Meet the team: Yasmin Campos-Mendez

Meet Yasmin Campos-Mendez, Public Policy Manager


Where are you from?  

I am originally from a small town in the central valley of California, called Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe is a very small and rural town, where most of the population is Latin@ and Spanish speaking. Ivanhoe is in Tulare County, California, and most of the county is made up of fruit and vegetable farms. My parents migrated to the central valley from Mexico and are farmworkers in my hometown.

I also lived in San Francisco, California for a large portion of my life. I I lived in San Francisco from 2009 to 2018. Although Ivanhoe, California is my hometown, San Francisco has become my second home. I am now residing in New York City. 

Where do you feel most at home? 

At family get-togethers in California, and during family trips to Three Rivers, California, located at the main entrance to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. This river is close to my childhood home and it’s where I spent most of my summers. I have the fondest childhood memories there with my siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and my parents.

What inspires you, professionally and personally?

The strength, community, and resiliency among Latin@s. I saw it in my parents and siblings when I was growing up. As farmworkers, my family struggled with finances, but my parents always tried their absolute best to provide for my five siblings and I. They are the hardest working people I know. 

What are your areas of expertise or what areas are particularly interesting to you? 

My areas of expertise include advocacy/ policy around Immigration and ending gender-based violence. For many years, I did direct-service work with immigrant Latin@ survivors, and throughout the years, I developed a strong understanding of the importance of advancing justice for immigrant latin@ survivors. This motivated me to go from direct-practice social work to macro policy social work to advocate for legislative change for all survivors. I am also really interested in transforming the ways social service providers respond to survivors and their children when experiencing domestic violence. 

Share one thing you have learned, big or small, doing your work over the past year?

Like most people, I have had a lot of time to reflect during this pandemic. Formerly, I was working as a direct practice social worker. During that time, I was an essential worker that had to go to work in person and meet with my clients. I was working in person, offering education, support, and intensive case management to parents with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Many of the parents are seeking reunification with their children who were taken into foster care. This taught me that despite the pandemic, individuals in my community still needed advocacy and access to support. As a social worker, I know how to access support and it was important that I shared that knowledge with my community. 

Who inspires you?

I am inspired by both my abuelita, Maria and my mother, Natividad. My abuelita is no longer alive, but I remember her always as someone who laughed almost everyday and carried so much hope in her heart. She sold cenas mexicanas in Aquila, Michoacán to make a living and raise my father and my aunt. She sold sopes and tacos in her neighborhood. Although she went through many different adversities, she always stood so strong and proud of her roots. 

My mother, Natividad, inspires me everyday. She’s warm, strong, hardworking, and incredibly funny. I spent the summer of 2019 caring for her in my hometown as she had an invasive surgery after being diagnosed with colon cancer. I witnessed her fight the hard days when she did not feel well. She was so independent and always had so much faith in her healing. Thankfully, the surgeons were able to get all of the cancer. 

What do you do to relax, de-stress or recharge your batteries? 

I de-stress by going on long distance runs about 3-4x a week. I also hang with close friends who understand all of my quirky humor. I am an extrovert who recharges when I engage with wonderful people around me. When I really need a good laugh, I call my mother, Natividad. She’s the best at making me laugh until my stomach hurts. 

Why have you chosen to do this kind of work?

  This work is very personal to me. As a survivor, this work has brought me so much healing, throughout the years. I have felt really grounded in the work through advocacy and psychoeducation. This work allows me to fight everyday towards ending gender-based violence, and I believe in this cause, wholeheartedly. My hope is that I can contribute to the culturally specific needs for survivors that were not accessible for many of the women in my family.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is Mexican food. I love Pozole, Ceviche Tostadas, Aguachiles, and Sopes. I can’t choose just one!

What is your favorite book?

I am much more of an article reader, but a book that has taught me a lot is ‘Keynes: The Return of the Master.’