Vanessa was born and raised in rural Bishop, California and is the daughter of
immigrants from Zacatecas, Mexico. She was the first person in her family to
attend college. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, Vanessa
worked as the U-visa and VAWA program director at the International Institute
of the Bay Area in Oakland.
At IIBA Vanessa assisted hundreds of crime victims and domestic violence
survivors to gain legal status in the US. In 2008 Vanessa joined SIREN as the
Director of the Policy Advocacy program, where she worked vigorously to promote
comprehensive immigration reform and protect immigrant rights on a local, state
and national level. Vanessa then earned her juris doctorate from Golden Gate
University School of Law and returned to SIREN as the Director of Immigration
Legal Services. In that role, she led multiple legal collaboratives, managed
advocacy campaigns and made quality legal services accessible throughout the
Vanessa is happily married to Humberto Gonzalez. She is passionate about
creating and preserving policies and laws that protect and empower our
Helen, who was born and raised in the Bay Area,
has lived in San José for over 30 years. She is the daughter of
European immigrant parents. An active member of the community, she served a
six-year term on the City of San José Parks Commission, the last two years
as Chair. She also co-founded the San José Parks Foundation, served
on the Board of Committee for Green Foothills, served on the Shasta/Hanchett
Park Neighborhood Association Board, and is a San José Conservation Corps
and Charter School Advisory Committee member. She currently participates in the
Future Vision Mentor Program at Lincoln High school as a mentor and was just
recently named Woman of the Year by Assembymember Evan Low (AD28).
Helen retired from San José Unified School district as a Data
Research Specialist after 16 years. She is married and a mother of two sons --
one was a Marine with two tours of duty in Iraq and the other is an Eagle
Scout. She enjoys hiking and gardening in her spare time. She looks forward to
serving the residents of District 2.
Maribel is a native to San José and
District 2. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of
California, Merced and was the first in her family to graduate from college.
During her time in Merced, Maribel worked as a community organizer to help
increase the number of Latino voters in Merced County. Through her university’s
UCDC program, she worked at the White House Initiative on Educational
Excellence for Hispanics at the U.S. Department of Education and championed
educational policies that uplift students of color at the federal level.
Shortly after graduation, Maribel joined the final months of the Sergio Jimenez
for City Council District 2 campaign as Campaign Manager, where she helped
elect the first Latino District 2 Councilmember.
A proud product of immigrant communities, Maribel’s commitment to public
service is rooted in the love she has for her family and community. She
strongly believes in Cesar Chavez’ following words, “We cannot seek achievement
for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our
ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others,
for their sakes and for our own.”