Jason Nuñez is a dedicated community advocate with a diverse background in the political, financial, and public sectors. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, he proudly identifies as an Afro-Latino and calls Montgomery County home. With an academic foundation in Public Administration from the City University of New York (CUNY) John Jay College of Criminal Justice, specializing in financial management, Jason has honed his analytical and financial skills.
Over the past 15 years, Jason has been actively involved in various local, state, and federal political campaigns, working on public policy initiatives in the Maryland General Assembly. His leadership qualities shone through as he spearheaded the Legislative Review Committee, for which he received a Citation from the Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus for his impactful work.
Jason’s experience extends to the finance sector, where he has worked as a stockbroker for JP Morgan. Presently, he serves as a Constituent Service Specialist for Prince George’s County Council Chair Tom Dernoga, directly engaging with the community.
Outside of his professional pursuits, Jason takes great pride in being a devoted girl dad, cherishing his role in coaching his daughter’s youth soccer team and providing unwavering support for her political aspirations. As the newly appointed Chairman of the Latinx Diversity Leadership Council, Jason is determined to increase Latinx voter turnout through consistent community engagement while fostering partnerships with local organizations and businesses and empowering youth leaders. Jason’s diverse experiences, dedication to community advocacy, and his cherished role as a girl dad make him a valuable asset to the Maryland Democratic Leadership Council.
Yolanda R. Quintanilla is a financial and policy specialist and proud HBCU grad and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Graduate of Emerge Maryland. Born into both black and Puerto Rican heritage, she has dedicated her life to advocacy work for vulnerable communities. Yolanda has over 15 years of experience in community advocacy for youth development, immigration reform, human trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence. She holds a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education as well as a Master in Public Administration from Bowie State University.
A self-described “soccer mom” for her 9-year-old daughter, Yolanda has fought and advocated to create a better future for her family as well as her community.
Juan Sebastian Melgar (Chief Data Analyst) is a state and local government research professional. After being inspired by his experience living in downtown Baltimore, Juan transferred from accounting to a political science major at Towson University. He got involved on-campus by becoming a Latin American Student Organization board member. He was also an intern at Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District and a legislative assistant at the Maryland General Assembly’s 2019 Session. After graduating, Juan became a researcher for a DC-based company where he developed expertise in state and local research and data analysis. Despite working for the private sector, Juan remains passionate about the Latinx community. Juan utilizes his background and skillset to support Latinx community-based initiatives.
Katerin De La O Lara (Director of Legal Services) was born in El Salvador and came to the U.S. when she was 6 years old. She is the oldest of 3 and is a daughter of immigrant parents. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Criminal Justice and is on her path to law school. She served as an Administrative Aide to Former Council Member Dannielle Glaros, District 3 in Prince George’s County and is currently a Latino Outreach Specialist and Partnership Coordinator for the office of Council Member Eric Olson, District 3 in Prince George’s County. She has coordinated various events with different nonprofits in Prince George’s County and has connected many County organizations to the Latino community. She is passionate about advocating and helping the Latino immigrant Community and hopes to become an immigration lawyer. She lives in Severn MD, and in her spare time, she loves to read and play soccer.
Juan Zabala (Housing Equity Director) is a native of Reading, Pa., and moved to the Washington DC metro area to pursue his master’s degree. Prior to moving to the D.C. area, he served on the boards of several nonprofit and governmental organizations, such as Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks, Greater Berks County Latino Chamber of Commerce, The City of Reading’s Blighted Property Review Committee, and the Reading Redevelopment Authority, where he served as vice chairman. An active Democrat, Juan has served as a Democratic committeeman for the Berks County Democratic Committee. He has helped numerous Latino candidates get elected throughout the State of Pennsylvania, from school board members, council people, and mayors, to state legislators. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in Real Estate from Georgetown University. As a first- generation immigrant himself, Juan has made it his mission to ensure that there are fewer overlooked populations. Democracy is strengthened when the voices of the unheard are elevated. He is looking forward to working with the Latino Diversity Leadership Council. Palante
Karen Guzmán (Business Development Director) (she/her/ella) is the Director of Community and Economic Development for Prince Geoge’s County Council Member Olson in District 3. Prior to joining the Prince George’s County Council, Karen served as a Parent Community Organizer at Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, where she worked on innovative virtual organizing with core teams of parent/teacher circles in community schools throughout Prince George’s County, Maryland. Karen also served as a Health Services Promoter Peace Corps Volunteer in Inharrime, Mozambique supporting Youth Development, HIV, and Malaria prevention initiatives and treatment retention, specifically amongst women and adolescents. Before joining the Peace Corps, Karen worked at Partners of the Americas, where she streamlined and managed the organization’s grassroots volunteer network and higher educational institution portfolio. Karen began her career as a Community Organizer for United We Dream Affiliate Organizations in Maryland, advocating for immigration rights on a national and local level. She is passionate about data-driven results, social justice issues, advocacy, and empowering others. Karen holds a B.A. in Sociology and minors in U.S. Latino/a Studies and International Development and Conflict Management from the University of Maryland-College Park. She is a proud Bolivian- American and Prince George’s County resident. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and writing poetry.
Jesus Eusebio Perez (Human Services Director) is an exceptional activist deeply invested in advocating for the rights and well-being of the immigrant and Latino community in Baltimore City. Hailing originally from Puebla, Mexico, Jesus embarked on his American journey at the tender age of five, ultimately establishing Maryland as his cherished home. From his high school years at Patterson High School in Baltimore, where he dedicated himself to volunteer work with CASA de Maryland, fighting for immigration reform and the Maryland DREAM ACT, Jesus’s commitment to community service has been unwavering. His passion and dedication led him to continue his involvement with CASA de Maryland, serving on its board and earning recognition for his exceptional contributions. Furthermore, Jesus’s impact expanded as he became a board member of the esteemed Latino Providers Network, solidifying his commitment to uplifting the immigrant and Latino community and promoting collaboration among organizations dedicated to their service. Currently, Jesus demonstrates his compassion as a Teacher Assistant at Mother Mary Lange Catholic School, supporting students, families, and faculty members with unwavering dedication. With his remarkable journey as an activist fueled by a profound passion for justice and equality, Jesus stands as a beacon of hope for the immigrant and Latino community in Baltimore City.
Carlos Miguel Paulino Jr. (Marketing Director) is a Bronx-born artist and military veteran passionate about creating captivating artwork and helping others achieve their goals. Growing up surrounded by graffiti artists, he developed an eye for simplicity within chaos. With a Bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Animation, he founded TruthBeTold Life Designs in 2021. Carlos has extensive experience in design, working as a bilingual content creator, brand designer, and VFX artist. He has created high-quality ad campaigns, designed logos and brand manuals, and edited videos for various clients. His creativity and dedication to maintaining brand integrity make him a valuable asset in any creative project.
Mark Bell (Latinx Fellowship Director)
Kony Serrano Portillo (Political Strategy Co-Director) has lived in Maryland for over 5 years and currently serves as a Council Member for the Town of Edmonston in Prince George’s County. Ms. Serrano-Portillo also works as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Prince George’s County Council. Ms. Serrano-Portillo was born and raised in El Salvador and came to the United States at 9 years old. She was raised in an advocacy environment for human, civil, and immigrant rights. Ms. Serrano-Portillo lobbied in the Maryland General Assembly for two years, advocating for healthcare access for all, regardless of immigrant status. She currently continues to work on advocating for immigrant’s rights, the gender wage gap, and health care access. Outside of her work at the County Council. Ms. Serrano-Portillo loves to travel and spend time with her family, friends, and rescue dog, Kahlo.
Hon. Courtney Finklea Green. M.F.A., Ed.S.(Political Strategy Co-Director) is an educator, political strategist, advocate, entrepreneur, artist, and speaker. More importantly, she is the proud mom to her son DJ. She has thirteen years of major account management, sales, government contracting and marketing experience in corporate America. She attended Sweet Briar College and obtained a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish Literature. She holds an array of advanced graduate degrees as well as certifications from Georgetown University, Cornell University, Villanova University, George Washington University & Corcoran School of Art & Design. Many know of her in Prince George’s County and Maryland due to her holding the positions of liaison and brain trust member for the historic, record-breaking campaign for Brooke Lierman for Maryland Comptroller 2022. Courtney is a co-founder of the Prince George’s County chapter of “Maryland Women for Biden” with Maryland State’s Attorney, the Honorable Aisha Braveboy. Furthermore, she is an alum of Emerge Maryland, which is an organization that recruits, trains and provides a powerful network for Democratic women who want to run for office. Giving back to the community is very important to Courtney. This is very evident in the past and current roles that she held. Currently, she is a member of the Junior League of Washington and is the Chair of the value resources committee, Jubilee JumpStart Committee. As a member, she is active in community service and charitable activities that increase literacy for women and children in underserved communities. Also, she is a graduate of their “Get on Board” program that trains women to serve on nonprofit community boards. Courtney has served on the Executive Board as the Education Chair for the Prince George’s County Chapter of the NAACP. Due to her hard work and dedication regarding special education community-focused programming, she became the Director of Education for Maryland State Delegate and Chair of the Maryland Black Caucus, Del. Darryl Barnes. Hence, she developed and implemented community events to increase parent engagement and had a leadership role in the Parental Education Advisory Committee created by Del. Barnes. In 2018, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin awarded her a citation for education advocacy and community service. Also, in 2018 and 2019, Maryland State delegates; Del. Darryl Barnes, Del. Derrick Davis, Del. Nick Charles, and Sen. Melony Griffith awarded her citations for outstanding leadership in education. In 2021, she was appointed by the Hon. Angela Alsobrooks, county executive of Prince George’s County, MD to be a member of the School Board Transformation Task force. Due to her dedication in the areas of education and activism, she was a guest on LA Talk Radio’s “Dr. Tongie Show”. Courtney has also appeared on Darius Stanton’s “The Peace in the Morning Show” to discuss her work as a disability rights activist and special education. Her steadfast passion for supporting parents and their children with disabilities led her to create the non-profit, “Mustard Seed Mom”. The non-profit organization is a 501c3 that empowers and embraces children as well as their families in special education, art education and underserved populations. Lastly and without further ado, Courtney is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She belongs to the chapter, Iota Gamma Omega in Prince George’s County.