An Amazing Body of Knowledge and Wisdom, our Board of Directors:
Elena Asturias, Chief Financial Officer — Paniagua Construction, Inc.
Elena Asturias has been involved in creating community since establishing the international club at her high school to help foster understanding among diverse groups in San Francisco.
Graduating from Georgetown Law Center with a Master of Law in Business and Taxation, she served as counsel to Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi and successors. Most recently, Elena has dedicated herself to managing family concerns including Paniagua Construction Inc. and Las Maravillas S.A. as well as serving as counsel to various private concerns.
Elena currently represents San Francisco residents as community representative of the San Francisco Zoological Society Board as well as serving as president of the family foundation Fundación Asturias Maldonado. She serves on the Tardeada Committee for California Rural Legal Assistance and on the board of Friends of the City College Mission Campus.
Elena previously served on the boards of La Raza Centro Legal, development fund board for La Raza Centro Legal, the Hispanic National Bar Association, as well as on its Commission on the Status of Latinas in the Legal Profession, San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association and the San Francisco Senators.
José Artiga, Treasurer — Executive Director, SHARE Foundation
José left El Salvador for San Francisco in 1980 after narrowly escaping a government death squad attack that left four others dead. In 1981 he became the executive director of Casa El Salvador. Under his leadership, Casa El Salvador built broad-based support for political refugees, and helped create the strong solidarity movement that called for an end to unjust immigration policies, US military intervention, and the war in El Salvador. José worked closely with religious leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area to develop the Sanctuary Movement and the National Sanctuary Defense Fund. The Sanctuary’s legal advocacy compelled the federal government to reopen political asylum cases for hundreds of thousands of refugees and grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Central Americans, later upgraded to permanent residency for certain classes of refugees.
In the mid 1980s, José launched the Interfaith Office of Accompaniment with El Salvador, which organized delegations to El Salvador to document human rights abuses and to accompany the people’s struggle. In 1987, José co-led the Going Home Campaign with the SHARE Foundation, organizing hundreds of religious and laypeople to accompany the return of thousands of Salvadorans from a Honduran refugee camp. The United Nations and the Red Cross adopted the campaign as a model for repatriation around the world. In El Salvador, José attended night school at the Catholic University of America and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree.
After the historic Peace Accords of 1992, José returned to San Francisco where he completed his Masters in Economics at San Francisco State University and worked with the San Francisco Credit Union, the South Shore Bank of Chicago, the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, and Salvadoran Savings and Loans cooperatives. Among other accomplishments, he pioneered a program for Salvadorans in the U.S. to send remittances to their families and communities.
In the mid-1990s, José became the executive director of the SHARE Foundation. Under José’s leadership, SHARE has cultivated a network of sister relationships with Salvadoran communities. SHARE also supports literacy for women, micro-lending, a youth development scholarship program, food security, agro-ecological practices that address climate change, and programs that build capacity for citizen participation, democracy, and human rights.
José is the co-founder of the Residency Now for Central American with Temporary Protected Status, which seeks permanent legal residence for Central Americans who currently have TPS. Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes named José Commissioner for Overseas Voting to promote voting in Salvadoran elections by Salvadorans living outside the country. In addition, José is the International Coordinator for the El Salvador Literacy Campaign.
José has been married to Eileen Purcell for three decades and is the proud parent of Camilo, Rutilio, and Alejandro. He is also a passionate reader and walker, a former coach of co-ed children’s soccer teams, and a lover of nature. José lives in San Francisco and travels often to El Salvador.
Honorable Carmen Flores, Retired Judge — Board Secretary
Raised in the Central Valley, Tracy, California. Graduated from UCLA 1973 with a degree in psychology. Attended USF School of Law, JD 1978. Interned with La Raza Centro Legal, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Public Advocates. Member of the California Bar 1979 to present (currently Inactive Status). Worked for United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, 1979 to 1982; Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, 1982 to 1992; State of California Administrative Law Judge II, Unemployment Appeals 1992 to 2014. Served as board member for California Rural Legal Assistance, San Francisco La Raza Centro Legal, San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association and Central American Resources Center. Married; three children.
Michelle Loya-Talamantes, Senior Development Officer, Hesperian Health Guides
Michelle Loya-Talamantes has many years of experience in public health program planning, health education, social justice, and advocacy, with a particular interest in working with communities on issues involving public heath inequities. She has held a variety of leadership roles in non-profit public health organizations including Director of Community Health Programs for the San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Health Program Coordinator with Breathe California, Golden Gate Public Health Partnership, and Research and Policy Analyst for the California Program on Access to Care at the UC Office of the President. Michelle has served on several boards and committees for community-based health, and volunteers in community emergency preparedness in the Mission District and neighborhood safety in the Castro neighborhood. She currently serves as a board member of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health Alumni Association and a local running club, and is a Court-Appointed Special Advocate to a young person in foster care.
Francisco Ugarte, Immigration Attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office
Francisco Ugarte is Immigration Attorney at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, where he advises criminal defenders how to avoid adverse immigration consequences for non-citizens during the plea bargain process. He also provides direct representation for immigrants facing deportation due to a criminal arrest or conviction. Prior to his work at the Public Defender’s Office, he was Senior Attorney with the Deportation Defense and Legal Advocacy Program at Dolores Street Community Services, where he built the organization’s first deportation defense program designed to defend non-citizens against illegal ICE workplace and home raids. Francisco has successfully litigated dozens of removal cases, including cases where non-citizens filed motions to suppress evidence. In 2009, Francisco litigated Matter of Garcia-Garcia, 25 I&N Dec. 93 (BIA 2009), the first immigration case which held that a non-citizen could request a court to order that ICE remove an ankle bracelet from a non-citizen in deportation proceedings. Francisco was recognized in 2015 by Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA) for his work representing survivors of domestic violence wrongfully turned over to ICE for deportation, and in 2011 by Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) for his immigrant rights advocacy. .
Father Richard Smith, Ph.D., Vicar of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
Father Richard Smith, Ph.D. is the Vicar of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in San Francisco's Mission District. He holds a Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and has taught Religious Studies at various Bay Area universities. He has worked for immigration reform at the city, state, and national level and has worked for social justice in both El Salvador and Nicaragua. To respond to neighborhood violence by individuals, gangs, and law enforcement in the Mission, he organized Mission Nightwalks, a coalition of neighborhood faith communities. He is an advocate for police reform in both San Francisco and at the state level in California.
Jenny Chacón, Senior Health Program Planner, San Francisco Department of Public Health
Jenny is a Senior Health Program Planner at the San Francisco Department of Public Health's (DPH), at its Zuckerberg General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG) site. She has over 15 years’ experience in program development, budget planning, policy, and administrative management in public health. Currently, she works with hospital leadership to ensure the inclusion of clinical quality and health equity in hospital services and initiatives.
Jenny has been with DPH in various successional positions for over 12 years which have focused on ensuring health equity for our most vulnerable populations. Some of her previous projects include working on the 2008 San Francisco Sanctuary City Ordinance Awareness Campaign for the Mayor's Office. This resulted in the training of ~2100 DPH employees and contractors on ensuring that all San Franciscans felt safe accessing City services regardless of immigration status. She began her career at DPH working on a community partnership with day laborer and domestic workers to improve their health and working conditions.
Prior to coming to DPH, Jenny was a Health Program Manager at the American Cancer Society (ACS) ACS Silicon Valley/Central Coast Region. She oversaw the implementation and evaluation of health promotion programs and budgets for the Latino and African communities across a four county region.
Jenny is a graduate of the statewide Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute. This program focuses on training Latina leaders in developing vital advocacy skills for creating fundamental change in their communities. In January 2015, she was appointed by President pro tempore of State Senate Kevin De León to the Professional Fiduciaries Committee part of the Department of Consumer Affairs, as a public member. Other community volunteer experience includes being the Chair for the ACS California Division Latino Health Equity team.
Jenny was born to Guatemalan immigrants in San Francisco's Mission District which she credits for her passion for social justice, equity and immigrant rights. She has a Masters of Public Health from San Jose State University and completed her undergraduate education, with a double major in Political Science and Spanish, from the University of California at Davis.