Maru Villalpando, Outreach & Organizing Coordinator
Maru Mora Villalpando is Outreach and Program Coordinator at Surge. She is a bi-lingual statewide community organizer and trainer with more than ten years of experience, primarily focusing on immigrant and racial justice issues.
Maru has conducted numerous bilingual and monolingual trainings throughout the States of Oregon and Washington ranging from basic community organizing 101, legal rights for undocumented workers, how the legislative process works, using local and national media outlets for community organizing, and developing long-term organizing strategies for social change.
Maru has organized several successful campaigns including campaigns to gain language interpretation in local hospitals, defeating anti-immigrant bills in the State Legislature, pushing for farmer worker rights, and actions at the Tacoma Detention Center.
She is a regular political analyst guess on Latino Radio and TV in Oregon and Washington and across the nation. She is also a single mother raising a mature, critical thinker and beautiful teenage girl who recently appeared with her on Democracy Now!
Priya Walia, Reproductive Justice Fellow
Priya Walia is the Reproductive Justice Fellow for Surge. Since high school, Priya has passionately advocated for the rights of marginalized people. Through her work at West Virginia Women Work, she helped expand opportunities for women and gender non-conforming folks to gain employment in construction and other non-traditional fields. In law school at the University of Cincinnati, she spent her time bridging the gap between critical legal theory and practice in the local and national legal communities. Her work with criminal justice reform, labor and employment, financial reform, and civil rights drew her to become active in the reproductive justice movement. She helped to found the UC Law chapter of If/When/How (formerly Law Students for Reproductive Justice) and brought the issues of people of color and the LGBTQ community to the forefront of student sponsored events. During her time at Cincinnati Law, she also worked for the nationally recognized Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice where she was able to facilitate social and policy change in an intersectional way for large and underserved audiences. Her summer internships, semester-long externships, and involvement in social justice leaning legal journals reflected her desire to affect positive change. Priya’s time in law school was spent attempting to leave a lasting mark on the institution and community. Most notably, she was able to draft an ordinance that was later passed in Cincinnati preventing wage theft for low wage workers. In addition to her passion for helping humans, Priya has been a long time dog foster and volunteer—a passion that was sparked when she rescued her dog, Bailey in 2011.