Pablo Paredes, Former Program Director
Pablo Paredes is a Conscientious Objector to war in all forms. In 2004 Paredes made headlines as US Navy Salior who refused to board a naval vessel with a mission to ferry 1000+ marines to Iraq. This came after five years of distinguished service in the US Navy. Paredes was then court-martialed and eventually discharged from the Navy after serving a sentence of 3 months hard labor, 2 months restriction, and reduction in rank to the navy’s lowest pay grade. Since obtaining his freedom from the armed forces Pablo has dedicated himself to building youth power in communities of color to challenge militarism, racism and xenophobia. The 33 year old has spoken at hundreds of High Schools in several states as well as in Puerto Rico.
In November of 2005 he took his message to an armed conflict ridden area of Colombia known as Putumayo. There he worked with a group of middle and high school aged youth to create alternatives to joining the armed struggle in Colombia.
Son of an Ecuadorian (im)migrant father and a Puerto Rican mother, Paredes has always had a deep connection to and passion for migrant justice issues. His wife became undocumented in the first years of their relationship. His family lived the fear of the possibility of raids and checkpoints destroying their young family in the border town of San Diego.
Paredes has spent the past 8 years doing youth organizing work in the San Francisco Bay Area. He co-founded BAY-Peace, (Beter Alternatives for Youth). The group successfully campaigned for the strongest district policies in the nation for Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley around military recruitment and student privacy. In 2010 he brought together a core group of high school aged (im)migrant youth to begin the 67 Sueños collective. In the summer of 2011 the group was featured on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle for a Mural declaring No Human Being Is Illegal. 67 Sueños has been the subject of a 3 part series on Univision 14 and featured in media outlets including KPFA, ColorLines, New American Media and many more.
Ericson Amaya, Youth Mentor
Ericson Amaya, aka E, was born and raised in DEEP EAST Oakland, CA. At a young age, he experienced violence and has lost family and friends due to gun violence. While at 67 Sueños, Young E discovered poetry, it allowed him to express himself and take control of his destiny. Once on a path to be a high school dropout, he changed his course and is now completing his third year at San Francisco State University while working as a youth organizer with 67 Sueños. Young E has mentored over 20 youth, mainly young males who have found themselves in his very same shoes and continues to use poetry as one of his main tools to help transform their lives. Any given time, you can find Young E speaking out against state and police violence, pushing to stop Urban Shield and swat raids in Oakland, working closely with youth to ensure they reach their full potential, or submerging himself in his academic books.
Yoxeli Romero, Youth Mentor
Yoxeli Romero, a Xingona Guerrera, was part of the 7 core youth who envisioned and co-founded 67 Sueños back in 2010. She started as a high school intern and after graduating she transitioned into a youth mentor. She found passion in the work because for the first time she felt empowered as an undocumented youth. Before 67 Sueños, she had fell into the shadows, feeling voiceless and unempowered. With the guidance and support she received at 67 Sueños she was determined to speak her story. She understood that she wasn’t only speaking for herself but also for her family, friends, and community. Yoxeli saw 67 Sueños not just as a program but as a familia. Yoxeli shares that 67 saved her at a time in her life where she was lost. She felt so powerful that she felt that she could knock down the border with her bare hands and that together at 67 Sueños we could change the laws with our stories. Today you find Yoxeli feeling brown and proud, and still in a path of discovering who she is.
Javiera Torres, UCSC Community Studies Intern
Javiera Torres, a sweet soul with fearless energy joined 67 Sueños back in 2014 as a full-time community studies intern from UCSC. With raíces en Santiago, Chile, but raised in Sac town, she came into 67 as a pollinator who spread love, hope, and resiliency to the young people she engaged with.
(How has your past and your upbringing lead you to focus on community healing and youth work)
While at 67 Sueños the young people appreciated how caring, thoughtful, and what a great listener she was. Finding her passion in community healing, Javiera continues to dedicate her energy to 67 Sueños by supporting as a circle leader, mentor, ally, and overall trustworthy sister in the struggle. Today you can find Javiera doing amazing work at Impact Youth Hub as an Opportunity Network Manager.
Oscar Calderon, UCSC Community Studies Intern
His family rooted in Michoacan, Mexico and growing up in Deep East Oakland has shaped the person who Oscar is today. Going through the charter schooling system, Oscar felt lost when looking for himself represented in the history textbooks. He felt detached from his culture and history. Although the school he attended was 95% Latino, he felt like his community was silenced and in the shadows. He came to 67 Sueños through his major community studies at University of California Santa Cruz. He was interested in working with 67 Sueños because he found a path to reconnect to his history, culture, and traditions. Through that knowledge he was able to find his voice and find his power of resistance. Oscar became a great mentor for the youth at 67 by providing them with a platform to be creative physically, mentally and emotionally. One place where Oscar showcased his leadership and commitment with 67 Sueños was when he co-led a rally with young people from 13 different Oakland high schools, to be able to speak out against hatred and racism that affects their families and communities on the daily. Today you can catch Oscar as a Contra Costa program facilitator at Project WHAT!, an organization that works with youth who have incarcerated parents.
Alba Diaz Canela, UCSC Community Studies College Intern
Alba Diaz Canela is a college intern from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). She is a first generation student, entering her senior year at UCSC, double majoring in Psychology and Community Studies. She is originally from Michoacan, Mexico, but settled in the Northern Bay Area. It was at the university, specifically her involvement at Oakes College, where she became politically conscious and began to connect pieces of her experiences to academic and political terms that depicted her lived reality. Her passion for social justice began to grow, which led Alba to pursue Community Studies, where political consciousness touches local communities. It was through this major that she became connected to the work of 67 Sueños. For Alba, 67 Sueños creates a safe space for young people to learn about themselves, heal from their traumas, explore their cultures, reconnect with themselves and their community. Alba joined the team empowered by her voice and mentors youth to reach their goals in the same matter.