Advocacy Deputy Director Vania is an ambientalista with roots in Masajapa, El Salvador. Born and raised in El Monte, California to a beautiful immigrant family, Vania's parents instilled a love of honoring madre tierra and her community.
As a child, Vania was amazed at her father's green thumb, and ability to plant and grow black beans and fruits and vegetables in their own backyard. She also witnessed her mother overcome cultural and language barriers to improve the quality of life for her children and other students in their school district.
Vania orgullosamente remembers her mother organizing other mothers at local parks and libraries to reclaim spaces and opportunities previously deemed unattainable. Through her family, Vania developed an appreciation for land and nature and committed herself to advocating for her community.
In college, Vania was an environmental educator in Brazil where she worked with children and at a local community garden appreciating natural land, cultivation and the community. After graduation, Vania dedicated her professional career to creating and developing relationships between the Latinx community and local government for eight years, and served as a Councilmember for the City of Phoenix. During this time, Vania developed a keen interest in land use and passion for empowering communities of color to participate in the development and planning of our neighborhoods.
In her free time, Vania enjoys solo backpacking throughout her ancestral and natural lands and throughout Latin America. Her adventures have motivated her to recreate the livelihood of public spaces in her home here in Phoenix. Vania is eager to contribute her experience and further her advocacy focusing on intersectional environmentalism, public lands access, equity and inclusion in environmental land use policies and community empowerment.