Jennifer Rangel, MCRP, Emerging Historian and Board Member of DMAHL as she moderates the Community Involvement Panel featuring Yolanda Alameda, Juan Contreras and Giovanni Valderas. Panelists will share their community involvement journey and recommendations on how people can get involved in their community.
Yolanda is a life-long resident of Oak Cliff, she attended Peeler Elementary, Greiner Middle School and graduated from Adamson High School a long time ago. She has over twenty-five years of experience in arts management, community development and program delivery. Yolanda served as Director of the Museums and Cultural Affairs Department for the city of El Paso and as Assistant Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the city of Dallas. She now focuses her efforts on health promotion as a certified wellness coach and as a Wellness Resource Consultant for Gruma Corporation and United Healthgroup. Yolanda holds a BA in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas, and a Master's in Public Administration from Rutgers. A life-long learner, she is currently working on a Master’s in Social Work and Public Health. Her volunteer work is hyper-local, she volunteers with the Polk-Vernon Neighborhood Association, Somos Tejas, the West Oak Cliff Coalition, and the Coalition for Self-Determination. She is also the Democratic Precinct Chair for her area. In all her endeavors, she is committed to influencing individual and community transformation and efforts that improve the human condition.
Juan Contreras is a Operations Analyst for Bank of America, who also co-chairs their Employee Resource Group (ERG) in North Texas; Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership & Advancement (HOLA), which helps promote employee growth, engagement, and fosters local partnerships with organizations in the region. After spending over a decade in civic engagement during his free time as a volunteer with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Juan knows the importance of being involved in his local community. In 2014, Juan co-founded Texas Latino Pride, an annual gathering of celebration becoming a unique space of culture, welcoming the LGBTQIA+ Hispanic/LatinX communities, while also raising funds for local agencies. In addition to his community involvement, Juan has co-chaired the national Latinx institute at Creating Change and continuously advocates for basic humane rights for members of the LGBTQIA+ and immigrant communities. Juan studied at El Centro College for Culinary Arts & applied his studies to help his family's taquerias in the Dallas/Metro area.
A native of Dallas, Giovanni Valderas is an Assistant Professor of Art at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Previously, he was the Exhibition Manager at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center and Assistant Gallery Director at Kirk Hopper Fine Art, he began his career as the Gallery Director at Mountain View College. In addition, Valderas served as an appointee by Dallas City Council as Vice Chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission. Valderas graduated from the College of Visual Arts & Design at the University of North Texas with a Master of Fine Arts in Drawing & Painting. He has taught painting and drawing courses at the University of North Texas, Richland, and Mountain View College. He is a former member of 500x gallery, one of the oldest co-op galleries in Texas. His work has been featured in the 2013 Texas Biennial, New American Paintings Magazine, issue #108 and #132, Impossible Geometries: Curated works by Lauren Haynes at Field Projects in New York City, and 14x48.org’s temporary billboard public art project. In addition, Valderas received the Moss/Chumley Award and a micro-grant from the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas for his guerrilla site-specific projects. In 2018, Valderas resigned from his reappointment to the City of Dallas, Cultural Affairs Commission having served under Councilman Omar Narvaez to run for Dallas City Council to represent the neighborhood he grew up in. Valderas led a grassroots campaign where he placed a strong second.
This project is supported by funding from the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life, made possible by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.
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