Universal Core Values
- Empower the voiceless.
- Take a stand against injustice.
- Do no harm.
- Leave the environment better than you found it.
- Do things from a place of love.
- Do things with integrity.
About Roger Quesada
Roger Quesada was born in North Bergen, NJ, at Palisades General Hospital in 1984. His mother and father immigrated from Cuba in 1968, escaping a tyrannical communist dictatorship that took their home and destroyed their family business and their way of life. They came with nothing but a suitcase and a dream. Thanks to the tremendous opportunity in America, they created a life for themselves and thrived, laying the groundwork for Roger's success. Raised primarily by his mother as a single parent, Roger learned to have enormous respect for women. He suffered from terrible asthma and his mother was forced to give up her job and live on government assistance in order to take care of her son full-time, after he suffered from an almost fatal asthma attack. His lifelong burden with allergies and asthma is one of the main reasons Roger decided to become so passionate about the environment and climate change.
Over the years, he’s been a part of countless protests and demonstrations in support of the most vulnerable in our society. He started a community organization 2 years ago called NoHu Collective along with his partner of 12 years and close friends. Roger has been a champion of a range of progressive issues like climate change, social/racial justice, immigrant/human dignity and LGBTQI policies. He has worked with Hudson County over two years to start a community garden in Braddock Park and has organized several events through his organization to create a sense of community pride. Roger believes that the district he seeks to represent needs to strive for social solidarity and a pursuit of greatness, because of and not in spite of our amazing diversity. His mission is to embolden the people of his district to believe in change by encouraging and inspiring civic participation.
According to a global scientific consensus, we as a society have a very short window of time to act on the worst effects of climate change. One of our biggest obstacles is our divisiveness & lack of social solidarity. Through social media and our overly consumerist lifestyles, we have forgotten how to be a community; how to empathize for the individual experiences of our fellow man, for the suffering from lack of resources of healthcare. We need to understand intersectionality. Those who are most vulnerable & disenfranchised, like children & the elderly, are the most impacted but have the least voice to affect change. We seek to be their champion.
Roger believes that in order to affect change in our government, we need to build a grassroots movement throughout the state of New Jersey and build coalitions with social, racial, economic and climate justice organizations as well as other progressive politicians both challenging or currently sitting in office. We need to be the change we wish to see.
Education & Professional Life: Roger studied Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and is currently working as an e-commerce and digital marketing professional in New York City. He was also once an entrepreneur, starting his own popup shop and online e-commerce business for dogs.
About Mahmoud Mahmoud
Mahmoud Mahmoud was born in Cairo, Egypt and immigrated with his parent, brother and sister to the United States at the age of four. He and his family members became naturalized U.S. citizens a few years later. His father worked three jobs to support his family and his mother worked as a housekeeper in a hotel as well as mopped floors in a fast food restaurant. Growing up in Parsippany, NJ, he attended English as a Second Language classes in the first and second grade. With parents who put a high value on good education and hard work, Mahmoud and his siblings eventually became college graduates. As a family, they met the challenges of immigrant life in the U.S. and have been successful in their chosen fields. Mahmoud understands the immigrant struggle first hand and is able to work with people from all backgrounds. His experiences in his community as a child and a young adult provided the impetus for a life in public service.
At William Patterson University, Mahmoud was the Vice President of the Student Government Association and handled a budget of tens of thousands of dollars. He was also the sophomore class president and went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. After being accepted to law schools, he decided to pursue a degree in public policy which would allow him to have a direct and positive impact on his community. His Master’s degree in Public Policy/Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service at Arkansas University gave him the opportunity to interface with elected officials, community activists and leaders from different industries. He worked in maximum security prisons, correctional facilities and with at- risk youth. One of the most gratifying experiences was in helping kids avoid incarceration through programs which provide alternatives to the streets of their tough neighborhoods.
Following graduate school, Mahmoud lived in Egypt for a few years where he began focusing on issues pertaining to poverty. He taught U.S. history and English at an international school, which provided him a high level of respect for teachers. He went on to work at the United Nations in Cairo with individuals fleeing from countries due to conflict and disaster. He managed a case load of over 1000 displaced people and was responsible for approving or denying their applications to stay in the country.
Continuing work for the United Nations, Mahmoud moved on to serve in refugee camps in Kenya and Somalia. He assisted some of the most vulnerable and lowest income people on the planet. He then brought his experiences back home and became the director of an immigrant and refugee program based in Jersey City. Determined to make New Jersey a welcoming place, he built the office from the ground up in order to serve this population. He helped to provide vital services such as navigating the Social Security Administration, finding jobs, registering for schools and attaining safe, affordable and clean housing.
As a community organizer in Jersey City and the greater Hudson County area, Mahmoud has determinedly focused his energy on issues of improving education and affordable housing as well as increasing public safety and decreasing gun violence. He organized over 1,000 tenants and leaders throughout Jersey City to combat predatory landlords who illegally raise rent and try to forcefully evict tenants. He continues to work on the ground in some of Jersey City’s toughest neighborhoods to advocate for local job opportunities, more community policing and better- quality education.
Another population that Mahmoud has had the honor of working with is the veteran population.
He was the Regional Director for the American Red Cross in their Armed Services Division. He helped to provide services for active military members and veterans as well as their family members. He has a deep and abiding respect for their service and understands their struggles with the Veteran’s Administration (VA). As a result, improving the VA is one of Mahmoud’s top priorities.
Education and Professional Life: A graduate of William Paterson University with a degree in Sociology, he was the VP of the Student Government Association handling tens of thousands of dollars, accepted to law schools and decided to pursue a Masters degree in public policy from Clinton School of Public Service at Arkansas University, worked in maximum security prisons, correctional facilities and with at-risk youth, live in Egypt focused on poverty issues and taught US History and English at an international school, went on to work at UN in Cairo with individuals fleeing countries due to conflict/disaster, UN work in refugee camps in Kenya and Somalia, become director of immigrant and refugee program in JC, community organizer in JC + hudson county area for education and affordable housing, regional director for American Red Cross in Armed Services Division.