Mr. Randy Parraz

Randy Parraz is currently a political organizer for the Laborers International Union of North America in the state of Arizona. He is part of a team of organizers committed to organizing thousands of immigrant workers in residential construction. For the past 18 months, Parraz served as the Executive Director of the Voter Registration and Education Project, a non-profit organization committed to pursuing strategies and initiatives to register, activate and mobilize citizens throughout California. Under his leadership, VREP initiated projects to invest in communities that had been ignored and isolated by mainstream political campaigns so that a culture of civic participation could be nurtured and developed.

Prior to assuming his position at VREP, Parraz was the Co-Founder and Executive Director of an award-winning nonprofit organization, the Transformative Action Institute, an organization committed to identifying, training and developing the next generation of social entrepreneurs and agents of change. In 2005, the Echoing Green Foundation awarded Parraz and his colleague and good friend Scott Sherman, a two year fellowship to pursue their idea of establishing the Transformative Action Institute on the west coast. Over the past two years, Parraz and Sherman have presented their model for social change to over 1000 students by offering classes at UC Berkeley, Yale, Princeton, NYU, UCLA, UC Irvine, California State University, Fullerton and Semester at Sea.

Parraz’s interest in organizing and social change dates back to 1994, when as a graduate student at the Kennedy School of Government, he was recruited by the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) to be a community organizer in Dallas, Texas. In Dallas, Parraz learned the fundamentals of the Saul Alinsky model of church based community organizing. After spending considerable time meeting with community and church leaders, Parraz helped establish a unique partnership with the City of Dallas whereby a Central Area Coordination Team was created to meet the diverse needs of the predominantly Latino citizens of East Dallas.

In 1996, Parraz moved to Washington, D.C., and joined the national AFL-CIO as a Community Action Coordinator and later as a national field representative. From national coalition building on behalf of 20,000 strawberry workers in the fields of California, to coordinating the mobilization of thousands of Canadians across the border from Vancouver to Seattle in protest against the WTO, to spearheading support for the Immigrant Worker Freedom Ride in Arizona, Parraz has experience with many different methods of social change. He is the founder of the Student Institute for Social Change (Washington, D.C.) and Co-Founder of the Latino Youth Leadership Institute (Orange County,CA).

A graduate of U.C. Berkeley, Parraz earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a J.D. at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. Parraz resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has two daughters, Natalia, age 7 and Mikabella, age 5.