Brenda grew up in Federal Way, and was shaped by her parent’s experiences and values. Her father emigrated from Bolivia to the United States in the 1950’s and her mother in the 1970’s. She says her father instilled in her a commitment to service, and her mother taught her about the importance of being involved in your community “to build the kind of world we all deserve.”
Brenda has tried to carry the values of her parents forward in her own life. She spent the last 12 years working at the City of Seattle Office for Civil Rights. Before that, she worked at an Oakland-based nonprofit, providing research support to social justice organizations. She now has two young children of her own, who are daily teachers to her and her partner about what matters in life.
She was attracted to Group Health Foundation because of its commitment to centering community-led solutions to inequity. As the learning and engagement manager, one of Brenda’s first projects at the Foundation was curating the Lessons Learned report. Since then, she’s been traveling across the state, meeting with and learning from communities that are doing incredible work to build power on their own terms. They’ve been to 20 counties so far, and plan to visit the rest of Washington’s 39 counties this year.
“It’s been a profound experience seeing the impact that institutional racism and colonization has had in terms of harmful public policies and deep lack of investment in many communities. At the same time, it’s been humbling to learn from so many people doing work to heal, build community, and move transformational solutions forward. People are working from such a deep place of love.”
When not working, Brenda enjoys writing and spending time with her partner and two young children.