Clarissa Martinez De Castro

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Clarissa Martinez De Castro the Director of State/Local Public Policy for the National Council of La Raza, the largest constituency-based Hispanic organization in the United States. In that capacity, she launched and now oversees NCLR's state-based policy and advocacy efforts in Texas and California, and works with community-based organizations, legislators and coalitions in other states lending assistance and support to increase Latino engagement in policy debates. She also directs NCLR's Latino Empowerment and Advocacy Project, a civic engagement and voter mobilization initiative focused on long-term, electorate expansion and local capacity building.

William C. Velásquez Institute

Prior to her work with NCLR, Ms Martinez served as public policy coordinator for the Southwest Voter Research Institute (William C. Velásquez Institute), where she covered issues related to passage and implementation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and contributed to the creation of the North American Development Bank (NADBank). She also served as Assistant Director of the California-Mexico Project at the University of Southern California, convening opinion leaders from both Mexico and California to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing their regions.


De Castro's background includes work with the Ladies' Garment Workers Union (now UNITE), and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) Local 11, organizing and representing largely immigrant workers in several states. A Salzburg Seminar Fellow, Ms Martinez holds a Masters in Public Administration from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Bachelors degree in Diplomacy & World Affairs from Occidental College. Ms Martinez was born and raised in the Mexican State of Sinaloa.

Demos Involvement

In 2009 Clarissa Martinez De Castro was on the Board of Trustees for New York based think tank Demos.[1]