Ethan Maia de Needell

Ethan was raised in a multicultural household by an immigrant mother and a second-generation American father. Always interested in learning about other people and their history and customs, he graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s in International Studies, where he focused his research on Latin America. After graduating, he spent a year in Panama with the Peace Corps before being evacuated at the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Upon his return, he looked for ways to work within the community he was raised and has been working with the Rural Women’s Health Project as the Immigrant Programs Manager, where he helps to advocate and fight for a more inclusive community for the immigrant population in Gainesville and Alachua.

Neza Xiuhtecutli

Nezahualcoyotl "Neza" Xiuhtecutli is an immigrant from Mexico, and grew up in South Carolina. He is the General Coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida. He has been with the organization since 2016 when he joined the research team. During that time he focused primarily on protections against heat stress for farmworkers and worked on testing curricula for pesticide training for farmworkers. Before coming to the Association in 2016 he worked with rural communities in Mexico and Central America, where he became interested in indigenous economic and governance systems, including communal land tenure. He is currently finishing a PhD in anthropology at Tulane University. He enjoys reading and hiking, listening to live music, and traveling to new places. He is also an avid baseball fan.

Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet

Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet (he/they) is the newly appointed Executive Director of Hope Community Center, in Apopka.

In addition to managing day-to-day operations, leading 30 staff members, overseeing the management of seven programs, and increasing financial support for the 50-year-old organization; Felipe collaborates with community advocates, supporters, leaders, and organizations throughout Central Florida to drive the interconnectedness and synergy of Hope’s programs. His first-hand understanding of the immigrant experience along with his vision, passion, and power of networks have refreshed Hope's support, empowerment, and advocacy for immigrants and others who are tenacious and courageous in the face of all systems of oppression.

Prior to joining Hope, Felipe was the Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Sr Specialist for the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the City of Orlando. In this position, he proposed policy recommendations and programs; advocated for best practices on LGBTQ+ issues and immigrant and refugee affairs; and directed outreach to the Muslim, Brazilian, and Haitian communities to encourage greater participation in city services.

A proud immigrant from Brazil, Felipe came to Miami when he was only 14 years old. In 2010, he walked on the Trail of Dreams, a 1,500-mile walk from Miami to Washington, DC, to share the stories of immigrant youth and to push for administrative relief for millions of undocumented immigrants. He also worked with, an organization seeking to solve some of the most pressing issues impacting the Latino community through communication strategies.

A graduate of Miami-Dade College with an Associate of Arts in International Relations and a bachelor's degree in Business Studies with a Minor in Economics from St. Thomas University, Felipe was also Co-Director of GetEQUAL, a national social justice LGBTQ organization; served as the Deputy Managing Director at United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth network in the country; and worked at ThoughtWorks, a multinational software company, working at the Office of Social Change Initiatives as the Director of Strategic Partnerships.

Felipe is happily married to Luis Sousa-Lazaballet (he/him) and together they have a beautiful puppy, Cosito.

He is also on the board of Blisscares Healthcare, is the co-chair for Orlando’s WorldPride 2026 bid, and he is the chair of the One Orlando Alliance board of directors.

Christian Gonzalez-Orbegoso

Christian Gonzalez-Orbegoso (he/they) is the proud North FL Organizer of New Florida Majority. The son of immigrants from South America, who made Miami their home in the 1990s, Christian has been fighting for equity and justice throughout the state of FL through movement-building within communities of color, the state legislature, and the school system for the past 5 years.

Christian served as the esteemed Duval Win Justice Organizer, part of the statewide campaign to expand democracy and access to voting for low-propensity Black and LatinX Voters, which successfully passed Amendment 4 and turned DUVAL Blue in 2018 (after 2 decades of Conservative turnout). Prior to 2018, they dedicated two years of public service as an AmeriCorps Member/Lead with City Year, an international education non-profit fighting to close the achievement and graduation gap in underserved communities, mainly Title-1 funded Black and Latinx schools. While serving, they were a trainer for the New Politics Leadership Foundation, a non-profit centered on training and electing community members and servant leaders to run for public office.
Previously, the proud FL Gator lived and worked in Tallahassee, FL with the Office of FL State Representative David Richardson, the first out LGBTQ+ state-wide elected official. Christian envisions the building of an intersectional transformative movement in North FL, to secure our liberation in 2020 and for our future.

Jonathan Alingu

Jonathan (he/him) currently serves as a co-director for Central Florida Jobs With Justice. He has been involved in social justice organizing work for the last 10 years. First, as a student and organizer with the Student Labor Action Project chapter at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, and with the United States Student Association. He joined the Jobs With Justice network in 2014 as the membership organizer, working alongside FLIC staff and their various member groups throughout the state. Jonathan is a first-generation citizen, born to two parents that immigrated to the United States from The Bahamas via Uganda. He is also a big-time football fan, with his favorite team being Manchester City.

Afifa Khaliq

Afifa Khaliq is Director of Programs at SEIU Florida Public Services Union. She has been a part of a creative core team that is setting new trends and redefining labor, politics, economy, and social justice. Afifa is an unapologetic and proud Muslim. She is a founding member and secretary of the South Florida Muslim Federation. She is also the Chair of Emgage Florida, a Muslim civic engagement organization. Afifa is married, blessed with a son, and lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Anaruth Solache

Anaruth currently serves as the Policy & Advocacy Manager for Catalyst Miami. Previously she acted as Community Engagement Coordinator for South Dade, which gave her the chance to work alongside residents getting more involved in their neighborhoods. As the Policy & Advocacy Manager, she is dedicated to promoting more democratic, just, and equitable forms of policy across Miami-Dade County, bringing that same passion for change from her previous role. Anaruth graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. She will be graduating in December 2021 with her Master’s in Public Administration & Nonprofit Management from Barry University.
In her free time, she enjoys trying cuisines from many parts of the world, watching foreign independent films, and learning about the cultural traditions from Haiti, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, China, and India.

Rhenie Dalger

Rhenie Dalger is the Director of communications and development of Family Action Network Movement (FANM) and the President of Global Tactical Advanced Communications (GLOBATAC). She is an experienced Marketing Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the public relations and communications industry. She is skilled in Crisis Communications, Media Relations, Corporate Communications, Management, and Project Development. She has a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) focused in Business Administration and Management and a Master in Science in Global Strategic Communications from Florida International University. She is also a graduate in Radio and Television Production from Miami Dade College. Rhenie combines her strong business management background, her inclusive leadership skills, and her dedication to advocating for the most vulnerable in our communities with all the work she leads. Her passion for change has led her to work with disadvantaged Black and Brown immigrant and indigenous communities and advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, voter access and education, financial literacy, language access, and gender equity. As a mother of twin daughters, she is especially passionate about BOTH paid maternity and paternity leave.
In her free time, she enjoys trying cuisines from many parts of the world, watching foreign independent films, and learning about the cultural traditions from Haiti, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, China, and India.

Lourdes Villanueva

Lourdes Villanueva is Director of Farmworker Advocacy for Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA). She has worked for RCMA in various positions for almost 30 years, earning a college degree in the process. Ms. Villanueva is proud to come from a migrant farmworker family and wants to ensure that today’s children and families receive the same opportunities she did. She continues to promote the awareness and support of these families in local rural communities.

Trenise Bryant

Trenise Bryant is a Miami Northwestern Senior High graduate who grew up in Liberty City, in one of the oldest public housing projects called the Porkin Bean Project. Trenise currently works at Sweetwater Elem as a Food & Nutrition Manager of MDCPS. She started volunteering at the Miami Workers Center in 2009 when she saw the need to give back to the community when it came to Affordable Housing even on a National level. She advocates for housing nationally with her role as the chair of the board of a national housing organization Right To The City that Miami Workers Center is one of the founding organizations.

Ms. Bryant is also one of the founders of the Homes for All-Southern Coalition and the Femme Agenda, a 10-year project of the Miami Workers Center the Femme Agenda, aiming to find a solution to the feminization of poverty in the black and brown community’s. Through her passion for affordable housing the Miami Workers Center has partnered with Smash to create the first community land trust in Liberty City through its partnership it would provide a sustainable and also preserves land that the community controls. Trenise is also a chapter Coordinator for the Miami Crime Survivor Safety Justice where she provides healing support circles where communities impacted by crime to support Survivors and Advocate for smarter Justice priorities. And also part of the Dignity Coalition Steering member which advocacy for incarcerated women to get feminine hygiene products in jail.