Odilia Romero is the co-founder/ executive director of Comunidades Indigenas en Liderazgo (CIELO); she is also an independent interpreter of Zapotec, Spanish, and English for indigenous communities in Los Angeles and throughout California. She has over a decade of experience organizing indigenous migrant communities. Her organizing knowledge and experience are held in high regard, with multiple academic publications, awards, and lectures in universities across the United States, including John Hopkins, USC, and UCLA. Ms. Romero has published on the challenges of organizing in indigenous communities, developing women’s leadership, and preparing a new generation of youth. Her work has also been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Vogue and Democracy Now.
Janet Martinez is the co-founder/ Vice executive director of Comunidades Indigenas en Liderazgo (CIELO). She is a Bene Xogsho (Zapotec) born in Los Angeles. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, with a thesis on Indigenous migrants in the U.S. court system. Aside from her direct activism, Janet has engaged issues facing indigenous migrant communities through her writing; she has published articles on topics including new approaches to gendered leadership in Indigenous communities, and the challenges facing youths in Indigenous migrant communities. She Co-led the We are here map which is the first map of the linguistic diversity of Indigenous Los Angeles. Additionally she collaborated on UCLA’s mapping Indigenous L.A. Ms. Martinez organized the Indigenous Literature conference and Weaving Words and Rhymes for the past four consecutive years. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Ozy, Vogue, and Telesur. Currently, she is a host on the podcast Tu’un Dali, a podcast for and by Indigenous people.
Luis Lopez Resendiz
Luis López Resendiz is currently CIELO’s Indigenous Interpreter program director; he is a Ñuú Savi. He is committed to taking the struggle for the respect of the rights of indigenous peoples to spaces where indigenous peoples are not represented and to make visible their migration to the United States. Mr. Lopez Resendiz is a graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a B.A. in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. He is a poet whose work has been presented at the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley. Mr. Resendiz has been featured in La Jornada, la Trinchera , KPFK, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and El Excelsior. Currently, he is a host on Tu’un Dali Podcast, a podcast for and by Indigenous people.
Genesis Ek is the Administrative Director for CIELO. She is Yucatec Maya born in Los Angeles. She received a B.S. in Anthropology and a B.A. in Economics from UC Riverside. In college, she was part of PPGA, a club dedicated to advocating for reproductive rights. She conducted research in Yucatan studying the Indigenous traditions still practiced by the people of the region, including her family’s. She started volunteering with CIELO this past year by helping coordinate the Maya Ta’an language, revitalization class. Genesis has also worked in finance administration earning her the experience to operate and oversee financial aspects of CIELO.
Isai Pazos Bernabe
Isai Pazos Bernabe is the Director of community affairs. He is a trilingual Zapotec from the community of Villa Hidalgo Yalalag. He has been a community cultural organizer for over two decades. In 2007 he served as president for the Hometown association of his community Villa Hidalgo Yalalag. He has served as president in 2014 for the Regional Organization of Oaxaca (ORO) and as treasure in 2019. Mr. Pazo’s has extensive organizational experience and has been a pillar in the Oaxacan community in California. He founded the Convite (formally known as the Calenda) in 2016 held yearly in Los Angeles, an important cultural event for the Oaxacan Indigenous community. He has also been instrumental in the continuation of organizing the long-standing and nationwide respected Guelaguetza and has supported other organizations in California to organize their own Guelaguetza. His work ranges from establishing workshops to obtain citizenship to revitalizing ancestral practices like wood carving and weaving to Los Angeles for Indigenous communities. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Orlando Sentinel, and La opinion.
Aurora Pedro is CIELO’s is the coordinator of the Indigenous interpreters program. She is a queer Akateko and Q’anjob’al who was born and raised in Los Angeles. Aurora attended Santa Monica College and pursued a B.A. in Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley. She was a former Flor (Xumakil) de Ixim, San Miguel Acatan, Los Angeles in 2014, bringing cultural events to the Maya community in the diaspora. Her passions include advocating for language rights and accessible resources and space for all indigenous peoples. Aurora is an independent Maya interpreter in English and Akateko, and hopes to expand her skills in Spanish and Q’anjob’al to serve her community.
Javier Morales-Martinez is a administrative assistant to the director of the administrative director. He is a trilingual Zapotec born and raised in Los Angeles. He is currently a student at the University of Southern California (USC) and is pursuing a bachelor of music and a minor in accounting. He developed his affinity for music through his participation in multiple Zapotec brass and wind bands. As an orchestral clarinetist, Javier has performed with the American Contemporary Ballet and the New York String Orchestra. In addition to this, Javier has performed in twelve cities throughout Mexico with the Orchestra of the Americas and five cities in Asia with Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. He has received multiple accolades as a clarinet player cementing his name as a prodigy clarinetist. His music has been featured in NPR’s tiny desk concert series and From the Top’s video “This Land/Our Land”, celebrating immigrant musicians of different cultures.
Alba Gonzalez is the Indigenous language service coordinator for CIELO’s interpretation department CILP (Center for Indigenous language and power). She is K’iche’ Winaq de San Francisco el Alto, Totonicapán, Guatemala. She has done activities to share and defend information about COIVD-19 for the Maya guatemalan communities in Los Angeles with CIELO. She studied in the Escuela Nacional de Occidente (ENCOD) located in Quetzaltenango. She arrived in the United States in 2013. Due to her lived experience she has led her to look for language justice. She has been trained to become an interpreter of K’iche in the Center for Indigenous Language and Power. Now she interprets in K’iche to Spanish in courthouses in California and other states remotely and in person. She attended the Interpreters conference organized by CIELO in 2022 and 2023. Her work has appeared in the La Times and Univision. She has also recorded audios for the presentation o the book Codigo Maya in Kiche for the Getty in 2022.
Julio Santis is a coordinator for Center for Indigenous Languages and Power CILP, and an interpreter Maya Tsotsil who was born in Georgia and raised in Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico until his youth. He studied at Long Island Business Institute (LIBI), New York and earned his Associate degree in accounting. Before joining the team, Julio actively participated in the monthly trainings for CIELO’s Indigenous interpreters and attended the Indigenous Interpreters Conference 2022 in Los Angeles. He decided to be part of the CIELO team to contribute to the efforts to bridge the language between his Tsotsil community in the United States.
Janet Ruiz is a Zapotec, from a pueblo called La Trinidad, who was born in Los Angeles. She is the assistant to the director of indigenous interpretation department for Comunidades Indígenas En Liderazgo (CIELO). She is currently a fifth-year student at California State University, Northridge where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Dance.
Raul Cotes is the office coordinator at CIELO and is also part of the community outreach efforts. He is a Zapotec of the Central valleys in the state of Oaxaca. He graduated from the Technological institute of Oaxaca specializing in industrial electrical engineering in 1992. He also developed a career in folkloric Oaxacan dance at the same institution. He came to the United States as part of a culture exchange with LAUSD in 1993. He was the director of Grupo Folklorico Huaxyacac in 1996. He was the founder and director of Ballet Folklórico Nueva Antequera in 1999. During his presidency of the Regional organization of Oaxaca (ORO) in 2004 he created the Guelagetza infantil LA in 2007. He was also the founder of a day in Oaxaca in 2010, the Vela Muxe LA in 2013. He has collaborated with different Oaxacan community organizations, museums and educational institutions. His work has been recognized by various city and county officials in Los Angeles and other parts of the country.