The Heartland Workers Center was founded to help unite workers in the meatpacking, construction, restaurant, and cleaning industries to harness their collective power to make positive change in their work and neighborhoods. From the beginning, the HWC mission would concentrate on identifying, training, and developing leaders, promoting, and advocating for workers’ rights and responsibilities, and developing effective methods of participating in the civic society.
In 2010, the Heartland Workers Center received its nonprofit status. Today we use the Cultural Wealth Model as the theoretical framework for our programs, where we develop six forms of capital: aspirational, linguistic, familial, social, navigational and resistance. Our programs focus on education to build community leaders’ agency and confidence in organizing around issues of importance to them and their communities, and secondly on activating these members to be engaged civically.
We use a Core Team model to identify and activate leaders, using 10 steps to community organizing: 1. Build Relationships 2. Investigate and Listen 3. Research Issues. 4. Delivery of Findings. 5. Plan of Action. 6. Execution Outside of HWC. 7. Evaluate. 8 Communicate Results. 9. Celebrate. 10. Assess and Wonder. Each core team concentrates on specific topic to plan, develop, execute, and experience the result of coalition building towards one single goal.
We want to build a community that works for all.
The Heartland Workers Center develops and organizes leaders, promotes workers’ rights, and fosters a culture of civic engagement in order to build power and create change with immigrant and underrepresented communities.
A community where the collective power is rooted in each individual’s ability to promote, protect and defend their human rights.
SOLIDARITY: We believe in standing in unity with populations that have been historically marginalized, underrepresented, and underestimated. Together, our individual experiences become interwoven into power that creates a wealth of understanding, acceptance, and respect.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: We believe in doing what is right to ensure equity and human rights are being upheld at an individual, local, and systemic level. We advocate for policies and best practices while developing leaders who are representative of the people who make up our community.
INCLUSIVITY: We believe in respecting, welcoming, and honoring the diversity present in our community. We value unique perspectives and lived experiences that deepen our understanding of each other and the world around us.
EQUAL RIGHTS: We believe in humanity - that every person has the right to live in a world that is fair and just. People actively flourish and boldly contribute to benefit the community when freedoms are equitable for all.
CULTURAL RESPECT: We believe in seeing, listening to, learning from, and supporting people from all backgrounds. Being aware of the threads that connect us as humans while acknowledging our differences allows us to serve each other with compassion, empathy, and sincerity.
Meet Our Team
Lina Traslaviña Stover, Ph.D.
Dr. Stover is a Sociologist with deep commitment to address inequality and social justice. As a leader, she is passionate about discovering what makes people tick. She seeks to gather passion with talents to build stronger communities. Lina says that leadership is about motion: "It is the active and intentional effort to build relationships, communicate with compassion, and collaborate patiently.” Dr. Stover is also a mom and an educator: "learning is social, we do it best when we process with others.”
Director of Programming
As Director of Programs and Training, Janeth wears many hats for Heartland Workers Center. Having joined our team in 2022, Janeth provides organization-wide support, oversees all organizers, and ensures that they have the training, tools, and skill set to deploy community programs effectively
Janeth likes to say she “grew up everywhere.” She was born in California but moved to Mexico as a child, before eventually coming to Council Bluffs when she was 15. Her experiences support and guide her work as we provide services to immigrants, Spanish-speakers and minorities in the area.
Outside of work, Janeth enjoys music, photography and dance and uses these hobbies to share her culture and learn about others. Janeth loves nature and being outdoors with her kids—whether that means she’s at the playground or going for a run, she enjoys the little moments.
As our Senior Organizer, Raul Muñoz oversees all of Heartland Workers Center’s community organizing efforts. In addition to leading our team of Community Organizers, he also works in conjunction with city and state legislators to lobby for issues important to our organization.
Originally from Lima, Peru, Raul moved to Omaha to study Business Administration, completing his degree in 2008. He joined our team as a Community Organizer in 2018 after previously working with Latino Center of the Midlands and Omaha Public Schools.
In his free time, Raul loves running and hiking and being outdoors. Additionally, he is passionate about reading and spending time with his family.
Senior Advocacy and
Health & Safety Institute Manager
Penélope León began working as the OSHA-authorized Health & Safety Trainer with the Heartland Workers Center in 2014, and has provided more than 800 hours of training. She has been working in workplace safety and health for more than 20 years for a variety companies.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico, she moved to the United States in 1991. She has a B.A. in Communications with a major in Journalism from the Universidad Ibero Americana in Mexico City and is a proud Mexican and American citizen. She has a deep passion for helping workers better understand their rights and responsibilities in order for workers to be productive and return home happy and healthy to their families.
Guiovanny loves to tell stories through different media, such as radio, TV, documentaries, social networks and the one he enjoys the most... interacting with people.
An Audiovisual Communicator passionate about art, who with professionalism, accumulates more than 14 years of experience that have led him to participate in projects in different countries.
He considers himself in love with life and family and a crazy part-time poet.
Luis is originally from Peru, where he earned a Bachelor degree in Journalism and Public Relations from the University of San Martin de Porres in Lima. He moved to New York with his family in 1992, until winds of change made their way to Schuyler, NE in 1995.
He has been involved with the Schuyler community for several years, promoting inclusion, social integration, and a welcoming environment for all. Luis has previously worked for the Peruvian Police Department, in food processing and production plants, provided labor service for rural areas poultry farms as contractor, insurance agent, as well as Human Resources Specialist for several years. He enjoys cooking, traveling, going to live concerts, soccer games and gardening.
Andrea was born in Bogota, Colombia. Andrea is a proud naturalized American Citizen who lives in Nebraska City. Andrea moved to the United State in 2010 and lives in Nebraska City. She started working as a community organizer for the Heartland Workers Center, after she worked at Cargill for ten years.
Her family is made up of her domestic partner, two children and three grandchildren, enjoys being with her family, she loves gardening and helping the community at the same time. Her goal is to seek to break down language barriers and be a bridge for the Hispanic community.
Nolvia Mendoza is a Community Organizer in the West Omaha area. She started with Heartland Workers Center as a volunteer but now leads a group of 21 individuals. She enjoys working with young, civic-minded people.
Nolvia is eager to encourage those who need help or whose voices can be stifled by more dominant forces. She understands the immigrant intersection having come to Omaha from Honduras as a young adult. She is dedicated to her family and church. Nolvia is naturally curious and a life-long learner who is currently studying theology.
As a Community Organizer in South Omaha, Perla focuses on creating change that ensures every voice is heard. Perla is an instrumental part of Heartland Workers Center having volunteered for four years prior to her current role. Previously, she was a program coordinator with the Hispanic Art Center of Omaha.
Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Perla graduated in 2019 with her GED from the Latino Center of the Midlands and is studying social work at Metropolitan Community College. Self-care is important to Perla; she grounds herself through nature, music, and dance. Whether it’s playing with her grandchildren, fur baby, or caring for her plants, she strives to enjoy every moment.
Antonio is originally from Guatemala. He arrived in the United States in 2001 and graduated high school in 2016. Antonio is trilingual, speaking K'iche' (a Mayan dialect), Spanish, and English. He also serves as an interpreter. Before working at the Heartland Workers Center, Antonio had a position as Quality Control at a pork processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska.
In addition to working full-time for the HWC, Antonio is attending Metro Community College to become a certified interpreter. Antonio affirms that "the only way to do great work is to love what you do."
Dolores Ramirez is our Community Organizer in West Point, Nebraska, where she connects her community to educational opportunities including ESL and GED classes. She officially joined the Heartland Workers Center team in 2021 after volunteering with our organization for two years. Dolores believes that helping people voice their concerns and be heard is the most important part of her job.
Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Dolores says she did not have much access to education growing up but is now a devoted student. She recently earned her GED and plans to continue her education. Outside of work, Dolores loves to read, photography, and helps direct her church choir.
Rosa Pinto is a Community Organizer in Columbus, Nebraska, focusing on community building and connecting people with resources. Growing up in Peru, her mother taught her to serve the community, assisting anybody who needed help. When Rosa moved to the U.S., she brought that same service mindset to Columbus.
In her role at Heartland Workers Center, Rosa brings extensive experience as an Immigration Legal Assistant and Certified Medical Interpreter. She is President of the Head Start Committee at Central Nebraska Community Center and volunteers with parent-teacher organizations in Columbus. In her free time, Rosa enjoys spending time with her children in their activities and making DIY crafts. She especially loves crocheting and designing jewelry.
Jaden Perkins is a politically-seasoned young professional specializing in coalition building and grassroots activism. He was born and raised in Omaha and graduated from Omaha South High Magnet School in 2018. During high school, Jaden found a passion for politics & public service. He went on to serve as President of South High’s Gay-Straight Alliance and sat on adolescent advisory boards for One World & Planned Parenthood. Most recently, Jaden worked as a Field Organizer for various candidates that ran for Congress, Mayor, City Council, & County Attorney.
As Heartland Workers Center’s new North Omaha Community Organizer, Jaden will bring his amazing energy and extensive background knowledge to build consensus around the issues that impact working-class communities the most.
Our Board of Directors
Rev. Ernesto Medina
Lead Pastor, First Lutheran Church
Maria Vazquez, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs, Metropolitan Community College
Managing Partner, Baird Holm
Lisette Aliaga-Linares, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska Omaha
Assistant Director of Human rights & Relations, City of Omaha