IYC Staff


Deportation Defense Coordinator

Deportation Defense Coordinator

Marcela Hernandez, pronouns (she,her) was born in Mexico City and her family migrated to the United States when she was 10-years-old. She grew up in San Gabriel Valley, California where she started getting involved in the immigrant rights movement. Marcela graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish. At Loyola Marymount she was actively involved with service and social justice organizations that advocate for women’s rights, workers’ rights and immigrant rights including MEChA de LMU, RESILIENCE (undocumented youth support/advocacy group), and was Social Justice Chair for Student Government. During her academic breaks she participated and led alternative break trips in Los Angeles, Central Valley and across California focused on farm worker’s issues, immigrant rights, human trafficking and environmental justice issues.  After college she moved to Chicago to complete a year of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Program working as an after-school program coordinator at Family Matters. Upon arriving to Chicago she joined the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), a Chicago-based organization led by undocumented youth working towards full recognition of the rights of all immigrants. She was also an organizer with Organized Communities Against Deportations focusing on fighting deportations and deportations and being active part of the, the Not1More Campaign. For two years, she was Outreach Organizer the immigration project of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network, working on the passage of driver licenses for undocumented community members, against the detention-bed quota, against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and actively involved in the Latin American rights advocacy efforts of the organization

Yessica Gonzalez

Communications Coordinator

Yessica Gonzalez is an undocumented queer femme born in Tijuana, Baja California and raised in Southern California. At the age of 17, they began organizing to denounce the criminalization of immigrant communities with the Immigrant Youth Coalition. Having spent the past two years as the Statewide Coordinator, they are excited for their role as Communications Coordinator to continue pushing for the voices of those most directly impacted to be at the forefront. Yessica is pursuing their Bachelor of Arts at UCLA and is committed to supporting the movement towards the abolition of prisons, borders and binaries.

Pronouns: they/them

Jonathan Perez

Development Coordinator

Jonathan Perez (they,he) is a queer undocumented Afro-Colombian asylum seeker, and a Co-Founder of the Immigrant Youth Coalition.They began organizing in the 10th grade while attending one of the most overcrowded high schools in the nation. Perez organized successfully to stop punitive discipline policies and successfully led a campaign to build 3 new schools in their community in Los Angeles and to increase college access. They, soon realized that he could no longer remain in the shadows. The youth who looked up to Perez, many of whom who were also Undocumented and Queer, pushed them into immigrant rights work. Their journey has taken them from civil disobedience to being locked up in a prison and an immigration detention center.

Local Chapter Youth Organizers

Kevin Flores-Calixto

San Gabriel Valley Youth Organizer

Kevin, pronouns (he,him) was born in Monterrey, Mexico and migrated with his mother and brother at the age of five. Since then, Kevin has experienced the realities that come with identifying as an undocumented youth growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, from police harassment to fearing for his deportation. During his first year at Pasadena City College, Kevin began to develop a consciousness towards social injustices which led him to get involved with an on campus political club to support undocumented students traverse their way through their academic journey. Soon after, he was introduced to the Immigrant Youth Coalition to reach more undocumented people in the community instead of only students. Kevin has continued to organize with youth from the San Gabriel Valley over the past 5 years through the SGV-IYC or through other grassroots community organizations such as the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program where he works to increase his capacity to raise the awareness of larger numbers of youth with mindful social perspectives working towards the advancement of society. (also met this badass youth named Natalie and others.) Through his involvement he has learned more about anarchistic logic and developed an abolitionist mindset to create a community that focuses on restorative justice compared to other means of systems that center around for-profit detention and incarceration, physical and social borders, police state, and policies that negatively affect marginalized people. Kevin is currently awaiting to transfer to California State University of Los Angeles this Fall to continue obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.