Coalition Organizing Director | Puget Sound Sage
Elena is the Coalition Organizing Director at Puget Sound Sage. She has over two decades of community organizing experience centered in racial and economic justice, multi-sectoral coalition building, and leadership development. Previously, as DIrector of ROC United's Seattle Chapter, she organized restaurant workers around their workplace and immigration rights, and coordinated ROC United's Racial Equity Project to confront occupational racial segregation in the industry. Programs she created include WA Immigrant Solidarity Network's "Immigration (ICE) Know Your Rights Training for Employers", and a unique, community-based "Food Handlers Plus" training, building a partnership with Seattle's Health Department to ensure spanish-speaking food workers learned their workplace and immigration rights as they obtained work permits.
While working in the labor movement, Elena spearheaded UFCW21's Community Organizing Department, a unique model in both the local and national labor movement. She founded and coordinated the Pierce County Community Healthcare Alliance, a people of color led coalition working to ensure that those most impacted by health disparities, primarily low-income consumers and communities of color, have access to quality, affordable healthcare. And she led Washington State's "Making Change at Walmart" coalition work.
Despite the huge challenges we face, these experiences have grounded Elena in a deep faith in the power to make change when movements are led by black, brown, and indigenous people, low-income workers, and frontline communities most impacted by racial, social, and economic injustice.