Marco is an immigrant advocate and currently serves as President of Los Vecinos de Buford Highway. A 2012 Cross Keys High School Alumnus, Marco later received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Georgia State University in 2017.
During his time in university, he began writing about political and cultural affairs at The Narrator, an online editorial that provides a "non-conformist" space to create and advocate. He also worked as a immigration paralegal at Elarbee, Thompson, Sapp & Wilson, LLP and as an immigration specialist at New American Pathways.
After graduating from GSU, Marco took a position at the Atlanta Food Bank where he now works directly with clients to provide them with the services they need.
Marco Palma lives in Chamblee, Georgia, where he is helping his neighbors and friends gain access to resources so that they can become more involved in their community. He pursues painting as hobby and you can view some of his work here.
DeAnna "Dia" Parker, Executive Director
Dia Parker's passion for health education at Oglethorpe University led her to three years of work dedicated to health education outreach in the Counseling Center. As an active member of her alma mater’s campus, Dia finished her academic career having served as Captain of the Women’s Track & Field Team, President of the Students Motivating Action for Safety & Health Peer Education Organization, Education Committee Chair of the Diversity Board, and a volunteer for Hospice Atlanta.
After being displaced from her home of 15 years during her junior year at Oglethorpe University, Dia became deeply involved in the conversation about sustainable community initiatives occurring across the Greater Atlanta Area. As a member of the Housing Justice League, she attended marches and meetings that reflected the benefits and disadvantages of Georgia State University purchasing the Turner Field Property. She also spent time with the Housing Justice League addressing the harsh eviction system in Fulton County which evicts hundreds of families daily with no regulations on tenant treatment, resulting in mass displacements in extreme weather conditions and increased child homelessness for the city of Atlanta.
This work with the Housing Justice League would inspire her writing as a Content Creator for The Odyssey Online. Yet, when asked reflectively what motivates her to sit on the board of the Cross Keys Foundation, and to run Los Vecinos, she recalls her time in the Athena’s Warehouse workshops at Cross Keys High School. It was the exposure to a group of strong women empowering girls through conversation and positive action that sparked the proverbial flint for Dia.
As the Executive Director, Dia is working to foster space where residents to feel that their voice matters.
Katherine Narvaez, Vice President
Katherine serves as Vice-President of Los Vecinos. Katherine graduated from Cross Keys High School, and later earned a double major in Biomedical Sciences and Business Administration from Mary Baldwin University in Virginia.
After university, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a research assistant at the University of Southern California, and then to Newport Beach, where she worked as a pre-surgical aid.
In 2016, Katherine moved back to Buford Highway. She hopes to become a doctor, as well as a politician, to help communities who live under oppression to utilize their voices and to help pass more proactive legislature. She has always been an advocate for education, healthcare, and human rights and continues to fight for a DREAM act that is more inclusive.
Currently, Katherine works for the Center of Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) where she serves as a health program coordinator in the prevention department, educating families on mental health and substance abuse prevention among youth in our communities.
Adela Lopez, Director of Equitable Education Department
Adela Lopez is a Cross Keys High School class of 2016 alumna and an undergraduate student at Georgia State University studying art education. During her time at Cross Keys, she served as Class President twice and volunteered over 300 hours. Adela’s dedication to service both in and out of school led her to obtain the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
Since graduating high school, her passion for education has led her to teaching assistant positions for the Latin American Association Latino Youth Leadership Academy and the High Museum’s Summer Art Camp.
As an active advocate, Adela creates art revolving around immigration reform and her Mexican culture. She is also a Legislative Aide for Georgia House Representative Bee Nguyen.
Her plans and fight for the future revolves around her parents. Her mother cannot read or write as she never went to school, and her father almost faced deportation when she was in middle school. Adela realized the struggles and sacrifices her parents endured at a young age. She wants to become the teacher her mother never had and to continue the fight for immigrant rights. She plans on returning to the Cross Keys Cluster upon obtaining her degree and to teach in the same schools she was enrolled in. Adela believes representation matters, even at a young age, and that her teachers and parents were the sources for her success. She would like to do her part for the next generation.
Adela dorms in Downtown Atlanta, but comes back home in Doraville to visit her four brothers, two parents, and her energetic chihuahua.
Rebekah Cohen Morris, Director Equitable Housing Department
Before co-founding Los Vecinos, Rebekah taught English for four years at Berkmar High School in Gwinnett County Public Schools and for two years at Cross Keys High School in the DeKalb County School District (both Title I schools). During her time as a teacher, she coached volleyball and basketball, served as the Co-President for the Berkmar High School PTSA, participated as the teacher liaison on the School Council at Cross Keys High School, and helped spark the student-led initiative Unify BuHi (which now operates as the student advocacy arm of Los Vecinos). She currently teaches English at Berkmar High School in Gwinnett County.
In the past, she has also worked for the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) doing advocacy and civic/community engagement. She has served on the Board of Directors for Presencia, a non-profit located on Buford Highway that exists to provide economic, educational, and social support to refugees and immigrants through after-school programs, job creation, and leadership development. In addition to this work, she has also worked for the Atlanta Children's Shelter and for the Latin American Association teen summer program.
Throughout the past two years, she has spent her time co-founding Vecinos with an incredible group of Cross Keys cluster students, alumni, and residents to establish a community association within the apartment complexes along Buford Highway. The idea of vecinos or neighbors working alongside one another is integral to the idea of a strong, healthy community.
Rebekah lives in Doraville, Georgia, with her husband, Andrew Morris, who works for the Metro Water District at the Atlanta Regional Commission. She has two beautiful daughters who attend school in the Cross Keys cluster.
Byron Delgado and his family live in DeKalb County. He is originally from Guatemala, but grew up in Los Angeles, California after receiving political asylum to the United States as a 10-year-old.
He attended California State University (B.A. in Liberal Studies with an education focus), then Georgia State University (teaching certificate for foreign language). He has been a teacher in the Atlanta area for six years, where he has lived since 2005. He has a teaching certification for Elementary, Spanish, English Language Arts and ESOL.
He believes that empowerment and education of all families and children benefits our communities and the world. To Byron, communities that are active, caring, educated, united, and empowered are ones that in turn advocate and support the justice and dignity of all people.
Ruth Arnold Evans, Board Member
Ruth Evans has 17 years experience in non-profit and faith-based leadership in areas of promoting community flourishing, equipping people and organizations with cross-cultural competence, and pursuing justice and equity for all.
She has done this through participating on several local, regional and national boards; holding key leadership in non-profit organizations as well as city-wide and regional movements; and equipping through teaching, training, and coaching around areas of justice, leadership, cross-cultural relationships, diversity, and assets-based community development.
From New Orleans, to Jacksonville, FL, and now Atlanta, she has lived, worked, and played cross-culturally. She is particularly excited to be currently working as a City Flourishing Catalyst in the Brookhaven, Chamblee, and Doraville area.
As she seeks to mobilize collaborative relationships between community members, multi-sector leadership, and churches, she sees and loves the synergistic opportunities that exist in the midst of the incredible diversity in order to link arms towards greater community flourishing.
Francisco Dosal, Board Member Francisco Dosal is a self taught: oil painter, author of, “Beyond The Good & Evil,” document photographer, and muralist. He is a DACA recipient from Antonino Amaro, Durango who now continues his practice and crafts at The Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, Ga. Dosal hopes to continue practicing his craft and one day pass on his knowledge of the arts to those not able to take traditional routes.
Mike Tai, Board Member Mike has a passion to bring together community leaders, organizations, and churches for discussions and engagement on important topics such as diversity, empowerment, leadership, justice, poverty, and education for the benefit of all in our communities. Through these efforts to drive awareness and education, our communities will become more united and committed in advocating and supporting advancement, justice, and dignity for all people.
Mike currently lives in Alpharetta with his wife and 2 children.
Amber Keller, Board Member Amber Keller is a Data Analyst and specialist in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She currently works for the Atlanta affiliate Habitat for Humanity in the Neighborhood Engagement Department where she reports on neighborhood trends and organizational impact. Prior to her current non-profit position she worked over five years as a GIS analyst in government at the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, GA Department of Community Affairs (DCA), and the City of Dunwoody. Amber graduated from Georgia State University class of 2013 with a Bachelors of Science in Geography and a minor in Biology. Her passion for affordable housing began in college writing papers on the Beltline's effect on gentrification and the movement for green affordable housing. At DCA she gained perspective on government affordable housing providing analysis for the Housing Department on Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. Amber has a son that attends Garden Hills Elementary School. In 2015 she witnessed the tear-down of the relatively affordable, majority Latino occupied San Lucia apartments by Lindbergh Station displacing 150 students from the elementary school alone. Amber believes that affordable housing is not only key to a thriving and more equitable city but essential to children's education. Displacement from one's home creates a great deal of stress for a family, rips a child from their school, often causes a child to miss school for a period of time, and puts added pressure on teachers as they deal with stressed students coming and going during a school year. During her time at the City of Dunwoody Amber witnessed the process of city planning, drawing lines on maps for new roads to demolish apartments, and community members writing "tear down" on hundreds of apartment homes. Horrified these apartments would be torn down like the Lindbergh apartments, Amber was overjoyed to find the Los Vecinos de Buford Highway organization, and saw that with community organizing renters can also influence local city government. Amber believes community engagement and participation in the local planning processes can create a more vibrant and equitable city for everyone to live in and keeps children in school.