FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Reyna was born in Tijuana, Mexico and migrated to Arizona in 2003 fleeing violence. She is an undocumented/DACAmented a social entrepreneur, a community organizer, an educator, and a dancer. She is a 2016 Soros Justice Fellow, which enable her to start Aliento. She also served in the first Teach For America DACA Advisory Board. Reyna holds bachelor degrees in Political Science and Transborder Studies and a Dance minor from Arizona State University; she also holds a M.Ed in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. She has engaged in local, statewide and national platforms to advance justice for immigrant communities. In 2013, she was the lead organizer, who prevented an immigration bus of undocumented immigrants from deportation in Phoenix, AZ for the first time in the nation’s history. In the same year, with the help of the community, she stopped her father’s deportation. She was also recognized as 2017 #NBCLatino20 and the Muhammad Ali Center as the 2018 Humanitarian Recipient for Spirituality. She hopes to share her talents and skills with the community to co-create healing spaces, political change, and leadership development of our immigrant youth and migrant families.
ADVOCACY & POLICY DIRECTOR
Jose Patiño was born in Mexico, raised in the Valley of the sun, Phoenix, AZ. He migrated at the age of six with this family and is part of the 1% DACAmented people in the U.S. with a master’s degree. He is an educator, and an activist. Jose holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. Jose became involved in the Immigrant Rights and Dreamer Movement in 2009. Ever since then Jose has been standing up against the injustices that undocumented immigrants face. He stopped a bus of undocumented immigrants who were set to be deported, engaged in a direct action where he interrupted President Obama’s speech, and has lobbied for the DREAM Act and Immigration Reform. Due to Jose’s activism he was featured in The Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, Univision, Telemundo, Buzzfeed, Think Progress, among others. He was also featured in the documentaries The Dream is Now and Underwater Dreams.
Deyanira Garcia Ornelas (Deya) is a DACA recipient born in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua and raised in the vibrant city of Mesa, Arizona. She is a nineteen year old, 2017 graduate of Mesa High School and student at Mesa Community College in hopes of transferring to ASU. At the moment, her major is undecided but is on track to complete her associates in science. In her free time, she likes to hang out with family, ice skate, hang out with her favorite (and only) sister, create, learn, laugh, help, and experience new things. Her favorite quote is “Good or bad? Hard to tell.” It is originally from a TED talk which basically explains that every situation can never be labeled as good or bad because what may seem like a bad situation may lead to bigger and better things.
ARTS + HEALING COORDINATOR
Kate Saunders is a binational, multi-disciplinary performance artist from Phoenix, Arizona, whose artwork takes a critical view of the social, political, and cultural norms experienced in everyday life. Her work examines themes such as feminine identity, queer identity, border politics, whiteness, and the desert through poetry, movement, and storytelling. She believes that the personal is political and that our liberation is bound in each other’s. It is from here that she works on what it means to be an ally/accomplice and focuses on healing practice as a part of combating systemic violence. She is currently earning her Master’s degree in Justice Studies at ASU where she blends artistic practice with social research.
DIGITAL + CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Diego was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a proud son of Mexican parents. Diego is a Visual Artist, specializing in both graphic design and photography. During his involvement with the immigration rights movement, photography has since become a major focus in his work. Diego explores various styles in his photography, ranging from self portraits, people portraits, storytelling, actions, life documentation, and photojournalism. In his work, he focuses in capturing raw moments and emotions. He uses his creativity, talents, and skills to amplify the stories that are happening in immigrant community in Arizona.
He has worked on many campaigns including Bazta Arpaio and Vote4Dream. His work has been used by many news outlets such as NBC, Univision, Fusion, Advocate, Now This Politics, UU World, and even the far-right Breitbart.
Diego is the man behind Aliento's logo, branding, and web development.