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PODER’s Mission

PODER’s mission is to organize with Latino immigrant families and youth to put into practice people-powered solutions that are locally based, community led and environmentally just. We nurture everyday people’s leadership, regenerate culture, and build community power.

PODER’s Vision

PODER’s vision is a society where everyday people can shape their neighborhoods and economies. We organize with Latino immigrant families, along with other low-income communities of color, to cultivate community rooted solutions that create a society where immigrant rights, social, racial, economic, and environmental justice are central to the world in which we live.



Laura Melgarejo Civic Engagement Coordinator- Laura was born and raised in Mexico, in the state of Michoacán. She migrated at the age of 14 to the United States. Laura is the first generation of her family to attend college and the first organizer in her family.  Laura was active as a volunteer in efforts to pass legislation (AB 540) that allowed undocumented students to attend college and pay tuition as California residents.  In 2003, Laura was recruited as a Youth Organizer for the Common Roots: Youth Organizer Program.  She is currently a Community Organizer at PODER working on environmental health issues and immigrant youth empowerment.  As a student at San Francisco State University, she received a scholarship from the Chicana/Latina Foundation and was a member of the Youth Empowerment Fund Advisory Board of the Department of Children, Youth and their Families. She is currently enrolled in the Masters in Public Health Program at San José State University.