Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute 2018
Paola Martinez-Montes has lived in San Diego for nearly 20 years, growing up here since arriving from Mexico with her family in 1997. She is the daughter of immigrant parents and was undocumented herself for many years, giving her a unique worldview and sensitivity to the injustices and inequalities that many people face. Being raised in San Diego, she harbors a deep love for the city and the people who live here and it was that love that led her to organizing.
She began her organizing as a student at San Diego City College where she obtained a degree in Sociology, during which time she organized around ending budget cuts, increased tuition costs, violence against women, and immigrant rights. She was a teacher’s assistant in Gender Studies, and interned for the American Federation of Teachers Local 1931. All this experience allowed her to further understand inherent interconnections between the importance of social justice, unionism, and community organizing.
In 2011, she joined the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerments (ACCE), as a member of a civic engagement team, where her leadership and organizing continued to develop leading her to the position of Director of ACCE for San Diego County. As Director of the San Diego chapter of ACCE, she has engaged her community, run civic engagement programs, facilitated community-led campaigns, developed local community leaders as well as new organizing staff, and participated in numerous coalitions to develop policies and organizing campaigns aimed at improving the lives of low-income community members and people of color with a focus in Chula Vista and National City. Paola is currently serving as the Chair for the City of Chula Vista Human Relations Commission.