The Team

CrystalCrystal Gonzalez is the Program Director for AFSC’s Roots for Peace Program in Los Angeles, CA. She was born and raised in a farm worker community in the east Coachella Valley, two hours outside of Los Angeles. Previous to joining the AFSC in 2010, Crystal had over 10 years of experience as an organizer and educator.  She attended the University of California, Irvine where she received bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and International Studies, and following two years of work with youth, decided to return to acquire a California Teaching Credential, and a Masters in Education.  Crystal has engaged youth using a series of formats including teaching high school history, facilitating conflict resolution workshops, and leading a musical performance group.  She believes that education, above all, is about co-developing sacred spaces that support personal, communal, and societal transformation. Crystal is also a member of Fandango Sin Fronteras, a transnational music project.  In her spare time Crystal loves to bike, hike, yoga, travel, play music, and share delicious home grown food with loved ones. You can reach Crystal at

eli-e1515624358318.jpgeli tizcareño is the Program Coordinator for AFSC’s Roots for Peace Program in Los Angeles, CA. They were born and raised in the San Fernando Valley with strong roots in Ahuisculco, Jalisco, Mexico. Since 2009, Eli has worked with youth and communities to address issues of food justice, environment, gender, intergenerational trauma through an intersectional framework. As an undergraduate, they organized with others to secure +2 acres of community farmland with paid positions that continue today. As an Organizer with the Real Food Challenge, eli helped author and pass a statewide Cal State University food policy to secure that at least 20% of the food served on campuses must be fair trade, organic, local, and ecologically-sound by the year 2020. In their spare time, eli enjoys being outdoors, biking, cooking, co-facilitating Alternatives to Violence workshops at CIW, writing, making beats, and healing with loved ones. You can reach eli at 

donna picMy name is Donna Liseth Quintanilla, I am a 19 year old South Central resident. As a Guatemalan Argentinean my work began in high school, I was figuring out ways to embrace my culture and as a Central American it was hard finding pieces of my peoples’ history. I became interested in getting involved in my school and neighborhood and was named Vice President of the LGBTQIA club in high school, and co-founded Dreamers of South Central in June 2016.  Dreamers of South Central fights against police brutality, the school to prison pipeline, and gentrification. Through this work, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at CSU LA and UC Irvine and I would never trade this life for something else. In 2016 , I was accepted to Public Allies and began working for Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) as a Community Education Specialist and volunteered at Service Works to mentor youth attending Santee High School. I fell in love working with youth. In 2017, I became an Art Mentor for LA Commons and showed kids how to connect art and activism. I joined AFSC’s Roots for Peace Summer Internship program and look forward to continue learning and growing with this organization as the Joe Franco 2018 Intern! You can reach Donna at

mariaMaría Carmen Martinez Sanchez is the Roots for Peace Policy Intern (2017- 2018). Maria is a co-founding member of the Mar Vista Gardens and continues to support new leadership in the garden today through facilitation and organizing of trainings, workshops, events, and more. She is currently preparing to work with residents from Mar Vista Gardens and other public housing sites in Los Angeles to facilitate Know Your (food growing) Rights workshops and document progress around food growing guidelines. She will also support in building new resident leadership at the Mar Vista Gardens Community Garden. On her free time, María likes to go on walks, work with the earth in her own garden, and volunteers her time in her neighborhood.

brendaHey y’all this is Brenda Verano! I am a full-time student, creator, #DREAMER and lover to myself. I am a nineteen year old baby with lots of support and love to give. Beholder to some of my ancestors most valued treasures, like the love for this earth and the never-ending passion towards supporting and being active in powerful movements. Organizing for me transitioned from being just a hobby to a fundamental way of living. With that being said, I’m evolving everyday and there are mentors and amigxs who teach me a lot of the things I hope to pass down and share with others. Thrilled to share space, learn and create with community! I’m a Roots for Peace Program Alumni & currently a Youth Program Facilitator.

Jackie GallardoHi! My name is Jackie Gallardo I’ve existed in this world for 19 years. I’m an artist currently learning and expanding my mind in the school of life and at SMC. I’m a dreamer with big dreams and visions to share with the world. Extremely passionate about self love, healing, creating and women empowerment. I believe that in order to change the world we must first change ourselves, our own little universe and i share this message through my own practice in my own journey and through my ART! My voice. Creating art is a very grounding, healing experience for me and I want to transcend that love, healing and empowerment into other people’s lives. I am always open to learn and evolve and i am so grateful to share such a healing & empowering space with Roots for Peace mentors, facilitators and youth (aka my friends/ little community) that allow me to do just that. I’m happy to contribute in my little grain of salt into this space to impact ourselves, our communities, and this world as a Roots for Peace alumni and Youth Program Volunteer. You can check out Jackie’s art @magicalyouniverse (IG)



Program Advisory Committee


Jorge Sandoval (Committee Member since 2015) is the Garden Assistant for AFSC’s Roots for Peace Program at All Peoples’ Community Center in South Central Los Angeles. He is currently a full-time student at Los Angeles Trade Technical College and is working towards completing his General Education requirements to be eligible to transfer to a university.

Delia A., South Los Angeles (Committee member since 2015) works at Strategic Actions for Just Economy (SAJE) and is a bilingual interpreter for special events and actions. Delia has supported in different capacities including interpreting, program planning, and program’s intersectional and transnational viewpoint.

Phil W. (Committee member since 2015) is a long-time Quaker and AFSC supporter. Phil has used his carpentry skills in the South LA Community Garden by building a seating area for mom’s garden.

Erick V., Lincoln Heights (Committee Members since 2015) is a Roots for Peace Program youth alumni and is currently attending Glendale Community College. Erick has participated in more than 4 Roots for Peace programs since 2015 and continues to volunteer and attend events.

Maria Sanchez, Mar Vista Gardens (Committee Member since 2015) is currently the Policy Intern for AFSC’s Roots for Peace Program and a Food Growers’ Network member at Mar Vista Gardens. Maria is founding member of the MVG Community Garden and is currently a mentor for new resident gardeners.


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