Xiomara Eugenia Corpeño is known and respected across California and the country for her dedication to immigrant and refugee rights and to racial justice. Prior to joining the Groundswell Fund, she spent 12 years as the Organizing Director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA). Until recently she was Groundswell’s Director of Capacity Building Programs, but for the next year will serve as a Transborder Migrant Justice Fellow. Through March 2020, she will provide capacity building support to several organizations in Mexico and the United States with the goal of increasing support for vulnerable immigrants and creating leadership opportunities for immigrants.
Xiomara has spent the last 20 years of her life working for justice in the non-profit sector, as both staff and volunteer. Her first paid organizing job was at Strategic Concepts for Power and Education (SCOPE) in Los Angeles, supporting a jobs campaign for black and brown communities; there, she helped innovate organizing strategies to create culturally appropriate programs and to recruite and involve low-income, mono-lingual Spanish speakers. She then went to El Salvador for two years in order to better understand the conditions that force migration out of Central American. In 2004, she returned to Los Angeles to work for CHIRLA, developing its first in-house Mobilize the Immigrant Vote campaign. During her tenure at CHIRLA, she led, developed, and advanced several immigrant justice campaigns like Driver’s Licenses for All and the campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Under her leadership, CHIRLA created the first state-wide, immigrant student-led network, the California Dream Network, and also founded the California Domestic Workers Coalition. She played a lead role in creating the Los Angeles Raids Rapid Response Network, a partnership among community organizations, legal service providers, and private attorneys to defend workers targeted by ICE workplace raids.
In November 2018, as the immigrant caravan arrived in Tijuana, Xiomara formed the Southern California Solidarity Network for the Central American Caravan, helping create a network of 15+ organizations and 20 individual volunteers to provide streamlined direct assistance to migrants in Tijuana. The network also developed a migrant-led distribution center inside Tijuana’s principal shelter, El Barretal. Members of the distribution collective felt proud to provide hygiene products, warm clothing, tents, and sleeping bags to people who otherwise had little or no support in Tijuana. As part of the solidarity network, Xiomara also helped provide support to an LGBT house that,served 40 LGBT migrants. In addition to providing donations of clothes and groceries, Xiomara also connected other individuals and supporters with the LGBT house.
Xiomara continues to work with organizations and individuals, assisting migrants in getting to their family members across the United States, as well as connecting migrants to host families for those who have no family members here.