Our Community

ANNETTE QUINTERO

For the past 10 years, Annette Quintero has been active in numerous organizations dedicated to a variety of local and international issues.  Her most recent involvement encompasses international, national and regional advocacy and service work with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition. She has organized educational forums regarding multi-ethnic migration, health, education, and housing; advocated for comprehensive immigration reform and undocumented students’ issues; and raised $3,000 for immigrant families in sanctuary at local churches and over $8,000 in scholarships for CSULB immigrant students.

Quintero is also a member of the steering committee for the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community. She has conducted media interviews about the need for good jobs in Long Beach, addressed the Long Beach City Council about the “working poor” and the need for a livable wage, and helped to organize many community delegations, marches, and educational events.

Since 2006 Quintero has served on the board of the African Well Fund, an organization dedicated to building and maintaining fresh water wells in Africa. She has organized various educational forums for the community, religious institutions, and schools; forged partnerships with leading international organizations; and worked to provide clean drinking water to more than 200,000 people in over 12 countries.

Quintero is a monthly volunteer with the Long Beach Community Action Team, which is dedicated to promoting social well-being among the Long Beach community by implementing youth programs, environmental stewardship, and animal welfare. She has also been involved in the CSULB community since becoming a student in 2005. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology at CSULB in 2007 and will complete her certificate in geographic information systems this month.

MARIA PATLAN

Maria Patlan is a long-time resident of Long Beach and has been working as a housekeeper at the Hilton Long Beach for over 13 years.  María has been injured three times at work, but hasn’t been able to fully recover because losing her only source of income matters too much. The most difficult part of her job, she says, is “to do my job while in pain.” And her job is a difficult one: “I do the work of two people,” she reports about her daily room quota.

María cannot afford full medical coverage for her family. “It is too expensive,” she says of the family coverage. Despite working for HEI for over a decade, in the past three years, María has been forced to use food stamps and free or reduced-price school meals to feed her family.  María has four children and six grandchildren. She dreams of paying for her children’s college education and buying a house, but those middle-class conventions are unfortunately out of reach for María. In fact, María didn’t have the ability to help pay for her daughter’s first semester of college—a fact which was hard for her to deal with. “I’m supposed to provide for my family,” María says, “but the pay I get makes it difficult for me to do everything I want to do for them.”

For the past three years, she is widely acknowledged as a leader amongst her co-workers and continues to organize alongside her co-workers for safer working conditions, dignity, and respect on the job.  Being a leader in transforming her workplace has also put Maria in situations to confront existing stereotypes.  Having a co-worker come out to her as gay has helped her ask questions and challenge existing perceptions of the LGBTQ community.  Since then, she has participated with the LB Coalition for Good Jobs and Healthy Community’s LGBTQ- LABOR Alliance Breaking Stereotypes,  marched in two Long Beach Pride Parades, and recently spoke on a panel with well-known LGBT activist, Cleve Jones, at the Center of Long Beach’s Q-Speak Series:  Common Ground – Intersections Between Labor and Queer Movements.

NAIDA TUSHNET

A long-time resident of Long Beach, Naida Tushnet is an experienced activist in her community; she was raised on the principle that it is “important to right wrongs.” Naida’s community involvement isn’t limited to the important work she’s done with the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community—she’s also an active member of the Long Beach Area Peace Network, regularly attending their vigils on Fridays. Naida’s leadership skills are apparent, as she has served as president of Long Beach Area Citizens Involved, and volunteered for numerous political campaigns on the local, state, and national levels. Naida plans to further increase her involvement in the community after her recent retirement. She will also continue to spend time with her lovely grandchildren, with whom she will share her philosophy: it is essential that “those of us with the privilege of good educations and good jobs work to make sure everyone has the same opportunities we had.”

 

 

 

NELSON “MATT” NAILAT

Nelson Matthew Nailat Jr. graduated from CSULB and currently works with Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP).  As a former childcare educator, Nelson developed a strong connection with local youth, which sparked his interest in “empowering [them] through written and oral expressions.” Nelson actively runs events for a Long Beach arts collective called One Imagination and coordinates the monthly Break The Silence, a monthly event which allows people of all ages to express themselves through art. To many, Nelson is an inspirational disc jockey and driven community organizer. Nelson believes that the Coalition allows him to be the latter and to fight for justice for workers in his community.