Mesa Directiva y Personal

Biografías del personal de la ACLU

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Directora ejecutiva, Norma Chavez-Peterson

NormaSmallColorChávez-Peterson has long been an integral part of San Diego’s organizing community with nearly two decades of experience in community leadership and nonprofit management, advocating for affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization, and immigrant rights. Since starting with the San Diego ACLU in 2012 as organizing director, Chávez-Peterson was promoted to associate director to oversee legal, communications, policy, and organizing programs later that year. In Chávez-Peterson’s short time in leadership, she has been instrumental in creating integrated advocacy campaigns advancing priority issue areas, such as criminal justice, immigrant rights, and voting rights. Before coming to the San Diego ACLU, Chávez-Peterson was the co-founder and executive director of Justice Overcoming Boundaries, a network of faith, community, education, business and labor partners working together to advance social justice in San Diego. She has a Bachelor’s degree from SDSU in political science and Chicano/a studies.

Director Adjunta, Jeff Wergeles

JeffSmallcolorWergeles joined the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties in February 2011 as the development director, and in November 2013 was appointed deputy director. In this position he leads our development work, and oversees the organization’s finances and operations. Prior to joining the ACLU, Wergeles was the director of development at the San Diego LGBT Community Center and before at KPBS, public radio and television for San Diego. He has an extensive resume of community involvement, serving as president on the boards of Mama’s Kitchen and the Greater San Diego Business Association. Prior to working at KPBS he was a member of their community advisory board, and also served as vice president of the Diversionary Theater and on the boards of the June Burnett Institute and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He holds a degree in economics from UCLA.

Gerente de negocios, Laurie Levine

LaurieSmallColorLevine has worked in the accounting field for 30 years. Her experience as the office manager for a training and consulting professional prepared her for the multi-faceted responsibilities of managing the business functions of the San Diego ACLU. For five years she was the sole proprietor of a bookkeeping consulting service. Levine’s belief in the dignity and equality of every human being fuels her passion and dedication to helping the ACLU fight for individual rights and fundamental freedoms.

Mayra Lopez, Asistente de Proyectos Especiales

statue crown-BWLopez joined the ACLU after receiving her masters in history at San Diego State University with a focus on the U.S. Labor Movement, U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, and Mexican History. While completing her undergraduate career at the University of California, Riverside, Lopez became inspired by the labor and civil rights movement, leading her to work as a student organizer for AFSCME 3299, SEI-ULTCW, OUR Walmart, and UAW 4123. Lopez also coordinated an intensive summer program to give students organizing training through education, skills building, and hands-on-in-the-field experience working on a variety of campaigns for economic and social justice.

Kathleen Sanchez, Executive Assistant

statue crown-BWSanchez comes to the ACLU after  more than nineteen years specializing in human resources with one of the biggest public relations and advertising agencies in San Diego. She attended the University of Arizona where she studied early childhood education and special education. She says she loves being surrounded by everyone’s drive and passion, and is lucky to have a very fun family.


Asociada de Relaciones Binacionales, Esmeralda Flores

EsmeraldaSmallcolorFlores conducts extensive outreach in Mexico for the San Diego ACLU’s Lopez-Venegas v. Johnson settlement that challenged government policy on voluntary returns. For the past four years before joining the ACLU, Flores worked as a staff attorney with the Binational Defense and Advocacy Program, housed at the Casa del Migrante in Tijuana, Mexico. Her focus was on the documentation of human and civil rights violations and family separation issues due to deportations. In 2013, Flores presented a friend-of-the-court brief before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She is a graduate of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California School of Law. She also completed a post-graduate International Migration program at the prestigious Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) in Tijuana.

Gerrlyn Gacao, Organizer

gerrlyn-smGacao joined the ACLU San Diego to continue and deepen advocacy work throughout communities in the southern portion of San Diego County. As a previous council representative for Councilmember David Alvarez’s office, she dedicated her role to organizing and outreaching to constituents across San Diego’s South Bay communities and increased community access and equity of city services. Passionate about cultural awareness and socioeconomic justice, Gacao has also held leadership roles in various electoral campaigns, community organizing opportunities, and political or AAPI community organizations. Gacao was born and raised in Stockton, CA and earned a Bachelor of Arts in urban planning with an economics minor from the University of California, San Diego.

Christie Hill, Senior Policy Strategist

christie-newHill is a San Diego native and has worked in California, Washington, DC and New York advocating for the rights of women, children, and low-income communities. She has focused her work on issues that impact the lives of people of color including education equity, homelessness and economic justice. Hill earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Social Welfare at Berkeley, and a juris doctorate from Columbia Law School, where she served for two years as an adjunct faculty member.  Prior to joining the San Diego ACLU, she served as the program and policy director at the Center on Policy Initiatives and helped to launch a campaign focused on promoting equity and transparency in the City of San Diego’s budget as well as fighting for a higher minimum wage.

Asociado política, Amanda Le

AmandaSmallColorLe graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in international studies-political science/sociology and a minor in business. At UCSD, Le was an active member of the student council, International Center, and the Education Abroad Program, through which she studied political science in Spain. Le previously worked for a Buddhist foundation managing media outreach and had an earlier stint with the San Diego ACLU as a communications intern.

Director abogacía, David Trujillo

statue crown-BWTrujillo has spent his career working on issues of social justice and has years of experience in community organizing, political campaigns and the legislative process.  Prior to joining the San Diego ACLU, Trujillo served as Planned Parenthood Northern California’s public affairs director.  There he was part of the campaign teams that defeated a Parental Notification Initiative in California and so-called Fetal Personhood Amendments in Montana and Mississippi.  Trujillo also helped pass legislation that made California the only state in the country in the last five years to expand access to birth control and abortion services.  Trujillo grew up in San Diego and has a degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.


Estratega de media social, Ferchil Ramos

statue crown-BWRamos, born in the Phillippines, has long lived in San Diego, and seeks to make an impact on the city and the communities where he serves and lives in. With a diverse professional and volunteer background, a broad range of skills led him to his role as new media strategist for the San Diego ACLU. Ramos helps highlight civil liberties in new and exciting ways. In 2015, he was recruited to be a RISE Fellow for RISE San Diego. In his spare time, he volunteers as director for the Filipino American Arts & Culture Festival, where he adopted a sense of civic duty and culture.

Proyecto de Reforma al Systema Penal

Directora del Proyecto de Reforma al Systema Penal, ACLU de California, Margaret Dooley-Sammuli

MargaretSuitSmallColorBased in San Diego, Dooley-Sammuli leads the ACLU’s statewide many criminal justice and drug policy campaigns in California – including protecting the significant reforms embedded in Proposition 47 and leveraging the Affordable Care Act to advance a public health approach to drug policy. She has a decade of experience working on criminal justice and drug policy reform in California, including spearheading historic campaigns to revise the state’s drug possession penalties (SB 1506 & SB 649). Before joining the ACLU, Dooley-Sammuli was deputy state director with the Drug Policy Alliance, where she led the organization’s criminal justice advocacy in California. In her previous career, she was an editor based in Shanghai, China with The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Abogado de la política de salud y drogas, Kellen Russoniello

KellenSmallColorRussoniello earned his JD and MPH from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. While in graduate school, he drafted Good Samaritan overdose prevention legislation for the District of Columbia, which became law in March of 2013. He also volunteered by drafting motions to seal criminal records, providing outreach to sex workers and homeless people, and teaching middle-school children about the Constitution and Bill of Rights. He has interned with the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Drug Policy Alliance, and the ACLU of Washington State. Kellen currently serves on the board of directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

Destiny Lopez, Advocacy Fellow

destinyDestiny grew up in San Ysidro, California and recently moved back to San Diego after receiving her undergraduate degrees in History and Political Science from Stanford University. Prior to joining ACLU, she was involved in the movement for housing justice in the rapidly-gentrifying Bay Area, where she worked for the City of East Palo Alto on housing affordability. At Stanford, she lead a student organization called the First-Generation and/or Low-income Partnership (FLIP), which organizes and advocates for first-generation and low-income Stanford students (the first student group of its kind). She has also interned for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Reality Changers (in San Diego), and at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and watching makeup tutorials.

Monica Montgomery, Criminal Justice Advocate

monica-montgomeryMonica Montgomery is a native San Diegan. She received an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Spelman College and a Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law. She has been a member of the California State Bar for eight years and practiced civil rights and consumer law until 2013. Before joining the ACLU, Monica worked at the City of San Diego for three elected officials, including Councilmember Cole, Mayor Faulconer and Councilmember Todd Gloria during his term as interim mayor.
While at the City of San Diego, Monica worked as a Senior Policy Advisor with specific focus in the following policy areas: criminal justice reform and public safety, neighborhood revitalization, workforce development, small business development, equal opportunity contracting, and youth services. In her capacity at Councilmember Cole’s office, Monica strongly advocated for equitable practices in government, including reform on the Citizens Review Board for Police Practices and better employment opportunities for people of color. She is honored to serve and continue her work as a Criminal Justice Advocate at the ACLU.


Gerente de relaciones con donantes, Jeremy Bloom

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Bloom has worked in the nonprofit fundraising and political organizing fields for more than seven years. Prior to coming to the ACLU, Bloom lived in Santa Barbara and served on the boards of a community-based foundation and faith group. He is an active member of Young Professionals Council, a project of the San Diego LGBT Community Center, currently sitting on the executive committee as the secretary/treasurer. Bloom is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, VA, with a degree in international affairs and Middle Eastern Studies.

Oficial de relaciones de donantes, Amy Corton

statue crown-BWCorton has an extensive background in fundraising and non-profit governance. Before joining the ACLU Corton worked for Project Concern International as the director of planned giving and as the development officer for the Women Empowered Initiative. She also has consulted with nonprofits including Planned Parenthood, Words Alive, San Diego Hospice, and Educational Enrichment Systems, and served as the Treasurer and President of the Board of Directors of both Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties and Congregation Beth Israel. Corton is a graduate of Cornell University and Emory University Law School.

Asociada de Filantropía, Alison Ross

statue crown-BWRoss joined the ACLU in September 2015. As the Development Associate, she provides support in donor stewardship and cultivation and plans all development related events. Ross’s past development experience draws from both nonprofits and political campaigns. She is a graduate of University of California, San Diego with a degree in communication. At UCSD, she graduated Magna cum Laude, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the Stewart Society, and the Caledonian Society, and earned Highest Distinction for her thesis examining the intersectionalities of race, religion, and politics in the United States.