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JA Maldonado

Born in Los Angeles, Juan’s first generation immigrant activist family raised him in a “Spanish Only” household and today Juan is completely bilingual. He is passionate about film, writing, history, politics and jazz.

In high school he was social media director for the film club and one of the 5 original members of D.Wolfe productions; creators of improv comedy content on Youtube. He also wrote and directed a documentary on Voice Over his senior year.

Juan has been a member of SAG-AFTRA since 2008 a successful voice over actor. He’s worked on several national commercial campaigns was enrolled in Second City’s youth training for several years and the DLF SAG foundation Classes.

Named after his grandfather, a Vietnam veteran, Juan is very passionate about Veterans rights. His award winning essays won the regional scholarship for the VFW two years running 2017 and 2018. He was one of 14 state finalists flown to Sacramento to meet with state leaders and a tour of the capitol.

His life changed when he attended the “National Hispanic Institute - Legislative leadership conference” summer 2017 in San Diego and the “Chicano Youth Leadership Project” In Los Angeles. Both those conferences sparked his passion for latinX youth empowerment. At NHI he discovered his strength for debate because of his storytelling abilities. He has since returned to NHI as a counselor in 2018 and 2019 and feels passionate about giving his time to the leadership and empowerment of latino youth as it helped shape him.

This experience motivated Juan to join the debate team his first year at Moorpark College where he placed bronze in State and made nationals in 2019. He returns again for a second year to the debate circuit.

In October 2019 Juan traveled to Austin, TX to attend a leadership conference for Voto Latino. He is learning how to help create awareness within the latinX community to get out the vote.

His grandmother is a latina activist who in the 80’s led a historic grassroots movement taking on the Community Redevelopment Agency and Mayor Tom Bradley, fighting community displaced through eminent domain. Because of her organizing she won a historic settlement from the city and was featured in a PBS documentary “Not Gone and Not Forgotten.” She passed her social activism on to her children, and now Juan.

Through his political and social involvement he believes racism cannot be legislated. It must be changed through the narrative in popular culture. He plans on using his storytelling abilities to write stories for film and television.

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