Carolina Sarmiento was 14 years old during height of the anti-immigrant movement in Orange County and when her mother founded El Centro Cultural de Mexico, an organization dedicated to promoting culture and leadership in the Mexican community.

At 22, Carolina was the director and opened up El Centro’s first community center in Santa Ana.

Today it offers over 20 free classes for immigrant working class families with the purpose of developing community based leadership through the arts and culture.

Carolina is a UCLA graduate in both World Arts and Cultures and Urban Planning. She teaches at the Orange County High School of the Arts while she finishes her doctorate at UCI in Planning, Policy and Design. Her current research is on the potential of cultural development in working class communities to build bottom up leadership both at the local and transnational scale.

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