COMUNIDAD MAYA PIXAN IXIM
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Maria Gaspar is a member of the Akateko Maya Nation and serves as President of the Board of Directors at CMPI. She has a profound understanding of Indigenous People’s inherent and inalienable rights to self-determination and self-governance. As President, Maria leads and manages relationships with Maya governments and has led efforts to develop our regenerative agriculture program. She is also a mother of four adult children.
Ellen Struve is a playwright, educator and arts advocate whose work has been produced across the United States. She is a Nebraska Arts Council Individual Fellow, WhyArts Artist and Community Connector for the Great Plains Theatre Commons. She has degrees from University of Iowa and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Ellen's work with CMPI has included partnering with the South Omaha Mural Project and Great Plains Theatre Commons to create more awareness of the Maya community's contributions to the cultural fabric in Omaha.
Lorenzo Francisco Marcos belongs to the Q'anjob'al Maya Nation. Lorenzo is CMPI treasurer and serves on the Cultural Governance branch of CMPI's Board of Directors. Lorenzo brings a wealth of experience and wisdom to CMPI. He served his community in promoting health for many years in the traditional homeland of the Q'anjob'al currently know as northern region of Huhuetenanto Guatemala. Lorenzo has a profound understanding of traditional Maya Medicine and serves on CMPI Board with hopes that the new generation of Maya born in the United States will lead CMPI into the future.
Dr. Athena Ramos is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and is affiliated with the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. She leads a Latino outreach and engagement team and serves as principal investigator for a number of community-based health and social research and education initiatives in agricultural health and safety, immigrant integration, and community well-being. Dr. Ramos has a PhD in International Family & Community Studies from Clemson University and two Master’s degrees, in Business Administration and in Urban Studies from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is a member of the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America, AgriSafe Network, and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the International Society for Agricultural Safety & Health.
Caya Simonsen is an immigration attorney with Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was a clinical student in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee and Crimmigration Clinics representing clients in immigration cases. Caya represents mostly detained asylum-seeking families through an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. Caya has interned with Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. working on strategic immigration litigation, and Al Otro Lado in Tijuana, assisting asylum seekers returned to Mexico under the Remain in Mexico program. Previously, Caya was the Volunteer Coordinator of the Dilley Pro Bono Project, coordinating volunteers to provide legal services to detained families and a human rights accompanier with Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, accompanying human rights defenders in Q’anjob’al territory. She has also worked at Annunciation House, a house of hospitality for recently arrived immigrants in El Paso.
Darlyn Juan Davila is committed to serving the most vulnerable with money management and asset protection and has years of experience in financial services, including working with Spanish speakers about consumer protections. Darlyn manages programs that provide monthly bill pay services and portfolios of Social Security Insurance payments of $2.4 million annually. She also provides personal financial counseling including credit review, budget analysis, action plan development, and on-going counseling for individuals seeking assistance with housing, credit, debt, and savings concerns. Darlyn is a valuable resource for community members and supports CMPI’s efforts to promote economic development and stability within the Maya community.
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin has pioneered innovations in a Regenerative Poultry System that is at the center of a multitude of national and international initiatives. This system is designed to be uniquely aligned with the social, economic and ecological conditions of small farms and marginalized communities and is designed for large-scale and global impact. At the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Regi works on system- level strategies designed for global application, currently, his work covers communities in the US (Northfield, MN, Omaha, Mead and Winnebago NE, Pine Ridge SD), Hazelton British Columbia, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.
Eulalia Pedro is a member of the Q’anjob’al Maya Nation and the original Director of the Maya Parliament working to advance Maya customary law and governance. Eulalia leads CMPI’s civic engagement efforts to ensure that Maya community members’ interests are represented. Eulalia also led CMPI’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Conferences in 2013 and 2014 which led to diplomatic relations between the Omaha Tribe and the Q’anjob’al, Popti and Akateko Nations.
Cristina Fernandez, MD serves as a Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Education Professor of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine for Weight Management at Children's Mercy Broadway - Weight Management Clinic, . Dr. Fernandez completed their Residency at University of NE Medical Center. Following their education, Dr. Fernandez was board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. Specialties are Pediatrics, Childhood Obesity, Equity and Diversity, Quality improvement, Health Equity, Obesity.
Lorenzo Pedro Lucas belongs to the Q'anjob'al Maya Nation. Lorenzo serves on the Cultural Governance Branch of CMPI's Board of Directors. Lorenzo has a profound understanding of Indigenous Peoples self determination and conflict resolution.
John R. Stone, MD, PhD is a physician and bioethicist who addresses health disparities and health equity with a focus on race/ethnicity and multicultural issues. He is a Professor Emeritus at Creighton University and Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director of the Center for Promoting Health and Health Equity. His work with Communidad Maya Pixan Ixim began in 2006 and has included teaching English as a second language, and being a health advisor, board member and principal investigator for our Health Needs Survey. He also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Maya Community Health Collaborative, a collaboration between Creighton University medical students and Maya community members.
Jean Hanson, is an Enrolled Agent, a nonconditioned CPA, and has worked for 15+ years in the nonprofit sector in the Omaha area. She has a BSBA – Accounting from Creighton University and an MBA from Univ of Nebraska – Omaha. Jean is currently the International Accounting and Tax Manager for Southern Carlson, Inc.
David Barillas Chón, PhD is a Poqomam Maya migrant and Assistant Professor of Education and Indigenous Education at Western University (ON, Canada). His work centers the racialized and linguistic experiences of Maya and Indigenous youth from Guatemala and southern Mexico in the U.S. His current focus is on the impact on Maya from Guatemala and Indigenous peoples from Southern Mexico migrating to the United States and the rest of North America have on schooling, education, and conceptions of Indigeneity. He received a doctorate in education from the University of Washington.
Natali Segovia, of Quechua/Peruvian descent, is an international human rights lawyer with a background and extensive past experience in criminal defense work and Federal Indian Law. As a litigator and advocate, Natali’s current work focuses on the protection of the Earth and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Original Nations affected by forced displacement, desecration of sacred lands, and human rights violations as a result of extractive industry and mass development projects. She is a Staff Attorney at the Water Protector Legal Collective, a legal nonprofit that grew out of the #NoDAPL resistance at Standing Rock that works to provide legal support and advocacy for Indigenous Peoples and Original Nations, the Earth, and climate justice movements. Natali earned her law degree at Arizona State University with a concentration in International Law and Federal Indian Law, in addition to dual undergraduate degrees in Latin American Studies and Political Science from Columbia University. She currently serves as chair of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Committee, is a steering committee member of the NLG International Committee, and co-chairs the NLG’s Task Force on the Americas.