CATA Headquarters New Jersey
Jessica Culley has been working with CATA since the year 2000, starting as an intern and now working as CATA's General Coordinator. She is responsible for coordinating CATA's work throughout southern New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania, and the Delmarva Peninsula. Jessica is originally from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania but has lived in the Philadelphia area for 20 years. In her former life, she studied Environmental Science in Northwestern, PA, lived and worked in rural Honduras, and studied massage therapy. Her favorite farm produce is a slice of watermelon on a hot day in July.
Edgar Aquino Huerta was born in Puebla, Mexico, in a small town called San Nicolas Tolentino. At the age of two, his mother carried him over the border in search of better opportunities. He is the son of immigrant farmworkers, and he always knew he wanted to create change when he grew up because of the corruption, mistreatment, and humiliation his mother went through. At the age of 13, his mother got too ill and returned to Mexico for treatment because she could not afford to be treated in America. Edgar began working in the fields and packing houses over his summers to send money to his mother and for himself to survive as well. He became a farmworker and finally understood the poor conditions his mother faced.
Luckily in 2012, he was introduced to DACA and had the choice of working in a “normal” job during the summers or stay in the fields/packing houses. He chose the fields/packing houses because he saw its beauty and started a family with the people who raised him while his mother was away. After High School, he attended community college and Rowan University to pursue a degree in film. He has become one of the many voices for his community through his story, and CATA has allowed him to hear and share farmworkers' unheard voices by doing outreach.
His favorite thing about working with CATA is helping farmworkers find their voice and encouraging them to use it because they have their own power. Edgar enjoys listening to their stories. They are heartbreaking, inspiring, and powerful. He knows he is an avenue to their stories.
Daniel Arista was born in Puebla, Mexico, and moved to the U.S. in 2000. Daniel started working with CATA in 2019 as RadioCATA's Station Assistant. He recruits new radio DJ's and underwriters, trains new/current DJ's, records and sends out announcements for radio use, maintains the equipment, and is always looking for new ways to expand and enhance RadioCATA’s programming. Before CATA, Daniel studied at the Art Institute of Philadelphia and has a Bachelor of Science in Audio Production. Besides being a tennis enthusiast, Daniel also works on music composition, music production, sound design for audio in media such as animation clips, video game audio implementation, and audio for video.
Carla was born in South Jersey. Her parents are from a small village in Puebla, Mexico making Carla a first-generation Mexican American. Her family moved to Elk Township when she was young. She grew up and still resides in South Jersey. Carla began working for CATA as the Administrative Asistant in 2019. She helps the office run smoothly while the staff works diligently to do the advocacy work. Carla feels great fulfillment working at CATA, knowing the team is at ease, while the focus is to aid the community, which brought her up. She feels great pride in giving back. “Soy una pequeña pieza. Los verdaros trabajadores y héroes son aquellos que son los manos y los pies de esta organización.” (“I am a small piece. The true workers and heroes are those who are the hands and feet of this organization. ")
José Manuel Guzmán
Originally from El Rancho de las Penas, municipality of Moroleón, Guanajuato, Mexico. Very proud to be “panza verde.” He came to this country in the early 80's and worked in the mushroom industry for 14 years in Chester County, Pennsylvania. In 1993 he helped form the Kaolin Workers Union, organizing workers to achieve better conditions and fair treatment at work. Manuel started working at CATA in 1994 as an organizer. Since then, he has trained thousands of workers on health and safety programs such as the pesticide program and the Voces program, promoting the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS and training workers on rights at work.
Policy and Advocacy Organizer
Meghan Hurley began working for CATA - The Farmworker Support Committee in 2012, first as Communications Coordinator and currently as the Policy and Advocacy Organizer. She manages CATA’s community radio station and coordinates their advocacy work on local, state, and national issues impacting the immigrant community. Before starting at CATA, Meghan spent two years living in Peru as a volunteer with the Good Shepherd Volunteer program working with youth and indigenous communities around Cusco. She has a Bachelor's Degree in English and Communication and a Master's Degree in Global Development and Social Justice.
Margaret Niedda, originally from Niagara Falls, New York, has worked with CATA since 1994 as Program Coordinator, then Program Developer in 1996, and as the Administrator since 2005. Marge is responsible for the grant writing, reporting, and financial management of the organization. She received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Niagara University and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Temple University.
Over the years, Marge has committed herself to social justice and brings with her the grant writing and financial skills needed to assist CATA in its advancement. Before CATA, Marge was a volunteer in Philadelphia with the Vincentian Service Corps working with low-income communities and individuals with mental disabilities. She worked for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and the US Department of Treasury. Marge enjoys spending time with family and friends in her off-hours, cooking Italian cuisine, and playing bocce.
Kendra started as a Farmworker Organizer with CATA in August 2020. She has a background in community organizing and performance arts and graduated from New York University with a degree in Performance and Civic Engagement. She is currently a Philadelphia resident and is always looking for ways to use the arts (music, theatre, movement) to support building strong, liberated communities and connections across social movements.
One of her favorite things about working with CATA is the focus on popular education. The notion that as a Farmworker Organizer, she doesn't show up to "help farmworkers." She shows up to support workers' reflections, build conversations, share skills and information, and support their action plans!
Food Justice Coordinator
Kathia Ramirez was born and raised in Aztlan, Los Angeles, CA, and she is very proud of her Zapotec Indigenous Roots from Oaxaca, Mexico. She began working for CATA in 2014, starting as an organizer and now as the Food Justice Coordinator. In her role, Kathia works closely with community members interested in bettering our current food system and manages CATA’s community gardens in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. She also represents CATA and its members in Alliances working in solidarity with social movements at national and international levels to advance food sovereignty and agroecology as an alternative to our food system. Before working at CATA, she pursued her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Latino Studies at Mount Holyoke College in Western Massachusetts, where she was also active as a student in M.E.Ch.A., an activist student movement, and she served as co-chair of a sociocultural organization.
Food Justice Program Assistant
Erika Perez is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants, granddaughter of farmers, and a native to South Jersey. Before joining CATA, Erika dreamt of saving the kiwi birds in New Zealand. However, after working as a tutor for students from K-12, interning at the Stockton University Sustainable Farm, and volunteering as a canvasser in low-income neighborhoods, she has found her passion: justice for the people by the people. She can be found reading, hanging out with friends and family, and attending the Shore Points Church in her spare time.
Her favorite thing about working with CATA is learning about the interconnectedness of the work. Whether immigration, workers' rights and food justice, each component is just as important as the other for her. She believes this approach will be the key to dismantling a very complex and broken food system. Furthermore, she feels it will pave the way towards rectification and reclaiming the power that the community of farmworkers can truly accomplish with the support of their allies.
Nancy Lopez Sosa
Nancy Lopez is a community organizer at CATA's office in Kennett Square, PA. She was born and raised in a small community in Guanajuato, Mexico, and moved to the United States when she was 13 years old. Nancy started working with CATA in 2019. She is responsible for providing education to workers about their rights through visits to labor camps and community meetings/activities in Southern Chester County. She is currently working on obtaining more support for the Driving PA Forward State Campaign, which is working to grant every PA resident a driver's license regardless of immigration status. Nancy holds a bachelor's degree in Applied Anthropology. She enjoys helping others and spending time in nature.
Leila Borrero Krouse.
Organizer/Immigration Specialist, Maryland Office
Leila is Puerto Rican, from the city of Quenepa, Ponce. She came to the USA in 1975, and she lives in the state of Maryland. Since 1986 Leila has worked with migrant workers in various areas that affect the migrant. She started working on Social Services in Cambridge, MD, helping with the food stamp program. After that, Leila began working with health clinics as a medical interpreter and farmworker health educator. Later on, Leila started working on Legal Services and visited all the fields in Maryland and Delaware, and this is how, in one of those camps, she met Manuel, CATA’s Lead Organizer. Then Leila went to work with Catholic Charities addressing immigration matters and from there to CATA in 2012. She has learned so much from all the people that she has been in contact with. Leila likes to know and share the cultures and traditions of all of them.