Farmworker Justice Staff

Ron Estrada
Chief Executive Officer

Ron Estrada is the chief executive officer of Farmworker Justice (FJ), a national advocacy organization for farmworkers. FJ founded in 1981 is based in Washington, D.C., and collaborates with organizations throughout the country to empower farm, ranch, dairy, and agriculture workers to improve their wages, working conditions, occupational safety, health, immigration status, and access to justice. Key priorities identified by Estrada include reforming the nation’s food system, addressing climate change, and empowering the estimated 2.5 million farmworkers and their families to continue to be active contributors to the US economy and society.

Prior to FJ, Estrada was head of government relations and senior vice president of corporate social responsibility for Univision Communications, the leading media company serving Hispanic America. Based in Washington, D.C., Estrada was responsible for developing and nurturing strong working relationships with community organizations and key stakeholders at both the local and national levels, including business, non-profit, and government leaders. He directed policy, advocacy, and CSR initiatives for network and local media teams representing 126 broadcast and radio stations throughout the US and Puerto Rico. In addition, Estrada is recognized as one of the top 100 CSR professionals in the U.S., a recipient of Diversity MBA magazine’s top emerging executive, and honored as a 2019 Powerful & Influential Latino in Television & Film. Prior to Univision, Estrada was a member of the executive cabinet and vice president for the UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza). Under his leadership, Estrada was responsible for the oversight of the resource development, marketing, and communications teams. In addition, he was a producer for the American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Awards, a televised show that promotes diversity and honors Latinos in entertainment. Previously, Mr. Estrada was the vice president of marketing for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. While at USHCC, he was responsible for the syndication and development of the nationally-televised, news magazine program, Hispanics Today. Estrada also served as the vice president & general manager of ECG, a corporate and marketing communications agency based in Austin, TX, where he was recognized for his community leadership as the businessman of the year.

Mr. Estrada serves and has served on various boards including, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Marriott International Association Advisory Board, Hispanic Scholarship Fund Advisory Board, Poder Latinx, National Park Foundation’s American Latino Heritage Fund, Church’s Chicken Corporate Diversity Council, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau Board of Directors, and MGM Resorts International Diversity Board.


David Damian Figueroa
Director of Development

David Damian Figueroa grew up working in the agricultural fields of Southern Arizona and knows first-hand the plight of those who work in farms and ranches picking America’s fruits and vegetables.  As a child, his mother taught him to sing traditional Mexican Regional songs to pass the long hot days in the fields.  He’s made vital contributions to farmworkers’ justice in business, social justice arts, and nonprofit organizations throughout his career.  He is the Associate Producer of the documentary film “The Harvest” / “La Cosecha” and executive producer of the critically acclaimed documentary film “Food Chains,” which premiered at The Berlin Film Festival in 2014.  David Damian is a recipient of the 2017 Dolores Huerta Award from Farmworker Justice.  He’s part of the senior team of Farmworker Justice, a national organization that fights for farmworkers’ rights in America.  He resides in the Coachella Valley in California with his husband, Jimmy.


Isabel Gross
Project Coordinator for Occupational Safety and Health

Isabel Gross joined Farmworker Justice in 2020 as the Project Coordinator for Occupational Safety and Health. She supports the health team by developing and translating educational materials, managing day-to-day communication with community partners, and assisting with project reporting. Before coming to FJ, Isabel served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala, where she trained the leaders of community agriculture and women’s groups, and as an Americorps volunteer in Arlington, Virginia, where she connected immigrant parents with educational services for their children. Isabel holds a B.A. in Spanish with a minor in anthropology from Haverford College.


Alexis Guild, MPP
Director of Health Policy and Programs

Alexis Guild has been with Farmworker Justice since 2011. In her role as Director of Health Policy and Programs, she coordinates FJ’s health promotion projects and health policy advocacy. She works with advocacy organizations, community/migrant health centers, farmworker community-based organizations, and legal services organizations to ensure health care access for farmworkers and their families across the United States. Alexis co-authored “Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Implementation and Impact of the Affordable Care Act in U.S. Farmworker Communities” published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (2016); and “The Neighbors who Feed Us: Farmworkers and Government Policy – Challenges and Solutions” published in the Harvard Law and Policy Review (2018). Alexis has extensive experience in public health and community organizing. She worked on political campaigns and grassroots organizations. She also served as a Health Education Volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in Guatemala. She graduated from Wellesley College and has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. Alexis lives in Oakland, California.


Nina Kanakarajavelu, MPH
Project Director, Health Promotion

Nina Kanakarajavelu joined Farmworker Justice in 2021 as the Project Director for Health Promotion. Previously, Nina has managed programs related to pandemic preparedness, global workforce development, and health systems strengthening. She is committed to a rights-based approach to expanding health access and improving health outcomes in farmworker communities.

Nina received her MPH with a concentration in International Health and Development at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and also holds a Masters in Human Rights from Brandeis University.


Merlyn Perez, MHA
Director of Operations

Merlyn Perez is the Director of Operations at Farmworker Justice. During her tenure, she has been responsible for financial management, human resources management and the management of office technology.  She assists project managers and the COO in monitoring and reviewing the tracking of grant funds, assists with the preparation of budgets for new grants and contracts and works to improve internal financial controls.  Mrs. Perez holds a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Maryland University College.


Heide Hernandez-Jimenez

Legal Fellow

Heide Hernandez-Jimenez joined Farmworker Justice in August 2022 as the legal fellow. She monitors policy developments on immigration, labor, and health issues and provides legal research and writing for FJ’s initiatives on these issue areas. Prior to coming to FJ, Heide served as a fellow at Student Action with Farmworkers and volunteered at the Migrant Farm Worker Clinics hosted by UConn Health. Heide is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law.


Mayra Reiter

Project Director, Occupational Safety and Health

Mayra Reiter joined at FJ as Program Coordinator with its Health Program in 2019, supporting various health initiatives and outreach efforts. She now addresses occupational safety and health issues such as pesticide exposure and heat stress, in addition to helping provide training and technical assistance to community health centers that serve farmworkers. Before joining FJ, she was a science and policy researcher focused on environmental policy and human health. Ms. Reiter holds a Master’s degree in international service from American University in Washington, D.C. and joint Master’s  degrees in environmental sciences and public affairs from Indiana University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in natural sciences with a concentration in environmental sciences from the University of Puerto Rico.


Trent Taylor
Staff Attorney

Trent Taylor joined Farmworker Justice as its Staff Attorney in October 2020, with ten years of experience in union representation and wage and hour law.  As a union-side labor attorney, Trent represented a diverse group of unions and bargaining units, including teachers, healthcare workers, pilots, truck drivers, mechanics, municipal workers, factory workers and communication workers under the National Labor Relations Act, Railway Labor Act and various state public sector bargaining statutes.  In connection with this work, Trent co-authored the Ohio AFL-CIO’s Law of Organizing, a handbook designed for union organizers. 

As a wage and hour attorney, Trent has specialized in represented low-income Latinx workers in the fields of food service, healthcare and farm work.  Trent developed his passion for advancing the cause of farmworkers in his first trial, where he aided four farmworkers in recovering unpaid wages from their employer. Trent is proud to be a member of Farmworker Justice and to represent farmworkers and their families. 


Andrew Walchuk
Senior Policy Counsel and Director of Government Relations

Andrew Walchuk joined Farmworker Justice in 2021. He engages in policy analysis, education, and advocacy on the broad range of issues affecting farmworkers and their families, including immigration relief, the H-2A temporary visa program, workplace rights, and others. His previous work included advocacy and legal services for a variety of human rights organizations, with an emphasis on asylum and access to justice for immigrant communities. Andrew also has experience serving on political campaigns and in government, at both the state and federal level. He began representing farmworkers through his pro bono immigration practice while litigating at a law firm in California. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, Yale Divinity School, and Yale Law School.


Rebecca Young, MA
Senior Project Director – Community Engagement

Rebecca Young joined Farmworker Justice in Washington, DC in 2010 and currently serves as Senior Project Director for their Health Promotion team. Rebecca’s had the opportunity to engage with farmworker communities across the United States and finds continued inspiration for her work through the stories the farmworkers and their families so willingly share. Through her work in program management and training and curriculum development she interacts frequently with promotores de salud (health outreach workers) on health content areas as varied as pesticide safety, heat stress prevention, and HIV/AIDS awareness to name just a few. Her work in these areas is steeped in the philosophy of popular education which allows for participants of a wide variety of educational, cultural and linguistic backgrounds to understand and interact with training content in a meaningful and memorable way. Prior to joining Farmworker Justice Rebecca spent 7 years living in the rural Western Highlands of Guatemala. There she worked at a language school and envisioned a bookstore/cafe which also provided space for after-school projects for kids and literacy projects for women. Rebecca holds a MA in Sustainable Development and Social Justice from the School for International Training and a BA in Anthropology and English from Bowdoin College.