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Vanessa Cárdenas

Vice President, Progress 2050

Expertise: Demographic change, Hispanic/Latino issues, immigration, ethnic media

Vanessa Cárdenas is the Vice President of Progress 2050 at American Progress. Her work focuses on the intersection of policy and race with particular attention to demographic changes, immigration, and issues relevant to the growing Latino community in the United States. Progress 2050 develops new ideas for an increasingly diverse America, examines the implications of demographic shifts, and focuses on promoting policies to ensure a more equitable economy that works for all.

Vanessa came to American Progress from the National Immigration Forum, where she worked as a policy/communications associate and outreach coordinator and helped bridge the policy, communications, and grassroots advocacy worlds to disseminate the Forum’s message and work. At the Forum, she participated in numerous local and national organizing and legislative campaigns including the efforts to pass immigration reform in 2006 and 2007, organizing in support of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, and the campaign to defeat Proposition 200 in Arizona.

Prior to working at the Forum, she managed and administered public education and outreach programs serving diverse communities on a range of issues, including education, civic participation, public safety, and youth leadership, for the Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington County Fire Department.

Vanessa was profiled as one of the “100 People to Watch in the Next Century” by Washingtonian magazine and is a regular guest on CNN en Español, Telemundo, Univision, and BBC, among others and has been widely quoted in various print publications such as U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, and La Opinión. She holds a B.A. in government and politics and a master’s in public administration, both from George Mason University. She is a 2010 fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and alum of Leadership Arlington and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.