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OUR TEAM:

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.

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.

Sofia Macias

Healing Sexual Trauma in the Borderland Care Coordinator

she/her - Sofia has her BSW from the University of Texas at El Paso, is currently pursuing her MSW from the University of Denver as a full-time student. Originally from Denver, CO Sofia has had previous work experience in Phoenix, AZ working with youth as well with nonprofits serving youth throughout the El Paso region. Her passion lies in trauma informed and mental health practices and hopes to continue serving youth in these areas.

Luis "Chef" Orzoco

Pantry Assistant

he/him- Chef is a trained chef, who has spent a life time creating delicious food and serving his community. He is passionate about relieving hunger in our community.

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.

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.

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.

Kristine Garcia

MSW Intern

she/her - Kristine has a Bachelor’s in public health and is currently enrolled in the MSW program at Our Lady of the Lake University. She is a California native, married with one child. Kristine served in the military for 25 years and retired as a First Sergeant in 2023. Her hobbies include paddling, cycling, and Yoga. She decided to pursue a Master’s in Social Work due to the many hours talking to Soldiers and listening to their needs. While in the military, she served as a Sexual Harassment and Assault Representative, Equal Opportunity Advisor, and Family Abuse Program panel. She advocates for anyone who does not have a voice or is scared to use it.

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.

Diana Barraza

Purple Pages Volunteer

she/her - Diana is an MPH student at the University of Texas at El Paso, and she is very excited about completing her practicum experience at the BRC. Her research interests lay in substance use, substance use treatments, mental health, and advocacy for vulnerable populations. She is currently working on getting her Master’s degree in Public Health at UTEP.

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

Youth Services Coordinator, Administrative Assistant

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.

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

Volunteer Coordinator, PATHS Coordinator, Evaluator

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.

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!

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.

Victoria Crawford

MSW Intern

she/her -Victoria currently lives in El Paso with her husband and their four-year-old Pitbull. She's originally from Detroit, Michigan but relocated to El Paso due to her husband currently serving in the United States military. Victoria graduated in 2019 with a Bachelors in Psychology and is now pursuing her Masters in Social Work at WNMU. She's currently a Big Sister and a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nonprofit organization here in El Paso. She is also a certified Mental Health First Aider for both youth and adults.

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.

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.

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.

OUR BOARD:

President

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.

Secretary

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.

Member-at-Large

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.

Vice President

Amber Perez, MS

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

Membership Director

Wesley Lawrence

he/they - Wesley is a born and raised LGBTQIA2+ Latinx El Pasoan who graduated from Austin Highschool in 2015. He currently serves as the Membership Chair for the Borderland Rainbow Center, Senate District 29 Committeeman for the Texas Democratic Party, President of Stonewall Democrats of El Paso, and on several community boards and commissions. Wesley joined the BRC board in 2020 after coming out as a member of the LGBTQIA+ Community and running for local office. His main goal is to help the Borderland Rainbow Center continue and expand its work in the Borderland, as well as getting our local governments to create an office of equality, an LGBTIA2+ Commission, and an LGBTQIA+ hall of fame. He is currently enrolled at El Paso Community College, pursuing an Associate's in Mass Media Communications.

Member-at-Large

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.

Member-at-Large

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.

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

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