Zayra Ortiz-Medrano was born in Tucson, AZ, and raised in Fronteras, Sonora, Mx, located 45 minutes from the southern border. Zayra graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a focus on Social Justice and a minor in Spanish from the University of Arizona.
Before working for Amistades, Zayra worked in the education field for five years, serving the Tucson community at the University of Arizona, Chicanos por la Causa Community Schools, and Sunnyside Unified School District. During her time as an educator, Zayra pushed for more restorative justice in schools and enjoyed being able to aid students' discovery of their potential and providing the resources to reach it.
In her time, Zayra has been a part of M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), intern for the Nahui Ollin Wellness Program, and a continued ally for Existimos and Dreamers. Thanks to her experience working with Latino and Native American communities in Tucson and her own experiences, Zayra is a big believer in the healing qualities of culture.
At Amistades, Zayra focuses on the Mayahuel Prevention Consortium. The goal is to prevent and reduce substance misuse and potential obstacles while enhancing prevention capacity and infrastructure at community and state levels. Zayra aims to address the issues of alcohol/underage drinking and marijuana/opioid misuse among Latino youth and adults through three evidence-based strategies and community-defined best practices.