Eduardo “Eddie” Canales, Chair
Eduardo Canales is currently the Director of the South Texas Human Rights Center in Falfurrias, TX. Born of migrant farm worker parents, Eddie spent his early years in a rural, migrant border town outside of Texas, while his father worked in steel mills in Gary, Indiana and East Chicago. They were poor: he did not have the luxury of inside bathroom facilities until 6th grade. Early jobs included farm work, shoe shining, barber/beauty shop sweeping and the neighborhood youth corps, followed by factory work, cafeteria cleanup, and bottling plant/warehouse work. After junior college, Eddie attended the University of Houston, where he became involved with MAYO and La Raza Unida Party, beginning a long history of political activism and organizing. He has served the social and economic justice movements in many capacities and with several organizations, including the Congreso de Aztlan (the National Committee of La Raza Unida), the Texas Farmworkers, the Longshoremen, SEIU’s School District Campaign of custodians and cafeteria workers, and Centro Aztlan in Houston, where he was a Director for ten years. Eduardo has been an organizer in Colorado, New Mexico, Eastern Washington, Montana, Idaho, Texas and Wyoming; he has agitated, organized, negotiated and provided direct services around issues ranging from economic and labor justice to anti-police brutality.
Bill Chandler is the founding Executive Director of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA). An eyewitness to the brutal immigration raids of the 1950’s, he has been continuously involved in supporting the rights of immigrant workers. Bill has been an organizer for more than 50 years, beginning as a laboratory worker in 1960 when he helped build SEIU Local 434 at Los Angeles County Hospital, to working with the United Farm Workers during the 1965 Delano-based grape workers strike, to the historic, trans-national, and powerful Starr County farm workers strike in 1966. Sent as an organizer by Cesar Chavez, he witnessed first hand both the U.S. and Mexican governments’ brutal but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to repress labor justice. Since then, his organizing focus has been on the lowest paid workers in the South, including farm workers, hospitality, health care, and immigrant workers. Bill has pro-actively served the struggle for affirmative action in the Labor Movement: every union he has organized in the South has been led by women of color, and MIRA’s board of directors is a majority African-American and Latino board.
Lillian Galedo, Treasurer
Lillian Galedo is a founding board member of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR), and the recently retired Executive Director of Filipino Advocates for Justice. In retirement she continues to be active NNIRR in resisting the racist, regressive and anti-immigrant policies raining down from the Trump Administration. She is a recipient of the Wallace Gerbode Fellowship (1990), the Bannerman Fellowship (1997) and Eureka Communities Fellowship (1998).
Isabel Garcia, Secretary
Isabel Garcia is the co-chair of the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, a grassroots organization based in Tucson, Arizona, that promotes respect for human and civil rights and fights the militarization of the border region in the American Southwest She is also the legal defender of Pima County, Arizona. Ms. Garcia has been at the forefront of immigrant and refugee rights since 1976. As a lead speaker on behalf of Derechos Humanos, Ms. Garcia holds press conferences and interviews, hosts media crews, leads demonstrations, weekly vigils, symposiums and marches to draw attention to the unjust policies and inhumane treatment of immigrants. She works to counter anti-immigrant hysteria and to change stereotypes and misinformation about immigrants. According to Ms. Garcia, “immigration policy has been a total failure and needs to be changed. It has not prevented people from attempting to cross the border but has put the lives of thousands of men, women and children in serious danger. Their deaths are the direct result of U.S. policy.” Ms. Garcia has received many awards for her work, including the 2006 National Human Rights Award from the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos de México. In 2008, she received the Cultural Freedom Award from the Lannan Foundation.
Mónica Hernandez is the Co-Director for the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN). A native of Mexico with roots in both countries, Monica moved to Tennessee in 2001 to join the Highlander Center‘s education team. She led Highlander’s immigration work, co-developing and co-facilitating the Institute for Immigrant Leadership Development (INDELI) from 2004 to 2006. INDELI’s goals were to develop Latino grassroots leadership and organizations in the Southeast. She was also the lead staff person on the Threads Leadership and Organizing School from 2008 to 2010. She was the Founding Chair of the Board of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, serving from 2003 to 2007. Before moving to the South, Monica worked at the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights in San Francisco from 1988 to 2001.
Gerald Lenoir is the former Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), an organization founded in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area in April 2006 to support fair and just immigration reform. He is also a co-founder of the Priority Africa Network (PAN), a Bay Area organization that advocates for progressive policies toward Africa and organizes dialogues between African Americans and black immigrants. Gerald has provided leadership for progressive causes for 40 years within the immigrant rights movement, the anti-apartheid movement, the anti-racist movement, peace and solidarity movements, and electoral campaigns. He is currently a Strategy Analyst at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley.
Pedro Rios serves as director of the American Friends Service Committee’s U.S./Mexico Border Program and has been on staff with AFSC since 2003. A native San Diegan, Pedro has worked on immigrant rights and border issues for over 25 years. Pedro oversees a program that documents abuses by law enforcement agencies, collaborates with community groups, advocates for policy change, and works with migrant communities. Before working with AFSC, Pedro was a legal assistant with La Raza Centro Legal’s Senior Law Program located in San Francisco’s Mission District from 1996-2002. There, he helped form INS Watch, which organized with migrant communities against immigration raids in the greater Bay Area. Pedro holds a master’s degree in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University
Board members over the years, active in NNIRR’s advocacy and action.