Maria is a social justice campaign strategist and organizer with 15+ years of experience leading impactful federal and state advocacy campaigns for criminal justice, immigration reform, and racial justice issues. She has connected thousands of workers and the public to meaningful policy discussion, and mobilized them to create stronger, intersectional movements where people have the power.
In her current position as a Federal Advocacy Director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice, Maria is managing and building out the infrastructure for new federal advocacy work as well as managing the efforts of the National Coalition for Shared Safety, which represents crime survivors, people with past convictions, public health providers, and business leaders seeking to change our nation’s approach to public safety.
Maria’s passion for Criminal Justice Reform started in her role at the American Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), where she organized the first national coalition in Labor for Criminal Justice Reform and facilitated the creation of its first policy platform on the issue. She facilitated strategic partnerships and fostered collaboration between local unions and allies at the state level, to introduced legislative reform opportunities for re-entry of formerly incarcerated people, restorative justice practices, Ban the Box legislation in 8 states, apprenticeships in prisons nationwide, initiatives to disrupt the School- To-Prison-Pipeline, among others.
Maria developed and implemented SEIU’s Immigrant Justice Campaign’s field campaign strategy as their Field Deputy Director. In this role, she mobilized thousands of workers nationwide to advocate for Federal Immigration Reform, immigrant rights, and Dreamers’ rights. She also led civic engagement initiatives with naturalized citizens.
As a seasoned educator and organizer at heart, Maria trained thousands of workers, community members and leaders. She authored curricula and created tools on the issues of criminal justice, racial justice, immigration, young workers, women’s issues, campaign management, voter registration in communities of color, unconscious bias, racial justice and organizational equity topics.
As the founder and President of Justice Strategies, Maria worked for the Democratic National Committee, CASA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to implement transformative organizational equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Maria, who is originally from Ecuador, studied International Business in Quito’s Catholic University and lives in Rockville, Maryland with her daughter.