Since the inception of the BRC, our board has embodied a myriad of diverse identities. Including current and past board members, they identify as lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, genderqueer, straight allies, transgender women, transgender men, nonbinary people, parents of transgender kids, parents of straight kids, Mexican American, Iranian/Mexican American, African American, Caucasian, Latinx, native-born El Pasoan, transplants to El Paso, bilingual, multi-lingual, working-class people, middle-class people, veterans, and members of military families.

Brenda Risch, PhD, LCSW

Executive Director

they/them, she/her - Dr. Risch has over 30 years of experience working on issues of gender and sexuality in academic, community, and clinical settings.

Ashley Heidebrecht, LMSW

Director of Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso (DRIEP)

she/her - Ashley Heidebrecht, The Radical Social Worker, has worked in the field of social services for over a decade. She earned her Undergraduate degree in 2008 from Wichita State University.

Nqobile Nzama

Volunteer Coordinator and Youth Services Coordinator

she/her -

Alex Ramirez, RN

Healing Sexual Trauma in the Borderlands Program Director

they/them - Alex Ramirez is a Registered Nurse and earned their BSN-RN at the University of Texas at El Paso. They served the community by working in critical care for more than three years, and they continue to be passionate about healing wounds from the individual to the community.

Diana Martinez, MA

DRIEP Education and Content Manager

she/her – Diana, named for the statue of the huntress in Mexico City on Reforma Street, was born and raised in El Paso, Texas by immigrant parents from Juarez, and a large extended binational family. Diana graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in History and a minor in Secondary Education. Diana then taught in many types of schools, teaching students of all ages and a diverse array of subjects. In 2009, Diana graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Masters in History. Since 2010 Diana has taught at the college level at both El Paso Community College and at the University of Texas at El Paso. Diana grew up with a strong passion for art, history, and literature that goes into her teaching. Diana also works with others to organize community actions to stand up for the rights of immigrants and immigrant children in detention.

Veronica Camacho

DRIEP Program Assistant

she/her - Veronica is a Creative Writing Major with a minor in Women Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. Is an active member in the LGBTQ+ Community since her teens starting out as a volunteer at El Paso’s Southwest AIDS Committee under the supervision of Izzy Mora; continued volunteer work with Planned Parenthood by hosting Teen Live Wire, a program that helped El Paso youth learn more about safe sex and consent. Advocates for animal rights, Queer Liberation, Fat Positivity, Immigrant Rights, Farm Worker Rights, and so much more.

Alma Pizarro-Gould

Deaf Services Coordinator

she/her - Alma was born Deaf and raised in El Paso, Texas. After she went to Texas School for the Deaf, she continued her education in Human Services at El Paso Community College. Alma has worked in many different cities in TX, providing services and adding to her own knowledge base with Deaf and Hard of Hearing clients all over the state (Austin, Corpus Christi). Alma is an experienced trainer and presenter on topics related to Deafness including: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Sensitivity, ADA Law, Client Rights, Deaf Culture, Communications Issues and Resources. She has provided services to the Deaf for over 20 years through various Deaf community agencies and organizations. Alma worked very closely with various community services providers (including DARS, HHSC, DPFS) to fulfill her passion of breaking down barriers that affect the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members to ensure that they have full, equal access to communication and services. She also used to serve as a member of the Coastal Bend Silence Deaf Club, National Association of the Deaf, Texas Latino Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and on the Board for the Texas Association of the Deaf.

Courtney Gilkison

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Intern

she/her - Courtney is the mother of a transgender daughter. She wants to use her degree to work with the LGBTQ+ community and military families and is passionate about mental health advocacy.

Brenda Loya

Bachelor's of Family and Child Science Intern

she/her - Brenda, who has a beautiful wife and is not only openly gay but proudly gay, is working on finishing her Bachelor's in Family and Child Science and plans to continue with her Masters in Social Work and Public Health. Brenda is passionate about serving the LGBTQ+ community and serving and educating the community she has grown up in.

Pifas Silva

Program Director and Building Manager

he/him - Pifas has over 20 years of community outreach and marketing experience, having worked with such organizations as the Alzheimer’s Association, U.S. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, El Paso Catholic Schools, Destination El Paso and the San Elizario ISD.

Soledad Martinez

Senior Services Coordinator

she/they - Soledad, a virgo, looks forward to serving as best as she can to meet their needs. Over the past 5 years, they have become more and more involved in serving their community
by contributing her time and services to mutual aid efforts. She is a firm believer that another world is possible and that we make that world possible through our efforts today.

Julie Lucas

Pantry Director

she/her - Julie is a Mama Bear to many kids besides her own. She has a BS in Biology but rarely uses it. She has worked for many many years in the food and beverage industries as well as academia. Running the food pantry is the first job she has ever loved.

Marie Camacho

HIV Services Project Coordinator

she/her - Marie Camacho has been working in the field of reproductive health, human sexuality and HIV/STI prevention since the middle 90s. She began her journey working for Planned Parenthood in El Paso, Texas as the coordinator for a program that was specifically created for providing access to sexuality education and information to disabled communities as well as consulting with groups that worked with disabled individuals on the specific reproductive health and sexuality needs of their populations. From there she began providing education and community outreach to young people and marginalized communities on reproductive health. After working in this field, she began doing HIV prevention and testing right before the antiretroviral regimens were created and while HIV was still an incredibly dangerous and fatal diagnosis.She received some of the best education in sex positive outreach and concepts via mentors in this field. She currently continues in the HIV prevention field in Dallas and El Paso.

Dede Camacho

Drag Queen Story Hour- El Paso Chapter Coordinator

she/her/Queen - Dede Camacho is originally from Chicago, and has multiple talents, including puppeteering, drag, and more! Dede has been in show business for 11 years running. Dede is bilingual (Spanish and English) and is known across the country for her incredible performances and amazing personality!

HIlda Ontiveros

DRIEP Lead Trainer

she/her - Hilda been a faculty member at UT El Paso for the past 12 years and currently at the Women’s and Gender Studies Program where she teaches courses relevant to Latina Studies, global feminisms, feminist theory, civil rights, queer theory, among others. She is earning her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Administration in Higher Education, where her focus is on educational policy and curriculum in both K-12 and higher education institutions. She earned a Master of Arts in Latin American and Border Studies and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration in Higher Education. Hilda also spent time studying in the Medico Cirujano (M.D.) program at the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at UACJ. Her research interests include critical pedagogy, educational policy and its effects on minority students, multicultural/culturally relevant curriculum, the sociology of education and women’s healthcare issues on the U.S./Mexico Border. She enjoys serving her community through volunteer work, such as serving as a children’s volleyball and basketball coach. Her four children also keep her very busy and fulfilled.

Juan M Fernández Chico

Social Media Manager

he/him - Juan has a PhD in Social Sciences from the Government and public policy terminal from the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez. Co-author of the book Correspondences, letters, figures and characters, together with Alfonso Herrera, the novel The island of the elder and Functional Excluded and Political Subjectivities, and many papers. He has studies in film script from the Center for the Study of Cinematographic Arts and the Intercontinental University.
Screenwriter, producer and director of many films that competed in festivals in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Germany, Honduras, the United States, Spain, and other countries. He received different scholarships in film production from institutions like FONCA, PECDA, IMCINE, Alan Cumming Film Lab of Creative Scotland and the Talent Campus of the Berlinale Film Festival.
For a few years, he worked as marketing director and marketing specialist at different companies like Leisure Leagues and the Mexican Federation of Socca. Juan founded his own marketing company, OnnOff, and now works as Social media manager at The Borderland Rainbow Center.

Jaycee Canter

BSW Intern

she/her - Jaycee is currently working on her Bachelor’s in Social Work and plans on pursuing her master’s degree to become an LCSW who specializes in trauma. She is a mom to 3 kids and has a passion for helping others.



Tess English



Alex Marquez


Membership Director

Amanda Sanchez, PhD

she/her/ella - Amanda is a Corporate Trainer for Helen of Troy. She has a PhD in Management and Organizational Leadership. She has also worked in disability employment and in K-12 teaching.


Ross Ingram


Youth Advocate Member

Jesus Ramos

he/him/El - I was born right across the border in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and immigrated as a young child to our amazing Sun City. I am an Alumni of Northwest Early College and I am currently pursuing a BA in Political Science at New Mexico State University. I’ve been advocated for issues that truly impact us as a Frontera City such as Gun Sense, Equity in Public Education, LGBTQ+ Rights, and the fight against systemic racism.

Vice President

Karissa Doster-Hoffman, LCSW, LCDC

she/her - Karissa is a licensed clinical social work and also a licensed chemical dependency counselor. She current works in private practice and is pursuing her PhD in Psychology. She was also a nationally successful student athlete in college.

Secretary, Youth Advocate

Eman Attar



Andi Tiscareño



Alexsandra Annello

she/her - Alexsandra was born and raised in the greater Boston, Massachusetts area to Italian American parents. In June 2017, Alexsandra was elected to the El Paso City Council. This is her full time job and her undivided attention is on the issues that affect the residents of District 2. Alexsandra is active in many roles throughout her community, from mental health to animal welfare. She is the current Vice Chair of Local Progress Texas Organizing Committee, a board member for Emergence Health Network, the Animal Services Committee, the Rio Grande Council of Governments, and the Borderland Rainbow Center.


Jessica Brito, M.Ed., MEDCI

She/her. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Jessica previously worked as both a teacher and administrator for a local non-profit prek-8th grade private school. She is currently the Mission Integration Associate for Centro San Vicente, a series of local non-profit clinics in El Paso Texas. This role has instilled in her the want to continue to grow and become more of an advocate within our community. Jessica is an avid thrifter, has an extensive book collection, loves music, and travel. Her biggest passion is advocacy and being a positive empowering voice that inspires others to stand up and be the voice for what they believe in.

What is the commitment?

1) A two-year commitment


2) Attending once per month board meetings


3) Committing to two board committees that meet monthly (Pantry Sustainability, Policy, Gala, Development, Capital Improvement, or Finance)


4) Attempting to raise $1,000 per year for the BRC (can be in other forms that are not monetary such providing services that equal a dollar amount)


5) Attending one event, quarterly, throughout the year


6) Being a team player of a fun, disciplined and diverse team

Join our Board!

Please make sure to include all relevant experience, volunteer and professional.