Editor’s Note: Roland Palencia is a Co-Founder and Board Member of xQsí Magazine.
Californians awoke this Monday morning to the exciting news that Roland Palencia was named the new Executive Director of the state’s largest LGBT organization, Equality California.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve California’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and to build upon Equality California’s tremendous success,” said the new Executive Director during an interview.
A native of Guatemala, Roland has been instrumental in leading various California non-profit organizations in the shared goal of advancing equality and social justice for the LGBT and immigrant communities.
“I don’t take our rights and progress for granted, as heroes like my father, Martin Luther King and Harvey Milk have made the ultimate sacrifice so we can live in a more just world,” Palencia stated.
Palencia’s addition to Equality California can only improve the organization’s outreach to marginalized communities and his appointment has been celebrated by various social justice organizations throughout California. He is slated to begin his new position as EQCA Executive Director in July.
Read Roland Palencia’s Full Bio:
Roland Palencia is currently the Director of Community Benefits at L.A. Care Health Plan and HONOR PAC Advisory Board Member, an LGBT political action committee that led the efforts in East Los Angeles to defeat Proposition 8.
From 1992 through 1998, Palencia was the Chief of Operations and Vice-President of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, an international HIV/AIDS Healthcare organization with a budget of over $100 million. Subsequently, he held the position of Executive Director at Clinica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero, which primarily serves Central American and Mexican immigrant populations in the Pico-Union and Boyle Heights areas. In 2003, he was appointed as the Greater Los Angeles Area Regional Director at The California Endowment, a private foundation which annually grants over $170 million to California-based institutions in the area of health.
In addition to having been founding member of various community-based organizations, Palencia has been appointed by local elected officials to a number of task forces and commissions. Most recently, he was appointed to the Quality and Productivity Commission by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and previous to that by Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina to the Los Angeles County Hospitals and Healthcare Delivery Commission, with an advisory role to the multi-billion dollar Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services. In 2001, he was named as a “Local Hero” by KCET, a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate and Union Bank of California.
Additionally, Palencia has been the recipient of many other awards that acknowledge his community activism and service including: the Community Service Award, James Hahn, former Mayor of Los Angeles, the Outstanding Contributions to the Community Award, Gil Cedillo, State Senator and Chair of the California State Assembly Committee on Health Access, the Community Service Award, Guatemalan Embassy and Los Angeles Consulate, the Solidarity Award, KIWA (Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates), among many others.
He received a B.A. in History from UCLA and was a guest Lecturer in the Central American Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.
Coming soon: A one-on-one interview with Roland Palencia.