Alexis Stoumbelis- Organizational Coordinator/Director
As Organizational Coordinator/Executive Director, Alexis leads the integration of our political strategy, programs, fundraising, and local chapter organizing. She first traveled to El Salvador as a college student on a medical delegation, where she was inspired by the labor movement’s successful organizing to defeat health care privatization. In 2004, while working as a case manager, she started volunteering with CISPES in order to join the fight against the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and has since played many roles, from fundraiser to local organizer to National Office staff. She lives in Washington, DC, where she attends All Souls Unitarian church, visits the public libraries, pools and parks as often as possible, and appreciates the growing number of bike lanes criss-crossing the city.
Samantha Pineda- Program Coordinator/Director
As Program Coordinator/Director, Samantha is tasked with guaranteeing regular updates and analysis from El Salvador to all levels of the organization in order to determine the organizations overall political strategy and program. Part of the Salvadoran diaspora, she hopes to continue learning directly from our Salvadoran allies, and the historic U.S. Central America solidarity movements to redefine the role that Central Americans in the diaspora will have in an internationalist movement in solidarity with migrants and the people of Central America. In her free time Sam likes to listen to new music, learn about Central American activism and feminism.
Sherley Cordova- Grassroots Fundraising Director
As Grassroots Fundraising Director, Sherley is tasked with expanding CISPES’ fundraising systems and supporting members of the fundraising team. Sherley first became involved with Salvadoran political work through the FMLN-Los Angeles as a teenager, and then became involved with the Union Salvadoreña de Estudiantes Universitarios (USEU) as an undergraduate at UC-Santa Cruz, where she obtained a BA in Latin American Studies and Sociology in 2014. While in college, she learned about the work CISPES-Santa Cruz was doing to accompany social movements in El Salvador. She then obtained her MA in Latin American Studies at UT-Austin in 2018, where she studies Salvadoran political institutions. She is now living in Washington DC, and thrilled to work with CISPES in accompanying social movements in El Salvador towards the liberation of El Salvador and her people.
Jenny Bekenstein- Western States Development Coordinator
As the Western States Development Coordinator, Jenny keeps up with donors on the West Coast and coordinates the phonebank: one of CISPES' most grassroots strategies for connecting with our long-term supporters and keeping people informed about what is happening in El Salvador. Jenny became inspired by political movements in Latin America and learned about the history of US intervention in the region through working with la Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (ATC) of Nicaragua, and their solidarity network, Friends of the ATC. She came back to the US eager to organize with anti-imperialist organizations that work in solidarity with Central America—that is when she met CISPES and became a member of the Los Angeles chapter.
Yesenia Portillo- East Coast Organizer
As East Coast Regional Organizer, Yesenia supports the growth and development of CISPES’ work in the East Coast by providing materials, trainings and guidance to the volunteers who carry out CISPES’ work at the chapter level and supports development of political strategy and campaigns as a member of the national program team. Yesenia, part of the Salvadoran diaspora, first became involved with CISPES in 2010, during her last quarter as an undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego, when she participated in CISPES’ first Radical Roots delegation – a delegation that was a part of CISPES’ campaign to accompany the anti-mining struggle in El Salvador. In 2016, while working fulltime in Los Angeles, Yesenia reconnected with CISPES and volunteered to help reestablish a CISPES chapter there. Since then she has had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador and to reconnect with her family’s homeland as a coordinator for CISPES 2018 Elections Accompaniment Delegation and their third Radical Roots delegation that same year. Yesenia moved from Southern California to Washington, DC to work with CISPES later in 2018. Outside of CISPES, she enjoys artsy things like live music, film, going to museums, etc.
Karen Oliva- West Coast Organizer
As West Coast Organizer, Karen supports chapters in Los Angeles and the Bay Area by providing materials, trainings and guidance to the volunteers who carry out CISPES’ work at the chapter level. She also supports CISPES' fundraising efforts and the development of program campaigns and materials. Karen first got involved with CISPES as a member of the LA chapter in 2018 in hopes of building community with other Central Americans in the diaspora and supporting the revolutionary struggles of the Salvadoran social movements. She lives in the San Fernando Valley (outskirts of LA) with her family and enjoys hiking, going to the beach and listening to music.
Mattie Conway- National Organizer
As West Coast Organizer, Mattie supports chapters by providing materials, trainings and guidance to the volunteers who carry out CISPES’ work at the chapter level and keeps in touch with CISPES’ supporters and donors in California. Mattie first got involved in 2012 when she participated in CISPES’ first Literacy Brigade while a student at UC Santa Cruz and returned to become a student leader in the Santa Cruz chapter. While in Santa Cruz, she participated in campaigns to stop US pressure to privatize El Salvador’s public utilities and services and stop U.S. intervention in Salvadoran elections. In 2016, Mattie moved to Los Angeles to begin the rebuilding of the CISPES chapter there and then moved on to become the West Coast Organizer. Outside of CISPES, she enjoys painting her nails, making up recipes and going to parks.
David Grosser- East Coast Development Coordinator
As the East Coast Development Coordinator, David works with our fundraising team and is responsible for outreach to our donors in the northeast. He got his start in solidarity with the people of El Salvador as a Sister City activist during the country’s Civil War. David then got involved with CISPES and worked as the Boston chapter’s local organizer in the mid-90s. After the neoliberal destruction of university education made his original career goal of becoming a history professor impossible, David chose to get his revenge by helping to build the internationalism necessary to bring down the US Empire. A proud father of three and grandfather of four, he enjoys playing and watching basketball, mountain climbing and listening to rock and roll.
Ayla Bailey- Mid-West Development Coordinator
As the Mid-West Development Coordinator, Ayla is part of our fundraising team and is responsible for outreach to our donors in the mid-west and with our monthly sustainers. She got involved in the solidarity movement in Western Massachusetts and solidified her anti-imperialist conviction while living in Guatemala over a period of years. She moved to DC to work in the labor movement and first joined CISPES through the DC chapter and as a part-time phone banker in 2012. She continues in a fundraising role, excited to work toward re-building the power of the Central American Solidarity movement. Outside of CISPES she works with the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, bikes everywhere, coaches plant-life out of pots and gardens and treats social dancing as a sport.
Marissa Jefferies- West Coast Development Coordinator
As the West Coast Development Coordinator, Marissa collaborates with the fundraising team and provides direct support to our donor base in the West Coast. Marissa was first introduced to CISPES’ work as a student in San Francisco City College where she was recruited by long-time solidarity organizers to be part of the 2017 May Day delegation to El Salvador. Following the delegation, she has remained motivated and energized by CISPES’ grassroots organizing model, our commitment to ending oppression, and our direct solidarity with popular movements in El Salvador. As a mother, student, and organizer, Marissa makes activism a part of her daily family life. She aspires to become a high school English teacher, with a focus on teaching social justice through literature.
Louis Elkner-Alfaro- Administrative Coordinator
As Part-Time Administrator Louis makes sure all the numbers add up, the income is coming in, the outgoing is going out, the reports look good and the files are well-organized. Louis first became involved with progressive politics by attending Iraq War protests and since then has been involved with a variety of progressive activists and efforts. Throughout Louis' life he has had a personal connection with and exposure to progressive Salvadoran politics and he has been involved with CISPES-DC so that he can play his part in assisting El Salvador's progressive efforts. Louis likes to bake, cook and learn to do things himself instead of paying for them.