Marianela Acuña Arreaza is a Venezuelan immigrant who has dedicated herself to social change in Houston for almost a decade. Her roles in social justice have always involved facilitating participatory decision-making, designing educational curriculum, and moving networks and groups into action.
While studying sociology and arts at University of Houston, she organized with United Students Against Sweatshops, and Student Farmworker Alliance, and volunteered as a case manager and research coordinator with Fe y Justicia Worker Center, and now she serves the organization as our executive director.
Marianela has built her experience as a non profit leader through participatory advocacy research projects with Data Center, Food Chain Worker Alliance, and National Domestic Worker Alliance. She also has led civic engagement and voter protection campaigns with organizations such as Common Cause, and VoteRiders. Her work as Organizing Director at Young Invincibles taught her much about the role of advocacy and workforce development in Houston.
In her free time, she has co-founded grassroots projects, such as Casa Blue, a social justice school; Antena Houston, a collective of interpreters and translators supporting local movements; and Freedom Bound, an emerging learning experience for young Houstonians to learn about the Black Freedom Movement.
Marianela is the recipient of the Houston Peace and Justice Center 2014 Peacemaker Award and the Highlander Education and Research Center’s 2015 Greensboro Justice Fellowship. She is a practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and she loves dancing Salsa, spending time with her puppies, rabbit, and parakeet, and lately, binge watching Game of Thrones.