2016 Impact-Maker to Watch: Alberto Retana

On Tuesday, January 19, 2016 in the Tom Bradley room at Los Angeles City Hall, 25 members of the Los Angeles community were honored for their foundational work to make a positive impact in our city.

Alberto Retana

...is a dynamic young leader who is working on difficult issues in South Los Angeles. He is working with the African American and Latino residents to transform neighborhoods by empowering people to engage in education reform, kinship issues and economic development, and he has a track record for great outcomes.
— Teresa Samaniego, ABC-7

Alberto was introduced to organizing at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated with a degree in Political Science. As a student activist, he joined with other students to organize campaigns to defend affirmative action, lower student fees, and advance racial justice. After UCLA, Alberto cut his teeth in community organizing at Community Coalition. There, Alberto further developed his organizing values: understanding that leadership development, building the power of collective action, and non-violence are core tenets to advancing social change. Alberto’s unwavering commitment to organizing began with South Central Youth Empowered Through Action (SCYEA). For the next eleven years, Alberto continued organizing in different capacities, leading Community Coalition through major victories in advancing racial justice, economic justice, food justice, and education equity. From 2009 to 2011, Alberto worked for the Obama Administration in the U.S. Department of Education as Director of Community Outreach. During his time in D.C., he organized the Department’s first National Youth Summit, and worked with thousands of community leaders across the country on turning around the nation’s “push-out” crisis. In 2011, Alberto returned to Community Coalition to lead its mass based civic engagement strategy to organize 40,000 African American and Latino voters in various campaigns. Alberto also helped to build Community Coalition’s cultural arm by launching PowerFest—South Los Angeles’ premier political concert drawing thousands of South Los Angeles residents to a day of celebration and empowerment. After a rigorous national search, Alberto was selected to be President and CEO of Community Coalition effective July 1st, 2015. Alberto is the son of Mexican and Costa Rican immigrants who came to this country in 1962. The youngest of three, Alberto is the product of his family’s hard work and sacrifice.