Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora is led by a five-member Board of Directors who volunteer their time to lead our efforts toward Puerto Rican decolonization and prosperity. As respected professionals in their respective fields, they bring various skills, knowledge, and expertise to bear on our work and are united in their commitment to a just political future for Puerto Rico.
BUDPR also collaborates frequently with activists, organizers, scholars, and experts whose work and goals intersect with our own. If you're interested in exploring joining our team or collaborating with us, please join us here or write to [email protected].
Board of Directors
Luis Ponce Ruiz
Co-Founder and Interim President
Luis is SEIU Local 105’s Strategic Campaign and Research Director and a 2016 Latino Leadership Institute Fellow. A Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service graduate, he also holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Puerto Rico. His work and experience is focused on the intersection of law, human and labor rights, and community empowerment. In 2014 he served the United Nations Development Program in Peru to support COP-20. Fluent in Spanish, he is also competent in French and Portuguese, and has sought additional certifications in data analytics, political communication, regional and comparative law, and international business transactions in South America and Asia.
Daniel Vázquez Díaz, Esq.
Daniel is an international law attorney. His areas of expertise are: business law, transnational investments, rule of law, human rights, and conflict resolution, including litigation in U.S. and foreign courts with a focus in Latin America and Europe. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and reads French. Daniel is licensed in New York, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico as well as the U.S. Federal District Court and Bankruptcy Court for the District of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He holds a Masters in International and Comparative Law from the George Washington University in Washington D.C., and a Licenciatura en Derecho from the University of Barcelona. He completed his Juris Doctor at the University of Puerto Rico, School of Law and holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Cristalís Capielo Rosario, Ph.D.
Cristalís is a tenure-track assistant professor at the Department of Counseling and Counseling and Psychology (CCP) at Arizona State University (ASU). Her interests center around how U.S. colonialism and coloniality in Puerto Rico affect the psychological wellbeing and intragroup dynamics of Puerto Ricans. Her research has been disseminated through 23 peer-reviewed scientific articles in top-tier counseling psychology journals. She has briefed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on the economic and mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. Latinx populations. She has appeared in broad reach media outlets including PBS, NBC News, NBC Latino, Telemundo, and The Washington Post.
Merari E. Fernández Castro, Ph.D.
Merari is a social worker, professor, activist, and psychotherapist in private practice. She combines her training in psychotherapy and community organizing to serve marginalized populations. Merari is a public speaker on issues of gender, trauma, race, immigration and colonialism. Her passion for community education led her to produce Diaspórica el Podcast to increase public awareness on the connection between colonialism and the Puerto Rican diasporic experience.
Alberto is a writer, editor, and advocate for Puerto Rican independence whose writing has appeared in The New Republic, Latino Rebels, The Fulcrum, Colorado Politics, and El Nuevo Día. He has a background in journalism and publishing and currently works as the Communications Team Lead at Tufts University's Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). A graduate of Yale University, Alberto previously worked for national newspapers and multinational publishing houses in Puerto Rico, where he was born and raised. He is now based in Colorado and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Denver Urban Debate League.
Former Board Members
Edil A. Sepúlveda Carlo, Esq., Co-Founder
Edil Sepúlveda Carlo was a co-founder and spokesperson for Boricuas Unidos en la Diáspora until February 2023. He is also a NASA senior research scientist, licensed attorney, climate change expert, and social activist originally from Puerto Rico and currently living in the Washington, D.C., area. He has over 10 years of experience in climate change science and policy, environmental justice issues, and engaging stakeholders in diverse settings and topics. Edil was an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar in 2019, he was awarded with NASA's Group Achievement Medal in 2018, and is a frequent speaker on climate change, environmental issues, and topics related to Puerto Ricans and Latinos in the United States for major media networks. He holds a B.S. in Geology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, a Juris Doctor from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, and a Master’s degree in Climate & Society with an Energy & Environmental Policy Concentration from Columbia University in New York.