate rail system.


Beatriz Oesterheld



Beatriz is a prominent community leader, influential change agent, and capable administrator with expertise in developing and managing vital, high-impact community programs and initiatives. Since February 2010, Beatriz has served as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Community Affairs Resource Center in Asbury Park, Freehold Borough, Keansburg and their newest office in Lakewood, Ocean County. During her tenure, Beatriz strengthened the organization’s infrastructure, built solid community alliances, enhanced services, and improved the center’s financial position.

 Beatriz holds leadership positions with several organizations she is a board member of the VNA Community Health Center and the Asbury Park Charter School. In addition, she is a member of the Governor’s Council for Disability and is the chair of the Interagency Lead Task Force at the state. Beatriz holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Puerto Rico, and a Non-Profit Management Certificate from Brookdale Community College.


Daniel Santo Pietro














Craig Garcia


Craig is a long-time labor advocate, having worked for New Labor, Working Families, SEIU 32BJ, and Make the Road New Jersey.








Roberto Frugone














Arlene Quinones-Perez


Arlene is a well-known lawyer and Chair of the Hunterdon
Democratic Committee.


 
 
 
 
 
Teresa Vivar














William Colon

Angel L. Matos

Joe Barreto

Antonio Hernandez

 
LAN Organizational Members:

Latino Coalition of New Jersey. [Founding Organization -- January 2010].

Latino Institute of New Jersey.

National Coalition of Latino Officers – NJ Chapter. [Joined September 2015].

New Jersey Working Families Alliance

Anti-Poverty Network

New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice


Coalitions LAN participates in:

Integrated Justice Alliance. [Joined September 2015].

New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform Coalition. [Joined June 2015].

Pre-Trial Racial Justice Initiative. [Joined April 2015].

NJ Campaign for Alternatives to Solitary Confinement (Joined 2016)

Working Families Democracy Project. [Joined March 2015].

New Jersey Communities Forward. [Joined April 2015].