Board of directors and staff

Lorena De Garay

Lorena De Garay, was born in California, but lived her teenage and early adult years in Acapulco, Guerrero. She is a graduate of Portland State University, and has been working in social services for over 15 years with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. In 2015, after 4 years of living in San Luis Potosí.

Lorena and her family moved back to Portland, Oregon Since then she has been working with El Programa Hispano/UNICA and currently holds the position of Systems Navigation and Outreach Program Manager.

Lorena provides leadership support to the UNICA prevention team and sexual assault and trafficking survivor advocates. She believes that everyone has the right to live a life free from violence. Raising awareness around the barriers and injustices the community faces when trying to access services has always been a passion to her and she has advocated for equitable and inclusive services in the community.

Lorena’s goal is to support VIVA in having a firm foundation for long term growth and sustainability. She sees VIVA not only as an organization that is dedicated to defending the rights of migrants and refugees, but a place for community empowerment, justice and hope for future generations.

Iris Navarro Diaz de Leon

She was born in Cuantrocienegas Coahuila, Mexico. Her parents worked at the SEP, secretary of public education. For that reason, she lived in various towns and cities in her childhood and adolescence.


Iris graduated with a degree in Psychology from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon UANL. She worked as Coordinator of the IMSS Mental Health Center with families from rural communities. Later in 2011, she immigrated to the USA. She began working in the Public Schools as a paraeducator with Spanish-speaking immigrant children. She worked as a Parent Educator with Spanish-speaking families at the Latino Network in Portland, OR. She worked as the Coordinator for the Kids! Best Start for Kids program, designed specifically for Spanish-speaking families.


She supported motherhood, Women’s Empowerment, and research for medical, educational, housing, and legal resources. Now Iris dedicates volunteer time to VIVA, with the best intention of continuing to support her community.

Dora Reyna Secretary

Dora is originally from San Luis Potosí Mexico, graduated from the UASLP, Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí Mexico, as a public accountant.


Dora came to this country in 2001 and studied English as a second language at Mount hood Community College, worked for a while babysitting and then worked at Arevalo’s Enterprise as a Latino business accountant.Dora also worked as office manager and accountant at Latino Network, she just to own a Food truck.


Dora says, I am part of VIVA because the migrant community is very important to me and above all because I like to help empower our people. But also, because the work that VIVA does is very necessary for our migrant community, and I want to be part of this beautiful work that is being done.

Maya Reyes

Maya Reyes is from Acapulco Gro Mexico. She worked for 10 years as a Civil Registry Judge in Mexico. She moves to USA and start working in a fast-food restaurant for three years, then she worked 9 years as a receptionist.  now she is taking English class and is a mentor at transmissions. She loves volunteering within the community and now she is part VIVA’s Board of director.

Amalia Sierra

Biography coming soon!

Rev. Dr. W. J. Mark Knutson Board Member

Rev. Dr. W. J. Mark Knutson has been Senior Pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland, Oregon since December 1995. Augustana is a thriving multicultural sanc-tuary congregation in the heart of the Portland, now in its 113th year. Augustana has grown from 243 members in 1995 to an almost 900-member congregation that is also home to several non-profits including Familias en Accion, the Society for Haitian Arts, Culture and Social Support, the Irvington Cooperative Preschool, the Well Arts Institute, Open Circle Native American Ministries and the Lift Every Voice Oregon Campaign to End Gun Violence. The Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice spent its first decade at Augsutana (through 2016) and the Community Alliance of Tenants its first 20 years (into 2019). Pastor Knutson has served on local and national boards, and has keynoted and conducted workshops in a variety of settings.

Mark is past chair of the Northwest Health Foundation Board, the Board of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and of Familias en Accion. He is 

on the Steering Committee for the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform. He was one of three statewide petitioners for the Freedom to Marry Ballot Initiative, and is an American Leadership Forum Senior Fellow. He is currently Chair and Convener of the Lift Every Faith Oregon Interfaith Coalition to end gun violence. In the January 2012 issue of Portland Monthly magazine, Mark was named one of the 50 Most Influential Portlanders. Augustana became one of the first New Sanctuary Congregations in the Country in 1996 and actively housed Francisco Aguirre in 2014 for 81 days while becoming a founding member of the National New Sanctuary Movement Rev. Knutson has appeared on CNN International and CNN weekend as well as ABC’s Full Measure. . Rev. Knutson was awarded the Vancouver Ave. Baptist Church Martin Luther King Drum Major Award in 2019; The Martin Luther King Leaders Award by the World Arts Association in 2018; The Heart of Sanctuary Award by the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice in 2015; named Ecumenist of the Year in 2009 by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon; Distinguished Pastor by Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley in 2009; the Fortenza Award by Desarrollo Integral de la Familia for service in the Latino community in 2004. Prior to coming to Augustana Mark served as the National Director of Youth Ministries in Chicago for the 5.3-million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon, has an M. Div. from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley and a DMIN. in Church Leadership Excellence from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D. C. Mark is married to Tamrah and their son Brandon, is earning his MBA at the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia after six years as a Senior Financial Consultant in Los Angeles.

Get in touch with Mark:

Francisco Aguirre Executive Director

We Generally see biographies of leaders with an excellent curriculum about their studies, professional achievements in a great way. We realize the extensive learning that they have obtained and that is recognized everywhere. Well maybe my case is different. I do not have those studies that many have in their biographies. I do not have those recognitions nor the biography that we generally expect to see in an executive director.

I am a Salvadoran farmworker, a day laborer in the United States, I graduated from the best school in the world, which is the school of the people. I am one of those who came to this beautiful city of Portland only 16th and also an illiterate for the majority of people, because I did not know how to read or write. However, for me I arrived in Portland Oregon as the great engineer, the architect, the lawyer, the great conqueror of dreams and ideas, the one who leaves a mark and paths full of love for equality in every step I take. In this beautiful State of Oregon is where I learned to read and write these scribbles that we call letters.

I went from just knowing how to make my signature, to start reading and writing words. Words that most of the times I take a letter off because in my opinion that letter is just on extra letter that we don’t need it.

For many it is a mockery, but for me it is a joy to see that I can read and write in this imperfect world. I am an Indian that neither Spanish can speak well, but I am proud to speak it in my own way, knowing that whenever I speak it, somehow, I make myself understand, one way or another. I’m from San Miguel El Salvador. I arrived in the United States in 1995 as an immigrant fleeing violence in El Salvador. I came in search of freedom, I arrive with the dream that one day I would no longer feel persecuted, and I am still waiting for that moment. When I arrived in Portland Oregon, I immediately start getting fully involved in the struggle to defend the rights of day laborers and migrant rights. I graduated as a human rights promoter in 1996.My struggle for the rights of day laborers and immigrants in Oregon had an endless beginning because I am still circling around injustice seeing how I can dissipate it, which for me is an honor to do so.

My participation in WOC Workers Organizing Committee since 1996 was the beginning of the fight that I continue to carry out. One of my great teachers in the fight for human rights is Pablo Alvarado, Executive director of the National Day Labor network, who taught me that the roads we construct should be wide enough and full of love for the people we defend.

My involvement in VOZ. begins after WOC was dissolved as an organization, the day laborers were about to left behind in a limbo. However, there were a creative space to be able to continue the fight. I can proudly say that I am one of the founders of the VOZ Workers’ Rights Education Project. My function was always organizing. others took care of the legal and all together we managed to stabilize the organization of the worker. who is still fighting to defend the rights of workers.
I participated in the struggle to achieve a workplace for day laborers in Portland, since 1995 I begins my career in the day laborer struggle, the dream of having a workers center was already exist. and in 2008 were possible to fulfill that dream, thanks to the struggle of the workers, VOZ as the leading organization in the daily struggle, Volunteers, sisters organizations, and of course the goodwill and effort of the former Mayor Tom Potter.

My involvement in the National day laborer Network helped me discover more fighting tools to keep the straggle going. I am proud to be part of the Board of Director at NDLON and be able to do something for the organization that is helping millions of migrants and refugees.

My Organizing involvement in California. I Help organize day laborers in cypress park outside the home depot in California, and become one of the volunteer coordinators of the day laborers center that were put in place at the parking lot of the home depot in cypress park, after a big fight for the right of the workers.

Work with Mission Dolores Church in Los Angeles CA. working with  grassroots communities Camino Seguro, Verde and volunteering in the Homeboy Industries program and Proyecto Pastoral in the Boyle Heights area.

My struggle continues, now with VIVA Inclusive Migrant Network. a new organization dedicated to defending the human rights of the migrant and refugees. I continue to dream, to make trails and paths of freedom, and love for my migrants and refugees sisters and brothers. In the perfect world for many I am still an illiterate, but in my world full of imperfections I am the man, the friend, the human being with the desire to help, to continue fighting with my people until we reaching freedom.

Thank you Pastor Mark and Augustana Lutheran Church and all the board memebers for helping build VIVA Inclusive Migrant Network

Get in touch with Francisco Aguirre: