Arcenio J. López is a Mixteco native from the village of San Francisco Higos, in Oaxaca, Mexico. He grew up speaking Mixteco as his primary language, and learned Spanish as his second language. When he arrived in Oxnard in 2003, Arcenio worked as a farmworker in the strawberry fields. In 2006, Arcenio was hired as MICOP’s first Community Organizer. He enrolled at Oxnard College where he received his Associate Degree in 2008.
Arcenio was hired as the Associate Director of MICOP in 2010. Eventually he was promoted in 2014, and became the first indigenous Executive Director for the organization. Under his leadership, MICOP has grown and flourished in size, scope and reach; from adult literacy classes to indigenous youth organizing to a community radio station. Because of his work, MICOP is the trusted voice of the indigenous community and a respected partner to dozens of local and statewide agencies.
Genevieve Flores-Haro serves as the Associate Director for the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project, a nonprofit serving California Central Coast’s indigenous migrant community. In this capacity, she oversees the organization’s policy priorities, special events, communications and is a founding member of the 805 UndocuFund. She also supervises MICOP programs specific to health access & advocacy, mental health and domestic violence, including two multi-year mixed methods research studies. Statewide, she co-leads the Culturally Responsive Domestic Violence Network, as well as MICOP’s climate adaptation/disaster response within immigrant communities advocacy efforts. Most recently, she is the lead on MICOP’s Census 2020 California farmworker outreach and education work.
Genevieve received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. She currently serves as Board President for Ventura County’s local LGBTQ organization Diversity Collective, and is a board member for the Planned Parenthood Central Coast Action Fund. In 2018 she was awarded a Women of the Year Award by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblymember Monique Limón for her work during the Thomas Fire.
Donna Foster is the Operations Manager at Mixeco/Indigena Community Organizing Project. She started working at MICOP in 2006 as an Administrative Assistant. In addition to Operations Manager, Donna is also the Human Resources manager at MICOP.
Donna was born in Brooklyn, New York. She has an AA from Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. She has lived in Ventura for 36 years, has two children, and enjoys traveling, reading, photography, and spending time with friends and family in her spare time.
Dulce Ma. Vargas was born in Santa Cruz de Bravo Oaxaca, Mexico. Dulce is the youngest of five siblings and mother of two daughters. In 2002, she attended Benito Juarez University in Oaxaca. Presently, she continues with her education in Oxnard College. Dulce became involved with the program Mujeres de MICOP in 2009. In 2013, she coordinated and developed the MICOP’s Living with Love Program and co-authored along with Barbara Marquez, the Living with Love handbook that focuses on prevention, well-being, and domestic violence around the indigenous community in Ventura County. As of now, Dulce is the Program Manager of the Living with Love Program, which was selected as an evaluation project under the California Reducing Disparities Project. Dulce will be managing the Pilot Project in collaboration with the UCLA Center for Health Equity.
Irene Gómez was born in Santiago Asunción, Silacayoapan, Oaxaca, Mexico. At the age of 14, she migrated to the US and worked alongside her family in farming jobs in Oxnard, Sacramento and Washington State. Irene speaks fluent Spanish and Mixteco, and learning English. Irene currently resides in Oxnard CA and has four children, three girls and one boy. In 2001, Irene became involved with the Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) as a volunteer. In 2007, Irene joined MICOP staff as a Community Promotora, assisting families in accessing needed support. Irene is now the Program Manager for the women’s empowerment, mental health, and Puentes case management programs at MICOP.
Hello my name is Javier Garcia. I am originally from San Martin Peras, Oaxaca. I came to the U.S at seven years old and I have been living here for eighteen years along with my family. I attended Rio Mesa High School and graduated in the year 2015, and I plan on continuing my education very soon. My first language is Mixteco but growing up and studying here I learned Spanish and English and it became my second and third languages. I work as an Interpreter Coordinator with MICOP and at the same time learning more about the problems related to language access that are happening inside and outside of our county.
In my free time I enjoy playing the guitar and go hiking in California’s backyard accompanied by my camera.
Liliana Manriquez (Chicana) is an Oxnard Native, raised by two Mexican immigrant parents. Working as the Coordinator for Proyecto Acceso with MICOP and as a Research Assistant and Evaluation Coordinator for MICOP’s Healing the Soul –Curando el Alma – Na Sana’e Ini’e project, she is utilizing her degrees in Psychology (CSU Channel Islands, 2016) and Mexican American Studies (The University of Arizona, 2018) to help better the people in her community. Liliana has experience working as a teaching assistant for universities, community organizer, and student outreach for higher education. She has worked as a long-term substitute teacher for the Ventura school district and is studying to be a Reiki Master. Her goal is to do work in life that makes an impact on the people in underserved and underrepresented communities, but most importantly she values the impact of her family.
Melissa Cuevas joined MICOP in July 2019 and serves as the Project Coordinator for Conexion Con Mis Compañeras. Melissa is a local to Ventura county growing up in Port Hueneme until she left for college in northern California. She went to school at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she majored in Community Studies and minored in Education. Melissa has experience working in the non-profit sector and within education supporting the Latinx community. She is passionate about connecting individuals to resources, learning from the community, and working towards a mission to achieve greater good for all.
Norma Gomez has been a leader in MICOP since 2001. She first participated as a volunteer in organizing MICOP’s monthly community meeting, then trained as one of MICOP’s first Health Care Promotoras in 2004.
Norma helped to create the hands-on culturally and linguistically appropriate Well Baby (Bebe Sano) program in 2004 and Learning with Mom and Dad (Aprendiendo con Mamá y Papá) in 2011. She continues to coordinate those programs in her role as project manager. In 2014, Norma helped to develop and lead MICOP’s ongoing collaboration with UCLA to improve health access and outcomes for the indigenous community of Ventura County.
As project manager for the UCLA-MICOP participatory research studies, Norma has played a vital role in developing curricula, training community-based research investigators, developing unique tools and approaches to cancer prevention such as the RadioNovela, and interpreting research data and the production of evidence-based reports.
Vanessa is a Mexican-American social justice, language access and human rights political advocate. Vanessa joined the Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project in the summer of 2013. MICOP aids, organizes, and empowers Ventura County’s indigenous immigrant communities serving over 6,000 individuals annually through health and community access, community organizing, education, direct assistance and cultural promotion.
Vanessa currently oversees and supervises programming in youth advocacy and higher education, education and literacy, indigenous immigrant culture, women’s workforce development, indigenous language services and language preservation, academic research and interns, reproductive justice and most recently around early childhood education. Through her work at MICOP, she envisions a strong indigenous immigrant community, actively engaged to achieve just working and living conditions, equality, and full human rights in the broader community. Vanessa is from Oxnard, CA and a graduate of Chicana and Chicano Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.