To see our Latino/a/x community of the Rogue Valley prosper. We work to create a future where every Latino/a/x voice can be heard and where Latino/a/x people can thrive with dignity, peace and justice. No solutions about us without us.
We believe that by fostering long term disaster resiliency and financial autonomy we can create a path for strengthening Latino/a/x families’ well-being in the face of climate change. Therefore, we are seeking to restore the Latino/a/x and indigenous communities and neighborhoods in the form of resident-owned communities (ROC’s), cooperative housing models or other permanent housing solutions to grow our autonomy, restore our social capital, and ensure a long-term solution to the housing and climate crisis that disproportionately threatens our BIPOC communities.
We are a Latino/a/x (hispanic/latino)-led, inter-generational coalition of community members, leaders, volunteers, and organizations in the Rogue Valley. We represent a mixed-status, working-class community with deep roots here. We are of many ages, abilities, faiths, and cultural backgrounds. We have decades of experience responding to exploitation, discrimination, environmental injustice, racism, poverty, and housing inequality. We are experts in our fields of supporting the economic liberation of Latino/a/x communities.
Lead Cultural Community Organizer
Celines Garcia is a first-generation Xicana whose parents have contributed to maintaining the largest local economic industries in the Rogue Valley such as agriculture and forestry. She is bilingual and bicultural and graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in General Social Science with a focus in crime, law and society and two minors in legal studies and business administration. She comes to Coalición Fortaleza with a fierce passion to lead the recovery and advocacy efforts as well as is equipped to advocate for her community and push forward our communities needs, priorities and demands. Prior to doing community organizing, Celines served as a Social Worker for the State of Oregon and understands the intricacies of policies at the state, we know will fortify her efforts to advance our mission. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, exploring the outdoors, and taking care of her houseplants.
Diana Ramos Alonzo
Diana Ramos Alonzo serves as the Administrative Coordinator for Coalición Fortaleza. In 2010, Diana emigrated from México along with her family and currently resides in Southern Oregon. She is a proud immigrant, mexicana, woman, and first-generation college graduate.
She has served in different leadership roles such as Interim President for the Latino Student Union at SOU, the 20-21 Multicultural Affairs Senator for ASSOU, as well as Social Media Coordinator for Project de la Raíz. Her work is dedicated to the empowerment of the Latinx community, centering advocacy for women and youth.
Diana is also a multi-medium artist, her work ranges from sculpture to painting. Her artistry is often inspired by social issues and each piece aims to uplift the voice of the community she represents. She believes that art can be a powerful tool to fight for justice and positive change in her community and in the world. Diana received her Bachelor's degree in Spanish with a minor in Art from Southern Oregon University.
Erica Alexia Ledesma
Erica Alexia Ledesma [she/they] is a first-generation xicana born and raised in Southern Oregon with ancestral roots in Nayarit and Zacatecas, Mexico. Erica is a visual artist, story keeper, youth mentor, and community organizer currently based in Takelma Land (Medford, Oregon). Her work centers visual art and story sharing to build community and address her cultural identity. In 2018, Erica co-founded a project called Noche de cuentos (Night of Stories), which creates a Latinx space for the community to come together and practice remembering and telling their stories. In 2019 Erica partnered up with The Hearth– becoming the director of the Latinx Story Project creating a project called De La Raíz (From The Roots) that focuses on centering and uplifting the stories of her Latinx communities. She believes in the power of telling and reclaiming our stories as a means of remembering and spiritual healing. Erica received Bachelors degrees in Ethnic Studies, Cultural Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Oregon. But she would say that a lot of her experience comes from being chismosa and curious. She is currently the Executive Director of Coalicion Fortaleza, a community-based organization focused on rebuilding the BIPOC solidarity economy and resident-owned communities in southern Oregon from the ashes of wildfires.
Dani Leonardo [they/she] is a facilitator, organizer, and consultant, born and raised in Southern Oregon in a mixed family, their mother a daughter of Filipino immigrants. Dani brings a background in permaculture design and a grounding in anti-oppressive practice, currently working as Director of Equity at the Post Growth Institute and communications consultant at Coalición Fortaleza. She has been working in movement spaces in a variety of roles including volunteer coordinator, youth mentor, community facilitator, administrative assistant, and social media support for the past seven years, with a myriad of organizations and community projects. Dwelling in spaces where creativity and art meet movement work and change-making, Dani’s work centers around collaboration, co-liberation and justice, employing tools such as sociocracy (dynamic governance), lean methodology, and asset-based approaches. Dani is a musician, a lover of the color purple, and a nerd for plants, polyrhythms and Hayao Miyazaki movies. She lives and works on Shasta and Takelma land in the Rogue Valley, and in her free time you can find her at the piano or in the garden.
Karen Carnival came to Southern Oregon to explore rural women's collective land models during a college internship and fell in love, literally, with the place and the people. More than 30 years later, Karen has lived in a number of the rural areas and small towns that comprise this beautiful region and has found her calling in supporting nonprofit organizations and small businesses that contribute so much to the vitality and strengths of these communities. Karen's background as a consultant and volunteer includes many years spent assisting organizations in assessing their strengths, identifying their weaknesses, creating a vision, procuring funding, and making and implementing plans to grow their organizations in ways that are financially sound and structurally stable. During COVID, Karen resumed her Spanish language studies in an endeavor to become bilingual in Spanish. An avid athlete, Karen loves to be outside hiking the trails with her faithful canine companion and growing teens.
Board of Directors
Niria Alicia is a Xicana climate justice organizer, educator and storyteller dedicated to protecting the sacredness of Mother Earth and the dignity of historically oppressed peoples. Born in a migrant farmworker community, her struggle for liberation and justice exists at the intersections of migrant justice, climate justice and indigenous rights. She works to bring spirit and culture into everything she does. Niria has worked nationally and internationally designing and implementing holistic curriculum and programs with an environmental justice and spiritual foundation which works to bring about social transformation by centering healing and care. Niria has worked with an array of groups and organizations designing stories and campaigns that encourage everyday people to actualize their potential and power. Her heart has guided her to be in service on the Run4Salmon journey; to the US-Mexico border providing humanitarian aid; to Standing Rock and Mauna Kea; and to the halls of the United Nations where she has been a speaker, has led healing circles, indigenous youth delegations, and has been a part of organizing historical direct actions. In 2019 she received the national ‘Emerging Leader Award’ from GreenLatinos’ and the internationally recognized ‘EE 30 under 30’ award from the North American Association for Environmental Education.
Teresa is an Indian Education Facilitator with Southern Oregon Education Service District, working to bridge the institutional gap for Indigenous students and families in the education system. With a rich history of participation in social justice initiatives, and herself being Esto’kna (Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation of Texas tribal member), Teresa is committed to supporting a decolonized approach for housing and income, and contributing to the healing of the original people of this land.
A belief in housing as a human right drives Rose’s commitment to creating healthy homes in thriving communities. A stint with the US Department of HUD and immersion in federal housing policy reinforced that commitment. Rose brings more than 27 years in the real estate industry as broker, developer, and asset manager. She holds a BA from Linfield College and maintains an active real estate license in Oregon. She has served as a volunteer board member on numerous non-profit boards and advisory committees. Rose has worked with CASA of Oregon to help expand an innovative affordable housing program in predominantly rural communities, the Manufactured Housing and Cooperative Development Center, an affiliate program of the national ROC USA® model. She helped develop CASA’s initial five manufactured housing cooperative developments, preserving almost 400 manufactured housing spaces. She also preserved existing Farm Labor and other rural affordable housing throughout Oregon.
In 2017 she served as the Director of Real Estate Development for Hacienda CDC, and led the redevelopment of the Phase 1 Las Adelitas project, a 145 unit, new construction, affordable housing mixed-use development with over 9000 square feet of community center space. Rose also led other development activities including the mixed-use redevelopment of the Villa de Clara Vista, Hacienda’s oldest housing project, acquisition of the Arbor Mobile Home Park with Saint Vincent DePaul Center, the innovative Equity First Affordable Small Home’s project, and initiated the Phase II Las Adelitas commercial project with plans to include a child care center and affordable commercial spaces for local non-profits or social enterprises.
Judith Corona is a woman entrepreneur and NLP life coach, preschool assistant, event organizer and decorator at Melody's Party Events. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and now calls Southern Oregon her home. Mother of three children and the youngest was diagnosed with autism, which has led her to be more aware, empathetic and advocate with other mothers whose children are diagnosed with disabilities and chronic diseases. Judith is a woman of faith and hope for a better world and has used her voice as a volunteer broadcaster for community station KSKQ in Ashland, OR where she focused on sharing useful information for the people. Judith is a survivor of the Almeda fire and has been active in recovery efforts, including being a part of the NSWA meetings where the vision for the cooperative housing project that pave the way for Coalición Fortaleza.
AnaByersis the Executive Director of Rogue World Music (an Ashland, OR-based arts nonprofit), and has spent over a decade working in the nonprofit sector of the Rogue Valley and in the arts. Ana brings a wealth of experience in witnessing the power of and participating in cross-cultural connection via storytelling, music, and dance from her upbringing in a community that is rural, agricultural, predominantly migrant, mixed-status, Latinx, Native American, and Filipino, on the Yakama Reservation, in Washington State. Her education includes a B.A. in Theater Arts and a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management (Southern Oregon University). Outside of her day job, Ana serves on the governing council for the City of Talent, the board of directors for the Talent Urban Renewal Agency, and as the council liaison for the Talent Parks and Recreation Commission.
Keep an eye out for updates on what we're up to here!
We look at how during the winter season the trees return their focus to the roots to tend to their foundation. We remember the moments in 2021 where our roots were fortified and just about every one of those memories involved gathering with our community.
What would you do for the places you love? We’ve sat with this question for the past 13 months and have been moved to tears by the bravery, loyalty, love and commitment that everyone on our team has demonstrated this past year.
CASA of Oregon, JP Morgan Chase, Latino Partnership Program, Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Humanities, PacifiCorp, Redtail Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Rogue Valley Relief Fund, Seeding Justice, The Ford Family Foundation, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette Valley, and the Walker Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation.
Thank you for believing in us and enabling us to grow the organizational capacity of Coalición Fortaleza.
Please reach out here with any questions or comments, and you can also sign up for our mailing list just below this form!