Arts And Culture Reporter For The Artery, WGBH
Cristela Guerra is an arts and culture reporter for The ARTery. She worked for nearly four years at The Boston Globe writing human-interest features, covering everything from blizzards to arts to immigration as well as breaking news around New England. She started her career in Florida logging seven years at The News-Press where she wrote about about Cape Coral City Hall, crime, education, LGBTQ issues and business. She’s driven to understand peoples’ passions, committed to local communities and hopes to use the arts as a lens to delve deeper into stories of equity, culture, social justice and race.
Steam Outreach Coordinator & Speaker, Systems Engineer, Mars One 100 Candidate
By day, Yari is a systems engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory advancing technology for National Defense and Space. By night, she is one of 100 aspiring Mars settlers from around the world preparing and training for a one-way trip to settle on the red planet.
Yari is a strong advocate for girls in STEAM, she organizes and run hands-on workshops to introduce girls to engineering, and speak at schools, universities, and professional organizations about the importance of following your dreams, space exploration and the Mars One Project.
President At Good Samaritan Medical Center - Steward Health Care
Marisela Marrero, M.D. is a Harvard-trained Emergency Room physician with an interest in developing top-tier public healthcare knowledge within the Latino community and broadening the use of proper healthcare among Hispanic people. Originally from Puerto Rico, Marisela has been living in the New England area for the past 22 years, having attained her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She was the co-founder and chair of ALPFA Healthcare, an organization dedicated to the promotion and proliferation of Latino leaders. In addition to this, she served as the medical correspondent for both Telemundo Boston and NECN. Most recently, Marisela worked as VP of Clinical Operations at Good Samaritan Medical Center, focusing on efficiency and throughput within the hospital setting. With a sense of commitment and enthusiasm that is palpable, Marisela continues to raise the bar, and acts as a driving force at the forefront of healthcare improvement and change.
Award-winning Latin Dance Specialist, Educator, And Womanpreneur
Ana Masacote passionately believes that through dance, we can facilitate social change within communities. She is a co-founder and partner of Masacote Entertainment and has spread the salsa bug to more than 30 countries across five continents. Ana is also the producer and executive director of Yo Soy LOLA, a movement to reclaim the Latina narrative through artistic platforms and a scholarship initiative for Latinx MA artists, and the founder of Dance to Power, LLC, an online Afro-Latin dance academy dedicated to educating and uplifting womyn and allies around the world through Afro-Latin dance.
Ana was a recipient of the 2015 New England Salsa Music Award for lifetime achievement in dance, an alumna of the 2015 Goldman Sachs 10KSB National Program, a recipient of the SBA’s MA Minority-Owned Business of the Year Award, and holds a bachelor’s in Management Science from MIT in Cambridge. She began her formal dance training with folkloric dance at age 5 and Salsa at age 15, and she has been a judge and guest of honor at salsa competitions and festivals worldwide.
Executive Director, Massachusetts LGBT Chamber Of Commerce
Grace Moreno is a senior executive, startup nurturer, and mission-driven entrepreneur with more than 25 years’ experience leading state and national nonprofit organizations.
As executive director of the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Grace is currently fostering economic growth and viability for LGBT-owned and allied businesses, corporations, and professionals throughout the Commonwealth.
In her previous work, Grace created positive change for the underserved by fighting predatory lending practices at the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), promoting Latino civic engagement at ¿Oiste?, bringing health care reform to Massachusetts at Health Care For All, building mixed-income neighborhoods at The Community Builders, and encouraging participatory democracy at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate. Her work has ranged in helping all people no matter what their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious preference.
Professional Dancer And Dance Coach
Melisa Valdez is a professional Dancer and Dance Coach at Boston Mobile Dance Studio. A certified Zumba instructor, Melisa Valdez is a pro movement artists that dances many dance forms such as; Jazz, Hip-Hop, Merengue, Salsa, Reggae, Bachata, Samba and Cha-cha. She has also worked in the movies as a movement artist, She was the principle dancer in Scott Coopers’ Black Mass, a 2015 blockbuster with Johnny Depp and Dakota Johnson. Melisa has danced in various TV Shows and Commercials, such as; Bose Speakers, 106 & Park, Calle 8 Miami, Sucker Free Music and Adidas Shelltose commercial. She was a principle dancer in “A night with Elvis Costello”, in Live Performances; with Elvis Costello – The Revolver Tour and the Osheaga Festival, Joe Thomas – Loose Ends Tour, N.O.R.E. at Madison Square Garden, and Tiesto/Axwell at The Royale NightClub. She was also a principle dancer in music videos with Kardinal Offishall, Jim Jones, T.I., N.O.R.E., and Boston Celtics – Phunk Phenomenon.
Jacqueline Landaverde is 17 years old and the daughter of two TPS recipients. She is a Senior in high school and plans on attending college in the fall. She has three younger sisters who all play and love soccer. Ever since the Trump Administration cancelled Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Salvadoran recipients, Jacqueline got involved with the Massachusetts TPS Committee and The Last Dream production. She speaks at public events and rallies, and inspires young people to act.
Fireside Chat led by
JULIO RICARDO VARELA
In The Thick, Co-host
Latino Rebels, Founder
As Digital Media Director for Futuro Media, Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela works with the Latino USA team to promote the show’s episodes and expand its social reach. He is a frequent contributor to the show and the editor of the show’s official site, LatinoUSA.org. He also co-hosts In The Thick with Maria Hinojosa. In 2011, Julio founded LatinoRebels.com, one of the top U.S. Latino media sites in the world. Previously, he was digital producer for Al Jazeera America’s “The Stream” and his work has been featured in many global outlets, including the Guardian, ESPN, the New York Times, Quartz, Le Monde, WGBH, WNYC, Face the Nation, MSNBC, Fusion, Univision and Telemundo. He has made numerous national TV appearances for Latino USA and Futuro Media.
In 2015, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists honored Julio with its inaugural DALE (pronounced like Pitbull would say it) Award, given to “given to an individual or company that steps up and goes above and beyond to ensure Latinos are fairly and accurately represented.” A native of Puerto Rico, Julio spent his childhood between San Juan and the Bronx. He was also a contributing reporter at The Boston Globe. Julio graduated cum laude from Harvard College.