We are grateful for Yolanda’s involvement in leading SIFN’s 2022 Nourish the Plains program and eagerly anticipate her continued vision and expertise within this team.

As a lifelong Chicana social justice warrior, Yolanda has advocated for human rights and justice in many roles. In her young adulthood, Yolanda became a protesting voice in a rally and march led by legendary Civil Rights activist, Caesar Chavez.

As a lifelong educator whose career led to a principalship, Yolanda prized education as a site of personal enlightenment and development of a more humane and just world.

Supporting the mission of several justice-driven non-profits, Yolanda’s exceptional commitments culminated in a 2022 ACLU Lifetime Achievement Award. When SIFN’s leadership team learned of this most esteemed advocacy award, we were thrilled and also unsurprised, as Yolanda’s advocacy history is truly rare and widely impacting. What a tremendous and well-deserved honor that was!

Yolanda’s deep community involvement in Grand Island advocacy and mutual aid efforts are laudable and have enabled SIFN to support refugee families from Afghanistan with housing needs in 2022. Drawing on her deep, long term and trusted relationships with many GI non-profits, Yolanda’s SIFN leadership allowed us to understand refugee families’ most urgent and immediate needs and work to provide them. From sourcing furniture to stocking kitchens, gifting children with toys and educational resources, and providing grocery gift cards for the families, Yolanda helped ensure needs were met in a timely, welcoming, and loving way.

It is through summer of 2022’s Grand Island Welcome Project and the evolution of our non-profit as a support system for families in major transitions that we eagerly greet 2023!

Yolanda’s passion for family—her own and Nebraska’s families—is one of her many superpowers. Because family is sacred and revered, Yolanda works toward food justice (consistently filling highest need pantries in GI on SIFN’s behalf), culturally aware and responsive family support, and immigration justice. These are sources of inspiration and admiration for our organization.