Bethzaida Patterson is one of FCV’s Chispa Florida’s new community organizers for the Tampa Bay area. Bethzaida was born and raised in the city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico.
Since an early age she has been involved in grassroots advocacy through organizations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens, Puerto Rico chapter. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Humanities, Interdisciplinary Studies and Pre Law from the University of Puerto Rico. She was accepted into the InterAmerican University School of Law. While studying in law school she was recruited as an intern and worked with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, serving disadvantaged communities. Bethzaida worked closely with Mayor Ramon L. Rivera of Bayamon to build coalitions with all the communities in the city that lead to significant improvements in barrios in Bayamon.
In 2016, she moved to Tampa, Florida. She has worked with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office as a Community Services Aide with inmates and their families providing services at the Detention Department. Bethzaida was also a Dual Language Facilitator in Constitutional Law and Criminal Justice for Ana G. Mendez University System.
Chispa Florida is excited to welcome Getulio Gonzalez-Mulattieri to our Tampa organizing team! Getulio is a student pursuing a BA in Philosophy, a community organizer, a United States Air Force veteran, and an overall civic-minded citizen. A Brazilian-American of West African, South European, and Indigenous descent, his working-class background and lived experiences give him a truly unique perspective into Tampa’s societal structures. Raised in the City of Tampa, he is devoted to the ideal of democracy and is passionate in his pursuit of justice and equity for low- and middle-income frontline communities. He can often be found where help is most needed. In 2020 he returned to Tampa committed to continue living by the ethos of service before self.
“Climate change is an existential crisis that affects all identities and crosses all socioeconomic boundaries,” says Getulio. “The planet is on fire; and because of historical redlining and environmental racism, frontline communities, whether they be Black, Indigenous, or Latinx feel the environmental impacts of climate change the most and yet they are the least involved. I aim to change that by organizing and advocating on behalf of these communities.”
Osvaldo Fonseca is Chispa Florida’s newest digital organizer in Central Florida! Osvaldo has been an organizer since he was 13 years old. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he was integrated with his community in different groups, and dedicated to educating and developing others’ abilities and talents.
Osvaldo describes himself as a teacher, leader, and entrepreneur. He has been part of different projects, using art, communications, and marketing to make a difference in his communities. He experienced climate change impacts in Puerto Rico with Hurricane Maria, earthquakes, and drought, awakening his interest in climate action and climate justice. His mission is to educate and convey a message to Black, Indigenous and people of color to continue giving, unifying, volunteering, and developing community spaces to thrive.
“Climate change is everyone’s job. It is up to us to educate and create awareness of the importance of our planet so that our future generations have a healthy and free space.”
We are so glad to welcome Susana Restrepo to the Chispa Florida Orlando organizing team. Susana was born and raised in San Pedro Antioquia, a small town in Colombia, where the air is still pure, where they keep home gardens and chickens in the backyard. Since she was young, she demonstrated a passion for helping others. She is always involved in the non-profit sector and many social movements.
She studied Business with certification in local management and citizen security. She has worked in the city of Medellín in the area of social inclusion with young people in conditions of vulnerability, displaced population, women and marginalized communities. She has also served local food pantries, community assistance programs, and with the Latino community and of communities of color. Susana has made efforts to advance and educate the community on issues of climate justice, disaster prevention and resilience, leadership development for women, immigration, and electoral work.
“I firmly believe that we can have a purer air, that we can every day work to conserve the planet, in taking our message of climate change to all corners of our state,” says Susana.