Jonathan Paik | Executive Director
Nara Kim | Operations Coordinator
Jazzmin Mercado | Campaign Manager
Rafael Vera | Field and Civic Engagement Coordinator
Yuliana Matta | Campaign Coordinator
Alejandra Ramírez-Zárate | Policy Director
Dan Ichinose | Research Director
Lisa Liu | Data Strategist Coordinator
Yongho Kim | Special Projects Consultant
Jonathan Paik (JP) strives to transform Orange County by steering the collective power of local communities through organizing and civic engagement.
In 2015, JP organized Asian American and Latinx communities to challenge cities like Fullerton to transition from at-large to district elections, uplifting the voices of traditionally marginalized voters of color around issues like health care, housing, immigration, and education. In 2017, he helped organize young people to participate in national actions in Washington DC to demand passage of the DREAM Act from their local representatives. He was also involved in ballot measure campaigns in 2016, 2018 and 2020 that advanced critical economic and racial justice issues and congressional and county sheriff campaigns to promote bold new leadership in the region.
JP also currently serves on the board of the Alliance for Youth Action, a national youth network of civic engagement organizations that grow progressive people power across America by empowering local young people’s organizations to strengthen democracy, fix the economy, and correct injustices through on-the-ground organizing.
Before joining OC Action as Executive Director in 2019, he was Executive Director of the Korean Resource Center and KRC in Action, staffed numerous political campaigns, and worked as the Development and Operations Coordinator through the Bus Federation Civic Fund. JP is a graduate of UC Irvine with a degree in Political Science.
Jazzmin Mercado is a proud Ecuadorian womxn and mother that graduated from The University of California, Long Beach with a BA in Sociology. She started in civic engagement through Turning the Tide, a collaborative of youth of color that led congressional races in Orange County. She also developed a youth aimed six-month curriculum that builds leadership and awareness through the issues of education, housing, health, immigration, gender, and sexuality.
She is currently providing support for OC Action’s field and civic engagement strategy, coordinating programs that include voter mobilization and GOTV efforts, community education, leadership development, and community organizing.
Field and Civic Engagement Coordinator
Yuliana grew up in Anaheim, where she began organizing with OCCCO as a high school student at AHS. She has supported campaigns on housing, healthcare, education, and census and redistricting efforts by coaching field teams to effectively engage voters across Orange County. She has experience with multicultural, intergenerational, and multilingual campaigns, voter education, and leadership development. While at OCCCO, she was the site lead for several experimental phases of the Immigration Strategic Messaging Project, the first statewide effort to change voters’ attitudes on immigration through storytelling and a new model of voter engagement known as deep canvassing.
Yuliana is currently supporting OC Action’s field teams and table partners in capacity building and campaign planning and strategy. She recently interned at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C. and serves as Co-Chair for the OCCCO Board of Directors. She holds an Associate’s in social and behavioral sciences and a BA in Political Science from Cal State University – Fullerton.
Alejandra Ramirez-Zarate is a civil rights leader dedicated to achieving more significant racial and economic equity for communities of color. She currently serves as the Policy Director for OC Action where she leads policy advocacy research and development to create structural change that can lead to more equitable outcomes for low-income people of color. Alejandra facilitates coalitions, engages in policy analysis, and conducts research that is grounded in the priorities of impacted communities.
Alejandra previously served as Policy Director and Campaigns Manager for Chispa, an organizing program of the League of Conservation Voters. In this capacity, she led democracy and climate advocacy to create healthier environments for people of color disproportionately impacted by climate change and worked to increase government responsiveness to their needs. Formerly, Alejandra also served as a Senior Policy and Research Analyst for Catalyst California’s democracy team. In partnership with community-based organizations, she supported the long-term power-building goals of grassroots partners that resulted in notable successes. These include establishing the We Count L.A. Census Table (a collaborative network of nearly 200 organizations and government entities); supporting the California Census Policy Advocacy Network, helping secure an investment of $187 million for the state’s 2020 Census campaign; advocating for the creation of a California Office of Racial Equity; co-leading the People’s Bloc coalition, and leading local redistricting efforts across Los Angeles County; and encouraging the City of Los Angeles to establish an Office of Civic Engagement by co-authoring “Making Public Participation Equitable: Recommendations for an
Office of Civic Engagement in Los Angeles.”
Alejandra is a proud immigrant from Jutiapa, Guatemala, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the Greater L.A. region. She received her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in political science from California State University, Northridge. Alejandra enjoys traveling with her family, dancing bachata and cumbia, coaching basketball, and spending time with her children.
Dan has over 20 years experience leading research efforts using census, voter, and other data to address problems facing our communities. He is an expert in both census policy issues and census data and led the production of dozens of reports using disaggregated data to better understand and articulate the needs of low-income communities. He is a veteran of two statewide redistricting campaigns, working with stakeholders throughout California to construct the Asian American and NHPI community’s first statewide redistricting proposal in 2001 and the state’s first majority Asian American legislative district in 2011.
Dan was formerly Director of the Demographic Research Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, where he oversaw its Census Information Center (CIC) and was Vice-Chair of the U.S. Census Bureau’s CIC Steering Committee. He holds a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Data Strategist Coordinator
Lisa was organized by her friend to join a youth program in Orange County and started as a volunteer to help register youth voters in different college campuses. As she became more involved with the work in 2016, she learned to create data reports and navigate voter databases. In the past three years, she coordinated field data with the campaign leads during each election cycle, and developed skills to manage organization’s CRM database at KRC.
She is currently managing OC Action’s database and voter file, including creating field reports and research reports for partnered organizations. In order to build and increase partners’ data capacity, she also provides data related training to partners.
Special Projects Consultant
Yongho is providing design, IT, paper mailing, CiviCRM/PowerBase database adoption, press, translation, website and online outreach capacity to OC Action’s campaigns.
Over the course of 20 years, Yongho was involved with Mobilize the Immigrant Vote (MIV), Bus Riders Union, NAKASEC, Korean Resource Center, Centro de Derechos Laborales and Latinx student group ¡Adelante! through community organizing, social service, communications, and web and data infrastructure. He coordinated local groups’ adoption of the California VoterConnect VAN voter database in 2007 through MIV and provided data analysis expertise to the Korea Times, National CAPACD and the City of Whittier.
Yongho studied Cultural Anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota. Living in a family of missionary parents, he went to elementary and high school in Chile.