Gabriella was born and raised in Bernal Heights, on the Mission side of the hill, and she takes great pride in her native San Francisco roots. She began her early activist days conducting street-based outreach in the Mission and downtown neighborhoods providing hygiene supplies to homeless youth and young adults with a local non-profit. Through this work, she was introduced to the harm-reduction philosophy and the principles of client-centered advocacy. Working with homeless community members sparked Gabriella’s interest in indigent defense work as she saw many of her clients being criminalized for society’s failings. Gabriella has worked in immigration law assisting migrant farm workers as they navigate the complex immigration legal system and at the public defender’s office in San Francisco. As a result of these experiences, she attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law with the goal of becoming a public defender. Gabriella now represents indigent immigrants in removal proceedings within the San Francisco Public Defenders Office’ newly formed immigration defense unit. As a former legal intern at CARECEN, she now looks forward to supporting CARECEN as a board member.