Our vision is inspired by the role the caravanserai [kar-uh–van–suh-ree] played throughout history.
The caravanserais were well known meeting places along trade routes covering Asia, North Africa, Southeast Europe and the Silk Road. They provided the merchants and travelers with a place to rest and opportunities to exchange and trade goods, as well as information about the challenges ahead and the situation in the regions they were about to cross. These settings had a crucial part in the cross-fertilization and exchanges of cultures by exposing these travelers to new ideas, beliefs and languages.
SEED Lab 2019/2020
(Palm Springs, CA)
Walker has a Bachelor Degree in Economics from Langston University in Oklahoma and a Masters Degree in Communications from CSUSB. As a formerly incarcerated, his goal is to develop a transitional living facility with wrap around services with a focus on providing a path to an educational/vocational training for a living wage career and a sustainable life.
Mission: to change the lives of the formerly incarcerated by providing pathways to education/vocational training and wrap-around supportive services to become productive citizens.
Susan Gomez, Mayra Castellanos and Ben Dunmire
Amigos Arts & Pottery
(San Bernardino, CA)
Suzie Gomez has been an artist/potter for over 30 years and has a long history of working with nonprofits. She is currently running a collaborative group of 67 nonprofits in the Inland Empire. Mayra Castellano, a potter herself, was born in Mexico and is the driving creative force behind the project. Her expertise working with artisans, in particular potters, in Mexico brings added value to the venture and brings an in-depth understanding of the challenges these artists are facing. Ben Dunmire is an artist/potter and art teacher based in San Bernardino.
Mission: to strengthen, preserve, and promote traditional clay craftsmanship, and empower mujeres artisans by connecting them to international markets and art communities.
Lesly Figueroa and Diana Reza
Conchilla - Jardin de la Union
(City of Coachella, CA)
Lesly, a longtime resident of the City of Coachella, works as an environmental policy advocate in the Eastern Coachella Valley focusing on issues like of affordable housing, water and wastewater infrastructure, air quality, active transportation, and land-use planning. She pursued a degree in Urban Studies and Planning at UC San Diego as a first generation student where she was elected Student Body President.
Diana was born in and raised in Coachella. She received her Bachelors degree in Psychobiology from UCLA in 2018 with a focus on child development, health care, and environmental studies.
Mission: to empower the community by establishing community-run produce gardens and providing access to affordable healthy food and environmental education and outreach.
Terrylene is teaching ASL to HS students as second language acquisition. She is an actress, storyteller, ASL poet who has worked for 30 years in entertainment industry and multi-media education. She founded Deaf Arts Council which was dedicated to multimedia arts programming teaching Deaf and hearing children side by side.
Mission: to promote early bilingual access through a network of e-learning tools to end language deprivation of Deaf children.
Healing Out Lao’d
(Los Angeles, CA)
Rita is a Lao Isaan American femme/womxn politicized healing practitioner, survivor, community-lover, independent audio producer, and filmmaker. Currently based in Los Angeles, Rita strives to create accessible healing spaces for folx with marginalized identities, with a particular focus on the Lao diaspora and the intersections of QTBIPOC communities.Through "Healing Out Lao'd," Rita facilitates stories through an audio storytelling format (aka podcast), and provides consultation and healing-centered workshops for communities active in social movements.
Mission: to provide the global Lao diaspora a safe, holistic healing space through multi-media and support services in order to thrive and build resilience.
(San Bernardino, CA)
Ashley is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has experience working with intense foster dependent youth and youth who have been sexually exploited or are suspected to be commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC).
Mission: to provide intensive therapeutic residential services, life skills, and education to transform the lives of sexually exploited and at risk female foster youth.
Music Changing Lives
(San Bernardino, CA)
Josiah was raised in Altadena, California and now resides in the Inland Empire focusing on scaling his organization. Prior to establishing MCL, Josiah created and led the independent record label, Higher Ground Records, LLC to become one of the leading underground labels in Southern California. In 2012, Josiah collaborated with the City of Redlands in 2008 to establish the IE’s first community center equipped with a state of the art music studio and art lab.
Mission: to inspire at-risk youth and adults to organize for change and amplify their voices through quality music and art enrichment programs.
Marnie L. Navarro
Marnie, a multidisciplinary visual artist, educator, and curator who founded LIFEWORK Gallery in Palm Springs, joined Raices Cultura as Executive Director in February 2019. A lifelong resident of the Coachella Valley, Marnie uses her experience in psychology, event production, project management, and the visual arts to increase civic engagement for social change with an emphasis on transformation justice through the arts.
Mission: To emphasize the preservation of cultural traditions and the development of personal voice, creativity, and civic engagement in service of transformational justice.
YOBZ - Youth, Jobs, Generation Z
Swati is a continuation high school mathematics teacher in Riverside, CA. Prior she worked in the hospitality food and beverage, and food manufacturing industries for 10 years. Swati has an MBA from the University of San Diego, and a BA in Economics from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). She serves on the board for the Accord Foundation, a non-profit tech company that is developing games in the areas of diplomacy and peace studies for urban youth.
Mission: to develop a web based platform of engaging digital content and tools, educational programming, and job opportunities for the teen workforce.