Staff

Brenda Victoria Castillo | President & CEO

Castillo is an activist, feminist, national strategic leader, and renowned speaker in diversity & inclusion, hate speech, media, civil rights, and social justice. She is an expert in alliance building, authentic storytelling, Latinx entertainment, and women’s issues. Castillo is a big believer that digital rights are a human right, that there is an absolute correlation between hate rhetoric and hate crimes, and that tech companies must be held accountable for the rampant hate speech on their platforms.

Castillo currently serves as the first female President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC). NHMC is a civil rights nonprofit organization that educates and increases the visibility of Latinx from their policy work in Washington D.C. to their media advocacy in Hollywood, where they collaborate, create, and connect Latinx talent with the entertainment industry. The Coalition collaborates with other civil rights organizations to eliminate online hate and advocates for online platforms to be accountable for their content. NHMC ensures that Latinx and historically marginalized communities stay connected by working to close the digital divide. The National Hispanic Media Coalition is a founding member of Help Tech Stop Hate, Change the Terms, Stop Hate for Profit, Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, and National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.

Castillo is an L.A. Emmy award-winning producer and media production director with decades of C-suite experience in the private and nonprofit sectors and the government for such companies as BP America Inc., American Red Cross, and KTLA 5 Television.

Martin E. Rivera, Esq. | Senior Policy Counsel

Martin E. Rivera is a Boricua from Juncos, Puerto Rico. He currently serves as the Senior Policy Counsel for the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC). Being raised in Florida, he is aware of the importance
of civic engagement and unlocking Latinx civic potential to ensure that members of the Latinx community are in leadership positions when vital decisions are taken.

Before joining NHMC, Martin served as the Director of Government Affairs of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA). He led the federal and local legislative priorities and agenda before policymakers, industry representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders. Before PRFAA, he served as a Legislative Assistant for Congressman Darren Soto in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, where he oversaw various issues such as immigration, health care, and the environment.

Throughout his career, Martin has strived to advance policies that protect fundamental rights and provide essential services to communities in need. From helping the Hurricanes Irma and Maria victims to protecting immigrant communities and working to close the digital divide, Martin is dedicated to ensuring that the Latinx community has the resources and opportunities it deserves. Martin is a member of the Florida Bar and earned his Juris Doctor from the Florida Coastal School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida.

Daiquiri Ryan, Esq. | Strategic Legal Advisor & Policy Counsel

Daiquiri Ryan is a Tejana and first-generation lawyer with a passion for social justice and technology. As NHMC’s Strategic Legal Advisor and Policy Counsel, she is a new type of advocate, emphasizing movement-building, storytelling, and strategic policy outcomes. Daiquiri is a subject matter expert in broadband access, net neutrality, platform accountability, and other telecommunications and tech policy issues. Throughout her time with NHMC, Daiquiri has been a featured speaker at conferences and events such as Civil Rights x Tech, LULAC’s State of Latinx Summit, Latinx Tech Summit, and The Lawyer’s Committee’s Online Hate and Privacy Symposium. She is also a distinguished author with publications like Lack Of Internet Access Threatens 2020 Census Success And The Future Latino Voting Power and features in Forbes, Rolling Stone, Gizmodo, and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

In addition to her role at NHMC, Daiquiri is the Co-founder at Neta Collab, a digital-first branding and marketing agency dedicated to social justice, the Vice President at the Joey Ryan Foundation, and Chairwoman for the Latinas in Tech DC Metro Chapter. A proud alumna of Arizona State University and The George Washington University School of Law, Daiquiri enjoys lazy Sundays with her partner, José, and her dog Lupita.

Felicia Mora | Programs & Special Events Director

Felicia Mora delegates the planning and logistics of the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s events from inception to completion. Over the past few years she has assisted in rebranding and improving the structure and coordination of NHMC’s events. 

Felicia is a fourth-generation Angeleno. She is the first in her family to graduate from college and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at Cal State LA in Chicanx/Latinx Studies. She is a proud Chicanx/Native/Filipinx-American, human-parent, and cat mom. 

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Ashley N. García | Policy Fellow

Ashley N. García is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin’s Spanish and Portuguese Department. Currently, she is writing her dissertation, “The Ghosts Lingering in the Río Bravo: A Study of Silence, Violence, Sequelae, and Prevention in Contemporary Northeastern Mexican Literature”. In this project, she proposes that North Mexican literature, written by border women, can be used to query how Mexican and U.S. governments, its constituents, and those of us studying violence in this region have used discourses and legal categories that mislabel and miscount many cases of violence that occurred between the implementation of the Mexican Agrarian Reform and Felipe Calderón’s war on organized crime (2006-2012).

Aside from her academic endeavors, Ashley has mentored and advocated for people from historically underrepresented backgrounds for the past 10 years. She has worked and volunteered for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the Latin American Working Group’s Mexico Program, the Wilson Center’s Mexico Instituto, Fundación Social Fénix (Bogotá, Colombia), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Our Lady of the Lake University’s McNair Scholars Program, The University of Texas at Austin’s UTeam Mentorship Program, and Manos de Cristo’s Plaza Comunitaria. In the future, Ashley hopes to continue using her expertise and research skills to help improve the representation and quality of life of Latin American and (or) Latinx populations.

Ricky Abilez | Policy Fellow

Ricky Abilez (they/them) is a Queer, Latine artist, educator, and activist committed to equity and social justice. They are a SoCal native with a BFA in acting from Cal State Fullerton. As an undergraduate student, they produced five plays that sought to address a variety of social issues ranging from gun violence to sexual harassment. Through the connections made in their undergraduate career, Abilez now serves on the Theatre for Young Audiences Committee at Actor’s Equity Association and the Oversight Committee for BLKLST Collective. They have performed in several prestigious theaters, including the Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. They also teach a self-developed high school curriculum in using art for social justice.

They’re currently pursuing an MPA in education policy and public policy analysis from the University of Colorado Denver, where they served as student chair of curriculum on the campus-wide equity task force. They were recently awarded the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for their work in entertainment, policy, and advocacy. Ricky is passionate about the intersection of arts and policy as they both impact our lives on a daily basis. Having previously worked for Queer historian, New York Times best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Dr. Eric Cervini, Ricky now serves as project manager for an arts nonprofit and volunteers with The Trevor Project. They hope to continue uplifting and empowering marginalized communities through media and policy advocacy.

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Hannah Cardenas | Communications & Talent Manager

Hannah serves as the Communications & Talent Manager at NHMC. She has a B.A. in Film and Digital Media with a minor in Education from U.C. Santa Cruz. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of San Diego.

Hannah’s home and heart are the San Gabriel Valley, CA, where she grew up and came back to teach after completing her Bachelor’s degree. She taught high school CTE video production for four years in the East San Gabriel Valley and loved every minute of it. Hannah is a first-generation college graduate and first-generation Mexican-American. Her passion for film making, film studies, and equitable education has always been at the core of everything she does. She hopes to help create change and is excited to work in media advocacy.

Cruz Castillo | External Relations & Digital Media Manager

Cruz Castillo is a part of the team’s external affairs, creating networks and building bridges with organizations, individuals, and the community. He helps coordinate and strategizes NHMC’s social media to serve Latinx and all POC best and promote all the team’s hard work.

Before joining NHMC, Cruz has worked various jobs ranging from NBCUniversal to CTV Canada. He has years of experience in the entertainment industry ranging from production crew to social media.

Cruz grew up in Whittier, California, and is one of many in his family to graduate from a university; the bar is set high with the Castillos. Cruz advocates for the underdog, fighting for those not often thought of or given the opportunity.

Cruz is a graduate from Cal State Los Angeles, where he earned his B.A. in Interpersonal Communication and a graduate from Institute of American Indian Arts where he received his Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. He is a proud Indigenous Native living on stolen land. When not at NHMC, he enjoys spending his time reading, being active in the community, and filmmaking.

Elizabeth Rodriguez | Executive Assistant to the President & CEO

Elizabeth Rodriguez joins NHMC as the executive assistant to the President & CEO. She comes from the South Bay Area, where she holds the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors close to her heart.

As a San Jose State University graduate earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Political Science, she has a strong background in bilingual news. She has worked for several news stations across the Bay Area and Central Valley, including Univision 14, Telemundo 48, NBC Bay Area, and KSEE24. She is out documenting life events and creating digital content in her free time. Elizabeth has a passion for storytelling and believes everyone has a story to tell.