A northern New Mexico Chicana, Angélica Salazar has organized on both national and international fronts to secure social, economic and environmental justice for more than a decade. In 1998, at age 17, she spearheaded a youth-led campaign against California’s punitive Proposition 21, putting her in the trenches of community work in the San Francisco Bay Area.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies from University of California at Berkeley, Angelica embarked on a 13-month solo journey through Africa, studying French in Senegal and investigating the use of remittances to micro-finance community development projects. Global politics became a permanent pulse on her radar and she has been committed to change-making ever since.
In 2010, Angélica co-coordinated a U.S. delegation to the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Later that year she attended the Alternative Global Forum on Life, Social and Environmental Justice, caravanning throughout Mexico with La Via Campesina and Rural Coalition to promote global food sovereignty and environmental justice. In 2012, she participated in the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
Angélica is most recognized for her efforts to normalize U.S./Cuba relations. Starting in 2003 she worked with the Fund for Reconciliation and Development to mobilize the U.S. travel industry to advocate for opening up travel to Cuba. Later, in 2009, she served as National Cuba Policy Outreach Coordinator for Washington D.C.-based think tanks and advocacy organizations, educating and mobilizing U.S. citizens to lobby the 111th Congress in support of legislation to end the U.S. travel ban on Cuba.
Most recently Angelica worked as Communications Director for Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC), promoting cooperation between U.S., Cuban, and global health communities. Through this work she cultivated her interest in health equity. She had the opportunity to serve Oakland youth as Health Justice Mentor with Ashoka Youth Ventures. In 2013, she traveled to Haiti to distribute Safe Birth Delivery Kits as a member of the Global Advisory Council for the Birthing Project USA.
As a National Urban Fellow, she will continue her path as a leader in bridging grassroots organizing with just policy-making to holistically uplift communities and create a better world.