Melissa Holguin Pineda (she/they) brings in 12 years of organizing in immigrant rights, education, and movement work. Overseeing the English as a Gateway Initiative, Melissa works with NPNA member organizations to expand capacity on language access through English acquisition, digital literacy, and community engagement. Melissa also leads the New American Youth Leadership Council, a new national youth immigrant and refugee-focused training program that engages youth leaders on local and federal issues through an intersectional curriculum.
Beginning at age 11 in Washington, she first spoke as a panelist for a statewide LEAP conference on the education access for undocumented youth and later continued to support the organization in successfully advocating for SB-6523 all before beginning their undergraduate career. Throughout her experience at American University in Washington, DC, she worked with local, state, and national organizations to center youth immigrants and refugees, day laborers, and education access for undocumented youth. Informed by their parent’s immigration status and background, being raised in a low-income household as a queer first-generation Mexican-American college graduate, Melissa’s drive for this work has always been personal. Her family’s story along with her own journey has only propelled her to ferociously advocate for collective healing and liberation for their community through immigrant and refugee rights.