Board of Directors

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) is the leading civil rights voice of the Latino community.

Marcus Allen

Board President

Marcus Allen has more than 30 years of experience in Los Angeles City and County public affairs, advocacy, and political strategy development.  As a partner with EKA, a strategic public affairs firm specializing in government advocacy, public affairs, media relations, community relations and political campaigns, Marcus helps clients anticipate government actions and develop approaches that merge government and business goals.  

Prior to joining EKA, Marcus served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  In this position he acted as the Chief Operating Officer for the nation’s second largest city.  Among his many responsibilities Marcus oversaw the construction and adoption of the City budget, was the lead negotiator on labor contracts, and served as the Mayor’s top advisor on information technology initiatives, fiscal issues, strategic planning and performance management.

Marcus also served as Chief Deputy to City Controller Laura N. Chick.  He managed the day-to-day operations of the City Controller’s office while also acting as chief strategist to the city’s top elected financial officer.  Marcus has also served as top staff to City Controller Rick Tuttle, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles City Council Chief Legislative Analyst Ron Deaton, and the Los Angeles County Probation Department.  He began his career at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Marcus has a political science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a public policy degree from the University of Chicago. In addition, Marcus also served on the Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission and the Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association Board of Investments.  He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and the Southern California Golf Association (SCGA).

1st Vice Chair

Aracely Muñoz
Special Counsel
Center for Reproductive Rights
(Washington, DC)

2nd Vice Chair

Regina Montoya
Attorney
City of Dallas
(Dallas, TX)

3rd Vice Chair

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
Senator
New Mexico State Senate
(Albuquerque, NM)

Secretary / Treasurer
Fiscal & Investment Committee Chair

Jeffrey Garcia
Vice President
Capital Group
(Los Angeles, CA)

Governance & Nominations Committee Chair

Enrique Chavez, Jr.
Principal and Founder
Chavez Law Firm
(El Paso, TX)

Audit Committee Chair

Anna Maria Chavez
Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer
National Council on Aging
(Washington, DC)

Development Committee Chair

Maria Gabriela “Gaby” Pacheco
Program Director
TheDream.US
(Miami, FL)

Program & Planning Committee Chair

Laura Flores Cantrell
Executive Director
Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment
(Seattle, WA)

MPMC Chair

Hector Cuellar
President,
Gassó Capital Markets​
(Newport Coast, CA)

President & General Counsel

Thomas A. Saenz
(Los Angeles, CA)

Members

Maria Antonietta Berriozabal
Community Activist
(San Antonio, TX)

Martin J. Chavez
Strategic Advisory Council
Cityzenith
(Washington, DC)

Elisa de la Vara
Chief Community Officer
Arizona Community Foundation
(Phoenix, AZ)

Phil Fuentes
Owner and Operator
McDonald’s 
(Chicago, IL)

Joe Garcia
Chancellor
Colorado Community College System
(Denver, CO)

Emilio Gonzalez
Executive Director, Public Policy & Strategic Alliances
Verizon
(Washington, DC)

Jorge A. Herrera
Attorney
The Herrera Law Firm
(San Antonio, TX)

Bill Lann Lee
Senior Counsel
Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC)
(Berkeley, CA)

Loretta P. Martinez
Chief Legal Counsel
University of New Mexico
(Albuquerque, NM)

Aracely Muñoz
Special Counsel
Center for Reproductive Rights
(Washington, DC)

Fabian Nuñez
Partner
Mercury LLC
(Sacramento, CA)

Michael A. Olivas
Director
Institute for Higher Education Law & Governance
University of Houston Law Center
(Houston, TX)

Lillian Rodriguez Lopez
Director
Public Affairs & Communities
CC1 Companies
(Smyrna, GA)

Irma Rodriguez Moisa
Partner
Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud, & Romo
(Cerritos, CA)

Jose Sanchez
Senior Managing Director
Deloitte Global
(Los Angeles, CA)

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
Senator
New Mexico State Senate
(Albuquerque, NM)

Carlos R. Soltero
Partner
Soltero Sapire Murrell PLLC
(Austin, TX)

Dr. Cynthia Telles
Clinical Professor and Director
Department of Psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine
(Los Angeles, CA)

Michael Wampold
Partner
Peterson Wampold Rosato Feldman Luna
(Seattle, WA)

Ronald W. Wong
President/CEO
Imprenta Communications Group
(Los Angeles, CA)

As Donald Trump passed 500 days in the White House earlier in June, the parameters of the administration’s approach to critical issues of concern to the Latino community have become even clearer. After 500 days, Trump has failed to nominate a single Latino to a federal court of appeals vacancy. After 500 days, Trump has continued regularly to demonize, with false facts and vile rhetoric, all immigrants, particularly Latino immigrants. After 500 days, Trump has embarked on a federal policy of violently separating minor children from their refuge-seeking parents in the name of “zero tolerance.” After 500 days, Trump seeks to expand family detention, an inhumane abomination, and continues to demand that United States taxpayers pay for an ineffective and unnecessary wall at the southern border. After 500 days, Trump still champions a discriminatory Muslim ban, securing a bare-majority Supreme Court ruling allowing the continued influence of bigotry in immigration policy, which has historically harmed Latinos more than anyone else. After 500 days, the Trump administration has proven to be the most anti-Latino presidential administration in our history.

After 500 days under this administration of our own work to forge a different path for our nation, MALDEF continues to strive, in court and out, to promote civil rights and constitutional values. To resist and to lead. Below, we highlight just a few of our activities to promote the right to vote and to defend our national principles of fairness and equity in treatment of all immigrants. Work like that described below will continue and expand as MALDEF fulfills its unique role – to be the legal voice that helps to enable the Latino community, despite efforts of the Trump administration to prevent many of us from even being counted in the decennial Census, to lead our nation to a more promising future of inclusion and equity.

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund