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Fuerzas Unidas Community Leaders.PNG


​Fuerzas Unidas in the northern central valley is the newest organizing effort that encompasses small cities, towns, and agricultural communities. Fuerzas Unidas was born in Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties in 2018, and our organizing efforts are focused on Stockton, Lathrop, Modesto, Lodi, Manteca, and Tracy. Our founding members work primarily with Spanish-speaking families who have children or adult family members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization was established to respond that only 20% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive any public sector services.  Among those who do receive services, families of color, immigrants, refugees, and the poor are receiving the least – far below what the law requires. The entities who decide whether you receive services have all been using policies and practices that deny the most vulnerable the equity and justice they deserve. 


In 2021, we continue to organize with these leaders as they expand their power. We are expanding to build the leadership and structure to tackle other pressing issues that confront our region's most vulnerable populations. Among these priorities are education justice- disability rights, immigrant rights, and environmental justice.

Fuerzas Unidas is an affiliate of Gamaliel of California. Gamaliel of California is a statewide network of values-driven, regional organizations that transform communities and create systemic change through community organizing. We organize regional power organizations made up of institutional members connected through shared values, collective vision, disciplined organizing, and direct action to create a powerful platform for the new majority Californians to enter the public political arena and seek justice. 

Erica Fernandez Zamora.jpg
Erica Fernandez Zamora.jpg

Erica Fernandez Zamora, Senior Organizer

Erica Fernandez Zamora emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 10 from Michoacán, Mexico, where she worked in the fields alongside her parents and siblings while attending school in the afternoon. After being separated from her family for a year, she was reunited with them in Oxnard, California, at 10. As a migrant student, she took advantage of all the opportunities offered to her, from Saturday school to summer school migrant programs, and constantly sought to give back to her school and community. As a teen, she discovered her passion and commitment to the environment and pursued social justice and equity. She became a local community leader, leading the fight against a corporate effort that threatened our low-socioeconomic community in Oxnard. Her community organizing and academic achievement opened many doors.

Erica has spoken to thousands of people domestically and internationally on issues she cares deeply about, such as environmental justice, organizing, and education. She graduated from Stanford University, where she double-majored in Urban Studies and Iberian and Latin American Cultures. She also completed a Master’s degree in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies at Stanford. She has worked at the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights; the Agricultural Labor Relations Board; SEIU Local 2007; Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability; and Community Water Center.

Erica is the recipient of numerous awards: the Brower Youth Award, the Gates Millennium Scholarship, and Glamour 2011 Top 10 College Women. She continues to fight and organize for issues she cares deeply about, including environmental justice, immigration, and equity in education and society. She currently works as the Senior Organizer for Fuerzas Unidas, a Gamaliel of California affiliate, the same network that invested in her when she was a teenage organizer.

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