San Jose, CA – Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN), an advocacy and community organizing non-profit providing immigration services to low income residents, has announced the selection of Maricela Gutiérrez, as its new Executive Director. Maricela will fill the vacancy created by Patricia Diaz’s departure, effective June 15, 2015 as Patricia and her family will be relocating to Washington State this summer.
“While we are sad to see Patricia go, we are excited about the future under Maricela’s leadership,” said Mayra Cruz, SIREN’s Board President. “After an extensive search, we felt that her experience and work with disenfranchised communities makes her a perfect fit for our mission to advocate for and support immigrant families. We know she will be instrumental in taking SIREN to the next level.”
Maricela’s resume includes over 20 years of experience in non-profit management and grassroots community organizing, working primarily with low income and immigrant communities. She previously worked as a Department Director of a Federally Qualified Community Health Center in the East Bay, advocating for accessible healthcare and resources for low income children and families.
Maricela has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, is a Shannon Leadership Program Fellow and Blue Shield Foundation Clinic Leadership Executive Management graduate. She has extensive training in grassroots organizing and racial equity strategies for engaging disenfranchised communities. She is a founding member of an Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth and Families Collaborative and the Soñadores Invencibles Program that work to develop safety net systems for children and families seeking asylum. She currently serves as the Chair of the statewide Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, and is founder of an intergenerational traditional Aztec Dance Program, Grupo Cemanahuac.
“I am honored to be selected as the new Executive Director and look forward to joining SIREN and serving in this new capacity,” remarks Maricela. “I am deeply committed to empowering communities through the immigrant rights movement and SIREN is a key leader in building and developing strong immigrant communities.”
Patricia leaves SIREN after 12 years of dedication to the agency, including 10 years as Executive Director and two years as Policy Director. Under her leadership, SIREN has been at the forefront of immigrant rights regionally, statewide and nationally. During her tenure, she brought the organization to financial stability, reorganized SIREN program priorities, partnered with key statewide and national partners that led to victories for immigrants and their families, while building a highly functional and professional team.
“As I think about this new adventure for me and my family, and reflect on my time at SIREN, I am very proud of the work we have been able to accomplish,” said Patricia. “It has been an honor to dedicate over a decade of my professional career to this organization. I am very passionate about immigrant rights and I will always support our community and its needs."
Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN) is a community organizing and policy advocacy organization that provides immigration legal services to immigrants in the Silicon Valley and is involved with local and statewide initiatives. For more information go to www.siren-bayarea.org.