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The Staff

Robin Toma, Executive Director

Robin S. Toma, the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, has broad experience in the field of human relations. He was appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2000 after working five years with the Commission. He was invited to be a member of the US Delegation to the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, held in South Africa, Japanese American Leadership Delegation to Japan in 2003, and the Climate of Trust Delegation to Russia in 2005. He is co-author of the manual, “Day Laborer Hiring Sites: Constructive Approaches to Community Conflict,” and authored “A Primer on Managing Intergroup Conflict in a Multicultural Workplace."

Toma was lead attorney in seeking redress for over 2,200 Japanese Latin Americans who were forcibly brought to the U.S. and imprisoned by the US government during World War II. He is also part of an ongoing gathering of leaders known as the Executive Session on Criminal Justice and Human Rights organized by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Previously, he served as staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California for nearly 7 years, promoting human rights and building multi-ethnic coalitions to bring about institutional change. A native of Los Angeles, Toma received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his Master’s degree in Urban Planning and his Juris Doctorate from UCLA. He completed a three-year Kellogg National Fellowship/Leadership Program studying how genuine democracies can be built in culturally diverse societies around the globe. Toma lived two years in Barcelona, Spain and is fully fluent in Spanish.

Elena Halpert-Schilt, Assistant Director

Assistant Director of the Human Relations Commission, Elena Halpert-Schilt , brings a wide array of talents and skills to this key position. She has dedicated her career of over twenty years in community-based organizations to improving the health and well-being of Los Angeles County families. Ms. Halpert-Schilt will use her extensive experience in organizational development and administration and program implementation to add to the Commission staff's expertise, working in partnership to help strengthen the overall efficiency of the organization. In her current position she directs the activities of the Department's administrative division, including refining internal systems to improve Department functions and leading the preparation and implementation of the annual budget and finance system.

While working primarily in community-based organizations that focus on improving maternal and child health in economically-challenged and disenfranchised communities, Ms. Halpert-Schilt helped develop systems and partnerships that have contributed to improved life outcomes for community members. Her prior experience has been with such important, Los Angeles-based organizations as Los Angeles Best Babies Network, Healthy African American Families, MotherNet LA, the March of Dimes, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Department of Pediatrics and others. Ms. Halpert-Schilt has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California , Los Angeles. She is a member of the Board of Directors of CoachArt, a non-profit organization that provides free art and athletic lessons to children with life threatening illnesses, and the Parent Advisory Board of Children's Hospital Los Angeles' HOPE Program. Ms. Halpert-Schilt lives in Westchester with her husband Alan.

Kevin M. Coleman, Intergroup Relations Specialist

A native of Los Angeles, Kevin currently assists with coordination of the Commission's highly acclaimed Dispute Resolution Program that utilizes mediation services to resolve all types of conflicts and as an alternative to formal court proceedings. Kevin began his Los Angeles County service in 1993 for the Department of Public Social Services as an Eligibility Worker and Social Worker. In 2014, he continued his services with the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Social Services as an Administrative Support Staff in its Fiscal Operations Division and later with the Department of Mental Health as a Deputy Public Conservator/Administrator I.

In 1995, Kevin began a career with the California Youth Authority and California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation as a Correctional Counselor. During his fourteen years working in the field of Corrections, he gained valuable experience as a Correctional Counselor, Facility Trainer, Gang Coordinator, Recruiter, and as a Facilitator for "Victims Awareness" classes. Following his career in the field of Corrections, Kevin worked for Volunteers of America of Greater Los Angeles, faith-based nonprofit organization with over 15 Veteran programs. As a Job Developer/Case Manager, he assisted veterans with transitional housing, case management, job development services, and training. Kevin has served his country as a Commissioned Naval Officer (LT) in the United States Navy, resulting in several medals and ribbons of merit for two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf War. Kevin has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Morehouse College and a Master of Public Administration degree from the California State University Dominguez Hills, School of Management.

Yuisa Alegria-Gimeno, Senior Intergroup Relations Specialist

Yuisa Alegria-Gimeno joined the Commission staff in 2015. Yuisa conducts research and commmunity outreach to assist the Commission with identifying best practices to improve community-police relations and equitable policing. She leads coordination of the annual John Anson Ford Human Relations Awards that honor outstanding efforts to address human relations and social justice issues within Los Angeles County. Yuisa also coordinates professional development opportunitites for Commission staff.

As a queer Puerto Rican/Chicana/Salvadorena, Yuisa's professional career reflects her diverse interests. Before joining the Commission in August 2015, Yuisa provided social services and enrichment activitires to Spanish and English-speaking LGBTQ older adults in the Senior Services Department of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Prior to that, through SAG-AFTRA's Affirmative Action & Diversity Department, Yuisa educated industry professionals on how to promote and sustain diversity in radio, television and film. Previously, she trained community members and healthcare professionals on how to navigate human relations issues in the community and healthcare delivery for the Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations program at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles. Yuisa has also worked with low-income tenants to improve and protect their affordable housing with the Coalition for Economic Survival. In her spare time, Yuisa coordinates study groups on feminist and people of color histories, community forums on immigration, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer (LGBTQ), and civil rights issues at the Solidarity Hall Community Center in South Los Angeles. In May 2015, she became a published author in the new anthology, Talking Back: Voices of Color.

Gustavo Adolfo Guerra Vasquez, Human Services Administrator I

Gustavo supervises staff working on the Youth Human Relations Leadership Development and Hate Crime Prevention, Education, Documentation and Response initiatives. The teams that he leads provide capacity-building and technical assistance services to youth-serving organizations, produce the Commission's Annual Hate Crime working with various stakeholders to document Hate Crime and work with community-based organizations to respond to such crimes. He previously led the Commission's efforts in the Washington Involving Neighborhoods Federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant collaborative and the implementation of the human relations youth initiative in collaboration with Pomona Unified School District. Mr. Guerra Vasquez is trained in Advanced Conflict Mediation and has worked in youth training and development for over twenty years. He has worked for the Commission for over a decade.

Mr. Guerra Vasquez is a native of Guatemala, who came to Los Angeles at the age of eight and has lived in different parts of greater Los Angeles. He received his Bachelors of Art in Spanish Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz with Honors in the Major and College Honors and went on to pursue a graduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley where he acquired a Master's Degree in Comparative Ethnic Studies with coursework in a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender and Sexuality. Mr. Guerra Vasquez has been a member of various organizations' Boards of Directors and is currently on the Alumni Advisory group for UC Santa Cruz's "Students with Agency." He has also developed talents as a multi-disciplinary artist and has had his artistic and academic work published in poetic and academic anthologies. A dynamic and engaging speaker, Gustavo has performed and toured different spoken word groups who use their performances to improve Human Relations among individuals and communities.

Sikivu Hutchinson, Senior Intergroup Relations Specialist

Sikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D. is an educator and writer whose responsibilities at the HRC include gender and social justice youth leadership, professional development and training, as well as research on culturally responsive teaching, black feminism, women of color feminism and sexual violence. Her efforts are part of the agency's emphasis improving the equitable treatment of youth of color by criminal justice systems in Los Angeles county, including attention to youth who are survivors of commerical sexual exploitation. As coordinator of the Women's Leadership Project and Young Male Scholars' programs she has successfully assisted first generation, foster care, undocumented, and LGBTQ students of color to go on to college and careers.

Dr. Hutchinson's books include Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles, Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars, and the novel White Nights, Black Paradise, on Peoples Temple and the Jonestown massacre. She is a contributing editor for the The Feminist Wire and her articles have been published in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches and The Humanist Magazine. She was a 2014-2015 Visiting Scholar at USC's Center for Feminist Research and was named Secular Woman's "Secular Woman of the Year" in 2013.

Monica Lomeli, Senior Intergroup Relations Specialist

Dr. Monica Lomeli is part of the Commission's Hate Crime team. She works with law enforcement and community organization hate crime reports, helps to manage the database and conduct data analyses, and supports the production of the annual Hate Crime Report. She also utilizes GIS software to create maps and spatial-visual analyses of Los Angeles County hate crimes. Dr. Lomeli joined the Commission in 2015.

Her doctoral dissertation studied the radical and class implications of redevelopment and gentrification in downtown Los Angeles. She interviewed and talked with old-time Latina/o business owners, indigenous Skid Row residents, and loft residents to improve intergroup relations. Dr. Lomeli teaches college courses on Crime and Delinquency, Race and Ethnicity, and more as adjunct professor of sociology with UCLA Extension and East Los Angeles College and formerly, CSU Los Angeles. She holds a PH.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and bachelors' degrees in Anthropology and Behavioral Science from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She has studied abroad in Cambodia and Chiapas, Mexico helping to conduct ethnographic research. In the nonprofit sector, Dr. Lomeli has experience working with youth as Program Manager for an after-school program in East Los Angeles and serving as Communications Assistant with the Fulfillment Fund, and educaiton organization for first genertion college students. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Zacatecas and was raised in South Los Angeles.

Grace Lowenberg, Executive Secretary

Grace Löwenberg graduated from East Los Angeles College and attended California State University, Los Angeles. Grace has been with the Commission on Human Relations since 1974 and has served as the Executive Secretary for three Executive Directors. Her duties in this role include coordinating all activities and scheduling for Commissioners. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the City Terrace Coordinating Council, Autumn Pointe Homeowners Association, and the East Los Angeles Community Scholarship Foundation. She has coordinated fundraisers for both entities and other community service organizations Grace also participates as a volunteer for the Los Angeles County East Los Angeles Sheriff's Station.

Juan Carlos Martinez, Senior Intergroup Relations Specialist

As part of the Hate Crime Report team, Juan Carlos researches and analyzes data to formulate hate crime prevention, intervention, and response strategies. He uses Geographic Information System (GIS) software to create custom maps and employs U.S. census data to analyze historical trends of hate crimes in correlation with demographic transformation of specific geographic areas. In addition, he analyzes and writes updates on proposed state and federal legislation impacting human relations. He also develops curriculum and conducts training and presentations on human relations issues.

Juan Carlos has extensive experience working with diverse groups of people, and as Resident Leadership Training Coordinator, trained adults and youth in leadership skills for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles. He has two masters' degrees - in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and in History from the California State University, Fullerton.

RiKu Matsuda, Senior Intergroup Relations Specialist

RiKu Matsuda leads the Commission's work to end violence against transgender and non-binary communities. He is an analyst for the annual Hate Crime Report and a seasoned facilitator trained in community mediation. Riku serves as the Commission's liaison to the Anti-Bullying Coalition, the Media Image Coalition and the Transgender Service Provider Network.

Before starting with the County in 2004, Riku organized Cambodian youth in Long Beach around issues of reproductive and social justice. For over a decade, he hosted a weekly public affairs program on Pacifica Radio and volunteered with many organizations for queer and trans people of color (QTPOC). Currently, Riku is a governing board member of Gender Justice Los Angeles.

Sandi Mitchell, Human Services Administrator III

Sandi Mitchell, a retiree, joined the Human Relations Branch of Community and Senior Services in 2013. As a retiree, she works on short-term projects that warrant her expertise on an as-needed basis. Her current work assignment is Project Supervisor of a CDC-funded grant received by the Department of Public Health to design and implement a training program on Implicit Bias for DPH staff. LACCHR is partnering with DPH to produce a communication procedural guidebook, communication templates, and online learning module, a train-the-trainer module and in-person training for DPH staff. This project will include recommended strategies and activities to assist with breaking the prejudice habit of Implicit bias with the underlying understanding of social determinants as it relates to health equity. At the end of this project, DPH and trained staff will be able to provide on-going support for the curriculum developed by this project.

Sandi retired from the Los Angeles County in 2006 with 34 years of service. Her experience for the last 20 years of her County career was in Contract Management where she supervised staff who managed various social services contracts. Sandi earned her Master of Organizational Management degree with emphasis on Organizational Development, from Antioch University Los Angeles.

Emily Pacheco, Staff Assistant III

Emily provides administrative support to the executive director, the commissioners, and program staff. In addition, she is a Report Analyst on the Hate Crime Report Team.

Emily previously worked with the Commission as a member of the Racialized Gang Violence Prevention Initiative, with the youth program, and as an Intern. Prior to joining the staff of the Commisssion, she worked as a child welfare social worker for the County of Ventura, and, later, with the Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board. She received her B.S. in Social Work from San Diego State University and her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School in May 2016.

Joshua Tanamachi Parr, Senior Intergroup Relations Specialist

Currently, Mr. Parr is working on programs to improve police-community relations , build youth leadership in the County of Los Angeles, and empower incarcerated youth to advocate for their own futures.

Mr. Parr has been on staff since 2005, emphasizing the principles of youth leadership development to pursue social justice projects in issues ranging from homelessness, to the school-to-prison pipeline, to immigrant rights. A trained mediator, Josh facilitates sustainable collaboratives that address root causes of human relations issues. Combining interests in the arts, wellness, and social justice, he seeks to catalyze self-realization and creative participation in underserved and vulnerable populations throughout Los Angeles County.

Gustavo Partida, Intergroup Relations Specialist

Gustavo Partida is a member of the Los Angeles County Youth Human Relations Leadership Development Initiative. This project trains adults staff in schools and youth serving organizations to equip youth to lead their peers in change efforts, and human relations projects. Mr. Partida also coordinates the Constituent Service Requests by responding to constituents that seek assistance with various types of issues.

Gustavo began his Los Angeles County service in 2007 in the Office of the Ombudsman as an Assistant Ombudsman. In this role he assisted members of the public to resolve complaints involving employees from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Office of Public Safety. In additon, he managed work-load statistics for the office, and administered the pilot program for the Graffiti Abatement Project. Prior to working for the county, he specialized in conflict resolution while employed with a county-contracted community mental health center. Mr. Parida holds a B.A. degree in Spanish with an emphasis in Public Service from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Raymond Regalado, Project Supervisor

Ray Regalado supervises the Dispute Resolution Programs Act (DRPA) activities of the 12 agencies with which Community and Senior Services contracts for these services. These agencies provide community-based conflict resolution at the local level. Additionally, specific agencies also provide civil court/day of hearing mediation opportunities to allow opposing parties to attempt resolving their dispute before presenting their case in front of a judge. Finally, specific program agencies provide restorative justice opportunties for first time criminal offenders. Mr. Regalado provides programmatic guidance to support successful outcomes by the County's DRPA contract organizations.

Ray brings an extensive human relations background to his work. Prior to his current assignment, he worked inthe area of hate crime victim support and hate crime awareness training, and assisted in the compilation of data for the annual Los Angeles County hate crime report. In addition, Mr. Regalado is a trained mediator in conflict resolution. Ray has experience working with at risk youth, community organizing and leadership development. He coordinated the activities of the Gang Reduction and Community Engagement (GRACE) project to address youth gang violence in the Harbor Gateway community of Los Angeles. Ray also has worked as a Field Deputy for First District Supervisor Gloria Molina. Ray has an M.A. in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.

Fidel Rodriguez, Senior Intergroup Relations Consultant

Fidel Rodriguez currently facilitates and coordinates workshops and trainings for the "Youth Human Relations Leadership Development Initiative." Previously, he developed and coordinated the Spreading Seeds Healing Networks, a support network for regional community-based service providers in Los Angeles County whose support and trainings focused on: providing a safe space to heal from trauma and developing more meaningful working relationships with each other, as well as developing and nurturing spiritual and wellness practices which apply guiding principles and methods to create personal change. In 2014, he completed the production of "This Land," a human relations Hip Hop album with the youth bank The Bricks in collaboration with Grammy Award-Winning Producers. He Executive Produced and coordinated the album through a program called Project One: One Love, One Mic, One Song, a youth music program located at the Los Angeles Music Academy in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission (HRC) and the non-profit Oneness, which collaborated to promote social awareness and Hip Hop music among youth in Los Angeles County. In 2009, when he was hired by HRC, he developed and facilitated a rites of passage program for youth and and young adults in collaboration with Homeboy Industries entitled Spreading Seeds: Body, Mind, Spirit, and hosted and produced HRC speaking events for youth in the Los Angeles County Central Juvenile Hall entitled Respect 101 with entertainers such as Big Boy, Xzbit, Danny Trejo, Immortal Technique, Laura Diaz (CBS) and world champion boxing trainer Freddie Roach.

For nearly 20 years, Mr. Rodriguez' life's work hs been built upon the three pillars; knowledge, wisdom and undestanding. Through these pillars he has developed a mindful pragmatism rooted in indigenous cultural paradigms that has enabled him to share practical human relations tools. His trainings focus on meditation, personal transformation, indigenous spirituality, and writing one's personal narrative to heal from trauma and further develop one's self-worth. Furthermore, his trainings assist participants on thier journey towards self-mastery based on universal principles and knowledge. The ultimate goal is to create paradigm shifts in thinking with youth and young adults affected by the Juvenile and Criminal Justice System. Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of the University of Southern California (Mc Nair Scholar) with degrees in both Chicano/Latino Studies and African American Studies and he was a radio host and producer for 15 years at Clear Channel/iHeart Radio and the Pacifica Radio Network. While attending USC, he lived in Zimbabwe studying African spiritual traditions, colonial and Neoliberalism. Mr. Rodriguez (Ifaseye Shangodayo Adesanya Awoyade) is an initiated Omo Awo (Priest) and initiated priest of Shango in the IFA religion of Nigeria and is a Franlin Covey Certified 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens Trainer.

Robert Sowell, Human Services Administrator I

Robert Sowell supervises staff working with county's Dispute Resolution Program, increasing the fairness and equity of criminal justice systems in Los Angeles County, and enhancing the agency's communications and professional development. This currently includes efforts to bring about needed reform in dialogue, and working for the elimination of commerical sexual exploitation of miniors. Previously, he worked with youth leadership development and the annual Hate Crime Report.

Prior to joining the Commission staff, Robert worked for more than 25 years in a variety of nonprofit human service organizations, including a private junior high school, consulting and planning agencies serving organizations, including a private junior high, consulting and planning agencies serving congregations, and inner city neighborhood community development organizations. He was also employed previously by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services as an Emergency Response Children's Social Worker, investigating reports of child neglect and abuse. Robert earned a Master of Science of Social Work degree from the University of Texas at Arlington as well as a graduate degree in education. In addition, he completed post-graduate studies in Public and Urban Affairs.

Clifton Trotter, Intergroup Relations Specialist

Clifton is a member of the Implicit Bias Project Team. This project is a collaborative between the Human Relations Commission and the county Department of Public Health to develop a comprehensive curriculum and online training program to help DPH staff address implicit and conscious bias. Clifton provides expertise in the areas of curriculum design and training delivery along with support in various areas in the development and execution of the project.

Clifton's expertise includes having worked for Peace Over Violence as a Program Director and Educator, spearheading the Engaging Men Project, a project developed to engage men against gender based violence. As a director and educator he worked in a variety of capacities providing violence prevention education and training in diverse settings such as Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Universities, CBO's, and NPO's. In these settings, he provided trainings and workshops for students, violence, domestic violence, teen dating violence, sexual violence, men's violence, men as allies, and gender based violence. Clifton holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Masters of Public Administration from California State University, Northridge.

Sharon Williams, Senior Typist Clerk

Sharon Williams is a 1987 graduate of Manual Arts High School and has taken additional courses at Abram Friedman Occupational Center, the National Business Academy, and Los Angeles Southwest College. She worked as a Typist Clerk for Atlantic Richfield Company and Accelerated Micro Computers, and as an Intermediate Typist Clerk for the Board of Supervisors before joining the Commission in the same capacity in 1990. In March of 1995, she was promoted to Senior Typist Clerk. Sharon lives in Los Angeles with her parents and her two children, Kordell and Michaela.

Marshall Wong, Senior Intergroup Relations Specialist

A native of Los Angeles, Marshall has served as a Senior Intergroup Relations Specialist with the Commission since 1999. He is the Commission's Hate Crime Coordinator and the principal author of the agency's annual Hate Crime Report. Marshall also staffs a countywide coalition, the Network Against Hate Crime, and provides training for law enforcement and service providers.

Previously, Marshall held positions with the Smithsonian Institution and the Mayor of Washington, D.C. He was a Fellow in the Kellogg National Leadership Program and was named Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. Marshall received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and his Master of Social Welfare from the University of California at Los Angeles. Additionally, he has studied Spanish in Cuernavaca, Mexico and Antigua, Guatemala, has written articles for Social Justice , the Washington Times and Asian Week. Marshall also authored a biography about his father Delbert Wong, the first Chinese American judge.


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