OUR TEAM

Francisco Segovia

Executive Director

Francisco E. Segovia, for over two decades, has been building networks and coalitions with and across diverse communities in order to collectively change the conditions that limit people’s choices. After fourteen years of acting as the director of Waite House Center- in South Minneapolis where he used his passion, vision, and experience to facilitate grassroots leadership development, deliver asset-based services, foster self-sufficiency and advocate for system change at both the city and state level, Francisco left to build COPAL, a grassroots statewide organization whose mission is to unite Latinxs in Minnesota in active grassroots communal democracy that builds racial, gender, social and economic justice across community lines. Francisco currently serves on the board of Take Action Minnesota, participates in The Minnesota Civic Studies Initiative; a project of the College of Education & Human Development of the University of Minnesota seeking to encourage conversation among leaders representing various political viewpoints. Francisco has continued his work to create a more just society with a local vision and global perspective and has a solid track record of implementation.

Contact: franciscos@copalmn.org

Dexter Wolfe Nelson

Youth Voting Engagement Organizer

Dexter Wolfe Nelson grew up in Minneapolis and studied Spanish, Linguistics and Economics at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, La Universidad de Valladolid and The Stockholm School of Economic–Riga. He has worked for the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, Global Volunteers, HACER (Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research), and is also a touring musician and recording artist. He believes that the civic participation of young people, activating our collective imagination, and engaging and telling the stories of under-represented communities in the democratic process is vital to creating a future we all want to be a part of.

Contact: dextern@copalmn.org

Brenda Marquez

Voter Engagement Organizer

Brenda Marquez is a DACA recipient who is originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco. She was brought to the U.S at a young age in hopes of a better life with more opportunities. She is a first generation student at Minneapolis Community & Technical College with the plans of transferring to Metropolitan State University to major in Political Science. A firm believer and advocate for accurate representation in our government, she has interned with Capitol Pathways, a nonprofit that offers internship at the capitol to students of color and indigenous students. She hopes to be a part of the changes that are necessary in order to brighten the future of our communities.

Contact: brendam@copalmn.org

Marcos Mendonça Carvalho

Digital Organizer

Marcos is originally from Brazil and has been living in the USA since 2009. He is passionate about using communications and storytelling to create positive impact in our communities - helping provide the tools to allow traditionally disenfranchised Minnesotans to participate more fully in our society, enjoy their rights, and have better opportunities. In 2017 he received his Master's Degree in Political Strategy and Communication from the Brussels' School of International Studies, in Belgium. Most recently he has assisted with brand development within Waite House, and is now a member of the COPAL team.

Contact: marcosc@copalmn.org

Rico Durán

Senior Lead Organizer

Rico Durán practices in the areas of Community Organizing and Youth Leadership development. With COPAL, Rico is developing a program with the Latino community to promote family and youth participation in Civic Programs, Popular Education and Arts. Rico brings a diverse and creative background to his work. He studied with “Fe y Vida Institute” and Saint John’s University where he started a Master in Pastoral Ministry. Rico has been a Resource and Consultant for those schools with Youth summer programs. Rico’s experience working with nonprofit organizations includes “Habitat for Humanity” in Haiti in 2011 and 2013, Guatemala in 2014. “Mano a Mano”, in Bolivia 2016. His work and collaboration with local media in Radio, TV and printed news, allows him to collect and bring stories.

Contact: ricod@copalmn.org

Our Staff

Our Board of Directors

Mónica Maria Hurtado

Mónica is originally from Colombia, and has been living in US/Minnesota since 2001. She is a health and racial justice community organizer doing work on policy, advocacy and community based research. She is part of efforts to create a multiracial, multiethnic coalition to address issues around immigration.

Henry Jiménez

Henry is the proud son of parents who were undocumented. His father from Tepic Nayarit, Mexico is a truck driver and his mother from El Departamento de La Libertad, El Salvador is a housekeeper at a hotel. His parents were finally able to purchase their first home when Henry was in high school in Las Vegas, NV. Where he soon after earned a scholarship to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and earned a dual degree in Women Studies and Political Science. Henry has called Minnesota home for 8 years. During this time he has earned a Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. He came to Minnesota with no family but now has a family of his own. He is married to Jennie Jimenez and has a beautiful 8 month old, Lucía Jimenez. Henry was appointed by the Legislative Coordinated Commission to his current position as Executive Director at the Minnesota Council of Latino Affairs on December, 2015.

Felipe Illescas

Felipe is the Director of Policy and Outreach Campaigns for SEIU MN State Council. He has worked on state and federal policy for the past 10 years in the subjects of immigration, education, revenue, and others. Felipe has held leadership roles in federal, state, and local electoral campaigns in Minnesota; and has led numerous voter engagement efforts He has a Bachelor's in Business Administration and a Master's in Business Management.

Carolina Ortiz

Carolina was born in Zacatecas, Mexico. She is a DACA recipient and currently a student at Normandale Community College. She is a GED Advisor at Pearson, building an effective and trusting relationship with each student that ultimately promotes student persistence. Carolina has also worked as a volunteer for many organizations such as the Twin Cities Tech, Archdiosis of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and Saint Johns University.

Miguel Mejias

I have been living in the United States since 2002. My parents are originally from Veracruz, Mexico, same place I was born. I have lived in Minnesota for almost 14 years, and I have a 9 year old son named Christopher. I have worked in different food processing factories like Tyson, Golden Plump, Schwan's, Turkey Valleys Farms and Cargill - and I have held various positions, from worker to site manager. I have been taking classes for the past 6 years in order to support and improve my English writing and speaking skills. I like volunteering with organizations that offer information that benefit our community - at the moment I support COPAL from Albert Lea in Southern Minnesota.