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.

Andi Tiscareno

Volunteer Coordinator and Youth Services Coordinator

she/her - Andi has a BA in English and American Literature with a minor in Rhetoric and Writing from The University of Texas at El Paso. She has over 6 years of experience organizing and leading youth. As an open and proud transwoman, Andi has a passion for LGBTQ advocacy and youth development.

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 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 is a faculty member at UT El Paso for over 12 years and currently at the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She teaches courses like Latina Studies, global feminisms, feminist theory, civil rights and queer theory. She has a PhD in Educational Leadership and Administration in Higher Education, with a focus is on educational policy and curriculum. 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. She enjoys serving her community through volunteer work as a children’s volleyball and basketball coach. Her four children 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 studied film at 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. Juan founded his own marketing company, OnnOff, and now works as Social media manager at The Borderland Rainbow Center.

Gaby Gandara

Counseling Intern

she/her - Gaby is currently working on her Master’s in Counseling at UTEP. She adds her expertise as a bilingual counseling student to our region.

Elias Jensen

BSW Intern

they/them -Elias is currently doing their bachelor in social work at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Elias is Swedish and they are coming to El Paso to get a better understanding of social work internationally. They identify as non-binary and have previously run weekend camps for LGBTQ youth as a non-profit project.

Aaron Rascon

MSW Intern - supporting PFLAG El Paso

he/him - Aaron is a MSW student at the University of Texas at El Paso. As a queer Hispanic individual I am honored and look forward to lending my social work skills as a BRC intern, serving our LGBTQ+ community and border town region

Sarah Veloz

BSW Intern

she/her - Sarah is currently working on her BSW and plans to continue on to a Master's. She is passionate about serving her Borderland community.

Lorena Soto

Program Director and Building Manager

she/her - Lorena is a first generation American born in our border community. She served 9 years in the United States Air Force, which afforded her the opportunity to experience life outside of El Paso, TX. She has invested her knowledge and leadership training into over 15 years of non-profit work to better her community. Lorena identifies as a queer Chicana, human rights activists, most recently worked as a Border and Immigration Strategist for the ACLU of Texas while also serving as the PFLAG El Paso chapter board president.

Lorena (Lori) Silva-Edwards

Senior Services Coordinator and Family Liaison for Gender Affirming Care

she/they - Lori is a mama bear to her two trans/gender fluid teens, as well as any person who finds themselves in need of mama bear nearby. She has a BSNS from Purdue Global and pulls from backgrounds in both emergency medicine and education to function as a Jane of all trades who's ready to tackle the unexpected. As an El Paso native, Lori returned to the borderland with her husband to raise their children close to family. She has been active with the BRC community for 4 years and looks forward to continuing to serve the community she grew up in.

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.

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 UTEP with a Masters in History. Since 2010 Diana has taught at both El Paso Community College and at UTEP. 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, serving on boards and committees, 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.

Abigail Diaz

MSW Intern

she/her - Abigail comes from a small town called Paloma’s in Chihuahua Mexico. It’s a border town and since I was a kid I would cross the border every day to get my education and work in the fields during high school to have money for supplies. With the help of my parents and a lot of hard work I am now able to study at NMSU toward my Master's in Social Work.

Lauren Jackon

BSW Intern

she/her - Lauren is a BSW student at Walden Univ. Lauren is passionate about being involved in the community, supporting communities, and educating people on inequities that exist in our society. She plans to pursue her MSW and work in research.

Vianey Portillo

BSW Intern

she/her - Vianey is a BSW student from UTEP. She is very excited to put my social work skills into practice by serving the LGBTQ community. As a queer woman living in El Paso, she is very passionate about the work that the BRC does.

Joshua Trujillo

MSW Intern

he/him - Joshua is a cisgendered male who identifies as bisexual and gay. He comes from a traditional nuclear family with more emphasis on the traditional gender scripts. Recently, he has been trying to break out of this mold.



Tess English

she/her - Tess is currently the Chief Operations Officer of the Gulf Stream Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Her long history of service in youth development is anchored by her commitment to equity and opportunity for all.


Sylvia Acosta, PhD

she/her -Sylvia is a passionate advocate of LGBTQ issues with a wealth of professional experience. She is the former CEO of the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region and has decades of experience in development. She has been the Vice Chancellor of Constituent Development and Principal Gifts at UC-Irvine and served in leadership roles in Development and Alumni Relations, at UTEP and NMSU, St. Mary's and Texas Tech.

Member-at Large

Kyle M. Erwin, PhD

he/him - Kyle is a staff Psychologist at the El Paso Veteran's Administration. He has a history of advocating for LGBTQ+ issues with in the VA system. He has served in numerous leadership positions within the VA.


Wesley Lawrence

he/they - Wesley Lawrence is a life long El Pasoan and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. He is also a proud advocate for progressive change and the President of the El Paso Young Democrats. He is a proud graduate of Austin High School and is currently pursuing his Associates in Journalism and Mass Communications at El Paso Community College.

Member-at Large

Stan J. Sloan, MDIV, MTS

he/him - The Reverend Stan J. Sloan is an Episcopal priest and serves as the Managing Director of Collegiate Church of New York, the nation’s oldest corporation, focused on racial, economic and LGBTQ justice. Prior Collegiate, Sloan served as the CEO of Family Equality Council, the nation’s organization for LGBTQ families. Stan’s previous experience has been in queer poverty, serving as the CEO of Chicago House for sixteen years. Stan and his husband Jan moved to El Paso in July of 2021 and are excited to be a part of El Paso’s BRC and the broader community.

Secretary, Youth Advocate

Eman Attar

she/her/ella - Eman is a strong advocate for youth and has experience in social services working with survivors of sexual violence. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling


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.


Ross Ingram

he/him - Ross is Co-Owner and Chief Engineer at Brainville, LLC, a local recording studio. He believe strongly in the necessity for safe and inclusive workplaces for all.


Amber Perez, MS

she/her - Amber is the owner of Seven Gods Entertainment, an artist development specialist and recording studio.

Thank you for your service!

Amanda Sanchez, PhD

Many thanks to Amanda for her years of dedicated service to the BRC! She spearheaded recruiting new board members, and developing large donations during her tenure as a board member.

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.